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A question to people who got A*s at A Level Watch

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    To people who got 1 or more A*s at A Level, how did you do it? As in, what was your study technique and revision technique? What methods did you use to learn the material and what methods did you use to revise it and ensure you had memorised, learned, and understood all of it in depth in order to achieve over 90 UMS in your finals?

    The methods I currently use just don't seem to be working effectively, I make notes, revise the notes, briefly do questions in the textbook and do as many past papers as I can.. but then in the actual exams I feel as though I only get Bs/maybe scrape As, and not high As/A*s (which is what I'm aiming for).

    In case you're wondering, the subjects I'm currently taking are AQA Maths, AQA Physics (new spec) and AQA Computer Science (new spec).
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    It's all to do with revision technique/eating right/knowing more than the content requires you to know etc.

    For £5 I can guarantee your A*, for just 4 hours of your time per subject per week. See my thread:
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=4188941
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    *Bump*
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    First, try and categorize the questions that you'll be asked in the exam, for example, for my university physics exam it's:
    - Definitions (standard definitions, w/ main formula or w/diagram & explanation)
    - Derivations of main formula
    - Calculations
    - Scientific examples (e.g. X-rays or neutrons)

    Second, try and use past paper questions (or other example questions) to form your notes around. For instance if your asked a definition, all related definitions may also be asked, so include them into your notes.

    Third, there's been a recent study that shows that re-reading, re-writing or summarizing notes does basically nothing. The best - most efficient - way to revise is to constantly test yourself with a strong short set of notes that covers all types of questions and every possible conceivable answer. Ways of testing yourself can include: past papers (best one), example questions, flash cards and simply just covering up and repeating your notes (but not simply just re-reading).

    Fourth, use the Pareto principle, which states that (in this particular situation): 80% of questions will be derived from 20% of your knowledge (which in this case is the main foundation of your subject), revise tactically and efficiently and put most of your effort into revising this section, (for instance main formula, definitions and calculations).

    Fifth, try and categorize your notes into a hierarchical order (categories and sub-categories), this can be done either using mind-maps or just bold titles. Categorizing your notes aids memorization and makes it much easier to locate answers or missing knowledge. It will also allow you to find the main parts of the subject in order to follow the Pareto principle (as mentioned in step four).

    Hint (for maths): Maths is mostly calculations, so make sure you write down generic steps for each question you come across.

    Good Luck
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    (Original post by Tarius)
    First, try and categorize the questions that you'll be asked in the exam, for example, for my university physics exam it's:
    - Definitions (standard definitions, w/ main formula or w/diagram & explanation)
    - Derivations of main formula
    - Calculations
    - Scientific examples (e.g. X-rays or neutrons)

    Second, try and use past paper questions (or other example questions) to form your notes around. For instance if your asked a definition, all related definitions may also be asked, so include them into your notes.

    Third, there's been a recent study that shows that re-reading, re-writing or summarizing notes does basically nothing. The best - most efficient - way to revise is to constantly test yourself with a strong short set of notes that covers all types of questions and every possible conceivable answer. Ways of testing yourself can include: past papers (best one), example questions, flash cards and simply just covering up and repeating your notes (but not simply just re-reading).

    Fourth, use the Pareto principle, which states that (in this particular situation): 80% of questions will be derived from 20% of your knowledge (which in this case is the main foundation of your subject), revise tactically and efficiently and put most of your effort into revising this section, (for instance main formula, definitions and calculations).

    Fifth, try and categorize your notes into a hierarchical order (categories and sub-categories), this can be done either using mind-maps or just bold titles. Categorizing your notes aids memorization and makes it much easier to locate answers or missing knowledge. It will also allow you to find the main parts of the subject in order to follow the Pareto principle (as mentioned in step four).

    Hint (for maths): Maths is mostly calculations, so make sure you write down generic steps for each question you come across.

    Good Luck

    Thanks for your response, I'll definitely keep A LOT more organised from this September onwards. To be truthfully honest, I think that organisation was my biggest weakness this year, and I'll definitely make sure I keep organised and use the methods you outlined in order to improve my grades once again, thank you.
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    (Original post by AmarRPM)
    To people who got 1 or more A*s at A Level, how did you do it? As in, what was your study technique and revision technique? What methods did you use to learn the material and what methods did you use to revise it and ensure you had memorised, learned, and understood all of it in depth in order to achieve over 90 UMS in your finals?

    The methods I currently use just don't seem to be working effectively, I make notes, revise the notes, briefly do questions in the textbook and do as many past papers as I can.. but then in the actual exams I feel as though I only get Bs/maybe scrape As, and not high As/A*s (which is what I'm aiming for).

