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    Hello, I thought I'd open a forum on achieving top grades at A-level. I am now in my final year of university. I achieved A*A*A at A-level, so if anyone wants some general advice/study tips feel free to ask questions .
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    Hello, I thought I'd open a forum on achieving top grades at A-level. I am now in my final year of university. I achieved A*A*A at A-level, so if anyone wants some general advice/study tips feel free to ask questions .

    Can you answer Math Questions?
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    What subjects did you do?
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    (Original post by Asad234)
    Can you answer Math Questions?
    Nope my maths skills are only at GCSE level I'm afraid!
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    when did you start revising for your as exam?
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    (Original post by Grizzelex)
    What subjects did you do?
    Geography, Sociology and Biology! I also did English Literature AS and achieved an A, but dropped it at A2
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    Geography, Sociology and Biology! I also did English Literature AS and achieved an A, but dropped it at A2
    Really smart. Any tips for Biology practicals. I seem to mess up at those.
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    Geography, Sociology and Biology! I also did English Literature AS and achieved an A, but dropped it at A2
    what are some tips for english lit? how'd you get an A at AS?

    Also, why did you decide to drop it?
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    (Original post by Grizzelex)
    Really smart. Any tips for Biology practicals. I seem to mess up at those.
    I was never too brilliant at practicals and I acknowledged that they were a weak point so I focussed more on achieving highly in the exams! I used to do practicals for coursework for OCR, and they were only a small percentage of the overall grade which was lucky. What percentage of your overall grade is given towards the practicals?

    My best advice for the practicals, although I was never amazing at them but never did too badly, was to read the whole paper twice through and make sure I understood every section. I would visualise the practical in my head, and remained unbiased- assuming no results were going to happen. Carry everything out systematically- organise your work station so you can't make mistakes, and document everything well, as that's what will get marked! Don't make the results up, just record what you genuinely found! Think systematically about the questions in the paper related to the practical. Everything on the course is linked, so just think carefully and systematically about the answers. The exam boards quite like synoptic knowledge at A2 so try and make clever links.
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    Geography, Sociology and Biology! I also did English Literature AS and achieved an A, but dropped it at A2
    how was lit A/S and geography?
    also how did you manage to sit down and actually study? i have a really bad/short attention span even tho i don't have my phone ect.. with me.and i start making notes but can't seem to finish them. please help and give me some advice on how you achieved the A*
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    how did you find geography at a-level? i'm currently doing it for gcse but i'm really enjoying it and finding it interesting so i'm considering doing it for a-level.
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    (Original post by ZiggyStardust_)
    what are some tips for english lit? how'd you get an A at AS?

    Also, why did you decide to drop it?

    Firstly, learn the background knowledge. The texts I studied were based on victorian England and many of the texts resembled the hardships at the time- e.g. major socioeconomic disparities, gender inequalities etc. learn about these and build up some knowledge on this as it massively helps you when analysing the texts. Even looking at when the literature was published can give you a basic idea of what was going on during that time, and the struggles/experiences the author may have been facing.
    Secondly, practice writing essays! I practiced writing essays so much and it helped me massively in the exams. You need to get accustomed to your writing style and how you like to present information. Making a small brief plan always helps, but don't spend too much time on this.
    You need to show the examiner that you have read widely and understand the texts, so memorise some quotes from authors you haven't necessarily studied in class. You need to build up a nice discussion with lots of analysis. I know for my coursework piece I took an alternative stance which helped me massively in my discussion. We were studying Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House"- which largely reflects on female oppression within Victorian England. I took a different viewpoint by looking at how Torvald, the supposed oppressor, was actually oppressed himself. Comparison of the characters brought some really interesting points and challenged the status quo.
    Remember the examiners have read so many essays, so make yours interesting! Start off with a compelling introduction that grabs the reader, and make your points clear. Don't try make things overly fancy or use grammar you're not accustomed with. You won't be marked up for using fancy vocabulary, but you will be marked up if you have a clear structure which tells the reader about your points- and you must justify these, and throw them some criticism too to show you have considered all angles.

