Why am I underachieving in my A Levels?

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Azzer11
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When everyone said that A Levels are a BIG step up from GCSEs I took it with a pinch of salt but boy was I wrong to do so! I have never worked so hard in my life but I'm constantly getting C's and D's or B's if I'm lucky. My GCSEs were mostly A*s but I don't know what I'm doing wrong, the exams seem much,much,much harder and the content involves so much thought and time to get your head around. What am I doing wrong? By the way I'm taking Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French.
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29Bilal96
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It was always going to be a big step up, but work hard and hopefully see the difference. I really struggled at the start of year 12, especially with FM, but working with my teachers helped me to improve on my weaknesses. Maybe try and change your revision technique though, because I know that for GCSE you can pretty much get by just by memorising the mark schemes and stuff.
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TajwarC
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Exam technique - learning the content is only the first step, you need to practice writing out answers to exam questions by doing past papers and learning what the mark schemes say
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Gaiaphage
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I don't do A level French but many of my friends did, and I've heard it's basically a different subject compared to GCSE. Even the similar bits are much harder.
In terms of the other three subjects, I do them currently and I didn't find them much of a step up. AS Maths shouldn't be a problem to anyone who got an A* at GCSE (A2 is where the big step up is), and Biology is basically the same but different/more advanced topics.

Chemistry was a bit of a strange one - initially I was getting Cs, Ds etc and even in my AS mock I got a C. However, during the final weeks it all seemed to click together and doing past papers helped incredibly - ended up with 96% avg and now doing A2.

Top tip - do past papers as much as you can and learn markschemes. Make sure you leave lots for closer to the exam, but if you know what they're looking for you can boost your grades fairly easily. Other than that, just make sure you understand EVERYTHING about a topic before you move on - if this requires going to help desks then do it!
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Affection
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(Original post by Azzer11)
When everyone said that A Levels are a BIG step up from GCSEs I took it with a pinch of salt but boy was I wrong to do so! I have never worked so hard in my life but I'm constantly getting C's and D's or B's if I'm lucky. My GCSEs were mostly A*s but I don't know what I'm doing wrong, the exams seem much,much,much harder and the content involves so much thought and time to get your head around. What am I doing wrong? By the way I'm taking Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French.
I feel you, it's the exact same for me :s what i've been told is to spend at least an hour everyday on a topic for instance: Biology on a monday, chem on tuesday etc. I don't know if this will benefit you, especially since I don't do the same courses as you however it should help. Ah! and past papers. Even if you haven't covered the content, try attempting one - and write, rewrite notes continuously.
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Azzer11
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(Original post by Gaiaphage)
I don't do A level French but many of my friends did, and I've heard it's basically a different subject compared to GCSE. Even the similar bits are much harder.
In terms of the other three subjects, I do them currently and I didn't find them much of a step up. AS Maths shouldn't be a problem to anyone who got an A* at GCSE (A2 is where the big step up is), and Biology is basically the same but different/more advanced topics.

Chemistry was a bit of a strange one - initially I was getting Cs, Ds etc and even in my AS mock I got a C. However, during the final weeks it all seemed to click together and doing past papers helped incredibly - ended up with 96% avg and now doing A2.

Top tip - do past papers as much as you can and learn markschemes. Make sure you leave lots for closer to the exam, but if you know what they're looking for you can boost your grades fairly easily. Other than that, just make sure you understand EVERYTHING about a topic before you move on - if this requires going to help desks then do it!
I agree, Chemistry was my best subject at GCSE but now I find it the hardest. You're right Maths so far is probably the most similar to GCSE and is probably the only exception in my poor performances in subjects so far.
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scrawlx101
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any advice for me im struggling in economics(section B involving evaluation points are hard for me to do) and psychology(not as much but i find it hard to remeber case studies)
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NinjaNicky
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With French- don't panic!! I got an A and GCSE and for most of year 12 I was feeling like dropping it, I failed every mock we did up til January, where I scraped a D, it was horrible. But I ended up with an A overall, you just have to keep working at it, repetition and determination and you'll get there!!

