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.
Failure is something that you have to endure whilst at A-Levels. If you’re getting everything right, then you’re either not working hard enough by trying out the more difficult questions or you’re a robot. I faced failure countless times during my A-Level studies and I can honestly say that it is because of these failures that I succeeded in the end when opening my exam results and realising that I got accepted in the University of Birmingham. To fail is a good thing because it can allow you to understand where you went wrong and if you understand that, then you will be more familiar with the question so if that question came up in the exam, you would be able to do it. If you’re one of those people who likes attempting questions that you know you’re going to get right, then get out of that mentality now. You need to attempt the harder questions in order to succeed at A-Levels. Don’t limit your challenges but rather challenge your limits. See how far you can go. By having this mindset, you will do well in any subject you do at A-Levels.
When you revise and finally learn a topic after trying to understand it for so long, most students have a tendency to go on to the next topic. NO! This is not effective. After you have learnt a topic, then learn the next topic whilst, simultaneously, doing questions on the previous topic just to make sure that you don’t forget it. Just going from topic to topic will not do, especially for A-Levels because the content is structured in a way that you have to approach the questions more than once. After you have perfected this strategy, then you will be getting consistently good grades and you will be on top of the work. You will know when you have done this because you will have that self-belief feeling that you know the topic. This links in with my post about teaching other students because once you know the topic, you can solidify your understanding by teaching that topic to others. Also, once you have finished a specific section then do some summary questions on that section because once you have revised a lot of things, some knowledge is bound to have escaped your mind so just keep a lid on things by always going back to what you have learnt. As it states in the title, if you want to stay consistent then you have to be persistent.