One of the most important things in your A-Level prep is good time management. I know that to begin with, I found it intimidating to look at the amount of content I needed to cover in not a very long time period – but believe me, it’s possible if you plan your time wisely.
I recommend making a revision timetable or calendar where you can include all of your upcoming exam dates and other commitments. Then you can work out how much time you actually have to revise before your exams. 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. You might have a lot to get through, but don’t be too ambitious in what you can do in one day!
If there are specific topics or subjects that you find harder, allow more time for them. For example, I spent more time on Biology and Chemistry, as I found those subjects a lot harder than Maths. Also, make sure you include plenty of time for breaks and other activities such as hobbies and seeing friends. It’s equally important to have some fun and relax in the lead up to exams, otherwise you risk getting overly stressed and burning yourself out.
I would advise you to go through all of the content well in advance of the exams. This way, you will have some time closer to the exams to look at past papers and revisit any areas that you are less confident with.
One of my biggest tips would be to make use of past papers that are available.
Most A-Levels now follow new specifications, so there isn’t a huge amount of the new style past papers. However, I found it was still worthwhile to look at some older past papers in my revision, particularly for subjects like Biology and Chemistry, because a lot of the questions are similar and still come up in the newer papers.
I would suggest leaving the most recent papers until closer to your exams, as the questions will be more similar to what you’ll actually get. While doing past papers, I also found it useful to note down any questions that I consistently got wrong so I could then go back over them.
You can even use the exam specifications to plan your revision. Every exam board should publish their exam specifications online, so check these out to see exactly what you are expected to know. This should help you to focus your revision and avoid revising unnecessary content that definitely won’t come up!
When 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 exam paper, if you come across a question that you aren’t sure of, leave it for now and put a mark next to it. Once you’ve answered everything else, go back to any questions you missed out, try to focus as much as possible, and do your best to answer them.
By following this technique, you can make sure you firstly answer the questions that you are sure of, and avoid wasting time trying to decipher any questions that you are less sure of. At the end of the exam, you should feel a bit more relaxed and things may come back to you, giving you a better mindset to go back and answer those trickier questions.
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