Mocks, mocks glorious mocks!

by | Jan 20, 2020 | Exams, Front page posts, Parents | 0 comments

Don’t go thinking that mock exams should be left until the last minute. Mocks are a fantastic diagnostic tool and should be experienced as early as possible.

Ours are warm, reassuring events where we avoid end-of-the-curriculum content that they are yet to cover. Children come out of them buzzing with confidence, properly familiar with the layout and form of the real thing – and fully aware of their strengths.

Oh and we also follow them up with direct support to tackle any of their weaknesses (targeted notes, specific resources, and even a free corrections session in a small group). The earlier they start, the more time we have to tackle any issues that come up.

And the main point of mock exams is that they don’t matter. Children can come along and make all their mistakes right now, to be absolutely sure to get them out of the way before September. Turning over two pages at once, filling in the multi-choice boxes incorrectly, mis-timing a loo break, forgetting how to do coding – any of that can be done safely and without judgement.

The Kent Test is an unusually fast-paced exam and has to be approached with a strong strategy in place (for every element of every paper) if a child is to achieve their best score on the day. Children are taught this strategic approach in our classes, but there is nothing like trying it out for real. It’s so funny how they choose to ignore good advice at first and then cave when they realise that it actually makes a difference. My own son was a classic for this…

And although it all looks terribly formal, we have a light-hearted approach to the day, there are plenty of smiles, quiet morale-boosting chats for the nervous, and a general sharing of fears between a whole bunch of kids who are going through this process together.

The papers themselves have so much thought and energy behind them, parents are properly wowed by how essential they turn out to be. Ours were individually commissioned, from experts in their fields, to directly reflect the content and timings of the Kent Test. Once the details were ironed out, I used a professional graphic designer style them up to look like the real thing. They are now spookily real!

There is one simple difference between the real papers and our mock papers. The mocks we run before May half term only test content that we have already covered in our lessons. There is no point testing a child on algebra if they haven’t covered it yet. The timings, content and level of difficulty still match up, but we play fair!

Feedback includes your child’s raw score for each paper and an age-adjusted aggregate score. Our adjustment formula was created by a highly-respected statistician (who has years of experience working with Kent Test scores) to mirror the scoring of the real thing.

But we believe the best exam tutoring requires genuine attention to detail.

You need to know much more than just the raw mark on each paper. Our teachers record details about the children as they work – noting down those who struggle to focus, those who use a tick instead of a dash in the answer boxes, those who spend too long on an element of a paper. In addition to this, the Maths, English and Reasoning scores are broken into individual topics and subtopics – so that we can easily focus on specific gaps afterwards.

The information we send back to you is detailed but easy to make sense of. When it arrives in your inbox later that day we don’t want you to worry. So we give an overview of how to explain the score breakdown to your child, to avoid any anxiety. And we have set up a whole secret feedback page of troubleshooting advice and resources on our website – to give you all the extra support you need. Oh and there’s a free corrections session – one hour long in a small group – that your child is welcome to attend a day or so after the event.

Here’s the booking link. What are you waiting for?