How to get A*s at A-level Watch

Iamascientist999
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I just wanted to start this thread for people to give advice about A-Levels and how to get A/A*s. obviously it requires a huge amount of work but I find that aiming for the top grades really gives me a lot of motivation to work hard!

So if anyone has been through A-Levels and achieved good grades or is in the process of completing the qualification (and is doing well) how do you do it? E.g- do you have any specific revision techniques, how long do you/did you spend revising? Just any tips would be greatly appreciated!
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tory88
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For maths, use textbooks and exercises to learn the basic techniques, but then get stuck into past papers. By the time of the exam you should have completed ever past paper available to you and have done at least a few a second time around. When doing a paper, work through the whole thing before checking your answers, then take a break and return to correct anything you got wrong. Rinse and repeat.

For science subjects, make notes out of the textbook as comprehensively as time permits, then do a few past papers. Read through your notes again and note down anything on a sheet of A4 you're still unsure of and read the sheet each night. Keep doing past papers and keep notes of common factual errors you make. With mathematical questions if you get something wrong repeat the question after a short break.
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Ben Kenobi
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It helps being able to obtain information quickly and retain it. Besides that it is just studying and reading over again until you learn, but also understand every topic for your subject. After that you can start doing past papers and studying the mark scheme to see how to gain marks.
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nmanvi
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For Maths i got an A* in a year. it took a lot of independent revision and learning topics wayyyy before your teacher covers it, starting early helped me greatlyyyy in getting an A* .

I did every past paper in existence (including solomon press) and corrected all my errors so i didnt make them again.

So my advice is to be enthusiastic and motivated, start early and do all the past papers
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BethanyJane
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I just did a lot of past papers and independent study! But, don't over do it! When you try too hard and want it too much you can't focus! Just try your best, give yourself a break in between revision. It's best to do a little bit of work each night, over the course of the year...saying that I did not do that..but organise yourself, that's honestly half the battle!
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hali101
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Probably a silly one - choose subjects that you love. It's so much easier to get an A* in a subject that you really enjoy, than in one you have to force yourself to revise for.
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melodyogbebor
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Great advice, just one quick question. Would it be applicable to subjects such as History or Religious Studies?


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kb5462
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I took English, History and Philosophy, got A*AA in the end, which got me into uni, but I missed my predictions.

Immerse yourself in your subjects. Tell your parents over supper about stuff you found interesting/hard/fascinating etc. Stick up Post-it notes above light-switches/on the fridge door etc. with key facts. You spend a fair amount of time in the bathroom each day: make definition sheets (or quote sheets/formula sheets/fact sheets etc.) and laminate them. You can then stick them up on the shower door or on the mirror, and read over them whilst in the shower or brushing your teeth etc.

Basically, surround yourself in your subjects and make them familiar to you. Half the stress of revision is the unknown - it's the "I don't know anything!" panic you have. If you've been making yourself familiar with the information all year round, it is less daunting.

Also, find someone in your class who you're friends with/who's heading for a similar grades, and set up a study system with them. Over the course of the year, photocopy each other's notes, send each other the links to useful websites, share cue cards, test each other etc.

Another really helpful thing is if you do an essay/past paper in class, and you don't do well, get a copy of your study partner's work, so you can see how other people approach the problem, as well as correcting your own work.

I did the above, and it stood me in pretty good stead. But, remember to exercise, eat well, have time off, see friends/family etc. Being able to relax is just as important as spending time revising if you want to do well.
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xMr_BrightSide
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Technique, technique, technique. Can't stress that enough. Was the key for me in Economics; went from an average B at AS to A* at A2 (resit one AS module), almost solely because I learnt the essay technique.

For my other subjects English Lit and R.S, it's more about natural enjoyment of the subject and base knowledge, as well as your essay style.
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melodyogbebor
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(Original post by xMr_BrightSide)
Technique, technique, technique. Can't stress that enough. Was the key for me in Economics; went from an average B at AS to A* at A2 (resit one AS module), almost solely because I learnt the essay technique.

For my other subjects English Lit and R.S, it's more about natural enjoyment of the subject and base knowledge, as well as your essay style.
Absolutely great advice. One thing I do struggle with though is the constant referral back to the question. For example, lets say 'Explain the ethical issues again euthanasia' how would you constantly refer back to the question? Surely, there is only so much you can say.


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1219269
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This is a really good thread, I'd thumb up if I wasn't on phone yeah just bumping


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falling
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(Original post by melodyogbebor)
Great advice, just one quick question. Would it be applicable to subjects such as History or Religious Studies?