    In case you're wondering, the subjects I'm currently taking are AQA Maths, AQA Physics (new spec) and AQA Computer Science (new spec).
    Bumping this as I'm certainly interested in how people do it!
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    Using study periods and free periods wisely was a big thing for me. That meant I had less/nothing to do when I went home and could relax. Do work little and often throughout the year too so there's less pressure at the end of the year.

    I'll say this though when it comes to the exam, don't panic, learn relaxation techniques, have a good breakfast, lots of sleep. Always choose sleep over those extra couple of hours at night to cram the night before. If you're stuck on a question, take a step back and think to yourself right which specification point does this question relate to and what do I know about this specification point. That's why it's really important to print out your specification for each subject and know answers to the points inside and out. Remember whatever question they ask you in the exam, you will have been equipped with the knowledge to answer it if you know your textbook content well, done past paper questions, listened to teachers. Sometimes it's not obvious straight away what the question is asking you, read it a couple of times again and if you still aren't sure, LEAVE IT AND COME BACK TO IT LATER. Very obvious I know, but it really does work! Looking at sometimes again with a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders
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    I haven't got my results yet I get them in a few days but got high a's at AS for me I like to use the specification learn it completely thoroughly make sure you look at every point if you know the spec you will get marks for all simple questions. To learn it I write a point on the spec on one side of the flash card and past paper mark schemes and the exam board text book to answer them on the back. I also did every past paper and studies every MARKSCHEME that way if anything comes up again you get it right and you know the kind on answers they are looking for. For lots of formulas eg for my chemistry I would mind map / make an A3 poster with all equations for that exam on one page making me panic less as I can see everything I need to know . As for timing I always stayed after school for 2 hours in the library it kept me focuses but then did barley anything at home. Hope this helps


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    (Original post by AmarRPM)
    To people who got 1 or more A*s at A Level, how did you do it? As in, what was your study technique and revision technique? What methods did you use to learn the material and what methods did you use to revise it and ensure you had memorised, learned, and understood all of it in depth in order to achieve over 90 UMS in your finals?

    The methods I currently use just don't seem to be working effectively, I make notes, revise the notes, briefly do questions in the textbook and do as many past papers as I can.. but then in the actual exams I feel as though I only get Bs/maybe scrape As, and not high As/A*s (which is what I'm aiming for).

    In case you're wondering, the subjects I'm currently taking are AQA Maths, AQA Physics (new spec) and AQA Computer Science (new spec).
    Hi, I got 4A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and English Lit, scraping the latter two and easily obtaining the former two. Subject approaches vary so I'll just say what I did for Maths and Physics. Obviously every individual is different, but I guess you are looking for ideas.

    Maths: Notes aren't important and are mainly a waste of time. Maths is all about doing as many questions as you can get your hands on. I would do all the relatively challenging exercises in the textbook (most exercises are repetitive and piss easy, tbh) and I did all the past papers, often multiple times. I also tried to make sure I really understood what was going on; this was aided by the sheer frequency and volume of work I did on maths, as well as actually thinking (often this practice is underrated ) about the various techniques and topics. In addition to push you to that a* understanding, and save you if any tricky papers come round, it can be prudent to look at harder papers like IYGB and AEA (though these are tailored to Edexcel syllabus). Finally, actual exam technique is extremely important, especially with all the super high grade boundaries nowadays. What I would always do was check as I was doing a question; I would always scrutinise each step and make sure that what I was doing was technically accurate and made sense. If I had time I would of course then check at the end, but tended to find no alterations were necessary, and was usually correct as I received 100UMS in 5/6 of my Maths modules including 300 UMS at A2. Do try to be somewhat quick, and not to get too bogged down (this will of course be easier the more practice you have), but don't make the mistake of thinking you can rush through and check everything at the end as you will be most in tune with a question when you are doing it for the first time and more deeply involved with it. If you don't get a question, just move on, and come back, and certainly don't panic.

    Physics: In general, the advice is not too dissimilar. Loads of practice questions, loads of past papers, and think about the content, trying to make sure you really grasp what's going on beyond the superficial level. However here you have more questions that require wordy answers. It's definitely a good idea to write down definitions and, in any case where they are needed, things like the steps in a process or the advantages and disadvantages of one, or anything of that nature which is needed. Personally, I was quite meticulous with what was required of me in this subject as my textbook was a bit poor; I went to the syllabus online, copied it into word, and typed up notes on every single sub point, and looked at each of them and made sure I understood them and understood what was expected of me in regards to them.
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    (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
    Hi, I got 4A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and English Lit, scraping the latter two and easily obtaining the former two. Subject approaches vary so I'll just say what I did for Maths and Physics. Obviously every individual is different, but I guess you are looking for ideas.

