The value of mock examinations | Portsmouth High School

The value of mock examinations

It is good news for those about to sit mock examinations after Christmas because according to a headline in the Guardian newspaper last week mocks are great for students’ brains. According to the article mocks motivate students to start revision early as they create an earlier deadline than the summer and as most students are procrastinators this focuses their attention earlier.

Furthermore it enables students to practise examination techniques although I would like to think that most of our pupils have already perfected what works for them long before mocks.

It is not surprising that mocks improve knowledge and ability to recall information and studies have shown that practice tests after a period of revision beneficial. Practising under examination conditions is important too so that an examinee, for example, has a good idea of how long questions take to answer.

However, the most important aspect of mocks is that they inform pupils which topics they need to revise in more depth. I am forever saying that mocks examinations tell students what they don’t know as much as what they do know.

It is without doubt that mocks do help candidates prepare for the real thing. However, they do need to be kept into perspective and those preparing for summer public examinations need to pace themselves this holiday. Our pupils are very busy and they need a rest too which is not necessarily time to lie in of a morning but to have a chance to do something they find relaxing.

By the time you read this our carol service will be over and Christmas lunch eaten and hopefully I will have managed to remember my very few lines in the staff nativity and the girls will have enjoyed the afternoon entertainment. This is in part what makes PHS so special – our sense of tradition and fun.

Happy Christmas to all our families and pupils and I do hope you have a relaxing festive season and that pupils return in January refreshed and ready for another busy term.