    I dropped English Lit because despite getting an A, it was my lowest UMS marks between my subjects!
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    I was never too brilliant at practicals and I acknowledged that they were a weak point so I focussed more on achieving highly in the exams! I used to do practicals for coursework for OCR, and they were only a small percentage of the overall grade which was lucky. What percentage of your overall grade is given towards the practicals?

    My best advice for the practicals, although I was never amazing at them but never did too badly, was to read the whole paper twice through and make sure I understood every section. I would visualise the practical in my head, and remained unbiased- assuming no results were going to happen. Carry everything out systematically- organise your work station so you can't make mistakes, and document everything well, as that's what will get marked! Don't make the results up, just record what you genuinely found! Think systematically about the questions in the paper related to the practical. Everything on the course is linked, so just think carefully and systematically about the answers. The exam boards quite like synoptic knowledge at A2 so try and make clever links.
    Thanks for the advise. The total weighing for the practicals is 23
    %. so, hopefully I get enough practice in. My biggest problem when with these are the time I take to finish. I hope to get atleast 3As in at AS.
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    (Original post by m.e.)
    how was lit A/S and geography?
    also how did you manage to sit down and actually study? i have a really bad/short attention span even tho i don't have my phone ect.. with me.and i start making notes but can't seem to finish them. please help and give me some advice on how you achieved the A*

    Lit AS was really enjoyable. I like reading and writing essays so it fitted me naturally. It was a nice alternative to my Biology A-level! However, Lit AS was a lot of work. You do have to read widely, and build up your essay writing skills (this is a massively transferable skill to university, and other subjects like Geography). It was a fairly time consuming A-level because of the wider reading that was required. However, it was probably the A-level I focused on least in terms of revision. I didn't have to learn no way near as much content as I did for Biology, Geography and Sociology. I found that if I did the wider reading and practiced essays I was good to go, so in that sense it was probably the least difficult to revise for because I wasn't sat there drilling in information. I remember the exams being relatively difficult, but as long as you always refer back to the question, and back up your points well you tend to come out with a pretty good grade. Looking at past papers massively helps.

    Geography was a really good subject. I was much more interested in physical Geography rather than human Geography, but it was nonetheless not too difficult a subject. At A2 I remember a large proportion of the exam was an essay, so you need to get good at essay writing. Geography is naturally very factual so you just need to learn the information- particularly for physical Geography. The examiners love case studies so I spent most of my time understanding information- i.e. tectonics, and then learning a few case studies around these topics. I didn't just use the ones in the textbook either- I looked at contemporary ones on the news! As with English Literature, you need to support all of your points and justify them- throw them a bit of criticism so the examiner can see that you've considered it from all angels. Past papers are also massively helpful. I was clever with my methods of revision.

    In terms of revision, I was very strict with myself, and I genuinely think that is why I did so well. I had a goal in my head and that's what kept me going- I knew I wanted to go to uni so that's what motivated me to do it. I knew that all the weeks of agonising revision would pay off and I'd have an amazing summer before heading to uni. If you're getting bored, try an alternative revision style i.e. making posters and reading them each morning/evening. I used to record myself reading the textbook, and listen to it when walking home from school as if it was a podcast. I was never too good at taking notes and I learnt better by reading, so I would read out loud several times, I'd shut the book and I'd recite it, or write down the information I had learnt to prove that it had gone in. It's all about disciplining yourself. Obviously you're allowed breaks- I used to take them regularly. Stay motivated, sleep well and just discipline yourself. Reward yourself for doing a certain amount of work. But be gentle with yourself, A-levels are stressful, and it's just finding what works for you!

