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How I got 10A*s, 2As and a B at GCSE Watch

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    My results & exam boards were:
    AQA English Language - 9
    AQA English Lit - 8
    Edexcel Maths - 8
    OCR Biology - A*
    OCR Chemistry - A*
    OCR Physics - A*
    AQA History - A*
    AQA Business - A*
    Edexcel Art - A*
    AQA French - A*
    WJEC ICT - A
    Edexcel RE - A
    AQA Further Maths - B

    I'm now studying A level Biology, Chemistry and History and would like to do something like medicine or dentistry in the future.

    I want to start by saying that I am naturally quite clever, but I also worked extremely hard (English or ICT did not come naturally at all)! Had I not worked hard and revised effectively, these grades would not have been achievable. I don't go to a private school or grammar school, just a normal secondary school in North East England.

    My general tips are:
    1. Don't spend all your time making your revision notes pretty
    I made mindmaps (mainly for science), but I made them quickly and didn't spend ages. I used a couple of colours and highlighters, but didn't add loads of detail. However, I made flash cards for history and spent way too long on them for my first exam that I only had 5 days to cover all the content for my second (although I did manage - just). It's more about making sure you make notes that cover the content well, as this is what you're going to need in the exam. Do try and make your notes neat and readable though, as if they're too scruffy you won't want to revise from them.

    2. Don't panic that you think you're not doing enough (providing you're actually revising).
    I can promise you that there wasn't a single time when I was revising, particularly before I started sitting exams, that I wasn't having a mental meltdown that I wasn't going to cover everything in time. You need to remember that you aren't a superhero, you're not going to be able to learn an entire revision guide immediately, it takes time - and everyone else is in the same boat!.The work that you are putting in will make a difference and will pay off.

    3. If you're not writing, you're not revising.
    Simply reading a revision guide isn't going to make you remember it, you have to engage with the information. Writing and summarising sentences or paragraphs, even if it's you're messiest handwriting on a scrap piece of paper is 100% going to help you remember more, as your brain is taking it in and doing something with it.

    4. Practice, practice practice.
    I know that with the new specifications there aren't any past papers out there. However, you can try and find predicted papers nearer to the exams (but don't think that they're certain to be the questions/topics you'll see in the real thing), particularly with maths. You could attempt the specimen papers given by exam boards, but wait until nearer the exams to do this, when you've fully revised everything.

    5. Find patterns or come up with ways to remember things
    It's been proven that your brain is more likely to remember things if you attach something to it to help you remember. For example, in Biology I came up with LORD to remember that the Left side of the heart carries Oxygenated blood and the Right side Deoxygenated. For English, I watched Mr Bruff's quotation songs for my texts and learnt quotes this way, the poetry rap was particularly useful and for An Inspector Calls 2/3 of the quotes I used in the exam were from the AIC song.

    Any questions that are about revision, subject specific or just general y10/11 advice then please ask, I'll be happy to help. I'm not posting this to brag or boast, I learnt a lot from TSR when revising for my exams and really want to give something back.
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    (Original post by lauriebeth7)
    My results & exam boards were:
    AQA English Language - 9
    AQA English Lit - 8
    Edexcel Maths - 8
    OCR Biology - A*
    OCR Chemistry - A*
    OCR Physics - A*
    AQA History - A*
    AQA Business - A*
    Edexcel Art - A*
    AQA French - A*
    WJEC ICT - A
    Edexcel RE - A
    AQA Further Maths - B

    I'm now studying A level Biology, Chemistry and History and would like to do something like medicine or dentistry in the future.

    I want to start by saying that I am naturally quite clever, but I also worked extremely hard (English or ICT did not come naturally at all)! Had I not worked hard and revised effectively, these grades would not have been achievable. I don't go to a private school or grammar school, just a normal secondary school in North East England.

    My general tips are:
    1. Don't spend all your time making your revision notes pretty
    I made mindmaps (mainly for science), but I made them quickly and didn't spend ages. I used a couple of colours and highlighters, but didn't add loads of detail. However, I made flash cards for history and spent way too long on them for my first exam that I only had 5 days to cover all the content for my second (although I did manage - just). It's more about making sure you make notes that cover the content well, as this is what you're going to need in the exam. Do try and make your notes neat and readable though, as if they're too scruffy you won't want to revise from them.

    2. Don't panic that you think you're not doing enough (providing you're actually revising).
    I can promise you that there wasn't a single time when I was revising, particularly before I started sitting exams, that I wasn't having a mental meltdown that I wasn't going to cover everything in time. You need to remember that you aren't a superhero, you're not going to be able to learn an entire revision guide immediately, it takes time - and everyone else is in the same boat!.The work that you are putting in will make a difference and will pay off.

    3. If you're not writing, you're not revising.
    Simply reading a revision guide isn't going to make you remember it, you have to engage with the information. Writing and summarising sentences or paragraphs, even if it's you're messiest handwriting on a scrap piece of paper is 100% going to help you remember more, as your brain is taking it in and doing something with it.

    4. Practice, practice practice.
    I know that with the new specifications there aren't any past papers out there. However, you can try and find predicted papers nearer to the exams (but don't think that they're certain to be the questions/topics you'll see in the real thing), particularly with maths. You could attempt the specimen papers given by exam boards, but wait until nearer the exams to do this, when you've fully revised everything.

