I’ve written a post about learning the way you revise which comes hand in hand with this post. This post is all about you doing everything your way so as to optimize your learning experience. When you’re in the class and you see that most people aren’t making notes, don’t just follow the trend, do what it is that you feel is right. Don’t just be a follower and decide to make notes when everyone else is also making notes. If you feel like there is something important to note down, then note it down. Who cares if no one else is writing things down? That just means that you’re putting yourself in a better position than them when preparing for the exam. You can see me waffling on about notes but ‘Do It Your Way’ extends way past notes. If you have a free period and you know you need to get some work done but everyone you hang around with is playing cards or is playing football or is just chilling, then do the work. You will have plenty of time to just chill and who knows when the next time is going to be when you want to do that exact same work? So this post was just for you people who may have got caught up in your friends’ bad habits and if you can realise bad habits early on in A-Levels then this will prove to be very beneficial for you.
Managing your time when it comes to A-Levels is probably the most important thing to get right if you want to hit those higher grades. You need to become a master in balancing your time on revision and on your studies with going out with your mates and playing on your consoles. A lot of students would favor going out with their mates over their revision or would rather play on their console than work on their studies. I like doing all of these things and playing football as well so I know firsthand that time management is very tricky indeed. What I would recommend is that you get up early on the weekends and do a lot of revision and work during this period. That means that later on in the day, you can play FIFA 17 on PS4 (add me, it’s Kamih786 ;)) or catch up on your favourite shows like X-Factor. I always get up early on weekends, well most of the time anyway, so I know that this is very effective and it allows you to do the fun things later on in the evening. Try and find your way of balancing work with other priorities and when you do this, A-Levels will appear to be so much easier.
It is so easy just to chill when you’re outside of school because you feel like you have done enough work at school and that you deserve a break from it all. This mentality will only get you so far and it’s the people who do work even away from school who will obtain the higher grades. Yes, doing work outside of school way before exam season seems a bit extra but that’s what A-Levels are about and that is how you will get the grades that you want. The people who do well at A-Levels are the ones who go the extra mile so to speak when it comes to their education. You can’t just rest on your laurels and expect to get astonishing grades or even half-decent ones with A-Levels. It takes practice and you will not get enough practice during school hours so make the most out of the time you have away from school to try and grasp the key concepts in whatever subject you wish to revise.
I know a lot of students nowadays live off social media (me included!) but make sure that it doesn’t take over your life. I am on social media but I put in the effort to pass any exam that comes my way. If you are on social media, then just manage your time so that you are doing revision. If you know that you’re not going to be doing effective revision whilst on social media, then it may be a good idea to just stay off social media until you are confident in your subject or at least have made enough notes to learn from. However, if you know that you can stay on social media and smash your exams, then this post is not applicable to you. Just remember that your education, if you care about it and want good grades, should always take priority over your popularity on social media or the need to be on alert for the latest trends.
Make sure you know how you best revise. Yes, teachers might nag you to go to revision classes but if you feel like you work better alone, then going to revision classes should be optional for you. Find out if you can do more work whilst playing music out loud or if you like doing work with headphones on so as to block out the surrounding noise or if you just like to revise in silence. Whatever it is you like, find out early so that you can have optimal and more effective revision sessions. Personally, I like revising on my own with music playing out loud if I’m in the comfort of my home but if I was in a public place like school or university, then I would revise in a quiet place with no music. This is very important because you want every revision session to be as effective as possible and just say you have allocated 2 hours for revision and you don’t know your learning technique, then you might spend 20 minutes just trying to get comfortable which will hinder the effectiveness of your revision session. So, know your learning technique to reduce the chance of critique.
I know a lot of my posts have been about doing as much revision as you can and that it entails you to dedicate yourself to long hours of study. This is not the case always. Yes, you have to do work to see results but don’t tire yourself out. If you feel like you’re tired and work is getting too much, then take a day or two off and just do whatever it is you do that alleviates stress. I know the feeling of fatigue and that revision can make you stressed. Believe me, I’ve been there. I once took like 2-3 weeks rest just to get myself away from all the work and stress. Like I said before, rest and recovery are crucial in you passing exams because you need to have days where you don’t do any work just to take away all the stress. So, if you’re feeling under pressure that you need to do work at a certain time, then don’t. Just rest and get your brain back to optimal levels.
I am going to share with you how I revised and learnt topics during my A-Level studies which I hope will act as a helpful resource alongside your studies. I first learnt the content in class making notes along the way and when I say notes, I mean extensive notes. Then, after each topic had been taught, I would either try and find some topic questions online to do or I would ask the teacher to hand me some topic questions. This was done to solidify my understanding of that topic and to make sure that I knew it. After this, I would do the questions and if I got them all right, then it was happy days but if I got any question wrong, then I would try and find the model solution for it so as to make sure how to do that particular question again. I made sure that I was familiar with the exam techniques for each style of question so as to gain maximum marks. After I had learnt all the content, I would condense my notes so that it made sense to me and I would also leave out bits that wouldn’t be of any help come exam time. Then, inevitably, I did past papers but I did one or two using my notes so that I could do every single question if I looked at my notes. If I couldn’t do every single question, then I would add notes so that my notes covered every single question. I would then attempt all past papers using no notes and see how many marks I get. I would write down all the questions I found quite challenging on a separate piece of paper and when it came closer to exam time, I would just attempt these questions because why attempt questions that you know you can do? During the beginning of the year, I was just chilling during my free periods but towards the middle, I started utilising my free periods and started to review my notes and started asking people to test me on certain things. I also had a superstition which I don’t think you’ll find helpful but maybe some of you can relate, maybe not. Whenever I went into an exam, I had to have a chocolate before the exam (it was always Kinder Bueno!) and during the exam, I had to have Lucozade Grafruitti. I don’t even know why but that was my exam routine. Hope this helps and let me know anything specific you wish me to cover regarding A-Levels.