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I messed up my mocks… what do I do?

So, your mock results weren't quite what you were hoping for – here's how to turn things around.

Bad mock results can be disheartening, but there's still plenty of time to improve before exam season.

So how can you get your grades back on track? Let's take a look.

Firstly, don't panic

Mocks are a trial run before you take your exams, so don't worry if you underperformed – you should have enough time to realise where things went wrong.
I got DDB in my AS mocks last year and came out at the end of Year 12 with ABB. Careyboyle, Tsr Forum Member
Everybody messes up mocks. Just got a C and an E in my A2 mocks, but my teachers still agree I’m on track for my A*AA. Alexion, Tsr Forum Member

Even if you messed up your mocks, you can use your results to get your revision back on track – here are five steps to get you started. 

1. Don't dwell

You can't change how your mocks went, but the results you're not happy with could end up helping you.

If you find out where you went wrong and start working on it, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get the grades you're after. 

2. Don't ignore the problem

You don't want to spend too much time thinking about what went wrong, but it's important not to completely ignore it. You can learn from where you fell short – and use any disappointment as motivation to improve.

Maybe you need to tweak your study habits or how you split your attention across subjects – it could help to check out some revision tips and secrets from A* students. Just a few small changes might make all the difference when it comes to preparing for your exams.

3. Speak to your teachers

Your teachers will want to help you, so book in some time to speak with them about where you went wrong. They'll be able to point you in the right direction.

To get the most out of the time with your teacher, ask questions about the specific areas you're struggling with – and take up any offers for after-school revision classes or regular catch-ups for extra guidance.

4. Where did you go wrong exactly?

Before you can focus on improving, it's a good idea to take a look at what actually went wrong in your mocks. Below you'll find a few of the most common reasons for dropping marks in an exam – which one(s) can you relate to?
  • Time management: did you set aside enough time for different sections of the exam? If not, learn to keep an eye on the clock and target the sections where you can get the most marks.
  • Misreading the question: sometimes questions can be deceiving, so it's important to pay close attention – don't pick up your pen until you've read the question two or three times. Underline key words and prompts so they stand out. 
  • Not showing calculations: this is a common one in maths exams, where your final result isn't always what the examiner is looking at. If your method is sound, you can still pick up marks.
  • Not providing evidence: correct sourcing is important in subjects such as history or psychology, where there are lots of dates, names and case studies to remember – you need to back up everything you say with proof.

5. Your revision timetable

It's a good idea to give yourself enough time to cover every subject you need to revise in detail. A solid revision timetable can give you a manageable structure to follow – including extra time for past papers and any areas that need more attention.

Breaking down everything you need to study into chunks should make revision much less overwhelming.
Past papers, past papers, past papers! I wasn't happy with my mocks last year so I worked very hard from like Feb / March onwards to make sure I got the grades I wanted / needed. It worked and now I've got an offer from my favourite uni. It pays off, just make sure you work! Tvio, Tsr Forum Member
  • If you've got a question about revision, head over to The Student Room's study help forums.

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