What is a mock test?
A mock test is sometimes called a practice test. It helps prepare learners for an exam they intend to take in the future. The goal is that the procedures, timings and question papers should be as similar to the real exam as possible, so on exam day learners know exactly what to expect.
Why give learners a mock test?
A mock test helps both you and your learners identify specific strengths and areas to work on.
It can help manage learners’ expectations too. Learners who don’t do as well as they expected often become more motivated to study; those who do better than they expected get a confidence boost.
Running a mock test is also a great way for teachers to learn more about the exam. Reading the information guides and working with the marking criteria helps you get an understanding of what the examiners are looking for. It also helps with useful exam strategies to teach your learners.
When should I run a mock test?
Running a mock test around the middle of your course works well because learners need time to prepare before they do a test. Your aim should be to build your learners’ confidence by showing them what they already know as well as what they need to work on.
Bear in mind that the test might need to be spread over two classes or more depending on your teaching schedule. For example, the A2 Key for Schools exam takes just over 90 minutes but C2 Proficiency is almost 4 hours long.
Finally, the key to getting the most benefit from the mock test is to allow sufficient time for learners to absorb and act on feedback once you hand back their papers.
Resources to help you run a mock test
Our mock test toolkit is organised into three easily navigable sections, Prepare, Action and Feedback, so you can find all the resources you need exactly when you need them.
Here are some activities and tips from each section of the toolkit for you to try.
As you get closer to the mock test, it’s a good idea to make sure your learners are familiar with the test format.
Step 1: Choose a page from the Information for Candidates booklet with information you think will be useful for your learners
Step 2: Prepare some True/False questions about the key information on your chosen page.
Step 3: Cut the text into sections and stick these around the room.
Step 4: Divide learners into pairs and give them the questions. Give them time to discuss and predict what they think the answers are.
Step 5: Learners then walk around the room to find/check their answers as quickly as possible. This encourages learners to scan the texts rather than read every word slowly. The first pair with the correct answers is the winner.
Our handy checklist from the mock test toolkit helps you make sure you have everything you need to run your test.
You will also find links to the guides for assessing speaking and writing as well as conversion tables for reading and listening.
Giving feedback is more than just correcting errors and assigning a grade. Try the following ideas to really help your learners improve after the mock test.
Delay the grade
Some learners focus more on their grade than on any feedback or error correction. But this will not help them improve in the areas they need to work on. The mock test toolkit includes a variety of reflection tasks to help learners identify their own strengths and weaknesses and respond more proactively to feedback.
Self and peer-reflection
Try giving your students structured questions to help them reflect on their performance.
Praise honest and realistic feedback, and encourage learners to think about what they did successfully as well as what they need to work on.
Learners who have taken the time to identify their own areas to work on are more likely to be receptive to the teacher’s feedback on similar areas.
Immediately after the Speaking paper, ask learners to complete a questionnaire like this one:
- I didn’t feel / felt confident because… (circle one)
- Some good vocabulary I used:
- Some good grammar I used:
- A mistake I think I made:
- Advice for the next students taking the test:
As learners take the Speaking paper in pairs, there is also the option for them to receive and give peer feedback here.
My Study Plan
The My Study Plan template in the mock test toolkit is designed to help you create S.M.A.R.T action plans with your learners.
S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
For example, I will do some exercises on the Exam Lift app 3 times a week from now until my exam. This goal is:
- Specific because it refers to a particular resource the learner is going to use for practice
- Measurable because the Exam Lift app provides the learner with a score and feedback
- Achievable because the material is at the right level for the learner
- Realistic because the learner enjoys this type of practice and the tasks are manageable in the free time they have
- Time-bound because there is a clear start and end date.
Get your toolkit
Watch our webinar How to get the most out of a mock test to find out more.
Or get started with our interactive mock test toolkits for young and older learners.