How should you handle a levels????? I'm not sure help!!

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Priyanboss517
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So I'm about to start as level this September and I was wondering how should you handle all of the workloads and independent work. I'm not too sure what set structure I should have and if I should take my own book for notes for every lesson. I'm not too sure how I should stay organised throughout the year and keep on top of things.

I would really appreciate any advice on how to manage a levels
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aleksceramics
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Hi!
I just finished A2 with predicted grades of A*A*A* (fingers cross for results day ). I hope you don't mind me also just giving general tips for A level :P

Use your free periods wisely. its an incredible step up from GCSE because you really are expected to work for yourself and manage your own time wisely. The teachers give you the information but what you do with it is entirely up to you .Out of all the free's I had in AS and A2, I'd say I worked in almost all of them. Me and my friends made an exception for 'Friday Fun Time' where we all had one free together each week (which was rare) to relax
I saw MANY people in my year in every free messing about with friends in the common room. Unsurprisingly the majority did get bad grades, and so got kicked out at the end of AS for not meeting the school's requirements. Your frees are incredibly important. They're not really 'free', it should really be called a private study hour :P Honestly, get to the library, get your head down, and do your work. I cannot stress that enough!

If you can, invest in a good laptop and write up any information sheets/lecture notes your teachers give you. It saves the trouble of lugging around folders which will VERY quickly fill up with paper and not fit in your bag! If you don't want to use a laptop, bring your notes to class because you will constantly want to refer to them. You'll also probably want them in your free periods when studying or doing homework.

If it is appropriate, read around your subject and go the extra mile. For psychology, I did my own deeper research into areas of my course I was interested in. For example, we were given a psychological study to learn that I absolutely loved, so I looked up the researcher and read his other published material. It gave me a better view of the topics I had to know, and it was useable in the exam. For philosophy, I read scholarly opinions and criticisms on theories, and incorporated these into my own essays. My exam board do love things like that. You also pick up a more articulate way of being able to express your own points through reading other people's!

Understand what the exam board want you to do. Unfortunately, A2 is predominantly you jumping through hoops. Write how the examiner wants you to, do it in their structure, learn it, make it second nature. Look at examiner reports of past years, and usually the board should release some student answers they have marked, explaining why they got the marks they got.

Also, be pally with your teachers! I was constantly in the psychology office and talking with my philosophy teacher. Through this they see you as a potentially really good student, and they will want to encourage and nurture that out of you. You'll feel more supported and visible if they really know you, and know what you want to achieve. The encouragement and expectations I created for myself through this was VERY motivating in the year.

Read ahead on your course so when you come to your lesson you have at least some idea of what you will be learning. This really helped me in psychology because there was a LOT of content and a lot of stuff you needed to understand in a short period of time.
Use your half terms wisely. Summarise content you've learned in the past term, go over it again and again, make sure you're confident and ready to move on when school starts again. Always keep going back.

Be organised. Use weekends wisely. Of course, relax, have fun, see your friends, but know the balance you need to make.


In terms of structure, my day went something like this;

I think a standard day for me in A2 (excluding P.E day) would be something like

Psychology
-Break-
Psychology
Art
-Lunch-
History
Free

for us we usually didn't have a lesson in every subject in one day, it was more spread out

in A2 it was more like
Free
-Break-
Free
Psychology
-Lunch-
Art
Free

On a Wednesday I had one lesson in the morning and 4 free's!

Hope all of that helps
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geeeeek
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Priyanboss517
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(Original post by aleksceramics)
Hi!
I just finished A2 with predicted grades of A*A*A* (fingers cross for results day ). I hope you don't mind me also just giving general tips for A level :P

Use your free periods wisely. its an incredible step up from GCSE because you really are expected to work for yourself and manage your own time wisely. The teachers give you the information but what you do with it is entirely up to you .Out of all the free's I had in AS and A2, I'd say I worked in almost all of them. Me and my friends made an exception for 'Friday Fun Time' where we all had one free together each week (which was rare) to relax
I saw MANY people in my year in every free messing about with friends in the common room. Unsurprisingly the majority did get bad grades, and so got kicked out at the end of AS for not meeting the school's requirements. Your frees are incredibly important. They're not really 'free', it should really be called a private study hour :P Honestly, get to the library, get your head down, and do your work. I cannot stress that enough!

