Ah yes, the mock exams; that time of year when we get to practice stressing out over exams that seem overwhelming. Most everyone is doing last minute revisions and cramming as much information into their brains as possible, and no one can tell you precisely what it’ll be like. To hopefully lessen your stress, I have put together a few tips, some of which seem apparent when you read them but are very much worth going over before the mocks.
Last Minute Tip 1: Don’t Get Stuck
Imagine this: you are getting through questions at a steady pace. A question reads: Find log(1000). “Easy!” you think to yourself, and write 3. Then, the next asks you to find the domain and range for arctan(x). Yikes. “What was domain again… and what does arctan mean again? Maybe if I sketch it you…” and soon you catch yourself in a rabbit hole that leads nowhere and “how did I just spend 10 minutes on that??”
To avoid this nightmare scenario, you should have skipped that question and circled back to it later. Don’t get stuck; keep going on to exercises you know you can squeeze some marks out of. The last thing you want to do is to spend ages on a question for 1 or 2 marks when you could have gotten many more by just moving on.
Last Minute Tip 2: Don’t Ramble
You really, really don’t want to ramble. Think of it this way: the examiner has probably read and graded couple dozen essays before yours. Do you think they want to read 100 words of overinterpretation of the sentence “she smiled happily“? I can assure you they do not.
Instead of focusing on writing as much as humanly possible, spend an extra five minutes planning your essay. Make sure you know what you want to say and why you want to say it. In other words, make everything tie in with the conclusion you want to arrive at later.
Last Minute Tip 3: Do Change Your Mind (if you’re unsure)
Age-old wisdom goes that if you are unsure if you should change your answer last minute, you should “trust your gut.” Well, as it turns out, that age-old wisdom is senile and outdated. This video by Thomas Frank explains it well. Multifarious studies (there’s a fancy word for your English paper) have shown that changing your answer yields better results. So, don’t listen to your gut or whatever the people as ancient as that proverb told you to do. Listen to science!
Last Minute Tip 4: Prioritise Sleep Over Cramming
I know I have preached the importance of sleep and exam performance before, but it is worth reiterating. For the love of CAS, sleep more than you cram. I know it’s stressful, and cramming feels like you’re catching up, but it’s not worth the sleep deprivation. Last week I mentioned that cramming does work to a certain extent, but not enough to warrant going into the exams tired.
Last Last Minute Tip (5): Remember That It’ll Be Okay
The definition of ‘mock’ is to imitate someone or something closely. It also means to ridicule, and while that may also feel apt, we will focus on the first definition. These exams are not the real ones. They are just imitations meant to prepare you for the real thing.
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