A-Level exams are approaching, and I know all too well the stress of struggling to find revision styles that work for you. Here are three top A-Level revision tips that I used in my own revision which secured me A* and A grades.
Naturally, initiative must be taken when writing down everything; emphasis on relevant! Textbooks often waffle.
I then wrote notes in a question and answer (Q&A) format. After completing these, I would read a question, cover up the answer I had adapted from the textbook, answer aloud, then compare the two answers.
I created a glossary too – in Biology and Chemistry, key definition questions always come up! Learn these inside out. However, avoid rote learning; try to understand the definitions – this helps with memorising!
I created flashcards for Q&As and definitions, as well as diagrams. I made digital ones with Quizlet, and physical ones. Digital ones are great for on the go, but physical flashcards are better for drawing diagrams, so make sure you choose the right one to suit your subjects or routine. I used cardboard flashcards in an A5 ring binder – these are portable, and you could use these on the bus!
This is one of the most important A-Level revision tips. Once I was well acquainted with my Q&As, definitions and diagrams, I took past papers. For each wrong question, I took thorough Q&A notes, making sure to mention every point in the mark scheme.
Be strict! Practice under exam conditions. This will ultimately benefit you, as you’ll become comfortable and familiar with the timing in the exam.
I also set myself target marks. Record your marks and track your progress – it can be really encouraging… or a wake up call!
Structuring your time is also key in A-Level revision tips. In Year 13 I took Biology, Chemistry and Maths. None of these is an essay subject (I took English Literature in Year 12) so I could spend short bursts of time on each. For each subject I had 2 exams: let’s call them Bio1, Bio2, Chem1, Chem2, Maths1, and Maths2.
I spent 30 minutes revising for each exam at a time (of course I would spend longer when doing mock exams.) The order I revised in was Bio1, Chem1, Maths1, Break, Bio2, Chem2, Maths2, Break, with each activity lasting half an hour. This kept my brain refreshed, and stopped me from switching off.
Most students study the same thing for hours. This can become boring, unproductive and inefficient. A-Levels are jam-packed, two-year courses, which require excellent time-keeping skills.
From my tips I hope you have picked up on an overall theme of thoroughness, knowing your syllabus inside out, and managing your time well. Go above and beyond. Think outside the box. Try out these techniques, and come up with your own ways of revising. Everyone learns in a different way, so don’t be discouraged if conventional revision methods (or any of mine!) don’t work for you.
Good luck in your exams!
Words: Toyin Jesuloba
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