Are mock exams to prepare for the HKDSE really that useful?

By Sebastien Raybaud

As students across Hong Kong sit their DSE mock papers after the winter holidays, Young Post readers weigh up the benefits of these exams

By Sebastien Raybaud |

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Schools usually prepare mock HKDSE exams for their students twice a year.

Mock examinations are helpful, say Hong Kong secondary students, but there should be a limit to stop them from becoming too stressed.

Between November and January, students take their Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) mock or practice examinations.

Numbers released by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) in 2016 showed there were more than 60,000 students registered to take the DSE examinations.

Students must take four core subjects: Chinese language, English language, mathematics and liberal studies. They can then take up to four elective subjects, including business and chemistry.

Joy Pamnani, a University of Hong Kong student, finds mock examinations helpful.

“They prepare you for your final exams. You get a taste of what the final exam is going to be like, spot the chapters you’re weak at, and it gives you direction for improvement. I still do past papers for my university exams,” said Pamnani, 19.

Leeann Tong, a Sha Tin College student, agrees. “Some people may argue exams that don’t count towards anything cause unneeded stress or pressure, but I feel that by experiencing exam conditions at least once before the real thing, students feel more prepared and used to the pressure,” said the 16-year-old.

“I personally benefited from my school’s mock exams, as they allowed me to figure out which subjects I needed to work on and which subjects I could afford to spend less time on.”

Although mock examinations can be useful, Pamnani says a line still needs to be drawn at some point. Sometimes schools overdo it in the sense that they don’t give students enough time to actually study for the mock exam beforehand, she added.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge