_emilyyy
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What advice would you give to upcoming year 12's, in particular to those taking essay based subjects? Whether it be revision tips, organisation tips or anything else, any advice would be appreciated!
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emiloujess
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(Original post by _emilyyy)
What advice would you give to upcoming year 12's, in particular to those taking essay based subjects? Whether it be revision tips, organisation tips or anything else, any advice would be appreciated!
Ok I think there's already a thread like this but here goes!
1) Don't assume that A-Levels are like GCSEs - you won't be able to breeze through them.
2) Start making revision resources very early and start actual revision before Easter.
3) Work as hard as you can. Some people will tell you that if you don't bother too much in year 12 everything can be fixed in year 13. It can't, because you end up with rubbish predicted grades and teachers that have no confidence in you.
4) Do lots of practice papers, especially for essay subjects where the questions can be difficult to interpret. If you can't do the full paper just plan out the questions.
5) Write up notes in neat and keep folders very organised. Maybe keep your revision notes at the front.
6) This may sound silly, but don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help - if you're struggling with something don't keep quiet about it.

Hope this helps. This is coming from someone who has actually made most of these mistakes and had to repeat year 12 as a result.
Just out of interest though, what subjects are you planning to do?
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_emilyyy
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(Original post by emiloujess)
Ok I think there's already a thread like this but here goes!
1) Don't assume that A-Levels are like GCSEs - you won't be able to breeze through them.
2) Start making revision resources very early and start actual revision before Easter.
3) Work as hard as you can. Some people will tell you that if you don't bother too much in year 12 everything can be fixed in year 13. It can't, because you end up with rubbish predicted grades and teachers that have no confidence in you.
4) Do lots of practice papers, especially for essay subjects where the questions can be difficult to interpret. If you can't do the full paper just plan out the questions.
5) Write up notes in neat and keep folders very organised. Maybe keep your revision notes at the front.
6) This may sound silly, but don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help - if you're struggling with something don't keep quiet about it.

Hope this helps. This is coming from someone who has actually made most of these mistakes and had to repeat year 12 as a result.
Just out of interest though, what subjects are you planning to do?
Thank you so much, yes I think there are quite a few similar threads but I couldn't find any specifically based around essay subjects (although I'm sure there are some). I'm planning on taking English lit, history, philosophy and politics although this may change! What subjects did you take?
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emiloujess
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(Original post by _emilyyy)
Thank you so much, yes I think there are quite a few similar threads but I couldn't find any specifically based around essay subjects (although I'm sure there are some). I'm planning on taking English lit, history, philosophy and politics although this may change! What subjects did you take?
Last year I took Bio, Chem, Maths and Psychology (big, big mistake, completely the wrong subjects for me!) This year I took Psychology, Sociology and Film Studies I wish my college did Politics
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HeronRainwater
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In AS year I did English Lit, History, Politics, and French, and I dropped History going into A2 year.

I'd say definitely keep on top of the reading and try to keep your notes organised (especially for something like politics). Colour-coding really helped me. I'd suggest you do extra reading where possible as well so you can throw in extra information when it comes to the exam. As for practising exam questions, I went through past papers and planned answers to just about every question that was relevant to me.

Another tip: timed paragraphs. My Politics teacher would get us to write 15 mark short answer essays and after four minutes she'd tell us to move onto the next paragraph. Learning how to write well quickly is one of the most important things in essay-based A-Levels.

Good luck with it!
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_emilyyy
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(Original post by emiloujess)
Last year I took Bio, Chem, Maths and Psychology (big, big mistake, completely the wrong subjects for me!) This year I took Psychology, Sociology and Film Studies I wish my college did Politics
Ah I'd never be able to take maths or sciences!! Yes politics seems really interesting, I'm so glad it's on offer
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emiloujess
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(Original post by _emilyyy)
Ah I'd never be able to take maths or sciences!! Yes politics seems really interesting, I'm so glad it's on offer
They definitely weren't the right subjects And I am so so jealous of you!
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as421
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always always always ask questions if you're unsure. don't be afraid of looking stupid because most likely, someone else probably has the same question in mind too 😁
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_emilyyy
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(Original post by HeronRainwater)
In AS year I did English Lit, History, Politics, and French, and I dropped History going into A2 year.

