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Biology: Have I made a terrible mistake? What are my options now? Watch

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    Hi!

    Firstly, I would like to apologise if anything in this doesn't make sense. If you need anything clarifying please just ask. If I'm honest, I am an emotional wreck right now. I am so scared and have no idea what to do.

    I am a first-year student who started sixth form in September. I want to go to university to study adult nursing and then go on to become a nurse. I am not academic in the slightest and there is not one single subject I'm good at. At best, I'm average at one or two subjects but there is nothing I excel at. I chose biology, psychology and sociology A-Level. I am average at psychology and sociology getting mostly Bs and the odd A. However, I just can't do biology. I revise on a Saturday and Sunday for about 8 hours a day (with regular breaks) and then again throughout the week. I make Cornell notes, do past papers, past exam questions, mind maps, flash cards, make audio notes and listen to them, teach it to friends, write key facts on post-it notes and stick them on my wall, watch youtube tutorials, go to college extra sessions 4 times a week, ask friends to re-explain topics and NOTHING WORKS.

    I am so frustrated and I hate myself so much for not being able to do this course. Honestly, I don't think anything has made me hate myself more than this. I really want to understand so bad and since the start of college have given it everything I have and have revised from the beginning. Even when I think I understand a topic, when I try past exam questions I get them all wrong.

    I always knew I would struggle but I never let myself give up. I don't want to let this win but I'm so scared that I'll fail the end of year exam and won't be allowed to take biology into second year (we MUST pass our end of year internal exams to take the subject into second year). I recently failed my mock, after not hours, but whole days of revision. My teacher thinks I should not continue with the course.

    I have considered a tutor but it is too expensive. I'm not going to go into much detail but I don't have a perfect home life and I see education as my way of escaping and making a life for myself. I have no close family who I can talk to. I don't know what to do. My overall goal is university and nursing. I really want three A Levels.

    I wish more than anything to be clever and I try to make it happen. Please, please help me. Should I drop it? What is wrong with me?

    Sorry for the long message. Thank you very much in advance for any help x
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    Please don't beat yourself up, it's really not worth it. I also relate so hard about education being an escape, I thought I was the only one! I guess you still need a good balance though, I went too far and had a really bad mental breakdown in class two days in a row which ended with me in counseling.

    Have you explained to a teacher the situation?
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    Hiya,

    There is nothing wrong with you- don't worry! A-levels are a massive step up from GCSE and are not always the right option for everyone regardless of how 'academic' they are- there are always many different routes to the same career.

    You are doing all the right things, e.g. working hard and getting extra support however I feel like you are doing too much especially at the weekend which is a time for work, rest and doing things that you enjoy. I would personally cut back on the revision as you may be tiring yourself out, it's not worth it and may be affecting your performance.

    I would stick with it and see what happens with your AS exams but start thinking about other options for next year. Even if you do do badly, don't think of it as a failure, it is a learning process that we all go through to find out what works for us.
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    (Original post by Skeletonclique21)
    Please don't beat yourself up, it's really not worth it. I also relate so hard about education being an escape, I thought I was the only one! I guess you still need a good balance though, I went too far and had a really bad mental breakdown in class two days in a row which ended with me in counseling.

    Have you explained to a teacher the situation?
    Oh my gosh! I hope you're doing better now. I keep telling myself education isn't worth my mental health but I can't help it, I need these A Levels and I can't do it. I know it's not even close to a mental breakdown but after a conversation with my teacher I just couldn't hold it in and cried for hours after. At the bus stop, on the bus, walking home in my room. I can't even remember the last time I felt that awful and cried so much it made my eyelids swell. I felt a lot better after though, but the Biology problem is not going away.

    Yes, I had a conversation with him on Tuesday. My teacher does know a bit about my home life through parents evening (secondary relatives go not my parents). He kept me behind after lesson after he had marked my mock, he didn't say I have failed but I clearly have if he thinks I should swap. I explained how hard I work but I just can't do it and he thinks it's not for me but that it's ultimately my decision to decide whether or not I should leave the course.