    Maths: Notes aren't important and are mainly a waste of time. Maths is all about doing as many questions as you can get your hands on. I would do all the relatively challenging exercises in the textbook (most exercises are repetitive and piss easy, tbh) and I did all the past papers, often multiple times. I also tried to make sure I really understood what was going on; this was aided by the sheer frequency and volume of work I did on maths, as well as actually thinking (often this practice is underrated ) about the various techniques and topics. In addition to push you to that a* understanding, and save you if any tricky papers come round, it can be prudent to look at harder papers like IYGB and AEA (though these are tailored to Edexcel syllabus). Finally, actual exam technique is extremely important, especially with all the super high grade boundaries nowadays. What I would always do was check as I was doing a question; I would always scrutinise each step and make sure that what I was doing was technically accurate and made sense. If I had time I would of course then check at the end, but tended to find no alterations were necessary, and was usually correct as I received 100UMS in 5/6 of my Maths modules including 300 UMS at A2. Do try to be somewhat quick, and not to get too bogged down (this will of course be easier the more practice you have), but don't make the mistake of thinking you can rush through and check everything at the end as you will be most in tune with a question when you are doing it for the first time and more deeply involved with it. If you don't get a question, just move on, and come back, and certainly don't panic.

    Physics: In general, the advice is not too dissimilar. Loads of practice questions, loads of past papers, and think about the content, trying to make sure you really grasp what's going on beyond the superficial level. However here you have more questions that require wordy answers. It's definitely a good idea to write down definitions and, in any case where they are needed, things like the steps in a process or the advantages and disadvantages of one, or anything of that nature which is needed. Personally, I was quite meticulous with what was required of me in this subject as my textbook was a bit poor; I went to the syllabus online, copied it into word, and typed up notes on every single sub point, and looked at each of them and made sure I understood them and understood what was expected of me in regards to them.
    But why did you get a 95/100 for your FP3? That's an anomaly compared to your other Maths modules.
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    (Original post by ColossalAtom)
    But why did you get a 95/100 for your FP3? That's an anomaly compared to your other Maths modules.
    It was a hard exam and I went short on time
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    (Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
    Hi, I got 4A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and English Lit, scraping the latter two and easily obtaining the former two. Subject approaches vary so I'll just say what I did for Maths and Physics. Obviously every individual is different, but I guess you are looking for ideas.

    Maths: Notes aren't important and are mainly a waste of time. Maths is all about doing as many questions as you can get your hands on. I would do all the relatively challenging exercises in the textbook (most exercises are repetitive and piss easy, tbh) and I did all the past papers, often multiple times. I also tried to make sure I really understood what was going on; this was aided by the sheer frequency and volume of work I did on maths, as well as actually thinking (often this practice is underrated ) about the various techniques and topics. In addition to push you to that a* understanding, and save you if any tricky papers come round, it can be prudent to look at harder papers like IYGB and AEA (though these are tailored to Edexcel syllabus). Finally, actual exam technique is extremely important, especially with all the super high grade boundaries nowadays. What I would always do was check as I was doing a question; I would always scrutinise each step and make sure that what I was doing was technically accurate and made sense. If I had time I would of course then check at the end, but tended to find no alterations were necessary, and was usually correct as I received 100UMS in 5/6 of my Maths modules including 300 UMS at A2. Do try to be somewhat quick, and not to get too bogged down (this will of course be easier the more practice you have), but don't make the mistake of thinking you can rush through and check everything at the end as you will be most in tune with a question when you are doing it for the first time and more deeply involved with it. If you don't get a question, just move on, and come back, and certainly don't panic.

    Physics: In general, the advice is not too dissimilar. Loads of practice questions, loads of past papers, and think about the content, trying to make sure you really grasp what's going on beyond the superficial level. However here you have more questions that require wordy answers. It's definitely a good idea to write down definitions and, in any case where they are needed, things like the steps in a process or the advantages and disadvantages of one, or anything of that nature which is needed. Personally, I was quite meticulous with what was required of me in this subject as my textbook was a bit poor; I went to the syllabus online, copied it into word, and typed up notes on every single sub point, and looked at each of them and made sure I understood them and understood what was expected of me in regards to them.
    Thanks for this detailed response, I'll definitely use this advice for A2 in order to be more productive with my revision. +Repped
 
 
 
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