Mocks and the sky falling in – Chicken Licken Syndrome

I have written about the mocks before, the top tips of why we do them and how we get through but this year I’d like to write on something slightly different. The “Chicken-Licken-syndrome” where students seem to genuinely feel like the sky is falling in on top of them! The mocks are a test run – you are meant to make mistakes.. that’s the whole point of doing them!

For some of The Students at The Homework Club this happens in a more spectacular fashion. I myself did very badly in my mocks as do many students with learning difficulties. As the department of education has not granted who will and will not receive accommodations in their exams, very few if any schools allow these students to sit their exams in a similar environment to how they will in June. We are overwhelmed by the exam hall experience – I’m conducting some research at the moment in why some students are hyper-sensitive and how this can helped. We don’t have a reader and hence we read the questions wrong, we take the wrong meaning and we answer a completly different question. Some studnets haven’t got to grasp with the whole course in one “bulk” form – they are struglign to put all the secitons together and maybe they haven’t covered their best seciton yet! No one tells you how to sit an exam and for some studets who really do need to do a visual map of the answer and the question, this is highly discouraged and implied to be a waste of time when it’s not as all – it’s a vital way of thinking for them! If you are going to use a laptop maybe you didn’t get to do this in the mocks.. there are so many factors as to why students find exams hard.

I call this time of the year “crushing season” because I watch the students who we have built up since September lose complete confidence in their abilities. We have to build them up again from the floor. I really question at this stage if the mocks are a good exercise at all? Surely there must be a better way to have a test run?

The sky really isn’t falling in and there is loads of time left to fix the mistakes – but it is very hard to show people your mistakes when you are made to feel so bad for making them.


Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly