Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


an examination that you take for practice before an important examination

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The noun mock, which is short for mock examination, came into use in the second half of the 20th century. It is derived ultimately from the French verb ‘mocquer’.


School students in the UK who are preparing to take public exams often do practice exams beforehand, called mock exams or just mocks. The suspension of all public exams as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unusually intense focus on mocks, with the suggestion being made that students who are dissatisfied with the grades they have been awarded by the exam regulator could challenge them by submitting their mock results as evidence of previous performance. The adjective mock in mock exam does not mean fake or pretended, but ‘for practice’; other common collocates include interview, trial, drill and audition. As well as a noun and an adjective, mock is also a verb and a prefix, used to form adjectives that mean not real or true. A mockup is a full-sized model of something, used to find out if it works, and to mock something up is to make a model of this kind.


Passing a mock exam is an important late-stage stepping stone for candidates.
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In mocks and actual tests, attempt questions from your strong areas first.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

moderator, script, candidate, assessment

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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