Mock Exam Results – what to do with them?

by | Feb 22, 2023 | Teen support


Your teenager may now have finished their mock exams, Leaving/Junior Cert, or still be going through them. And soon enough they will get their results. When those mock exam results come in, have you considered how you will respond to them?

If your teen has been working consistently and their results are good for them, that is brilliant news! They are to be praised and encouraged to keep up the good work, fine tune their study plans and exam technique. It may be worthwhile to visit the CAO website if they plan to go to university. Plug those results into the CAO points calculator and see how the points match the course points that they want to study. Your teenager will then know what they have to work on to get the results they need.

However, one thing to watch out for, in the case of good results, your teen may get overconfident and complacent resulting in a drop of focus and effort.

If your teenager’s results are lower than normal and your teen is disappointed, please don’t use the results as a beating stick. See them for what they really are – a gift, an opportunity! Remember this is the first time your teenager has pulled the full curriculum of all their subjects together for the first time, at the same time. It’s an awful lot of information to get into their heads, keep there and then get it all out onto paper in a meaningful way. They probably have not even covered the whole curriculum and were unable to answer some questions. Mock exams are hard, probably harder than the real exams!

The Gift of Mock Exam Results

So how can low results be seen as a gift? Mock exams are a practice run, a time that the students practice exam technique, formulating information in a purposeful way. Having sat those exams is a valuable experience that can be built upon. They are the foundations for the real exams. With some reflection on what went right and what didn’t go so well, your teenager will be able to understand their next steps. Your teen will also get back their exam transcripts with feedback from the corrector. They can also use this to inform their future study:

  1. They can create a meaningful revision plan to use for the final leg of their exam preparation. They be be able to work out a plan to improve on topics that they didn’t answer well. Remember, low results by themselves should not be used as a decider for moving from a higher to an ordinary level paper in any subject.
  2. Your teen can learn more about exam technique. Their teachers should be coaching them on how to answer questions in the correct way as well as how long each question should take.

Exam technique is vitally important and cannot be underestimated in its contribution to exam results.

Image of glass sphere inverting section of image with caption Keep Perspective!


While you and/or your teenager may be disappointed with low mock exam results, keep the long-term perspective. Your teenager is more than a set of exams. Your teenager may not even be academically minded, more creative and not best suited to exams. No matter how your teenager does, encourage them to work to their strengths. After all, that is where they will find success.

Chat soon,

Helen xx

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  1. Jean Ramsey

    What a timely blog full of good sense. I made a terrible hash of my A levels back in the day. As I went to a grammar school, no one taught us about exam technique…you were just supposed to know it by osmosis. I confused being busy, with being effective. I spent longer on designing my revision timetable than I actually spent revising

    I could not go to my first choice of uni – Stirling to do a 4 year combined course in English and teacher training.
    My lovely dad found a course in the Sunday Observer. I could go to Bournemouth Technical College as it was then.

    I did a London University BA General Degree (External) but the gift was that l met the man I have been married to for 43 years…he made a mess of his A levels too!

    I did get into teaching English and l made a point of sharing my mistakes with my classes.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat!

    • Helen Dillon

      Thanks for your comment, Jean. There’s always a gift, even if you don’t see it at the time!

  2. Collette

    Great good sense tips Helen. For me my teens will see the benefit of where they put in the work and the gaps they need to fill. A gift indeed!

    • Helen Dillon

      This is the gift – where they are doing well and what they need focus on to improve. The gift for the parents is an opportunity to encourage their teens, not to berate them. Thanks for your comment, Collette.


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