With the mock exams peaking their unwelcome head around the corner, I figured I would do my best Adam Savage impression and bust some mock exam myths! So much erroneous information has been spread regarding these tests, which wouldn’t be so bad if it were all outrageous and easily disregarded. However, the myths I have picked for this blog post are deceptively convincing and have had many intelligent students fooled! Are you one of those students? Let’s find out.
Myth #1: Cramming Doesn’t Work
I believed cramming didn’t work during my time in the IB. Little did I know, it does work (to some extent). Cramming for the mocks, however, is essentially pointless. It’s not like these grades are the ones that will determine all that much. Your time is probably best spent resting before your exam. The big, big caveat with cramming is that the information you learn before the day of the exam will not stay for more than a few days. Ideally, we want to be in a spot where we only cram things like complex formulas the day before. Most of the information should be second nature to you long before.
Please don’t take this as the golden ticket that allows you to procrastinate and entirely rely on cramming! You can only cram so much information before a test, so it’s much better to have rehearsed and memorised as much as you possibly can weeks before the exams.
Myth #2: You Will Score the Same Grades in Your Mock Exam as the Real One
I see students putting a ton of pressure on themselves, expecting to do as well on these mocks as on the actual exams. However, this is simply not the case for the vast majority of students. Many of you will score worse in the mocks, which makes perfect sense! Most mock exams are set to be identical to the actual exam, the only difference being that you have 3-4 months less preparation time. See these mocks for what they are: an opportunity to become familiar with the exam format and to identify your most significant weaknesses. You will fill in the gaps over the next few months (I recommend doing that with a tutor for the best results), so don’t worry if you score a few grades below your goal.
Myth #3: You Need to Write as Much as Possible
This is not so much a myth more than something so so many students keep doing. You probably have a lot on your mind and things you want to say, especially when writing an essay. The trick is to write less and not have your hand cramp. It’s better to set a reasonable amount of time aside to proofread. For better proofreading, you want to read your text backwards and use a pen to trace the words. For more proofreading tips, read here.
With these myths busted, you should be ready to go into your mocks more confidently! Remember that everything will be fine, regardless of the outcome, and keep your heads up high. Happy new year to all of you, and may the next IB semester go better for all of us!