    Thank you for your reply!x
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    Hey there,
    I'm in year 12 too and I also take Biology I think it's because of the transition between gcse and alevels. Honestly don't panic, you can do it !! Also don't overdo your revision for biology. You don't need to do so many hours Speak to someone like your teachers or parents Have you done any class tests at school and how are you doing on them ?
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    (Original post by VioletPhillippo)
    Hiya,

    There is nothing wrong with you- don't worry! A-levels are a massive step up from GCSE and are not always the right option for everyone regardless of how 'academic' they are- there are always many different routes to the same career.

    You are doing all the right things, e.g. working hard and getting extra support however I feel like you are doing too much especially at the weekend which is a time for work, rest and doing things that you enjoy. I would personally cut back on the revision as you may be tiring yourself out, it's not worth it and may be affecting your performance.

    I would stick with it and see what happens with your AS exams but start thinking about other options for next year. Even if you do do badly, don't think of it as a failure, it is a learning process that we all go through to find out what works for us.
    Hi!

    I agree. I will definitely take your advice into account this weekend and see how it works out.

    That's a good way of looking at it! Do you know what my options are for next year? Could I do Biology AS and then do another AS second year?

    Thank you for your reply x
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    (Original post by nisha.sri)
    Hey there,
    I'm in year 12 too and I also take Biology I think it's because of the transition between gcse and alevels. Honestly don't panic, you can do it !! Also don't overdo your revision for biology. You don't need to do so many hours Speak to someone like your teachers or parents Have you done any class tests at school and how are you doing on them ?
    Hey, thank you for replying.

    I thought I would find the transition between GCSE and A Level really hard, which I did (not so much for sociology and psychology) but I hoped I would adapt to it. I almost switched from biology in the first week but I was talked out of it, it was too hard then and it's too hard now. I will cut down on revision and see how that works out. I have done 4 class tests and passed 1 of them and I also failed the mock.

    Sorry to seem so negative, I promise I'm hardly ever like this!x
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    (Original post by Clueless<3)
    Hi!

    I agree. I will definitely take your advice into account this weekend and see how it works out.

    That's a good way of looking at it! Do you know what my options are for next year? Could I do Biology AS and then do another AS second year?

    Thank you for your reply x
    Hiya,

    If you don't do as well as you hope, your school may give you the option to retake yr12 either with the same or different subject choices. You do need 3 A-levels to get into most unis but depending on how flexible your school is you may be able to do them over 3 years (e.g. drop a subject now) if this is more manageable. You could also look at other options other than a levels e.g. at a college. Have a chat with your teacher or the head of sixth form as they may be able to offer some other suggestions.
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    I'm in year 13 at the minute doing Biology A level, if you ever want any help with anything feel free to message me
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    (Original post by VioletPhillippo)
    Hiya,

    If you don't do as well as you hope, your school may give you the option to retake yr12 either with the same or different subject choices. You do need 3 A-levels to get into most unis but depending on how flexible your school is you may be able to do them over 3 years (e.g. drop a subject now) if this is more manageable. You could also look at other options other than a levels e.g. at a college. Have a chat with your teacher or the head of sixth form as they may be able to offer some other suggestions.
    I will find out who to talk to and go over it with them. Tbh, I think I should just start again without biology. I don't know why I thought I could do it, I found it hard at GCSE let alone A Level. The only thing I know for definite is that I want to leave with 3 A Levels, go to uni and become a nurse. It's just how I get there... I'm sure I'll work it out. Thank you so much for your help x
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    (Original post by nmc0799)
    I'm in year 13 at the minute doing Biology A level, if you ever want any help with anything feel free to message me
    That is so kind, thank you! I will definitely take up your offer if I get stuck this weekend and when I get my mock back. I'm sure you'll end up regretting it though :argh:

    What exam board are you? x
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    (Original post by Clueless<3)
    That is so kind, thank you! I will definitely take up your offer if I get stuck this weekend and when I get my mock back. I'm sure you'll end up regretting it though :argh:

    What exam board are you? x
    Yeah okay! & I dont mind, I'm happy to help
    I'm doing OCR A, which one are you doing?
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    (Original post by nmc0799)
    Yeah okay! & I dont mind, I'm happy to help
    I'm doing OCR A, which one are you doing?
    I am doing Eduqas (it's a board by WJEC), hardly anyone knows of it.

