How to Prepare for Your A-Level Exams
If you’re in Year 13, you will be preparing your final A-Level exams this summer. Here’s a quick guide of three key exam preparation tips to help you perform to your best ability for your upcoming exams.
1. Use preparation materials
Examination boards design exam papers with the syllabus, official revision book and past papers in mind, so use these materials on a daily basis. They contain a wealth of appropriate material that you will be tested on.
Past papers and answer schemes
You can use past papers and answer schemes in particular to look at what examiners expect answers to contain. Often there are key words, references or formulas that are essential to obtain the full marks for a specific question so make yourself familiar with these. In Chemistry for example, you must use the correct notation when referring to elements or write specific words when answering questions on molecular forces.
Each exam paper will also have an Examiner Report attached to it. Reading these reports is an extremely helpful way to uncover the common pitfalls that students have made in past exams and will sharpen your ability to avoid these mistakes.
Keep a copy of your syllabus for each subject. The syllabus contains all of the topics that you are expected to understand. You will not be tested on topics outside the syllabus and so it will give you confidence that you are accurately focusing your revision.
2. Pick your environment carefully
The time that you spend studying is precious and it is your responsibility to make the most of it. Stay clear of distractions (like your mobile, social media, and music!) Anything that disrupts your concentration will waste time and hinder your progress.
A cluttered study space will reduce your ability to understand and absorb information so work in a place that is quiet and tidy. Avoid noisy and popular places since you are more likely to be distracted.
Your school, a public library or even a local university might have an ideal place for you to set up a revision session. This is especially important when you are doing past papers because you need to have maximum focus and replicate exam conditions.
3. Collaborate with others
A mixture of independent and collaborative study is ideal for exam preparation. There will be topics that you are strong at and some that you are weaker at. One of the best ways to learn is to teach something to somebody else or get them to teach you. This tests your own understanding of the topic but also provides an opportunity to ask questions that might even come up in the exam.
Forums like The Student Room can also be helpful if you are stuck. I would share Maths questions that I found difficult and often get very helpful feedback. There are some excellent channels on YouTube that can also improve your understanding of different topics, especially in the sciences. However, be careful not to spend too much time on the internet during your study periods because this can of course be distracting!
Finally, make full use of your teachers. If you need extra guidance then schedule a one-to-one appointment with them during school hours – this can really improve your understand of a difficult topic.
Words: Asaad Qadri