    5. Find patterns or come up with ways to remember things
    It's been proven that your brain is more likely to remember things if you attach something to it to help you remember. For example, in Biology I came up with LORD to remember that the Left side of the heart carries Oxygenated blood and the Right side Deoxygenated. For English, I watched Mr Bruff's quotation songs for my texts and learnt quotes this way, the poetry rap was particularly useful and for An Inspector Calls 2/3 of the quotes I used in the exam were from the AIC song.

    Any questions that are about revision, subject specific or just general y10/11 advice then please ask, I'll be happy to help. I'm not posting this to brag or boast, I learnt a lot from TSR when revising for my exams and really want to give something back.
    How did you revise for French and English lit? For english, how did you structure your essays etc...
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    How do you get better at application questions?
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    Well done OP.
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    (Original post by SBizzy)
    How did you revise for French and English lit? For english, how did you structure your essays etc...
    French, honestly, it was mainly the coursework which I don't think you get to do on the new spec? But I did still get A*s in both my exams. I used quizlet every day for about 25 mins in order to learn vocab which really helped from about mid April, and I also did lots of papers which you could still do because the French language doesn't change which helped me to pick up vocab and exam technique.

    English - two words - Mr Bruff. His YouTube channel was literally a lifesaver, particularly all the grade 9 analysises which despite how much I disliked English Lit I almost enjoyed. I also mentioned about the quote songs for learning quotes that were great, as well as the follow up videos he does analysing those quotes. I also recommend doing extra practice questions or even just paragraphs and ask your teacher to mark them, which can show you any mistakes and show you how to improve.
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    (Original post by Atlas99)
    How do you get better at application questions?
    Sorry I'm not sure what you mean, do you mean in Science papers when you get given something you haven't studied but is similar to something you've studied?
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    (Original post by jabbathemuttdog)
    Well done OP.
    Thank you!
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    I'm doing the exact same A levels! What exam boards and what do you hope to do in the future?
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    (Original post by lauriebeth7)
    Sorry I'm not sure what you mean, do you mean in Science papers when you get given something you haven't studied but is similar to something you've studied?
    Yes that’s what I mean. Biology in particular.
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    Sorry just read the bit about your future aspirations!
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    (Original post by CupOfCaramel)
    I'm doing the exact same A levels! What exam boards and what do you hope to do in the future?
    Woo, how are you finding them? Chemistry is OCR, Biology and History are AQA, and I hope to be a dentist or something medical.
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    (Original post by lauriebeth7)
    Woo, how are you finding them? Chemistry is OCR, Biology and History are AQA, and I hope to be a dentist or something medical.
    Not too difficult at the minute, how about you? I'm doing the same for Chem and History but OCR for biology too- what topics are you doing for history? I would love you to do a Grow your grades thread! I want to be a vet so our aspirations aren't too different.
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    (Original post by Atlas99)
    Yes that’s what I mean. Biology in particular.
    It sounds cliché, but keep practicing. Read the question, read it again and highlight anything you can relate to something you've learnt and then try and work from there. They're hard, but you can get better if you keep going with them.
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    (Original post by CupOfCaramel)
    Not too difficult at the minute, how about you? I'm doing the same for Chem and History but OCR for biology too- what topics are you doing for history? I would love you to do a Grow your grades thread! I want to be a vet so our aspirations aren't too different.
    Same, they're ok at the moment but I'm not sure that's going to last very long! History I'm studying Russia and Modern Britain (1951 onwards). What's a grow your grades thread, I'm not sure I've seen them before? And a vet sounds really interesting, unfortunately I'm not too great with animals haha.
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    (Original post by lauriebeth7)
    Same, they're ok at the moment but I'm not sure that's going to last very long! History I'm studying Russia and Modern Britain (1951 onwards). What's a grow your grades thread, I'm not sure I've seen them before? And a vet sounds really interesting, unfortunately I'm not too great with animals haha.
    I'm just waiting for the difficulty to hit me haha, ah I'm doing germany and the tudors. It's a thread where you update it every so often, it's meant to like motivate you, you put your revision on there and your aims etc, i find they help me too to know how others are revising! There's a forum topic for it, take a look Yeah I'm not too great with people haha
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    (Original post by CupOfCaramel)
    I'm just waiting for the difficulty to hit me haha, ah I'm doing germany and the tudors. It's a thread where you update it every so often, it's meant to like motivate you, you put your revision on there and your aims etc, i find they help me too to know how others are revising! There's a forum topic for it, take a look Yeah I'm not too great with people haha
    Same, I'm starting my EPQ soon so I feel like I'm just not going to have enough time for anything. We're doing the tudors for our coursework I think. And I might start one, it sounds like a good idea to see how far you've come
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    Any tips for english literature poetry comparisons? pls reply and thanks x
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    (Original post by lauriebeth7)
    Same, I'm starting my EPQ soon so I feel like I'm just not going to have enough time for anything. We're doing the tudors for our coursework I think. And I might start one, it sounds like a good idea to see how far you've come
    I want to start one soon, although I don't know where to start and I do want to make it good , if you do do one tag me in it please
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    (Original post by CupOfCaramel)
    I want to start one soon, although I don't know where to start and I do want to make it good , if you do do one tag me in it please
    I will 😊
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    I want to study the same subjects as you for A levels. What are your opinions on them.
 
 
 
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