Many of you will know how these work and, whether you love them or hate them, they are an invaluable tool in the journey to exams for students across the spectrum.
We used them last year in the run up to exam prep in English, and students reported an increased confidence level and, in some exams, performed very highly because they were used to the format and had been “drilled” in the process.
For anyone who doesn’t know how these work, they generally follow these rules:
- Students sit in the same exam room where they will do their exam, preferably in the same seats
- Students are given an exam paper which is as close to being like the real thing as possible (i.e. exam writing booklet if relevant)
- Students are literally walked through every question on the paper – the person leading the session talks them through the smallest steps, such as underlining key words, how to plan, things to remember etc.
- Students then write their responses in timed conditions
Really effective elements to include are:
- Visual stimuli such as memorable images and colour coding (we use the same images in all of our WT mocks and this, in theory, helps students to recall information more easily)
- Audio stimuli such as theme tunes and sound effects for different questions or parts of the paper
- Posters and reminders in specific locations around the exam hall so that, even when they are not there in the real exam, students can look at the room itself to remind them of what was there before (e.g. they might remember in the REAL exam, that last week there was a red poster to the left of the exam clock which reminded them to check spellings of key words)
This is a very brief overview, and there are many very excellent write ups out there about the theory behind WT mocks and memory training. One good example is here.
I’ve just completed one to use TODAY with our Y11 cohort who are sitting the iGCSE English Extended paper 2 on 3rd May. Please feel free to use/abuse/adapt/discard if it’s useful!