When you’re almost through with the IB curriculum and feeling a little bit of a relief after finishing the IAs and EE, Mock Exams come in your way. IB Mock Exams are mandatory exams intended to prepare IB students for the final exams. It’s common to have Mock Exams a few months before the final exams, for example Mock Exams for May exams would be in February, and for November exams would be in September. But the specific dates and what papers are covered is up to school.
1. Why do we have to take IB Mock Exams seriously?
It’s totally understandable that you feel stressed about Mock Exams, but you might want to consider the following.
1.1 University Application
If you are applying to universities that require IB predicted scores, you should know that scores you get on Mock Exams account for most of your predicted scores. It doesn’t matter if you did good on IA or wrote perfect personal statements. The university admissions office will look at your predicted scores and make decisions. So unless you don’t need predicted scores for your application, Mock Exams should be your top priority.
1.2 Know Your Strengths/Weaknesses
While it feels like you’re taking final exams twice, Mock Exams might give you advantages for the final exams. Mock Exams are the same as the final exams in terms of format, exam time, rules, and location. The only thing different is the content. So it’s a good opportunity to practice your knowledge and experience from your class and to get to know your strengths and weaknesses. Your teachers will probably give you back your papers with answers after grading, so you’ll know which topics or what types of questions you’re good at answering and what you still need practice. By understanding your current situation, you can use your time more wisely to review the topics and prepare for the final exams.
1.3 Set Routines Before/Between the Exams
It’s not just your knowledge, but what you do before or between the exams can also make a big difference to your condition during the exam. If you’re more comfortable with having a normal light breakfast, you can do so in the morning of your exam day. Or if you’re worried about being disturbed by hunger in the middle of your long exam, it’s a good chance to try a different menu for your breakfast or lunch during Mock Exams. It’s all about preparing the best condition for your performance in the exam. So try to find whatever makes you feel comfortable or confident and test it at the Mock Exams. You’ll find the best routine for the final exam.
2. What are the rules in IB Mock Exams?
As mentioned above, the rules in the final exams apply to Mock Exams as well. So check them carefully and try to get used to them before Mock Exams.
2.1 Before the Exam
- You’re not allowed to bring any electrical devices (except a calculator with examination mode for an approved subject).
- You can bring water in a clear bottle without labels on it.
- Only a wristwatch with the alarm turned off is allowed in the examination room.
- A bilingual dictionary without any notes on it is permitted if the subject is not in the student’s mother tongue (except for studies in language and literature and language acquisition).
- You can use stationery following the rule below:
|Items permitted||Items not permitted|
2.2 During the Exam
- You have to let coordinators know before drinking water or leaving for the bathroom.
- Your handwriting must be clear although poor handwriting is not penalized.
- You’re allowed to read the examination paper for 5 minutes before the actual examination time starts (except for the multiple-choice exam). But, you’re not allowed to write, highlight, or use the dictionary during that time.
- You have to write down the number of the question you’re answering in the answer booklet.
- You’re not allowed to leave the examination room during the first hour or during the last 15 minutes of the exam.
- You have to collect and attach materials used in the exam with a string tag after the exam.
- You cannot take any exam papers, data booklets, answer booklets, or graph papers out of the room.
3. How do we prepare for IB Mock Exams?
So now that you get the idea of Mock Exams, you might be wondering how to prepare for them. It’s simple.
3.1 Check the Schedule
As soon as the exam schedule is announced, check and highlight your subjects and make sure your subjects are not scheduled for the same time of the day. If there is anything confusing about the schedule, go to your supervisor to sort it out in advance.
On the day of your exams, make sure you don’t get caught in traffic because that would not be an excuse for lateness. It’s also a good idea to come to school earlier if you want to calm down, focus on yourself, and quietly review for the last minutes before entering the exam room.
3.2 Practice with Past Papers
Teachers make original questions for Mock Exams but they are just like the final papers. So why not practice with past papers? By going through past papers, you can get used to different types of questions and command terms. Setting the time limit according to the actual examination time would make it more effective to get an idea of how fast you have to think and write in the exams.
Students can ask teachers for past papers but also purchase past papers from the official IBO online store (ForllettIBStore).
3.3 Set Your Own Time Allocation
It’s always good to have a plan before doing something in a limited time. This applies to exams, too. By having an idea of how much exam time you’ll spend on each section of the paper beforehand, it’s easier to move on to the next questions when you’re stuck. But, make sure you have at least 5 minutes to go through your paper one last time before time is up.
Here’s an example of time allocation (Business HL):
|Paper 1 (2 hours 15 minutes = 135 minutes)||Paper 2 (2 hours 15 minutes = 135 minutes)|
3.4 Take Care of Your Health
When you’re under pressure, it’s easier to get tired and catch a cold. To take the exams in the best condition, you should maintain your own health. Sitting in front of laptops and textbooks all day does not keep your productivity high. Take a walk, it’s refreshing. Pushing yourself to an all-nighter does not let your brain rest, so get some sleep. Sugars are good for your brain when you’re studying, but it doesn’t mean snacks count as a meal! Eat a healthy diet.