Before a discussion on why mock papers are important – let’s start with a few questions of three imaginary types of students, one an ideal, the kid every parent wishes their children were. The second who is closer to what students are and the third, the epitome of cool, well…
What kind of student have you been these last few months?
Diligent – You’re up to date with school work, you have completed your homework and know your subjects well. Completely ready.
Sort-of diligent – I have to brush up a bit, made a time-table. If I had to give my paper tomorrow, I wouldn’t be ready but I will be when the exams arrive.
Ho-hum, had some fun – There’s a battery called Eveready, then there’s me, Neveready.
How’s your written practice been?
Diligent – I know everything verbally, writing is a serious waste of time
Sort-of diligent – I guess I’ll do it, if there is time
Ho-hum, had some fun – You mean, with a pen?
How would you rate your conceptual clarity?
Diligent – easily 7 to 9 and that’s only because 10 would make me appear like a show-off
Sort-of diligent – 5 to 7, it varies though, depends on how much I like my teacher or the subject
Ho-hum, had some fun – umm, let’s start at the meaning of concept, shall we?
How to get down to actually practicing?
Many students balk at the idea of practising with mock papers. Yes, it is time-consuming, involves writing and eats into time for other things.
A good way to look at practise is by observing the best. Have you watched the kabaddi matches? The kabaddi player has to have the ability to hold the breath while entering the opponent’s arena. The reflexes have to be strong to get someone out, wrestling skills must be good enough to get away from being grappled to the ground and most of all, the ability to run when the odds are against them.
They follow a rigorous training regimen, follow a strict diet and must be mentally fit to face up to loss and win. How much rigour can a person undertake? There are times when the player gets bored. In that case, the coach changes the schedule, gives some slack time. The food can get boring, the dietician plans for cheat days. Yet the training continues.
Did you know that in competitive sports, there is a person to keep the motivation up? What we need to understand is that we human being wants to rest after doing some work, some routine change, some entertainment and rest. The coach assigned to the players knows to take all of these requirements in their stride while still working to a goal. Yet, practise is paramount. That is the only way ahead.
The same applies to students, yes, there is a lot to do. The only way to weed out the possibility of poor output is by way of practising.
Lack of practise leads to the following outcomes
Even if you know a subject, when it comes to writing the answer, a few things may happen:
· Concept confusion – getting different concepts muddled, realising that your understanding was incomplete. If you haven’t had time to revise, and realise that you are muddled during the exam, you run the risk of getting anxious about all aspects of the subject
· Untidy handwriting, too much scratching – too many mistakes for lack of practice, mock papers force you to see how your answers look once you have finished. Are you able to read your own handwriting to check your paper?
· Poor flow of thought – this has everything to do with remembering points as they arrive in your head and not in the sequence that you would like
· Long answers – sometimes, we know a lot about something but haven’t worked on wording it well
· Insufficient time – practising mock papers allows you to prepare with a clear time allotment for different sections
· New types of questions – The exam papers will not always have questions that have been practised in class. That means, you have to formulate the answer in a short time frame and under some stress.
Even if you have been diligent and on top of the class, practising with mock papers helps you to face the exams with confidence.
Face exams with confidence
Practise writing, check your answers, refine and shorten them so that the quality of answers is superior. Also, since you already have a habit of trying to make better answers, you are better skilled in the art of clarity and brevity. Both of these are learned skills, perfected through practice.
For the not-so-diligent student, you can up your performance through practise. Think about it, you are sacrificing so much time, putting so much effort and even if it feels a little last minute, you may as well aim to do well. Otherwise you would have lost that free time for no good reason. What if you look at practise as a task to be taken alongside your studies, as a means to cement all that you have done. Maybe at the end of the week, you can put aside maybe half a day for practising with mock papers. If you don’t have much time to revise and write a mock paper. Can you read through one? Can you verbally try solving it and checking for the areas that need a brush up? Mock papers are a great way to make the experience of examinations a stress-free time.
The ho-hum student, just start your work now. A good way to use mock papers is to try the verbal route. If you are able to practice with writing in the time available that will certainly help.
Letspractise.com provides a test paper series to help you practice before exams. Customized to your requirements. CBSE/ICSE/State/IGCSE, Grades 1-10, all subjects.
Just do whatever it takes to study. If you start feeling stressed, calm down and work.
- Contributed by Shobna Iyer