IB Mocks: Important or not important, that is the question.
For many semesters, parents and students alike have debated and wondered about the importance of the mocks. To some, they are a preview of the final exam. To some others, it is an inconsequential inconvenience.
Personally, we think that the mock exams is, to some degree, important. But, before discussing why we think so, let’s first understand what the IB mock exams are all about.
What is the IB Mock
The IB mock is an exam that schools set internally for their students. They resemble the final IB exams in several ways. First, the questions found in the mocks are like those in the final IB exams. On top of that, schools also replicate the setting of the exams. Most schools will even use the venue of the final exams for the mocks.
Most IB students will sit for their mocks two months before the final exams. For students taking the November exams, their mocks are likely to fall between August and September. For students sitting for the May exams, it will likely be between February and March.
As the mocks are a type of school assessment, schools will not mail the scripts to the IB. Instead, teachers will mark the scripts and return it to the students.
Why are the mocks important?
The IB mocks are important as it acts like a rehearsal
The importance of rehearsals cannot be overstated.
No pianist will perform for an audience without first having a run-through. Nor would a marathon-runner take part in a marathon without running the course once. IB exam-goers are no exception.
Sharing many features with the final IB exams, the mocks are like a rehearsal. Sitting for it gives students an idea of what the exam is going to be like. It also allows them to check the exam setting for things that may affect their performance.
Was the exam hall too cold? Bring a jacket for the actual exam.
Seated too far from the clock? Wear a watch on the day of the paper.
The similar experience from taking the IB mocks familiarises students with the final exams. This familiarity helps relieve anxiousness and calm exam nerves- which is important. When students feel at ease, they tend to perform better.
The IB mocks are a barometer of a student’s preparedness
The questions for the mock exams are set to mirror the IB exam in terms of question phrasing and difficulty. Upon doing the mocks, students will have an idea of how prepared they are for the final exams. Getting a gauge of how they are doing is important as it lets them know which areas they need to work on.
Besides content, the mocks also test students on their exam skills. Exam skills such as time management and essay writing are crucial if students want to do well.
They are used to calculate the student’s predicted grade.
All IB students will receive a predicted grade. This grade is a teacher’s estimation of the grade a student will receive for the specific subject. Teachers compute this grade based on the evidence of the student’s work. This usually refers to the internal assessment and the mocks.
Though schools may use the same component, the weightage assigned to each can differ. Some schools may assign more weight to the IB mocks than others. Even the calculation of each subject’s predicted grade can vary. Students should clarify with their schools if they are unsure how the predicted grades are calculated.
The predicted grades are important for students who are applying to universities abroad. Most universities, especially those in the UK and US, require applicants to submit their predicted grades. To students applying to the UK, these grades are submitted to UCAS. For students applying to American universities the predicted grades will be submitted to their college of choice.
Why may they not be as important as they sound?
The IB mocks are not included in the calculation of the final IB grades
How the IB derives the subject’s final grade is no secret. The subject guides they publish have this information printed. For most subjects, it is typical for the IB to consider only two components: the final exam and the internal assessment.
For instance, according to the IB, this is how the final grades for HL Business Management are calculated:
- External Assessment
- Paper 1 = 35%
- Paper 2 = 40%
- Internal Assessment – Research project = 25%
Yes, the IB mocks are absent- which means their grades do not count to the final subject grades. This is double-edged. On one hand, students who do poorly for the mocks will not have their final grades pulled down. But, students who do exceptionally well for the mocks won’t experience a boost in marks either. So, it comes as no surprise that many students and parents view it as non-important.
In general, the weightages found on the subject briefs are accurate. However, if the IB has to change how students are being assessed- such as in the event of a pandemic- these percentages may be changed accordingly.
Our two cents
As seen in this article, both positions’ reasonings are, to some parts, understandable. When we asked our IB tutors for their thoughts, most agreed that the IB mock exams was important. Though there is no direct impact on the diploma’s final grades, it is not completely pointless.
The IB mock exams is effective in revealing areas students need more practice in. Besides being a signal of preparation, the IB mocks also reduces complacency. Instead, it encourages students to continue working towards the the final IB exams. As students are better prepared to sit for the papers, they are also likely to score better in the final exams.