THE mock examination for the HKCEE is gaining in popularity as evidenced by the increasing number of pupils enrolled to take the tests this year. About 1,000 more students attempted each core subject in the HKCEE mock exam organised by the guidance association, Hok Yau Club, this year. The recent exam tested students on English, Chinese and Mathematics. Of these, Chinese was the highest in demand because of the new exam syllabus this year. A total of 184 schools applied for participation. Growing enthusiasm for the mock experience is evident. From an initial 1,500 participants eight years ago, the number has grown to 8,400 this year, said Mr Ng Tak-kay, the director of the club's student guidance centre. To accommodate demand from New Territories North and West, the centre had secured four more exam centres this year, besides the venues at Hongkong Polytechnic, City Polytechnic of Hongkong and Pui Kiu Middle School. The new centres are at the Kwun Tong Technical Institute, Ju Ching Chu English College in Tsuen Wan, the Buddhist Tai Hung College in Shamshuipo and the Yuen Yuen Institute No 2 Secondary School in Tai Po. More centres are anticipated in the New Territories next year. ''Our aim in organising such an exam is not to give exam tips to students but to best familiarise them for the actual HKCEE,'' said Mr Ng. He said the Hok Yau mock exam benefited pupils in ways most schools could not. For instance, the exam and answer papers were almost printed exactly like the format of those used in the HKCEE. ''The exam centres, invigilators and candidates taking the exam were all unfamiliar to students. It is a real public exam situation.'' Moreover, veteran teachers from different schools formed a larger panel in formulating exam questions. In schools, papers were often made up by one or two subject teachers. Mr Ng also said that each year they adopted the HKCEE grading scale of the previous year to assign grades to students. ''Although the exam result may not be as accurate as those produced in the HKCEE because our number of candidates is much smaller, students could still see how they match up with others. ''Students could also be alerted to other precautions they need to make during the real exam,'' Mr Ng said. One of the students, Ng Sik-tong from Ng Wah College, who took the English Paper exam at the Hongkong Polytechnic, told Young Post he had learned a valuable lesson. ''I was late for this exam because I didn't allow more time for unexpected traffic. When the HKCEE comes, I think I would be more psychologically prepared.'' Students were divided in their opinions on the difficulty and quality of questions set in the papers. But many found the exam a worthwhile experience. A seminar to analyse the mock examination questions will take place at the City Hall on April 24. Students would then receive a result slip.