It’s nearly time for the mock Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations. There is plenty of advice out there about exam techniques and tricks. Your teachers have probably devoted whole classes to the best ways to revise and study.
In many ways, the February mocks are a dress rehearsal for June. They provide a chance to get used to the atmosphere of a state examination before the real event. They let you practice your timings for questions. The mocks are also a way to see where you are in each subject and then make changes to improve your revision.
Here are just a few tips for the mock exams.
Before the exam
* It is crucial to be familiar with your timetable. Print a copy and hang in on your bedroom wall. This also lets you cross each exam off once you’ve finished and that is very satisfying.
* Know what time the exam is due to start. You should also double-check the location of your exam centre. It’s a good idea to aim to arrive a few minutes early to have time to settle your nerves before the exam starts.
* And speaking of being early, think about your route to school. When do you need to leave to make sure you’re there with time to spare? Do you need to catch an earlier bus or train?
* Go to bed a little earlier. Maybe switch your phone off so your sleep isn’t disturbed by social media updates.
* Make sure you’ve everything you’ll need for the exam. This includes pens, pencils, calculators and water.
During the exam
* Read through the entire paper before you attempt to answer. This is the one piece of exam advice that has always stayed with me. It’s particularly relevant for the mocks since the questions may cover topics of the course you haven’t covered yet in class.
* Make a note of what questions you may want to attempt. Underline key words and phrases. If you’re not sure of an answer, try another question and come back to it later.
* Be aware of your timings. It’s a good idea to leave yourself a few minutes to go over your answers. This is when you might spot mistakes. It also lets you add more details to an answer. Check that you’ve completely filled in the front of the answer booklet.
After the exam
* It’s very hard to resist the temptation of a post exam analysis with friends and family. I know I’ve often worried when I heard how someone else answered a question. At this stage, you’ve done the best you can.
* If you’ve another exam later that day, take a short break before any further revision.
* Once you’ve completed the mocks, do something fun and take a break from study.
* Ask your teacher for any specific feedback when you get your results. If you don’t do as well as you’d hoped, they can offer guidance about what to do for the June exams.
* And finally, best of luck!