Mock Exam Ambivalence

So I’ve been getting back my mock exam results for most of this week and I honestly don’t know how to feel about them.  Sure, it’s only natural that I feel apprehensive.  That being said, there’s something else that’s just…upsetting.

I might have mentioned this before (I don’t remember what I say half the time), but by the IB standards, the highest score is a 7 and by Asian standards, you should be getting a…7 (a 6 is pretty decent too).  It’s a bit like the AP, though we just have a somewhat larger grade boundary.  The content, on the other hand, is pretty profound, so to speak.  Bear in mind that I have never taken the AP, so I’m unfamiliar with the what it has to offer; most of this paragraph is based on what I’ve heard from friends who have taken the AP, often stating that the IB is “way harder than the AP, because you get to take what you want in the AP whereas IB is more holistic.”  Fair enough, I suppose.

Anyway, my school has pretty much put a ban on using past exam papers as our mock exam because students (everywhere) can easily go online and find the most recent exams as practice.  Amazing how far technology has come.  Thus, the teachers often (but not always) reassure us that our mock exam is not completely faithful to the IB standards, and therefore may be either easier or harder than we might anticipate.  Fair enough, but in some cases it has gone a tad over the line.

Take Math, for instance.  I’m not sure if I was stressing myself out over the subject (like the other ones), thus doing past paper after past paper after past paper until I managed to consistently get myself a score that’s within the 7 threshold.  I wasn’t necessarily confident for the mock exam, but I wasn’t, well, precariously nervous either.  The exam was…difficult, to put it simply.  When I got the paper back, I was told that I got one of the highest scores in the class.  However, the plot twist was that it was a 4.

So yeah I mean, I don’t really know how happy I should be about that.  Sure, I’m happy when I found out that I did better than most of the class (considering how Math used to be my worst subject at school), and I should be proud of myself about it.  But when I knew it was a 4, it’s something else.  It’s not a score that would truly reflect my ability in the subject, seeing that I got 6 or 7 on all my practice papers.  The upside is that this won’t be submitted to the colleges I’ve applied to (so they say), but I can’t really bring myself to really be completely happy about this.

What do you think?  Should I be happy about the ranking, or worried about the score?

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3 thoughts on “Mock Exam Ambivalence

  1. They’re not mutually exclusive. You can be happy about the ranking *and* worried about the score. On one hand, you can be happy that you did well relative to everyone else and be confident that you’ll do well on the real exams in May, on the other hand, it really is a depressing to get a low grade (the entire HL maths failed…the entire HL maths is now sad), especially one you think you don’t deserve.

    1. Yeah that’s a bummer for the HL class. I forgot to mention that other people are pretty upset about their scores too, regardless of the total result, due to something else that takes their psychology at a ‘new direction,’ so to speak. Like our buddy S for example: she did extremely well for one History essay but the other one was a different story which is definitely difficult to handle. There are many things about the mocks that causes an emotional tug of war for me, so I don’t really know if I should be more worried than happy, or vice versa. Maybe I could be both, but for how long?

      Oh well, better finish CAS first or I’ll probably not get the diploma altogether.

      1. Certainly. I actually felt worse about my mediocre performance on my chemistry paper 3 than I did about my failing grade in maths. It really is more about the emotional significance of the grades in each subject than the scores themselves. S was upset about the history essay because being good at history is part of her identity, so messing up on it, even if it was something that anyone else could brush off easily, was a huge deal for her.
        I don’t know if you can ever really use ‘should’ with emotions. They are what they are, and I don’t personally believe in assigning value judgments to things people can’t really control.
        CAS: Yes, although really what are the odds of us failing? If Mr Fail-CAS did fail us, he’d have to answer to the school about why they have to put on their school website, “x number of people didn’t get the diploma because they failed CAS”.

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