Advice from a teacher: How can I help my child if they fail their mock exams? (2023)

Advice from a teacher: How can I help my child if they fail their mock exams? (1)


  1. Analyze the exam papers
  2. Find resources
  3. Commit to getting the job done
  4. Sharpen examination technique
  5. Review and rate progress

mock examsare essentially where students mimic the real exam as closely as possible. They're a really important step in exam preparation where teachers can use this important data to fill in knowledge gaps and assess student progress. So what happens if you fail mocks? If your child's grades aren't what you hoped, don't worry, we'll tell you what to do next.

Failing mocks or not getting desired grades can leave students feeling devastated, especially if they plan in solid review time beforehand. However, mock exam results are not indicative of their final grade if they are willing to learn from what went wrong.

The hard work starts now. It's time your child put in a new learning plan, lots of time and dedication, and a clever strategy to turn things around.

This is our practical advice from a teacher, so let's walk through the steps.

1. Analyze the exam papers

Failure is a big word. When we fail, it can feel like the world around us has frozen, like we're not making progress or improving. In our formative years, such as adolescence, it is all the more important to both experience failure and learn how to bounce back and try again.

For many students, failure in their mockery is the first time they have ever experienced real failure. Especially after early school success, GCSE mock exams are the first big foretaste of what a real, national exam could look like.

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The first thing you need to do is create a clear game plan, starting with the exam papers themselves. Students will need a copy of the paper they have taken to review alone, with their tutor or teacher. If they cannot take it home, they should ask their subject teacher to copy it.

This is a key document for finding the most important gaps in their learning.

Don't forget that teachers often provide feedback to their classes after exams, but not everything they share applies to every child. They need to make sure they get even more personalized, targeted feedback and a copy of the grading scheme so they can compare their work too.

Then,encourage hergo through the paper and identify 3-5 sections or questions that are easiest and simplest to master so no silly notes get lost before moving on to the more challenging parts.

Get them to use textbooks, practice books, and knowledge organizers to rewrite perfect answers to these failed questions. Chances are, after the first read, you will notice many avoidable mistakes!

Having a copy of some sample answers which are plentiful in the GCSE Examination Revision Guides and can be downloaded free of charge from Examination Boards websiteslike AQA or Edexcelare essential to show students exactly what the examination board is looking for.

After following the next few tips, and after some more structured preparation time, it's a very good idea to have your child take the exact same exam paper again, see how they've improved, and try again.

2. Find resources

After getting over their failing grade, analyzing their exam paper, and orienting themselves to the right resources, it's time for your child to consider whether their core knowledge is strong enough and whether it affected their performance during the mock or not not.

Depending on the subject, it is time to do a knowledge test by noting down all the key knowledge required in each subject and section of the exam. Algebraic Equations? A list of reasons why a particular period of history was so impactful? Poetry quotes and methods for learning English?

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Whatever it is, knowing more ensures your child can do more with it, for longer, by incorporating it into their long-term memory. Don't forget to read all our adviceknowledge recall.

There are ample resources to fill the gaps in knowledge and learning, particularly at GCSE, which have proven themselves over and over again. Hold:

  • Revisionsvideos
  • Examination Revision Guide
  • Free summary websites
  • School resources such as lesson slides
  • Study groups and joint notes

Essentially, after the mocks, it may be time for students to relearn and memorize the knowledge again before returning to fast repetition methods.

Was it learned correctly the first time? Was it really understood? If the answer is no, answering questions in exam conditions will feel all the more difficult, and effective repetition will not be as effective.

3. Commit to getting the job done

If we talk about fall mocks for GCSEs and A-levels, there are still about six months until the final exams. That can feel like a really long stretch for a young person who is feeling panicked and ill-prepared!

It is important to be SMART.SMART goalsare specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This strategy involves being strict and realistic with your child about the goals they set.

Weak goals include goals like "get better at science" or "repeat geography every day" because they encourage vagueness and failure. We know again and again that this does not work and that the students are worse off as a result.

Here is an elaborated SMART goal that would be useful for a GCSE student:

S - I would like to better understand the purpose of my modern English literature novel to strengthen my AO1 analysis

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M - In my next practice paper, I will advance from level 2 to level 4 in my AO1 assessment objective and my score will improve by at least five

A - I will do this by reading two excellent textbooks, asking my tutor or teacher to give me feedback on a new essay, and watching a revision video of my modern novel

R - Doing this now allows me to reinforce my writing skills and then focus on learning citations later in the year, which is easier and easier

T - I will need the next month to get better at this and then I will review my mock essay on English literature to record my improvement

This SMART strategy can be replicated for each subject. Then it is important to stay focused and accountable.

Ask your child to write them down and put them up somewhere visibleyou can check inand watch them tick off their goals and goals. Every grade counts!

4. Sharpen examination technique

Blaming the exam boards for high standards, the exam for being too difficult, the examiners for being too strict, or your child for being a poor student are quick and easy ways to shift the blame during exam season.

Exams are tough, and it's about getting the exam technique right and not just hoping for a lucky, easy question. Unfortunately, due to the stringent admissions requirements for secondary and higher education (sixth grade schools and universities), examinations are required by institutions to assess student suitability for admission.

NeurodiversKids can have a particularly hard time with exams, so mocks are all the more important.

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They offer a very real practice of what the actual exam will be like. And many students can getMitigating circumstancesto sit them, like extra time, a reader or a separate room.

Testing technique includes a whole range of areas that need to be mastered:

  • Brief repetition in the days before the exam (no cramming!)
  • Set exam dates correctly
  • Write clearly and neatly to avoid prejudice
  • Physical preparation such as proper sleep andhealthy, nourishing food
  • Mental rest during the day

Was the failure due to small mistakes or something bigger? Has any key knowledge been forgotten? Does it have to do with recall and memory? This means that the revision has to start much earlier in order to incorporate facts, ideas and knowledge into their worklong-term memory.

Equally important is changing the way (the how) as well as what they revise, and a multi-sensory approach to learning can really help. The transition from simply creating review cards to frequent, short, well-defined practice questions at regular intervals (tagged and with feedback) can be much more fruitful.

Mark schemas are crucial. They outline what makes a "simple" and what makes a "reasonable" answer, and sometimes it's the difference between a few points and many more! Most examination boards provide numerous sample answers that students will eventually have to recreate.

These focused areas are difficult to work on in larger classes, so intervention is one of the most important keys to success. A tutor can be the ideal solution if your child has had disappointing results on their mocks. Crucially, a tutor can devote 100% of their time to a student in each and every lesson.

Have you thought about booking one of ours?free trial lessonsto be able to find one of our brilliant and exam-professional tutors for your child? Our tutors can help your child get back on track.

5. Review and rate progress

Post mock failure is just the beginning of the marathon. Now is the timetake control of the situation, make a clear plan and stick to it!

You will be a key person in your child's learning journey, taking responsibility and providing a positive, helping hand. Work with your child, their teacher or tutor and their school to face the next exams with a better attitude.

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During the next phase of repetition, your child will experience moments of real deflation, lack of positivity, an overwhelming sense of the need to procrastinate and want to give up. They will continue to want to compare themselves to their peers who may be on a very different path. don't let her!

Keep reminding them of their SMART goals, their study plan, their success so far, and the rewards afterwards, be it the great grades, college admission, or college admissiona gift like a family vacationor no school.

Now is the time to take control and change your mindset about exams for years to come!


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