If you can, invest in a good laptop and write up any information sheets/lecture notes your teachers give you. It saves the trouble of lugging around folders which will VERY quickly fill up with paper and not fit in your bag! If you don't want to use a laptop, bring your notes to class because you will constantly want to refer to them. You'll also probably want them in your free periods when studying or doing homework.

If it is appropriate, read around your subject and go the extra mile. For psychology, I did my own deeper research into areas of my course I was interested in. For example, we were given a psychological study to learn that I absolutely loved, so I looked up the researcher and read his other published material. It gave me a better view of the topics I had to know, and it was useable in the exam. For philosophy, I read scholarly opinions and criticisms on theories, and incorporated these into my own essays. My exam board do love things like that. You also pick up a more articulate way of being able to express your own points through reading other people's!

Understand what the exam board want you to do. Unfortunately, A2 is predominantly you jumping through hoops. Write how the examiner wants you to, do it in their structure, learn it, make it second nature. Look at examiner reports of past years, and usually the board should release some student answers they have marked, explaining why they got the marks they got.

Also, be pally with your teachers! I was constantly in the psychology office and talking with my philosophy teacher. Through this they see you as a potentially really good student, and they will want to encourage and nurture that out of you. You'll feel more supported and visible if they really know you, and know what you want to achieve. The encouragement and expectations I created for myself through this was VERY motivating in the year.

Read ahead on your course so when you come to your lesson you have at least some idea of what you will be learning. This really helped me in psychology because there was a LOT of content and a lot of stuff you needed to understand in a short period of time.
Use your half terms wisely. Summarise content you've learned in the past term, go over it again and again, make sure you're confident and ready to move on when school starts again. Always keep going back.

Be organised. Use weekends wisely. Of course, relax, have fun, see your friends, but know the balance you need to make.


In terms of structure, my day went something like this;

I think a standard day for me in A2 (excluding P.E day) would be something like

Psychology
-Break-
Psychology
Art
-Lunch-
History
Free

for us we usually didn't have a lesson in every subject in one day, it was more spread out

in A2 it was more like
Free
-Break-
Free
Psychology
-Lunch-
Art
Free

On a Wednesday I had one lesson in the morning and 4 free's!

Hope all of that helps
Thank you so much for all of this advice, it really helps thanks so much! The only thing I'm wary about is since a levels are left up to the individual to study a lot I'm not too sure what books I can get to cover content, like do i go get a revision guide? However it might not cover all of the content you necessarily need to so I'm not sure what to do there.And also how should I take my notes in lesson? Should I stick to just learning in the lesson and listening or do I bring my own notepad in and take important notes???
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aleksceramics
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(Original post by Priyanboss517)
Thank you so much for all of this advice, it really helps thanks so much! The only thing I'm wary about is since a levels are left up to the individual to study a lot I'm not too sure what books I can get to cover content, like do i go get a revision guide? However it might not cover all of the content you necessarily need to so I'm not sure what to do there.And also how should I take my notes in lesson? Should I stick to just learning in the lesson and listening or do I bring my own notepad in and take important notes???
It's quite alright! If you ever need help feel free to ask
It depends on your subject and how your teachers will, well, teach you! Our psychology teachers were pretty exceptional, and they wrote out their own information sheets on the course content for us that we used to revise from rather than any text book.
My philosophy teacher did the same, making booklets for us on each theory, although it was expected that you did reading outside. That reading was far better coming straight from published scholarly essays rather than A level text books though.

I only used one text book throughout the whole of AS/A2, and that was for philosophy as it helped to simplify and clarify complex theories, but it was by no means the golden book to learn from. Text books really weren't all that great for me, you are far better going straight to the original source. Maybe for something like maths or chemistry it would be different, though.

