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The 'I Wish I Had Known ___ Before AS Levels' Thread watch

    • Very Important Poster
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    To not be afraid to talk to girls, and to use studying together as an excuse. A girl who I would later get on really well with was in my Chemistry class since Year 12, and I didn't say a word to her until Year 13.

    Oh yeah, and studying early on, doing research into what course you want to do, getting good work experience, doing summer schools, extra-curriculars, Duke of Edinburgh, all to build up your uni application.
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    You may have been able to breeze through GCSEs without putting in too much work while ending up with As, but this does not apply at A level. You need to be working your butt off from the start. Doing two or three weeks of revision before the exam will not be enough.


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    Even if you're getting A's throughout the year in mocks, don't slack. The actual exam can be complete nonsense!

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    I wish I had known what I wanted to do as a career before AS levels.

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    If you want to do a vocational degree at uni (nursing teaching medicine etc) make sure you are doing work experience in whatever field you want to go into from the start of as levels. It will look much better on your UCAS application than if you start later on
    Also...you literally have NO TIME TO WASTE this year it goes so fast
    Also...if you do any ISA's try REALLY hard in the first ones as they are usually the easiest and your ISA's can make your grade at the end bump up a bit
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    Don't panic before every single results sheet/mark that you get - it is pointless, and it is already too late.
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    Make sure you know your exam boards and if they're notorious for being difficult. I also wish I knew what kind of job I wanted before I picked my subjects.
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    (Original post by Zozoeeee)
    I wish I had known that suicide is legal in Switzerland
    Agreed
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    You should all wish that you had known that if you come to North Korea, you can take our new pill which grants you 100% knowledge of and subject of your choosing for free.
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    the useful
    (Original post by shelikethemango)
    make sure you know your exam boards and if they're notorious for being difficult. I also wish i knew what kind of job i wanted before i picked my subjects.
    (Original post by rachelthehuman)
    you may have been able to breeze through gcses without putting in too much work while ending up with as, but this does not apply at a level. You need to be working your butt off from the start. Doing two or three weeks of revision before the exam will not be enough.
    (Original post by thatperson2)
    don't panic before every single results sheet/mark that you get - it is pointless, and it is already too late.
    (Original post by black321)
    if you want to do a vocational degree at uni (nursing teaching medicine etc) make sure you are doing work experience in whatever field you want to go into from the start of as levels. It will look much better on your ucas application than if you start later on
    also...you literally have no time to waste this year it goes so fast
    also...if you do any isa's try really hard in the first ones as they are usually the easiest and your isa's can make your grade at the end bump up a bit
    (Original post by ben4)
    i wish i had known what i wanted to do as a career before as levels.

    (Original post by angelcake123)
    even if you're getting a's throughout the year in mocks, don't slack. The actual exam can be complete nonsense!
    the amusing
    (Original post by lord kim)
    you should all wish that you had known that if you come to north korea, you can take our new pill which grants you 100% knowledge of and subject of your choosing for free.
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    RS is a massive waste of time
    Psychology A level is a massive waste of time
    You'll only do well in English if you identify as a self righteous, pompous piece of work. Oh, and if your teacher likes to pick favourites, GG.
    If you don't like the Romance genre, don't pick English. Learnt that way too late, seriously.
    Read. The. Freaking. Markschemes.
    Its never too early to start work experience (yeap, my dreams of becoming a vet went down the drain)
    Getting a C grade on a Mock paper 3 months before your actual exam is totally normal
    Don't bother with people who love to stir up drama. Unless someone is 3 inches away from your face asking for a fist fight, ignore them. You have more important things to be worrying about, like your grades. Believe me when I say you won't even remember their last name (or their first. Or their faces. Or the fact that they even existed...) 3 months into Uni.
    Make friends with smart people. Eventually they'll guilt trip you into scoring better in your tests and doing your homework (Pro tip for Uni students too)

    (Original post by yasmin#2)
    that you should do subjects you like not ones you get A*s at gcse in
    I'd wager the opposite, almost. I liked English, but I wasn't too good at it (A/B border at GSCE) Whereas I absolutely loathed Maths, but I was good at the exams. Guess which one I almost failed, and which one got me an A at A Levels?
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    (Original post by Another)
    RS is a massive waste of time
    Psychology A level is a massive waste of time
    You'll only do well in English if you identify as a self righteous, pompous piece of work. Oh, and if your teacher likes to pick favourites, GG.
    If you don't like the Romance genre, don't pick English. Learnt that way too late, seriously.
    Read. The. Freaking. Markschemes.
    Its never too early to start work experience (yeap, my dreams of becoming a vet went down the drain)
    Getting a C grade on a Mock paper 3 months before your actual exam is totally normal
    Don't bother with people who love to stir up drama. Unless someone is 3 inches away from your face asking for a fist fight, ignore them. You have more important things to be worrying about, like your grades. Believe me when I say you won't even remember their last name (or their first. Or their faces. Or the fact that they even existed...) 3 months into Uni.
    Make friends with smart people. Eventually they'll guilt trip you into scoring better in your tests and doing your homework (Pro tip for Uni students too)



    I'd wager the opposite, almost. I liked English, but I wasn't too good at it (A/B border at GSCE) Whereas I absolutely loathed Maths, but I was good at the exams. Guess which one I almost failed, and which one got me an A at A Levels?
    I guess its not the case for some, but in my situation I did maths AS as an extra just because i got an A* in it - i am not naturally good at maths at all :L
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    (Original post by yasmin#2)
    that you should do subjects you like not ones you get A*s at gcse in
    This
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    (Original post by Another)
    You'll only do well in English if you identify as a self righteous, pompous piece of work. Oh, and if your teacher likes to pick favourites, GG.
    I did well in English.....now I feel awful...