    Also, having done A-levels, and now being in my final year of university, I realise that I hardly ever think about my A-levels or the grades I achieved- they don't matter too much in the grand scheme of things a part from getting you into the university you want. If your uni doesn't need top grades then you don't necessarily need to slave away trying to achieve them, unless you want to prove to yourself you can do it (which was the case with me).
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    (Original post by entertainmyfaith)
    how did you find geography at a-level? i'm currently doing it for gcse but i'm really enjoying it and finding it interesting so i'm considering doing it for a-level.
    I really enjoyed it! If you enjoy doing it then I'd recommend picking it at A-level. I didn't even do amazingly at GCSE- I came out with a B, and then at A-level I got an A* and full marks in my final exams. This happened purely because I worked harder at A-level. A-levels aren't easy, so picking something you're interested will help you massively! A-levels are a jump from GCSE though so be prepared to work hard!
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    (Original post by hujikolp)
    when did you start revising for your as exam?
    Right from the get go! We had mocks twice a year so we were kind of required to revise all the time. I genuinely started revising as soon as I started AS- I'd go home and just read over everything I'd learnt in class, and I'd do pre-reading before the next class so I was ahead. Staying ahead massively helps!
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    (Original post by Grizzelex)
    Thanks for the advise. The total weighing for the practicals is 23
    %. so, hopefully I get enough practice in. My biggest problem when with these are the time I take to finish. I hope to get atleast 3As in at AS.
    That's pretty good then! Yeah I remember being pushed for time.. you don't want to rush but equally need to finish within the time limit- I still think going about things logically and systematically helps with the time management. If you're motivated to get As at AS you will do it, just work hard!
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    Hello, I thought I'd open a forum on achieving top grades at A-level. I am now in my final year of university. I achieved A*A*A at A-level, so if anyone wants some general advice/study tips feel free to ask questions .
    Describe your work ethic.

    What were your personal targets, and what was your confidence like in achieving said targets?

    Even though you got 3A*s in hindsight what could you have done better?
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    (Original post by ht76845)
    Firstly, learn the background knowledge. The texts I studied were based on victorian England and many of the texts resembled the hardships at the time- e.g. major socioeconomic disparities, gender inequalities etc. learn about these and build up some knowledge on this as it massively helps you when analysing the texts. Even looking at when the literature was published can give you a basic idea of what was going on during that time, and the struggles/experiences the author may have been facing.
    Secondly, practice writing essays! I practiced writing essays so much and it helped me massively in the exams. You need to get accustomed to your writing style and how you like to present information. Making a small brief plan always helps, but don't spend too much time on this.
    You need to show the examiner that you have read widely and understand the texts, so memorise some quotes from authors you haven't necessarily studied in class. You need to build up a nice discussion with lots of analysis. I know for my coursework piece I took an alternative stance which helped me massively in my discussion. We were studying Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House"- which largely reflects on female oppression within Victorian England. I took a different viewpoint by looking at how Torvald, the supposed oppressor, was actually oppressed himself. Comparison of the characters brought some really interesting points and challenged the status quo.
    Remember the examiners have read so many essays, so make yours interesting! Start off with a compelling introduction that grabs the reader, and make your points clear. Don't try make things overly fancy or use grammar you're not accustomed with. You won't be marked up for using fancy vocabulary, but you will be marked up if you have a clear structure which tells the reader about your points- and you must justify these, and throw them some criticism too to show you have considered all angles.

    I dropped English Lit because despite getting an A, it was my lowest UMS marks between my subjects!
    thank you!! I'll try and take these points on board
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    (Original post by WaveyOmar)
    Describe your work ethic.

    What were your personal targets, and what was your confidence like in achieving said targets?

    Even though you got 3A*s in hindsight what could you have done better?
    I had a very good word ethic. I revised every evening after school, every weekend and during the school holidays. I probably had the odd day off here and there. I disciplined myself well though, and got all of my revision done before the exams (just). My personal targets for AS-level was 4 Bs. I worked so hard thinking I wouldn't achieve them, and ended up with 4 As. I then said to myself why not aim to get top grades at A2, and I came out with the A*A*A. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I was fairly confident after AS levels that I would do well at A2 if I kept up the hard work, but I did find the exams difficult so that did effect my confidence a fair bit!

    I don't think I could have done anything to improve- I achieved my goals! in hindsight maybe I could have worked less hard, as A-levels aren't the be all and end all!
 
 
 
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