Over the years, the A-level syllabuses have expanded and require a lot of hard work from students to master the contents and perform well in the exams. Although the workload in A levels is immense, many students have overcome its challenges by studying more effectively, not harder. In our recent workshop ‘How to achieve A*/A’, we have gathered some study tips from Ashbourne’s ex-students who aced their A-level exams and are now studying at top universities.
10 top tips to build an effective study and revision system.
Practise past papers under timed conditions, with minimal distractions, mimicking the actual examinations. You are never thoroughly done with an exam paper until you can consistently achieve full marks in that paper.
Ensure that you make personal revision notes which take into account your class notes, mark schemes, and broader reading – these should be clear, concise and based on the specification for each subject. Do not leave your revision till the last minute.
Create study groups with your peers and exchange ideas, suggestions and questions amongst yourselves.
You could mirror the traffic light system, by highlighting your strongest points within the specification in green, intermediate ones in yellow and weakest points in red; you can then prioritise your revision, starting with the areas that you most struggle with.
For essay-based subjects, ensure that you expand your reading outside of the A-level syllabus; look at critical essays, read around literary theory and keep abreast with articles around the subject.
In light of the pandemic, there is a tendency that you may spend a lot of time in front of a screen, especially if you have your lessons online. It is essential to take frequent screen breaks and occasionally walk outside of your study space. This will also have a positive effect on your mental health.
To manage your time effectively, you should keep distractions to the barest minimum. Set a dedicated screen time where you can access social media if necessary, but make sure this is but a mere fragment compared to the time you set aside for revision. Find a study routine, and stick with it, to build resilience. To help with this, you can download the app ‘Forest’, which prevents you from accessing your phone for specific blocks of time.
When you begin your university application, ensure that your personal statement is an actual reflection of your abilities and interests – make it holistic, factual, concise and well-researched.
Prepare ahead of time if your application process includes an interview, by taking advantage of the resources available at Ashbourne, through your UCAS tutors. Remember to approach the interview with a relaxed and confident mindset.
August is now – the grades you receive next year will be a testament to the efforts you put in throughout the academic year.
Finally, your teachers are always willing to assist you if you have any academic concerns within a subject area. Please ask them for help where necessary, and do not be afraid to seek further understanding.
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