The five steps of taking mocks seriously for success

Studying student
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog & Fiona Winter, Former CA Education Director

20 May 2019

Mock exams and progress tests are a key indicator of how well you understand and can communicate the material in your course. Ahead of the real exam, make sure you are using these opportunities to achieve your full potential.

We know that you're working to the end-game of your final exam, and that mocks can feel like a distraction from your well-prepared study plan. However, the mocks are there for good reason and evidence tells us that you can learn a lot from these.

Not only will they force you to get your technical studying up to date, they allow you to try out your exam technique and to experience an invigilated situation under real-time pressure. Hopefully, this should not only improve your technique but allow you to be a little less stressed by the exam environment.

1. Study like it's a real exam

Your mocks will be an opportunity to test yourself on the knowledge and skills you have gathered over the length of your course to date. It will help inform your future study plan and act as a general dry run for your final exams.

As such, you want to make sure that you're painting an accurate picture of where you stand with the material and not underselling your expertise by failing to properly prepare.

2. Pay attention to time constraints

Bear in mind that this is a simulation of your actual exam conditions, time limits included. Exams results can often reflect your ability to cope under pressure, as much as your skills with the subject, and this is the perfect opportunity to gauge how you respond.

Keep an eye on the time and go in with a plan. At TPS the recommended approach is to allow 2.5 minutes per mark. At TPE, you will be considering where to best spend your time to prioritise what the client needs.

3. Keep the exam paper

If you're doing a written mock you will be able to take away the exam paper and will be provided with the solution. As well as using this to review your approach (see point 4!) you can keep this paper for your revision phase for additional practice.

There is no harm in attempting a question again to see how you've improved. Even if you've seen the question before you would be surprised how unfamiliar it can feel a few weeks later!

4. Review your results

The marks you receive for your mock exams, and the comments added to your script by the tutors, will highlight the areas you need to work on before the real thing. Return to your notes and course materials and rewrite the responses that you can improve on. This helps you to focus on how you should have approached the question rather than spending time considering what you didn't do.

At TPE you will have the chance to meet with your mock marker to ask them about your script and receive feedback on areas for improvement.

5. Speak to your tutors

After you've had a chance to look over your script and the answer, there may be some areas where you feel you need extra help - either in relation to technical content or approach. Make sure you liaise with your tutors on how these questions should be addressed and what key points you may have missed.


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