What Do Prelim/Mock Results Mean?
Exams and exam results seem like a never-ending roller coaster for students, especially as they approach the final years of education. It barely seems a day since you were worried about the high school they were attending, and now Nationals or Highers are on the horizon. But before the actual day arrives there is the small matter of prelims to get through, and the results to try and get to grips with.
Depending on your child’s school Prelims/Mocks might have been held under full exam conditions, with a week or two given over to sitting exam after exam, or they might have been held in their usual classroom in class time. However, they were sat it is important to take note of the results.
At this stage exams are not that far off, May will be here sooner than most students think. In many ways, these are the last chance for students to make the changes that are needed before the actual exam day arrives. Students report that one-third of the time that should be spent doing activities is infact spent procrastinating.
There are several vital things you need to do with the information that your child can get from their mocks. But the first and most important thing is to ensure they take ownership of those results. It is all too easy for them to blame their teachers, a single bad day, distracting classmates, or a host of other reasons. Now if there is a single bad result in the collection then look for reasons outside of their control, but if they’re all in a range it is important to allow them to take ownership of both these results and future results.
The Overall Results.
The actual grade they get is not the final result, there is still a chance to improve that grade. At the same time, it’s important to be realistic. If their grades are lower than expected across the board, then talk to their teachers. Did they predict higher grades and exam techniques or nerves let them down? Or are these results in line with what their teacher thought? Sit down with your child and make a realistic plan. Focus on their core subjects, how far off the grades they need were they? Where do they feel they need help? Is it an individual module, or do they need help across the board?
If one or two subjects are poor then possibly they are struggling with those individual aspects. Are these poor results in subjects they might think are irrelevant? If these are core subjects then they will need to focus on them, or have they lost the thread of the subject along the way?
Students who have received good grades may be tempted to sit back, or they may be the sort that will put extra pressure on themselves. Importantly students with good grades often need as much help as students with poor grades. Tuition in areas where they are more likely to put extra stress on themselves, or areas where they are weaker, will help ensure that they’re under less pressure once they are sitting in the exam room.
When mocks start there may be whole topics that the school has not yet covered, this is the nature of the school year. However, there might also be individual areas that the students are struggling with. Consider tuition or revision courses to fill in these gaps.
What can be done?
Focus on the core topics firstly. Consider specialist tuition or booster days in these areas. Colleges, universities, and employers are looking for Maths, English, and Science grades. These prove the candidates are capable of learning, and so will cope with the course or role that they are applying for.
Whilst the grades can be increased, don’t put too much pressure to massively increase the grades across the board. An increase of 20% across all subjects is a good goal for any student. Whilst this may not lift all their subjects as much as they would like it forms a realistic target.
Above all else good or bad these are just exam results, and not even the final exam results. Support them where you can and help them take ownership of their learning for the future.