I can't speak for the other subjects, but just keep working and you'll get it eventually!
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Tylerrrrr
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(Original post by scrawlx101)
any advice for me im struggling in economics(section B involving evaluation points are hard for me to do) and psychology(not as much but i find it hard to remeber case studies)
For case studies, try writing them out on flash cards to see if that works for you, test yourself
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inachigeek21
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What do you learn in chemistry at AS anyway?
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Gaiaphage
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(Original post by inachigeek21)
What do you learn in chemistry at AS anyway?
Organic chemistry is a main part that's not covered in GCSE - see http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/scien...ubject-content
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loperdoper
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A) Don't panic. This is normal. Most importantly, you still have time to turn it around (indeed, even if you had said this in April my point would have remained the same)
B) Past papers are your friend
B) i) I'm not kidding
C) So you don't waste them too early in the year, do past papers two/three times. I felt it really helped me get the content part of answering the question out of the way, and I could actually focus on the question.
I don't know your exam boards but for Maths (OCR MEI), Biology (OCR) and Physics (OCR) for me, the textbooks had exam questions in lying around as examples, which were good to have a crack at.
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BenedikTHyland
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(Original post by inachigeek21)
What do you learn in chemistry at AS anyway?
Well chemistry is important. you need it to apply for MEDICINE. And seeing as thee are no other courses like MEDICINE that;s your answer. I hope you are applying for medicine and want to help others. If not then you are....I cant even say the word because it is so horrible.
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BenedikTHyland
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(Original post by scrawlx101)
any advice for me im struggling in economics(section B involving evaluation points are hard for me to do) and psychology(not as much but i find it hard to remeber case studies)
How about you don't do psychology. That subject has the lowest employment rate after graduation. Medicine is what you should be aiming for. We all laugh at psychology at our school. I mean cmon who would take THAT.
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mollyvet
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(Original post by Azzer11)
When everyone said that A Levels are a BIG step up from GCSEs I took it with a pinch of salt but boy was I wrong to do so! I have never worked so hard in my life but I'm constantly getting C's and D's or B's if I'm lucky. My GCSEs were mostly A*s but I don't know what I'm doing wrong, the exams seem much,much,much harder and the content involves so much thought and time to get your head around. What am I doing wrong? By the way I'm taking Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French.
Chemistry was the killer for me last year - I agree with people's comments about organic, it's something none of us had done before, and even the non-organic was really hard. My advice is do as many past papers/past questions as you can get your hands on, learn mark scheme answers, constantly be reviewing your work/notes, listen as hard as you can etc. but it's all about exam technique.
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plasmaman
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(Original post by Azzer11)
When everyone said that A Levels are a BIG step up from GCSEs I took it with a pinch of salt but boy was I wrong to do so! I have never worked so hard in my life but I'm constantly getting C's and D's or B's if I'm lucky. My GCSEs were mostly A*s but I don't know what I'm doing wrong, the exams seem much,much,much harder and the content involves so much thought and time to get your head around. What am I doing wrong? By the way I'm taking Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French.
At GCSE I only got 2 A*'s and at AS came out with ABBB. If you scored mainly A*'s , you have it in you, and with hard work could achieve, AAAA.
You'll be fine.
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Aralioideae
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I took chemistry at AS and it was the hardest course I've ever taken even though up until then I'd always been really good at it. I ended up getting a D (and a lot of other people did too) but I'm not surprised because I didnt do enough work on it even though I knew I needed to.


It is quite a big step up so you're probably not doing anything wrong. Just keep working hard and if you're still not doing as well as you want maybe see a teacher about some extra help.
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Mimir
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I've said ever since I did my AS Levels a million and one years ago, that it was the hardest transition I had to do. GCSE to AS is such a strange jump - the marking is different, emphasis impossible to guess, and almost nobody seems to be able to articulate it as you go along in the first term.

I got an E in my first Biology AS module, then resat it in the summer and got what would now be an A*. Just took me that long to get used to the standard required.

Don't worry. It's trial and error, you'll pick it up yourself eventually, although what is worth A* at GCSE would now pass barely a C at AS level. I don't agree for a moment that examinations are 'getting easier' so they're still tough. Give it all you've got!
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Mimir
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(Original post by BenedikTHyland)
Well chemistry is important. you need it to apply for MEDICINE. And seeing as thee are no other courses like MEDICINE that;s your answer. I hope you are applying for medicine and want to help others. If not then you are....I cant even say the word because it is so horrible.
*Medicine. You don't need to shout.

Different institutions may not require Chemistry, they may specify Biology plus two more 'academically rigorous' subjects. There were people on my course at Manchester who didn't study Chemistry for A Level and they made it through application and selection fine.

It pays to check each prospectus with a fine tooth comb.

There are plenty courses like Medicine, granted they aren't as long, but a BSc in a Life Science or Medical Science related subject can easily lead to Medicine in the future, and negate the need for Chemistry completely, as there is usually a Foundation or Further Chemistry module in the first semester of these BSc courses.

Reading back at your post, are you trolling?
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Shadoo
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(Original post by BenedikTHyland)
How about you don't do psychology. That subject has the lowest employment rate after graduation. Medicine is what you should be aiming for. We all laugh at psychology at our school. I mean cmon who would take THAT.
Would rep but no rep :/
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