Help! I didn’t do well in my mocks!
Most secondary-aged students will have received their mock results in recent weeks. Perhaps you did better than you expected, which is great! If that’s you, keep up the hard work. However, at this time of year many students find themselves very disappointed with at least some of their mocks results and confused about what to do next. Don’t panic! There is still time to ace the summer exams and here are a few pointers we can offer as to how to go about bouncing back and fulfilling your potential this summer.
Chat to your teachers
Step one is to be intentional about having conversations with your subject-specific teachers about why you did not get the desired grade. If necessary, ask to make an appointment with them to discuss this and sit down with them to take proper time over this discussion. As your teacher, they will know the mark schemes and course content and be able explain to you exactly why you did not get the desired grade. More importantly, you need to ask them to be specific about what you need to do differently and which areas you need to prioritize working on to get up to speed. This will help to guide you in the following steps of setting up revision plans and finding relevant resources to help you succeed.
Identify your learning style
One of the reasons you may have fallen short of your hoped-for mock grades might be that you don’t know your learning style and so you haven’t properly absorbed the necessary information. Different people learn in all sorts of different ways so now is a great time to experiment with that to make your future learning and revision maximally effective. Generally speaking, there are four different types of learning style: Visual, auditory, kinesthetic (hands-on approach) and read/write. You can experiment with mnemonics as well, which are very helpful for exam preparation as they are a great way to easily retain information. You can Google these yourself for more information, but an example might be if you use a rhyme to remember key information. Or, otherwise, you could condense it into a few letters and find a sentence that is easy for you to recall in order to help jog your memory.
As an example, let’s say you find it hard to remember the following Physics equation: S = D ÷ T. (speed = distance ÷ time). You could perhaps find a sentence that is easy to remember where the first letter relates to the equation such as “Silly Dads Tickle”. This will jog your memory to recall (speed = distance ÷ time). You can make these as random or as funny as you like, making them personal to you helps you to recall them better.
Create a revision plan
You now have a certain number of weeks to get up to speed before the real exams, so it’s wise to start now with drawing up a study/revision plan. Explore revision resources and ask for recommendations from your teachers or tutor. There’s lots out there and it’s a good idea to find one that is exam-board specific. You can do this with the help of a parent or tutor to find the ones that you find the most usable and effective. The key here is to get the big picture of where and how you need to improve. Then plan out your additional time to ensure that proper time is allocated to address each aspect of the course, so you are fully exam ready. If you don’t plan ahead now and get your revision resources and time planned out, you put yourself at risk of last-minute cramming and panic which doesn’t lend itself to great exam results!
Hire a tutor
Private tutors can be really helpful in guiding you through either subject-specific problems or wider study skills and revision plans. The advantage of hiring a private tutor is that you have allocated regular time to focus on the bits you find hard or confusing. You can also use some of the time with your tutor to experiment with different learning styles to make sure that, when you come to revise, you are well versed in both the subject, revision technique and the exam technique.
There are lots of reasons why students can fall short of hoped-for grades. One is general wellbeing so be sure to get to bed on time, limit screen time and eat well. Also be honest with your parent or carer about how you are really feeling about your results and pending exams. If you are struggling with anxiety, reach out for help – you can discuss this with a tutor, parent, carer or teacher and they will be able to signpost you to additional services to help you.
Past papers and study groups
As exams approach, past papers become absolutely vital in securing the best grades. This is because you need to work repeatedly on exam technique, such as how to prioritise and answer questions, how much time to allocate to each question and much more. It is also helpful to download and look over mark schemes, ideally with the help of a tutor who can help to explain these to you, as it can feel a bit daunting on your own. By doing this, you will get a much clearer idea of the specific targets you need to hit to secure your desired grades. It might also be that within your school there are study groups that pop up at this time of year, led by either teachers or students. Keep an eye out for these as some people find it much easer to study in pairs or groups and you can help each other out.
So, if you’ve not done brilliantly in your mocks, don’t panic! There is still time to plan ahead and ace your exams this summer. Chat to your teachers, explore learning styles and attend student groups. Also, consider hiring a private tutor to help you navigate this very important time of the academic year.
We are here to help and are just a phone call or a click away!