If you are aiming for high grades at A-Level to meet your med school offers, it can seem daunting and unattainable, but with hard work and organisation I promise it is achievable! I did A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths and got A*s in all of them, so here is some advice from my experience.
One of the most important things is good time management. I know I found it very daunting looking at the amount of content to cover in not a very long time period – but it is possible!
I would recommend putting all your exam dates into a calendar/timetable, along with other commitments, and work out how much time you have left to revise before exams. Then make a list of everything you need to revise for each subject and allocate days and time slots to make sure you can cover everything you need to. Make sure you’re not too ambitious in what you can do in one day!
Also, include plenty of time for breaks and to do other things such as seeing friends/ hobbies. It’s equally important to have fun and relax in the lead up to exams, as well as revision, to ensure you don’t stress and burn yourself out.
Try to cover all the content well in advance of exams so you can then focus the time closer to exams on past papers and going over parts you are less confident of.
If there are specific topics or subjects you find harder, allow more time for them. For example, when I was revising for A-Levels I gave a lot more time to Biology and Chemistry revision as I found those subjects a lot harder than Maths.
One of my biggest tips would be to make use of past papers. Most A-Levels now follow new specifications so there aren’t loads of the new style past papers.
However, I found it was still worthwhile doing older past papers, particularly for subjects like Biology and Chemistry, as a lot of the questions are very similar and still come up in the newer papers.
I would leave the most recent papers for closer to the exam as the questions will be more similar to what you actually get. I also found it useful to note down questions I consistently got wrong and then you can go back over them.
Another thing that can be useful is to use the actual exam specifications to help plan revision. Every exam board should publish their exam specification online, use them so you know exactly what you are expected to know.
This can help you plan revision, so you know you are not revising unnecessary content!
Finally, once you get to your actual exams try to stay as calm as possible, which I know is easier said than done!
As you go through the paper, if there are any questions you come across and are not sure of, leave them and put a mark next to the question. At the end then go back to all those questions and try to answer them.
This means you can make sure you fully answer the questions you are really confident of and don’t waste time on ones you are not as sure of. Often at the end of the exam you will be more relaxed, and things may come back to you, so you are able to answer these questions.
Words: Rachael Foulsham
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