I'd say definitely keep on top of the reading and try to keep your notes organised (especially for something like politics). Colour-coding really helped me. I'd suggest you do extra reading where possible as well so you can throw in extra information when it comes to the exam. As for practising exam questions, I went through past papers and planned answers to just about every question that was relevant to me.

Another tip: timed paragraphs. My Politics teacher would get us to write 15 mark short answer essays and after four minutes she'd tell us to move onto the next paragraph. Learning how to write well quickly is one of the most important things in essay-based A-Levels.

Good luck with it!
Thank you! I'm trying to get as much advice as possible before September Almost the exact same subjects as me! Apart from French obviously haha, are there any books you would recommend for politics or history? I will probably be studying different topics but want to get some wider reading done, so any recommendations would help!
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_emilyyy
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(Original post by emiloujess)
They definitely weren't the right subjects And I am so so jealous of you!
How do you find psychology? I've heard its really challenging!
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_emilyyy
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(Original post by as421)
always always always ask questions if you're unsure. don't be afraid of looking stupid because most likely, someone else probably has the same question in mind too 😁
Thanks for the tip
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emiloujess
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(Original post by _emilyyy)
How do you find psychology? I've heard its really challenging!
It is, but I really enjoy it because it will be useful whatever career I go into and it was originally what I wanted to do at uni, hence why I repeated it again.
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smegsxo
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1) Don't waste year 12. Not everything can be fixed if you do badly as you get bad predicted grades, AS really does matter.
2) Frees are not free. By all means have a few that you use to relax, but by doing work in some you'll be so much more relaxed.
3) Start revision around January/February and by Easter at the latest.
4) Don't be afraid to ask teachers for help, I was most of the time and it was a huge mistake.
5) Do loads of past papers and (if doing essay subjects) essays to hand in to your teacher (or mark yourself) to get a feel for papers and mark schemes. My Sociology teacher absolutely loved when I gave him extra essays to mark (bit strange haha) but it certainly helps.
6) Read examiners reports! They are basically free, written materials by the people who are likely to be marking your papers telling you what they want to see/hear from you.
7) Print off specifications and mark them as you go along showing what you've covered.
8) Do your homework. It's there to help you learn and aid you, so always make the effort to do it (unless there are genuine reasons you can't).
9) Start making revision materials early. Some of my favourites are notes, pre-made packs (thanks teachers!) and flash cards. I hated flash cards at first but they are so so helpful, but time consuming to make so start early. Other examples are videos, mind maps and more. (P.S. panic maps can be useful if you like mind maps, they're a thing my sociology teacher told us about where you write the main topic, surrounded by sub-topics and then key info for each, so that when you panic in the exam you can remember the sheet and hopefully have something useful on there).
10) For essay based subjects I would honestly say, learn the content, but practice practice practice your exam technique too!
11) Folders. At our school we have to have on big "every day" folder that we keep about 3/4 weeks worth of work in and then subject folders at home we put subject work in. Really helps with organisation.
12) Enjoy it. The year goes so much faster than any other academic year I have experienced (and I don't doubt A2 will be even faster) and you will probably meet some amazing people, so whilst putting in your all, be sure to chat to friends and enjoy yourself.

A-Levels are so much harder than GCSE but you don't appreciate being told that until you're deep in them, so work hard from the word go and you will do well! Don't be afraid to speak to teachers if you're struggling, they are there to help you learn and cope with the pressures so do go see them for anything you feel necessary. Also, try to get along with your teachers (I absolutely love 3 of mine so much but 1 of them hated a group of us for not being from her school that was specialist in maths (we were a sister school for humanities) and I ended up skipping so many lessons because she made them torture and I ended up hating the subject) and if you do have any problems with teachers, report them to someone higher in authority, though I doubt you will!

Agree with emiloujess on all of them if I'm honest, think they nailed it really..

