Letters from the dorm: Mock exams might not count on your report card, but they count in life

Letters from the dorm: Mock exams might not count on your report card, but they count in life

Since the beginning of this term, I haven't stopped worrying about one thing - mock GCSE (the British equivalent of the DSE) exams, or simply "mocks". They are upon us in less than a week, and I feel so unprepared.

I've always found mocks to be very strange exams. On the one hand, mocks are said to "predict" your real GCSE results, so it is important to work your absolute hardest to show your full potential. Making good revision notes for mocks also reduces your stress when preparing for the real exams, or at least in theory.

On the other, mocks are insignificant compared to other end-of-year exams, because the results will never appear on your report card or any other official document. Back in my Hong Kong local school, that's all that ever mattered.

My history teacher tried to calm down our class of exasperated 16-year-olds by saying that "mocks are just there to show which areas need more revision when it comes to the real exam, don't worry about it". To calm my nerves, I readily embraced this view.

Unfortunately, my parents, being 100 per cent purebred tiger parents, don't see these as "mock" exams at all. WhatsApp messages have already started flooding in, reminding me to study, study, and study. Our hour-long Skype chats have turned into oral revision checklists. It dawned on me that doing well in mocks would not only give me peace of mind, but also perhaps peace of ears.

So after accepting that it is essential for me to perform well in mocks, I quickly returned my focus to revision. I made a list of all the topics in the 12 subjects I had to study for. To my absolute horror, this document itself was twice as long as my average English essay.

Despite making tonnes of revision notes day after day, the checks on my list are only being added at a snail's pace. Suddenly, two years' worth of information looks more like the entire work from my 10 years of school life.

After three weeks of solid note-writing, I am finally halfway down the revision list. I have realised that I desperately need to speed up because mocks are looming just a few days away. I had better wrap this up and return to my revision.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Mock exams have their merit


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