    Thanks again x
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    (Original post by Clueless<3)
    I am doing Eduqas (it's a board by WJEC), hardly anyone knows of it.

    Thanks again x
    Yeah I haven't heard of that hah, most of the stuff will probably cross over though hopefully Do you know your mock result yet?
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    (Original post by nmc0799)
    Yeah I haven't heard of that hah, most of the stuff will probably cross over though hopefully Do you know your mock result yet?
    Yes, I'm sure it will.

    No I don't, but it has to be an F or under because I know I failed and an E is a pass x
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    (Original post by Clueless<3)
    Yes, I'm sure it will.

    No I don't, but it has to be an F or under because I know I failed and an E is a pass x
    Ah okay. What resources do you use to revise?
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    Biology is definitely my hardest A-level ( with Maths and Chem being the others ), you have to memorise a huge volume of content and then in the exam most of the questions are based on application.

    I would make one set of notes, use a revision guide ( CGP is the best imo) and the specification from your exam board to make sure you're only learning what you need to. After that start with the oldest past paper you can find from your exam board and work through all of them. Make a list with all your mistakes from each paper and go over any areas you are weak on.

    There's no real shortcut, but it does sound like you're working a bit too hard atm especially on the weekend, so take some time off to relax cause you don't want to burnout before the summer exams.
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    (Original post by nmc0799)
    Ah okay. What resources do you use to revise?
    At the start of the year, we all got given a book which is written by a senior person of Eduqas so I use that. Our teachers also make videos and put them up on youtube which I use in addition to channels like Bozeman Science etc. I also use the information that they give us which tells us how to structure our notes and what to include in them x
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    Honestly, don't worry! I done really bad on my both my first tests, I failed them both. I had another mock today, but I don't feel as though that went too well.
    I remember getting my 2 fails back a couple of weeks ago, and I went into the school toilets and cried, because one of my teachers made me feel really stupid (my other teacher is lovely), and after that, I didn't want to go to his lessons, or do anything to do with biology.
    I considered dropping it (and sometimes, I still wish I had) but then when I watch revision videos, I know why I didn't,it is really interesting and I do have a genuine interest in it. And ultimately that is all that happens.
    What I'm going to do is read ahead in the textbook and make notes, so I have knowledge of what we're doing before we do it, so I won't feel as stupid, especially since my teacher picks on people to answer questions and there's only 10 of us in the class!
    I'm in year 12 and on OCR A too, but we could definitely help each Other!!
    Today me and 2 of my friends revised together for 3 hours, and it was so much help! So I'd definitely suggest doing that, as it's much more fun doing it with friends than on your own.

    Good luck, and I know you can get through this! x
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    (Original post by HopelessMedic)
    Biology is definitely my hardest A-level ( with Maths and Chem being the others ), you have to memorise a huge volume of content and then in the exam most of the questions are based on application.

    I would make one set of notes, use a revision guide ( CGP is the best imo) and the specification from your exam board to make sure you're only learning what you need to. After that start with the oldest past paper you can find from your exam board and work through all of them. Make a list with all your mistakes from each paper and go over any areas you are weak on.

    There's no real shortcut, but it does sound like you're working a bit too hard atm especially on the weekend, so take some time off to relax cause you don't want to burnout before the summer exams.
    I completely agree. There's so much to learn (saying my memory is awful is an understatement) and I find application of knowledge hard. To get over this, I think I just need to do loads of past papers.

    I make a set of notes for each topic using the book they provided us with and the spec. I would buy CGP (I used them all the way through GCSE) but there isn't one for Eduqas unfortunately. Making a list of my mistakes is a really good idea and will absolutely start doing that - it's not something I had thought of.

    I know there isn't. I will revise less this weekend and see how it works out. I burned off before Christmas and spent half the holidays doing nothing but I think I needed that because now I'm more motivated and ready to work. You're right, I really I don't want to burn out before summer exams!

    Thank you for replying x
 
 
 
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