Jan 24

Your Options If Your GCSE Mocks Aren’t What You Hoped For

GCSE mock exams are an important marker for how much progress you’ve made in your course and determine your grade predictions. While they may not be the first exam environment you’ve been in, the added pressure to do well is there – and so many don’t get the results they’d hoped for.

It can be shocking and upsetting to miss your targets – but don’t worry. The good news is that mocks are practice for the real thing, so if you’ve had some results you weren’t expecting there’s plenty of time to steer the course in a new direction.

Let’s take a look at the different ways you can work on improving your grades and confidence for your GCSE exams.

Create a study plan

If you’re lacking organisational skills ahead of your exams, putting a study plan in place can help you see how much time you spend on each subject. You might want to put the ones you struggled the most with down for more time than others.

Try planning out hourly blocks for studying with breaks in between. You could lay the schedule out a week or month in advance if you want to be extra prepared. Buying a nice planner might motivate you, too.

Review the materials

If you’d looked over your notes before the mock exams, you might be confused about your grade. One question to ask yourself is: did you really take the information in? It’s one thing to read notes, but another matter altogether to make sure the material is going in.

If you’ve taken digital notes, writing them out by hand may help improve your recall. Reviewing them regularly rather than just before an exam is a sure-fire technique to help the information stick as well.

Try a different way of learning

Nobody learns in the same way: some are auditory learners, others visual. Try some new learning styles that compliment how you like to learn. Using flashcards, writing a quiz for yourself or asking questions to a teacher or tutor are all excellent methods of learning you might not have tried before.

If you want to take it a step further, learning a subject and then presenting or teaching it to another person is a great way to see if you’ve grasped the topic at hand.

Hire a tutor

If you’re struggling in one particular subject, or just want to feel extra prepared for an exam, you may benefit from having a tutor help you learn the topic. Your tutor will work with you to set targets, achievements, and help you improve on any weaknesses.

Our specialist tutors can offer one-on-one or remote learning to suit your needs. With over 50 years of experience, we can help you get the results you’re aiming for.

Do a mental health MOT

If you had high expectations of yourself for your mock GCSEs, falling short can bring on feelings of depression and anxiety. The best thing to do is put the results behind you and focus on the future, which is in your control.

It’s vital to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and managing any other stressors in your life. Take regular breaks and develop some mental health rituals, like meditation and yoga, to stay in balance.

Talk to your teachers

Your teachers are fountains of knowledge and support when it comes to GCSE exams – yes, even the scary ones! Don’t be afraid to knock on their door during lunchtime or after school and ask for their advice.

You may want to think in advance about what you’d like to discuss with them. Being open about any struggles you’re facing gives your teacher a good starting point on how best to help you.

Try some other mock exams

Past papers: the bane of any student preparing for their GCSEs, but often the most effective way of preparing for the exams. Past papers help to prepare you with time management skills, strengthen your grasp of the subject, and give you confidence when it’s time for the real thing.

To get the most out of doing past papers, try to emulate an exam-like environment at home or at school like reducing noise and distractions.

Look online

The internet has a wide array of resources available to you for GCSE exam preparation. These could include video tutorials, specialist website guides, apps, and practice questions for you to answer.

These resources are often fun and targeted at teens, so you may prefer this style of learning over a traditional classroom approach. Just make sure to stay on task – the internet is full of distractions!

Find a mentor

If you’re struggling with feelings of self-confidence and motivation after your mock GCSEs, you could try turning to an older sibling or friend for their advice. Someone a couple of years older has the experience of going through exams, but they’re far enough away from it to offer helpful guidance.

Before you ask, remember this person will be investing their time and energy in your development – so it’s worth coming prepared to each session, asking questions, and acting on their advice.

Join a study group

A group learning setting might be beneficial for your exam preparation. Talking through difficult topics with your peers is a good way of understanding a subject quickly. You could also mark one another’s work and keep one another on task to get the most out of each meeting.

Offer to take turns in leading sessions, so it’s not tempting to put in less effort. Be sure to choose your study mates wisely, as you may end up more distracted than studious during each session.

Final thoughts

Remember: not getting good grades in your mock GCSEs isn’t the end of the world. The steps outlined above are plenty of different ways to turn your fortunes around and stay positive.

Want an expert to guide you through the GCSE journey? Our GCSE tutors are fully equipped to help with every subject so you can better your future and gain confidence.