    My personal advice is avoid A level Fine Art. It's not a good way to study it because the marking is so strict and doesn't allow for much creativity. I've heard so many others saying that it honestly ruined art as a subject for them. You end up hating your project by the end of the unit but if you're anything like me you'll put a lot of effort into it regardless. Then you'll get D's and C's because as hard as you're trying, you're not doing art in the way they want you to. I'd encourage students who want to do art as a career path to try and take a BTECH, I've heard great things about it and it's meant to be much less stressful. If you want to take something artistic as just an afterthought, take Graphics instead. It appears to be less difficult and restrictive.

    TL;DR The Fine Art A level is bs. Don't do it unless you're masochistic.
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    I wish I had known that Further Maths is no joke.
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    That AS grades are just as important as A2 grades... They're reforming the A-levels though, so maybe this doesn't apply
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    Knowing all the possible courses that I may consider applying for at uni. In particular for Economics, having further maths makes your application a lot stronger, something I didn't find out till now which means I can't apply for my ideal course.
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    I would've never in a million years picked biology man my teacher was so boring the lessons I just sat their day dreaming I ended up self teaching most of the course I spent so much time revising for bio I came out with a E and I should've listend when teachers said pick subjects you enjoy the only As I enjoyed was history and i barley revised for it I got a B. I also started As with a negative attitude scared of failing which I ended up doing. The subjects I picked was so hard and time consuming Maths E Chem D and Bio E am now starting As again doing subjects I enjoy History Politics Geo and business my biggest advice is do subjects you enjoy because a levels are already had enough you just make it worse if you dont enjoy what your learning and just be positive I wasn't even disappointed on results day because I knew if I carried on with bio god forbid I would just be miserable and fail A2
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    Regardless of how much effort is put in all year and how able of a student you are, a dodgy examiner can truly ruin your life! (Perhaps slightly dramatic, but when I saw a bizarre B grade in my best subject of English Literature it felt like it).

    Also I second the post that said do not take Fine Art. Although, whilst it has not put me off art as such (rather leaning me more towards contemporary art out of frustration) it is a toxic course that requires more effort and time than other subjects with little reward. You have to get 78/80 on both units for an A* or 77 for an A. One mark. I won't even get started on the element of subjectivity in the marking and the strict assessment whereby genuine creativity is suppressed for just another vapid technical portrait.

    I wish I had known how tediously boring the Psychology syllabus at parts, although this is mostly because the pressure of A Levels means you cannot delve into your subject to understand it entirely but instead you must just remember set answers for over 100 case studies. Don't you just love an education system that discourages learning in place for a marvellous memory test?!

    Also, to end on a more positive note - I wish I would have known how much I enjoy A Level History. By far my most interesting course, partly due to a beyond inspiring teacher, but also feels very relevant and is one of my few subjects that I can see the practical application within society. Highly recommend any arts / humanities students to take it. It's a lot of hard work though.

    I got A*AAAB for AS so I've done okay despite individual frustrations. But it just feels somewhat infuriating that a lot of energy is invested into a flawed system. I would suggest any future AS student to not get too sucked up into it. Balance is important. I was perhaps too absorbed in my studies - they can be possessive at times.
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    I got 4As, 4Bs and a C for my AS exams. I studied straight from the textbook for Biology and got a 128 for Unit 2. A friend of mine studied and learned from answer schemes of past year papers and got a 135. Don't rely on your textbooks too much. Remember to ask your teacher questions, if you're afraid to approach them to ask, you can always drop them an email. Study a little every day. Don't procrastinate. Do your notes once the teacher is done with that topic. I made a HUGE mistake cramming the last minute - I didn't have enough time to fully understand the concepts.

    I took 4 subjects at AS Level - Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Math. Physics was my Achilles Heel. I was averaging at a C for both Units 1 and 2 during the school year but ended up with Bs for Units 1 and 2. I spent more time on Physics, neglecting the other subjects. I'm afraid I could have done better if I hadn't taken Physics at AS. Sometimes taking 3 and securing 3As or A*s is better than taking 4 and getting As and Bs.

    Statistics is all about practice. I wish I knew this from the start. I landed myself with a C in Stats, which I'm planning to re-sit in January 2016. Just keep practicing. I didn't do enough to practice for Stats, I focused more on C1 and C2. It was only at the last minute did I realise that the questions that come out for Stats are repetitive. Practice makes perfect.

    All the best! x
 
 
 

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