Stressed by GCSE Mock Results? 09/01/2020

Year 11 is always a stressful year for many students. The thoughts of sitting exams this year, having recently undertaken mock exams and school parent evenings can all seem too much. For some, mock exams will have provided reassurance that they are on track to achieve their target exams grades. Many others, however, will feel disappointed or, even worse, be in a state of shock and stressed.

It might not feel like it now but a lot of students experience the same trauma when they get their mock results but it doesn’t stop them from achieving their GCSE and career goals, although not without some work first!

As a teenager, many year 11’s do not wish to discuss this with parents/guardians or even teachers and may feel confused about what went wrong or what they need to do to improve their grades; for those who do – great - but for those who don’t, we have set out below some tips about what to do next.

1. Breathe

Don’t panic! The whole idea of mock exams is to let you see where you are at now and then calmly plan a routine to improve your results in time for the real thing.

2. Learn from your mock results

Don’t pretend your mocks didn’t happen or make excuses for the results you got – take it as a sign that you need to change something. Thinking of starting to work harder or study is worse than actually doing it once you get going!

3. Get organised now

Your mocks may have been disappointing but there is still time so commit yourself to focus on what’s ahead and start making changes today. Even small steps make a big difference.

4. Sort out your homework and revision timetable

It may be that your study habits never really got off the ground or how you split your attention across subjects. Maybe you had such a heavy loaded plan that you realistically could not stick to it so avoided it instead! If you do nothing different, you face the risk of getting similar results in your GCSEs. What works best for you…studying no more than 2 different subjects a night or a shorter time spent on more subjects each evening? Think, Try, Change to the most productive for you. If it’s not working change it and try a new one. Don’t ignore it.

The most important thing is to break down what you need to study into Bite Sized Chunks so it doesn’t feel too stressful to start each day.

5. Read the feedback/speak to your teachers

You may have had feedback during parents evening but it really is worth finding out where you went wrong (it just takes a few minutes and will help you decide what to focus on).

6. It is the last year of High School. Do you really need to get out the door at the end of the day as soon the final class ends even if it means the difference between GCSE grades?

Take up offers of extra support or after-school revision classes or catch-up sessions. You will be glad you did after you get your GCSE results.

7. Where did you go wrong exactly?

Bad mock results are due to not scoring high enough marks. The most common reasons for poor mock exam results are:

  • Time management: work smart; did you set aside enough time for different sections of the exam (particularly those worth the most marks)? If not, learn to keep an eye on the clock and identify the sections worth the most marks.
  • Misreading the question: this is a common problem, particularly in time pressured exams. Don’t be tempted to start writing immediately; make sure you’ve read the question two or three times and not too quickly - highlight key words so they stand out. Just don’t write about a word in the question that triggers information answer what the question is actually asking.
  • Not showing calculations: a common one in maths and science exams especially, where your final result isn’t always what the examiner is looking at. If your method is sound, you can still pick up marks!
  • Not providing evidence: correct sourcing is important in subjects like history or psychology where there are lots of dates, names and case studies to remember. Making your case/argument isn’t enough; you have to show evidence to back up everything you say.

8. Past papers

Doing past papers are one of the most useful resources you have – utilise them.

9. Sleep well, Eat Well, Exercise

It’s important to keep your health up throughout this time. Forget, or at least cut down on, Netflix, Sky, PS4/X-box and social media just for the sake of a couple of months and try and take regular exercise to keep stress and overload at bay!

So where does Stanmore College fit in all of this?

We want you do well and not feel stressed about your future; there are many great opportunities for you to embrace after your GCSEs. If you are concerned about them, why not take the stress out of what happens after your GCSEs by attending an open event on one of your breaks from study (our next one is on Thursday 6th February from 4.00pm to 7.30pm) or simply apply online via to keep your options open.