How to do the best preparation for your GCSE and A-level mock exams

Student working at desk

Mocks looming? Don't stress – here's how to get ready

Mocks – no one likes them, everyone seems to do badly and they're yet another excuse for teachers to have a go at you.

But there's no need to stress. Here's all you need to turn that revision-fuelled frown upside down, with advice from the TSR community plus our homegrown tools, resources and ideas for revising together online.

If you need a bit of extra inspiration to get you going, here are some reasons why you should care about mock exams.

Give yourself time

It might feel like an extra chore, but planning ahead really does work. Having a solid plan in place will help stop those middle-of-the-night exam panics as well as giving you the best possible chance of acing your mocks.

Plan ahead! Print out a calendar, mark important deadlines, exam dates and structure your study. 


Get ahead by trying our Study Planner. It helps build revision around your life so you can plan out everything, including some much-needed downtime.

And if you haven't left yourself as much time as you'd like, take a look at our tips on cramming for your mock exams

Build up your revision stock

Mocks may not be much fun, but they can be a helpful learning tool. Not only do you get to test your learning in a time-pressured environment, you also get the opportunity to start building up your bank of revision resources. 

So, what’s the best way to revise? Our community is keen on 'active learning', which is basically being creative and developing a stock of flashcards, mindmaps, notes, quizzes – whatever helps you learn best. You can use these for your mocks and then develop them by adding new subject topics as you get closer to the real exams.

Make flash cards for the most important quotes – I always try and practice flashcards on my bus journey to college.


Putting Post-it notes on your bathroom mirror is a good tip. I put Post-it notes with equations around my mirror so while I was brushing my teeth I would recite them over and over until I learnt them.


Online quizzes are great for memorising facts, terms and language vocab, as well as equations. It’s also good if you have no one to test you, and it’s faster than writing out flashcards.


Worried about maths and the sciences?

We've noticed that a lot of TSR users have been worrying about their maths and science GCSEs. 

I'm most worried for science and maths. I just feel as though my brain can't process it, and there is a little door locked inside my brain that is stopping me from understanding it!


If this is also you, ask a question in our maths and science study help forums. We have separate forums for maths, maths exams and for each of the sciences: a biology forum, a chemistry forum and a physics forum. We also have a revision and study tips forum which can be pretty handy when you're stuck.

Our study help community is full of helpful members who are keen to support their peers. We also have a group of brilliant study help volunteers who are always on hand with a solution when you are desperate.

Embrace past papers

Practice papers are a key revision method for many TSR users. They test your knowledge, show what you need to recap and can help you ace your exams.

Past papers mostly should be done to improve your exam technique and to check if there are any gaps in your knowledge.

I suggest you go through past papers and look for areas you struggled or are not comfortable in. Then search up questions relating to that topic and answer them.


Practice papers are your best friends. Especially in science, once you're familiar with exam techniques, you'll ace those exams.

Areej Panju

Past papers, try lots of exam questions! Test what you've learnt. Then mark them or get your teacher to mark and make a list on which areas you still need to review.

Black Rose

TSR has its own bank of past papers for GCSEs across all the major subjects, as well as a bank of past A-level papers across all the major subjects.

...And finally

Why not set up a subject revision thread in one of our study help forums to work through the papers together? By taking a topic and bullet-pointing key information, you can create a megathread of revision resources that you can come back to whenever you need it.

And even if you end up doing badly in your mocks, all is not lost – here's how you can still make the most out of the experience

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