It’s tempting to mope and sulk about how the mocks went. However, some might be thinking: “how do I learn from my mocks?”
Well, that’s a good question to ask! Mocks do serve a real purpose beyond inducing PMSD (post-mock stress disorder). You have a unique opportunity for growth in addition to having neologism as a condition—there’s a good word for your next English paper. Let’s discuss how you can get the most out of your mocks.
My mocks went a lot worse than I wanted them to
Many students have their expectations managed by the mocks. Honestly, it sometimes feels like they are out for blood. If you are afraid that your mock grades have slashed your dreams: don’t despair. You still have a few months to bolster your defences for the actual exams, and now you know where the bulwark is weakest.
You should also remember that exams do not measure how smart you are, just how effective your revision strategy was. Goodhart’s Law states, “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure,” so don’t let it get to your ego too much if it didn’t go well.
Reviewing my mock exam-taking skills
What was sitting the mock exams like? I’m not talking about how hard the questions were. Instead, I want you to focus on what sitting in the exam room was like. Was it hard to concentrate due to nerves? Maybe you blanked out once or twice. Or did you mayhaps forget to bring water and deeply regret it?
If you found yourself under extreme pressure to a point where you felt it affected your cognitive abilities, you should look into that. I wrote a whole blog post about dealing with exam stress, which would be a good read for you.
Learning from the hard questions
Hopefully, you have already gotten or will soon receive your mock grades and the exam papers with the teacher’s feedback. If your teacher only gave you your grade, you should also ask them for the papers.
Put one of the papers in front of you (maybe not the one that went the worst to preserve your self-esteem) and get ready to perform the autopsy. Identify the cause of death; what was the primary reason the paper did not get a higher grade than it did?
Write out the top five things you should have done differently in the exam. If you want to be more thorough, increase the sample size and dig out some past papers from the same subject you did last year. Are there any recurring patterns in what you are doing wrong? Or is it simply a matter of revising the syllabus more? Try to locate where exactly in the syllabus you should be directing your attention. Use this information to be deliberate in your future revision.
While doing all of these things I recommended here is undoubtedly helpful (it is also what I did for my mocks), the best way to prepare yourself for the exams is by getting in touch with one of our tutors. They were all subject to the same terror as you and came out on the other side as decorated IB graduates ready to help you. Be linked with someone as soon as today, and let them help you crush the May exams!