Tips for A*A*A* at A-Level Watch

Adaytoremember
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(Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
I have 4A*s with an A* in English Lit. I've always been pretty decent at writing, but this is merely helpful, of course, and not sufficient (indeed, it hardly seems necessary, judging by some exemplars I have seen). I am not sure how the newest syllabi are structured, but I shouldn't imagine they have changed too much. For me there were different "assessment objectives", and different ones would pertain to different questions in exams or to certain courseworks. I found success by familiarizing myself with these; I'd look at mark schemes and specifications to figure out exactly what the examiner wanted to see. Beyond that, it's about familiarity with the text; you want to have a good working knowledge of texts, you want to know a lot of quotes, and most importantly you want to have spent a lot of time thinking about the text's themes and have a very strong idea of multiple different ones, how they interlink and in what manner you can talk about them to grab the marks.
I have never been one for planning, but in exams you will almost certainly need to spend some time thinking about the question and jot down some thoughts prior to actually writing the main essay, even if they aren't particularly developed. You will want to practice essays, preferably timed; hopefully your teacher will give you lots of set essays and mark them and give good feedback, but if they don't, you can always have a go at marking yourself. Indeed, this can be a good exercise regardless; it is helpful to look at your writing objectively and assess not how good it is as a general piece of writing but how well it nails the mark scheme.

My general tip for A-levels is exploit every resource; I never worked myself too death and always had a lot of leisure time at A-level, but I tried to make sure I understood exactly what was required of me in each module in each subject, and I would do past papers constantly, sometimes even repeating the same papers, just trying to make myself as familiar and comfortable with the exam style as possible.

edit: To follow from what the above poster said about not trying to obtain 3A*s, I think this is reasonable advice. I never tried to achieve 4A*s. In fact, I never expected it. I expected A*A*AB at worst on results day and hoped for A*A*AA, at best A*A*A*A. The only pressure I ever put on myself was to meet my offer, beyond that, I didn't particularly care. I would say that was helpful rather than a hindrance. So be careful you do not put too much weight on your shoulders.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response! This is the sort of thing I hoped to see in response to the thread.

Also, I know I seem like I am putting a lot of pressure on my self but I don't think I am. I am aware that what I have described is far-fetched, but I could have done better in my GCSEs, so I think I have more in me and that I can achieve something better in the future.

I would be happy to meet my offer, if I got to the stage where I had one. But it is like in any subject, of course I am aiming for an A* in all of them, sometimes the reality is that I won't achieve it, but I will always try to get the top grade and I don't put too much pressure on myself to do it, in the back of my mind I know where my strengths lie.
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ZombieTheWolf
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
Could you please tag me too?
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Butterflyshy
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
Can you tag me as well?
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username3046368
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I just got 3A* in Lit, politics, and History. And I applied for law - AMA If you want
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an_atheist
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(Original post by Adaytoremember)
I have decided that I am going to pull out all the stops when I finally start my A levels, and I really want to achieve three A*s.

I've been told that the AS levels don't count for anything anymore, since they have changed, therefore I think I am only going to do three for both years.

My goal is to become a Barrister, and I would like to go down the route of earning a degree to do this. I would like to go to a university outside of the city, in a more rural location, such as Oxford. However, I am not completely averse to UCL or LSE etc.

I haven't got a straight set of A*s at GCSE (I have mainly A*s/As/Bs), therefore I would like to get the best possible results at A level as I know I was capable of much more at GCSE.

I am definitely going to take English Literature, History, and Philosophy, and if I do take four, the last would be Politics I think.

What I am really looking for is tips on getting all of my A*s.

I am considering doing bits of revision constantly throughout the year, and just flicking back through my notes right from the beginning as I think it would help to remember everything.