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I took RS and I found thinking outside the box a little/applying more philosophical thinking helped me do well. Don't just learn information and regurgitate it, try and come up with your own interpretation of events and put your own spin on things. In my RS course we had a Part B for each essay where we applied the teachings to the world today, so this was kind of where it came in. Be original and work on your writing style and the way you express your ideas.
This is kind of all vague advice, but aside from knowing the content well enough to be able to write a good essay, a good writing style and evidence of original thought can really help. I honestly think this was what helped me get an A*

We were always told in school to write essays as if we were explaining something to an alien who knew absolutely nothing, so don't be afraid to include brief definitions or explanations to show you know what you're talking about.

Essay plans work really well. Plan the essays you write for homework etc. Our teacher was good, in that, at the beginning of the year she helped us structure our first few essays and during revision classes she went through all the past papers and outlined with us what were the key points we would need to include for each of them. If you struggle with knowing what to put in/leave out, talk to your teacher and ask for some guidance. There's nothing worse than having half an essay full of irrelevant background information, or running out of time and not being able to include the key points. I would write out a list of key things to include and structured my paragraphs accordingly. Make sure the essay flows well/there are no paragraphs 'out of place' and that the order makes sense.

Look for patterns in the exam questions. With each topic, what part are the questions focusing on each year/are they similar? For a lot of the RS questions, I found that the same questions were used over and over, just worded differently. Plan essays accordingly- the same essay might answer several past paper questions, just by tweaking a few words. Know your essays well/go over all the essays you've written throughout the year come exam time.

I found knowing my AS content well was a good base for A2. I could make links and comparisons and in general, it was easier to learn and understand the new material when I knew the background context.

Don't learn a few essays off and hope for the best, or go by your teacher's predictions- so many girls in my class got caught out by doing this. There IS a lot of content, but it's fairly easy to learn, so don't try and cut corners.
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xMr_BrightSide
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(Original post by melodyogbebor)
Absolutely great advice. One thing I do struggle with though is the constant referral back to the question. For example, lets say 'Explain the ethical issues again euthanasia' how would you constantly refer back to the question? Surely, there is only so much you can say.


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With a question like that, it becomes a case of weighing up different ethical theories and how they would apply to euthanasia; so utilitarianism, kantian ethics, natural law etc and seeing how they each differ.

When you do that, compare and contrast them throughout the essay, you're hitting the analysis and evaluation marks constantly.
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Muppet Science
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Past papers really. What I did was I went through the textbooks highlighting important points, I then typed out all the important points and put those as my notes - I missed ~ 3 months of classes due to being ill so had a fairly unique experience of A-levels. I then regularly went through the notes memorising the points until I could recall them instantly. At the same time I would go through past papers, paying particular attention to the fussy wording that AQA science papers seem to have. Then I would go through the specification ticking the points I was confident with and putting a '?' next to the ones I was not. After that I would go through all the '?'s and learn those parts until I felt confident to tick those points. That's about it really :

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falling
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(Original post by melodyogbebor)
Absolutely great advice. One thing I do struggle with though is the constant referral back to the question. For example, lets say 'Explain the ethical issues again euthanasia' how would you constantly refer back to the question? Surely, there is only so much you can say.


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For this, I would basically just restate the question at the end of the paragraph with a concluding sentence:
eg. 'Since the bible stresses the sanctity of life, by allowing humans to 'play God', euthanasia clearly raises some ethical issues.' blah blah etccc.
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melodyogbebor
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(Original post by xMr_BrightSide)
With a question like that, it becomes a case of weighing up different ethical theories and how they would apply to euthanasia; so utilitarianism, kantian ethics, natural law etc and seeing how they each differ.

When you do that, compare and contrast them throughout the essay, you're hitting the analysis and evaluation marks constantly.
Absolutely spot on, just what I needed right now, thankyou very much!!




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Extricated
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From someone that got 4A*s :

Past papers.
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Exon
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(Original post by hali101)
Probably a silly one - choose subjects that you love. It's so much easier to get an A* in a subject that you really enjoy, than in one you have to force yourself to revise for.
You'd be surprised at how often you see threads about people resitting AS with new subjects because they hated their old ones, especially after results day.
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Rahul.S
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(Original post by Extricated)
From someone that got 4A*s :

Past papers.
lets not forget the SSS which your hiding from TSR

PAST PAPER BOIIII
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DenzelRyder
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(Original post by Iamascientist999)
I just wanted to start this thread for people to give advice about A-Levels and how to get A/A*s. obviously it requires a huge amount of work but I find that aiming for the top grades really gives me a lot of motivation to work hard!

So if anyone has been through A-Levels and achieved good grades or is in the process of completing the qualification (and is doing well) how do you do it? E.g- do you have any specific revision techniques, how long do you/did you spend revising? Just any tips would be greatly appreciated!
Sorry call me harsh but u need to have the right set of genes preferable autism, need to work ATLEAST 5 hrs a day on top of schoolwork/homework and u need to actually love studying, make sure u understand everything inside out back to back, side to side, make sure u sleep less than 6 hrs a night and with autism that's pretty easy and u should be getting A*s across the board hope that helps thumbs up
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