I am starting a 'grow your grades' topic to set myself targets and hopefully do well in my A level exams this year. I am planning on studying International Relations and Politics at University...
This year I am studying Politics, English Literature and History.
English Literature: C
I was quite happy with my grades last year but, I decided to drop Photography to focus on and improve my grades in my other subjects.
These are the Universities I have applied to and my offers:
I am currently deciding which to firm and insurance
Sussex: AAA/ABB if firm
MOCK EXAM RESULTS:
I'll try and keep you updated on my progress, revision techniques and that kind of stuff...
Try and set yourself targets for revision each day. Currently I'm attempting to revise an hour for each subject everyday, totaling 3 hours of revision per day and 21 hours a week outside lesson time. Before starting each revision sessionset yourself certain goals of what you would like to achieve. Preferably set yourself these goals the night before and then you will know what to pack if you are revising at your school or college and you will not spend any of your free periods or designated time procrastinating . Think about what topics you haven't studied or revised in a while and refresh them with new and summarised notes. Or perhaps you could consolidate what you have recently learned into a new format so that you are sure you understand the key concepts.
For Literature you can look at a specific poem and pick out the languagetechniques, structure and atmosphere. Create a small summary of the poem which will refreshyour memory when you come back to it later in the year.
ForHistory you can look at a specific subtopic of your course and pick out key dates andfacts that will be helpful. Look at previous exam style questions or make up your own and plan out the arguments on either side of the debate. Alternatively, look at the entire topic as a whole and create a timeline, look at key ideas and themes that crop up, how have things progressed or even regressed over the time period?
For Politics pick out key concepts and ideas in the topics you have learned, applying recent examples from the country you have studied. Look at past exam papers and weigh up arguments on either side of the debate.
Once your revision for the day is complete look over what you have achieved. Did you struggle to achieve your goals or did you find it too easy? Did you have enough time to complete your tasks? Based upon the answers of the previous questions you can come up with new targets for the following day.
To check your understanding of certain topics and find out what your weaknesses are you should test yourself. There are a number of ways you can do this.
Firstly I would suggest making a checklist for each of your subjects, listing each individual topic and subtopic. These categories can be based around individual class PowerPoints or textbook chapters or revision guide chapters.
- Use Mnemonics to remember definitions or key concepts in your work.
For example: to remember the features of a liberal democracy I have come up with ARTFILL. (This stands for accountability, rights, tolerance, information, limited government and legitimacy). If you stick these mnemonics around your house you can test yourself as to whether you can remember the definition or features of a certain concept.
- Create Revision Cards
Revision cards are another great way of testing yourself. Write a question on one side and the answer on the other. Perhaps you could draw funny cartoons on one side instead of a question to trigger your memory. You can use these cards at regular intervals to test your memory.
- Use past papers
Look back at previous exam questions without your notes. You could either try completing the exam questions in timed conditions as practice or you can quickly write plans down, of the general arguments and paragraph structure that you would use. Once you have completed this look back at the mark scheme on the Exam board website and compare your answers. What have you missed out and how could you add extra detail? Perhaps these areas could be improved by making new revision tools such as mnemonics or revision cards. A good idea is to look at the Examiner's report on that particular paper, these often give an impression as to how students fared that particular year. If the questions were particularly hard they may be reused in your exam! Often example or model papers are presented, these may be useful.
- Create quizzes and memory testing games
There are various sites online where you can create or use pre-made quizzes to test your knowledge. Sites like GoConqr allow you to create quizzes with various different question types such as multiple choice and fill in the blanks. If you want to play against your friends you can use Kahoot which is a multiple choice quiz with short time limits. There is a leader board making the game very competitive.
- Help others
They say the best method of learning is through teaching. You can help others who are learning the same subjects and topics as you in many different ways. You could: meet up with classmates, make a class group chat, skype friendsor answer questions in the Student Room forum.