sixth form advice

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i am taking Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Chemistry at A Level and when I start I want to be organised and ready so I need some general advice with revision and best ways to deal with these subjects.
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Nice choices! I took maths, chemistry, biology and physics so no further maths, but I imagine revising for it is the same as revising for maths.

First of all, physicsandmathstutor is a great website for all your subjects- you can find notes, past papers, grade boundaries etc.

I recommend trying to stay at least slightly ahead in every subject - even if you just read a spread ahead of your class, it really does help. Stay on top of your notes, make sure that you either write them during the lesson or as soon as you get home/after school. You really don't want to put them off (trust me it just builds up and you end up more stressed ). If you have any free periods, use them wisely! Don't go home and watch your favourite show on Netflix! Use them to do homework/read ahead/make notes. Also try not to leave your homework until the night before. That being said, you also don't need to do it as soon as you get it! Make sure you understand the topic on which the homework is based before you attempt it to avoid unnecessary stress. I usually first made notes on that particular topic, then watched videos and only attempted my homework once I felt I understood the topic well.

For the sciences, the thing that worked for me was to read my textbook + revision guide, make notes - try not to write out the whole textbook or you can't realistically use them as revision! I'd then watch relevant videos (for chemistry MaChemGuy is great, for biology Dr Bhavsar - but there are many videos on YouTube so just find the ones that work for you!) - it's great if you can do this BEFORE your lesson, but you don't need to. Once I finished a whole module, I'd type up notes based on the specification. So I'd just copy the relevant specification point and then write notes below it - try to do this without looking at your notes/textbook - if you forget anything you can always add it later, and it's a good way of checking whether you've actually learnt anything!

For maths, the only thing you can really do is watch ExamSolutions videos (I watched them on x2 speed to avoid falling asleep) and then do lots of past papers. The textbook exercises are good too, but if you do only those you won't get higher than a D. If you get anything wrong, and you don't understand the mark scheme then watch how the ExamSolutions guy does it (if you're with Edexcel..).

Past papers are your friend! Do as many as you possibly can- in exam conditions! Then mark them, read the examiner report and note any topics that you did particularly bad in - go over those again (watch videos/re-read or even re-write your notes/ask your teacher(s) for help). Whatever you do, don't just leave them and hope for the best! You won't magically wake up one morning and understand it, and if you choose to do nothing it'll just come back to haunt you later (trust me on this....). If they work for you, flashcards are great for exam questions you get wrong - particularly for biology which is very content heavy... I had an excel spreadsheet with each paper that I did. I put my mark, and which questions I got wrong (even if I only lost 1 mark), once I was done with every paper there was I did the ones I didn't do particularly well in AGAIN and then rewrote my notes for anything I got wrong a second time. For example, if I previously got question 6b wrong and when I redid the paper I got it wrong again, I'd effectively re-learn the whole topic again (unless it was a 'suggest' question in which case I'd just leave it).

Ensure you understand each topic well! So well that you could teach it to someone else. Exam questions are based on knowledge application rather than simple recall most of the time (which is very different from GCSEs and it's something that puts people off). Good luck!
That bloke 2016
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Report 5 years ago
(Original post by danielle0101)
i am taking Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Chemistry at A Level and when I start I want to be organised and ready so I need some general advice with revision and best ways to deal with these subjects.
I did most of these at AS and am taking bio and chem at A2 so I'll try and help by suggesting the stuff that I have and should have done in each topic.

Maths/Further Maths:
The main idea here is to practice questions and do past papers starting from October through to July during 1/4 of your frees per week, preferably before maths lessons as you stay stuck in the mathematical mindset for quite some time.
You should aim to do every paper for your board at least twice, starting from 2004 if you can and up to the 2016 paper. Most of the papers are online but 2016's won't be available to you for most of the year so ask for a copy from your teacher. The Examiner's reports are super helpful and a bit comedic too.
AQA's papers here.

In short Maths Pure Core 1 (MPC1) is non-calculator and has a lot of similarities to stuff you did at GCSE (higher nat. if your scottish): There are surds, fractional and negative powers, linear equations for example "find the midpoint" or "give y = mx + c" types. This makes it LOOK easier than it is and when it comes to exam time expect brutality from the exam writers.

Core 2 is calculator and more about trigonometry and new formulae than MPC1, there are also a lot of pitfalls that you can fall into so if your calculator throws an error or your answer seems like it's wrong, debug it starting from the last line then going to the first line and checking each evaluation for a syntax or human error. Oh and don't be afraid to enter basic sums into the calculator as many people have made mistakes like "2+2=5" in exams.It will help if you learn every C2 formula before the exam.

Furher Pure (FP) has some interesting concepts like imaginary numbers to wrap your head around but is considered easier than core 1 in the exam so learn it, do the papers and try and explain it to yourself and others verbally (just make sure no-one else is listening).

Welcome to the house of pain, this subject is not for the weak so expect to see people struggle a lot. Essentially chemistry is separated into Organic and Inorganic and as with all sciences, allows use of a calculator.

Inorganic is mathematical and at an atomic level for the most part, concepts from GCSE are abundant here and are done in greater detail (many lies will be corrected) and the practicals will be both memorable and enjoyable. The calculations, mass spectrometry and terminology are the focus points here, so be prepared to write out notes and draw mind maps in the run up to the mock exams and the real thing. Ions are a big part too but will be learnt easily.

Organic is ,mainly about Art and Fire. In other words, prepare to be drawing 2D and 3D molecules and mechanisms (mechanisms are special reactions with carbon-based compounds and something else) as well as interpreting previously seen mass spectrometry graphs. Generally, learn the functional groups, use the past papers and their mark schemes and continuously go over the more complex parts of the specification according to your strengths and weaknesses.

By far the easiest of the three subjects, It's all about knowledge and application. Everything in bio can come up on both exams or either one. You should firstly try and make a detailed glossary, starting from September and until you hit the end of the AS content. A good idea is to read ahead of everyone else during your frees and even to a higher level than them in places. For instance, you should remember that for everything you are taught, someone or some group discovered or conceived it first then wrote a paper about it. Find that paper if you can and read it, it's not necessary but it can help make links between topics and subjects as well as further your understanding. the JBC, my preferred publisher of papers. Notes, diagrams and reading alone can get you a good grade in biology.


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