If anyone else has any specific tips that they have found from doing these subjects for getting an A* in English Lit, History, or Philosophy that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much!
I got 4 A*s at A2 this year. My GCSEs are a lot like yours, a decent mix of A*s As and Bs.
Main point of advice is dont fall behind. Do all your work as soon as possible, and go over content in the downtime.
If you find any specific areas where you tend to fall down, work on that a bit more.
Dont be afraid of asking teachers for extra work or extra help (sorta goes with the above point)
Do as many past papers as possible. The practise you get in writing under pressure helps, as does the familiarity with the question style.
Knowing the specification back to front will only help you get so far. Thats not to say it's not worth using the spec as a guide, but dont not do more than is said on it.
I would try to avoid people telling you to use a specific method of revising, do what you find works best for you (for example, my friend quite likes flashcards and used them to revise content; I find they dont help at all, so I didnt bother with them and just read the textbook)
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username1801065
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I wish to do the same
(Original post by 12ksmith)
If you could tag me as well that would be much appreciated. My situation is very similar to the one above, however I wish to study medicine not law.
Thanks
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kapowginger
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
Yeah I will!
tag me too please!
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lmaooome
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
tag me please
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Adaytoremember
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(Original post by an_atheist)
I got 4 A*s at A2 this year. My GCSEs are a lot like yours, a decent mix of A*s As and Bs.
Main point of advice is dont fall behind. Do all your work as soon as possible, and go over content in the downtime.
If you find any specific areas where you tend to fall down, work on that a bit more.
Dont be afraid of asking teachers for extra work or extra help (sorta goes with the above point)
Do as many past papers as possible. The practise you get in writing under pressure helps, as does the familiarity with the question style.
Knowing the specification back to front will only help you get so far. Thats not to say it's not worth using the spec as a guide, but dont not do more than is said on it.
I would try to avoid people telling you to use a specific method of revising, do what you find works best for you (for example, my friend quite likes flashcards and used them to revise content; I find they dont help at all, so I didnt bother with them and just read the textbook)
Yeah, I agree about the specification, this year I used the spec to revise science and I only got 3 Bs, they were very close to As but ultimately it wasn't enough.

Thanks for your help
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Rleggett12
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
Sounds awesome! Good luck making it, much appreciated if you could tag me too if it's not too much trouble. Thanks in advance! :-)
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CinnamonSmol
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You and me are so similar, I too got A*'s/A's/B's and I'm taking English lit/lang + History w/ politic based EPQ (Graphics is my 3rd option) and want to get 3 A*'s, good luck! Make me and TSR proud
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CinnamonSmol
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
Yeah I will!
please tag me too!
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MR1999
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(Original post by stimtothesky)
But many top universities have said that having a fourth AS level won't better your qualification. A*A*A* is better than A*A*Aa- they only care about relevant subjects, an de i feel your subject was relevant then you'd be carrying it on to A2. The effort of doing a fourth AS is not worth the reward. The only exception would be maths + further maths.
Doing four AS subjects is not difficult. Most students do it.
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MR1999
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(Original post by Adaytoremember)
First of all, thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response! This is the sort of thing I hoped to see in response to the thread.

Also, I know I seem like I am putting a lot of pressure on my self but I don't think I am. I am aware that what I have described is far-fetched, but I could have done better in my GCSEs, so I think I have more in me and that I can achieve something better in the future.

I would be happy to meet my offer, if I got to the stage where I had one. But it is like in any subject, of course I am aiming for an A* in all of them, sometimes the reality is that I won't achieve it, but I will always try to get the top grade and I don't put too much pressure on myself to do it, in the back of my mind I know where my strengths lie.
It okay for you to aim for three A*s as long as you don't see it as the be all and end all of A2 grades.
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AmandaJnMurphy
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
Would you also be able to tag me in it too? Thank you!
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username3312304
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
Tag me aswell please 😊
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username3044948
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I'm in a similar position. I studies a lot for my GCSEs but ultimately my exams itself didnt go too well. I really want to do medicine which I know if competitive so I don't think my GCSEs will cut it. I want to get A* in alevels to show my capability becuase I am a hard working student. For alevels I'm taking bio chem RS
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Adaytoremember
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(Original post by Desmos)
It okay for you to aim for three A*s as long as you don't see it as the be all and end all of A2 grades.
Don't worry, as long as I get to do Law at one of my chosen unis I think I'll be okay
At the moment, I can only assume that I would like one of the Oxford colleges but I might find that I like somewhere else better anyway, not sure yet though. I am excited to look around the universities in the future to see all of my options.
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Adaytoremember
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(Original post by lightbulb22)
I'm in a similar position. I studies a lot for my GCSEs but ultimately my exams itself didnt go too well. I really want to do medicine which I know if competitive so I don't think my GCSEs will cut it. I want to get A* in alevels to show my capability becuase I am a hard working student. For alevels I'm taking bio chem RS
That is exactly how I feel, I am sure it will work out but only time will tell
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mygcserevision
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(Original post by patrickwahins)
I'm currently drafting a guide on this and I'll tag you in it when I'm done.
hey is this draft for all subjects? can you also tag or pm me too pls
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