If I think of any more I'll add them
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_emilyyy
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(Original post by smegsxo)
1) Don't waste year 12. Not everything can be fixed if you do badly as you get bad predicted grades, AS really does matter.
2) Frees are not free. By all means have a few that you use to relax, but by doing work in some you'll be so much more relaxed.
3) Start revision around January/February and by Easter at the latest.
4) Don't be afraid to ask teachers for help, I was most of the time and it was a huge mistake.
5) Do loads of past papers and (if doing essay subjects) essays to hand in to your teacher (or mark yourself) to get a feel for papers and mark schemes. My Sociology teacher absolutely loved when I gave him extra essays to mark (bit strange haha) but it certainly helps.
6) Read examiners reports! They are basically free, written materials by the people who are likely to be marking your papers telling you what they want to see/hear from you.
7) Print off specifications and mark them as you go along showing what you've covered.
8) Do your homework. It's there to help you learn and aid you, so always make the effort to do it (unless there are genuine reasons you can't).
9) Start making revision materials early. Some of my favourites are notes, pre-made packs (thanks teachers!) and flash cards. I hated flash cards at first but they are so so helpful, but time consuming to make so start early. Other examples are videos, mind maps and more. (P.S. panic maps can be useful if you like mind maps, they're a thing my sociology teacher told us about where you write the main topic, surrounded by sub-topics and then key info for each, so that when you panic in the exam you can remember the sheet and hopefully have something useful on there).
10) For essay based subjects I would honestly say, learn the content, but practice practice practice your exam technique too!
11) Folders. At our school we have to have on big "every day" folder that we keep about 3/4 weeks worth of work in and then subject folders at home we put subject work in. Really helps with organisation.
12) Enjoy it. The year goes so much faster than any other academic year I have experienced (and I don't doubt A2 will be even faster) and you will probably meet some amazing people, so whilst putting in your all, be sure to chat to friends and enjoy yourself.

A-Levels are so much harder than GCSE but you don't appreciate being told that until you're deep in them, so work hard from the word go and you will do well! Don't be afraid to speak to teachers if you're struggling, they are there to help you learn and cope with the pressures so do go see them for anything you feel necessary. Also, try to get along with your teachers (I absolutely love 3 of mine so much but 1 of them hated a group of us for not being from her school that was specialist in maths (we were a sister school for humanities) and I ended up skipping so many lessons because she made them torture and I ended up hating the subject) and if you do have any problems with teachers, report them to someone higher in authority, though I doubt you will!

Agree with emiloujess on all of them if I'm honest, think they nailed it really..

If I think of any more I'll add them
Thank you so much! I really appreciate all of the advice!
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lizmoo0721
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Make your revision notes as you go along the year, you don't want to be doing them last minute.
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smegsxo
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(Original post by _emilyyy)
Thank you so much! I really appreciate all of the advice!
Not a problem, I just wish I'd listened to the advice I got always willing to help if I can
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HeronRainwater
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(Original post by _emilyyy)
Thank you! I'm trying to get as much advice as possible before September Almost the exact same subjects as me! Apart from French obviously haha, are there any books you would recommend for politics or history? I will probably be studying different topics but want to get some wider reading done, so any recommendations would help!
Do you know what topics you're doing for either, or what exam board you're on? If you Youtube 'AS Politics' you get quite a lot of results, and there's always the CrashCourse videos (they tend to be more US-oriented so they might not be as helpful for UK things, but my A2 year was US Politics so it helped me).

There are also these magazines called "Politics Review" or "History Review" (there's one for just about everything) and they're written by examiners; if you google 'HIstory review Hodder education' you come up with a website that has some articles you can download as word documents for free.

There are some HIstory textbooks that are quite useful if you do Germany and WW2 called "Access to History" by Geoff Layton as well.

I'd also say for Politics to keep up with the news: while I was doing US politics I had the NY Times and Washington Post politics pages set as home pages so I could just have a quick read-through and keep on top of things. Current examples are vital in Politics (something you don't have to worry about with History) so if you can throw into the exam something like "in September 2015, the Conservatives announced this and this and this", it shows that you're doing more than just reading the set textbook.
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Tanqueray91
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Make no regrets! I regretted what I didn't do in Year 12 - biggest mistake!!!! It screwed me for Year 13, and I only realised too late!

Most of all, when you realise you ****ed up and left everything too late, stop thinking about it, and move on - dwelling on the past just makes things worse!
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