My best advice would be to go onto your exam board's website and print off their specification paper. That will tell you ALL the content that can appear in the exam. It won't be in detail, more like a mere checklist, but through that you can know exactly what you need to know, and hopefully your teacher will provide you with that.

With note taking, again for me it was subject dependant. In psychology, a lot of it was just learning and regurgitating facts so we had all the information, we just needed to know it. So the teachers gave us the information sheets to go away and remember. Occasionally you could jot down some notes but the majority of the lesson was spent on activities to remember the information they gave you or practicing exam structure.
In philosophy, it was far more of a discussion-based subject and it was crucial to take notes as these ideas came straight from our minds, not the exam board. I had a laptop as it was very easy to quickly type during fast paced conversations, but many people just wrote on paper.

You'll very quickly pick up how you're being taught and what you need to do when you go into your lesson, whether notes are necessary or if the information is already there for you!
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Priyanboss517
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(Original post by aleksceramics)
It's quite alright! If you ever need help feel free to ask
It depends on your subject and how your teachers will, well, teach you! Our psychology teachers were pretty exceptional, and they wrote out their own information sheets on the course content for us that we used to revise from rather than any text book.
My philosophy teacher did the same, making booklets for us on each theory, although it was expected that you did reading outside. That reading was far better coming straight from published scholarly essays rather than A level text books though.

I only used one text book throughout the whole of AS/A2, and that was for philosophy as it helped to simplify and clarify complex theories, but it was by no means the golden book to learn from. Text books really weren't all that great for me, you are far better going straight to the original source. Maybe for something like maths or chemistry it would be different, though.

My best advice would be to go onto your exam board's website and print off their specification paper. That will tell you ALL the content that can appear in the exam. It won't be in detail, more like a mere checklist, but through that you can know exactly what you need to know, and hopefully your teacher will provide you with that.

With note taking, again for me it was subject dependant. In psychology, a lot of it was just learning and regurgitating facts so we had all the information, we just needed to know it. So the teachers gave us the information sheets to go away and remember. Occasionally you could jot down some notes but the majority of the lesson was spent on activities to remember the information they gave you or practicing exam structure.
In philosophy, it was far more of a discussion-based subject and it was crucial to take notes as these ideas came straight from our minds, not the exam board. I had a laptop as it was very easy to quickly type during fast paced conversations, but many people just wrote on paper.

You'll very quickly pick up how you're being taught and what you need to do when you go into your lesson, whether notes are necessary or if the information is already there for you!
Thanks for the advice, and yeah I'm picking maths,chemistry and electronics so that's why I'm debating whether to learn from revisions guide. How do you go by with organisation? And is it a case of utilising all resources instead of just revising from a revision guide?
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Harold Steptoe
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(Original post by Priyanboss517)
So I'm about to start as level this September and I was wondering how should you handle all of the workloads and independent work. I'm not too sure what set structure I should have and if I should take my own book for notes for every lesson. I'm not too sure how I should stay organised throughout the year and keep on top of things.

I would really appreciate any advice on how to manage a levels
Two hands either side, knees slightly bent.
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aleksceramics
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(Original post by Priyanboss517)
Thanks for the advice, and yeah I'm picking maths,chemistry and electronics so that's why I'm debating whether to learn from revisions guide. How do you go by with organisation? And is it a case of utilising all resources instead of just revising from a revision guide?
See how your teachers work and if they will give you information, or if they actually encourage you to refer to text books.
At the start of every week I would write a to-do list that would have things added and taken away once I'd completed the tasks. That really helped me to know what I needed to do, and I HATED unchecked boxes when I hadn't done something!
Honestly, utilise all of your resources. Text books are not always great and you can learn a lot more from other places. They are good, especially when you need something explained more simply or to summarise content, but I personally would not just use them in isolation!
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Priyanboss517
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True, thanks a lot for the advice. I'll use all resources available.
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