Any advice you would give to people starting their Alevels? Watch

username3989988
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Hey, :wavey:
I am starting my A levels next year :woo: and I wanted to know if anyone has any advice they would give based of experience from your journeys through A levels.
If I am not being lazy I will compile any advise below so it is easier to access .
Some Ideas:
What would you do differently?
What is a good idea to do throughout year 12?
Your answers can be on any topic be it social life, exam preparation or university application.
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Pearlfection1
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Read alot around your subjects and be organised specifically if you are doing essay subjects.
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username3810906
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REVISE FROM THE START - also make sure you stay on top of work
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username4115212
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Year 12 is real fuuunn.... especially if you a medical applicant *cries emo*

What I would do differently is not to overwork at the start of the year because you will literally crash down near April time .

Find work experience early ( especially for prospective medical applicants)

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username3989988
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(Original post by L0renna)
Year 12 is real fuuunn.... especially if you a medical applicant *cries emo*

What I would do differently is not to overwork at the start of the year because you will literally crash down near April time .

Find work experience early ( especially for prospective medical applicants)

I'm not looking into medicine but I am really looking forward to year 12, no more English!! :laugh:
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username4115212
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
I'm not looking into medicine but I am really looking forward to year 12, no more English!! :laugh:
Literally , I was so happy that I would never have to do geography or English
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yeahthatonethere
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Biggest takeaway from my a levels: no matter how much work you do you'll probably never feel prepared 😅

Constantly doing bits and pieces of revision through both years is your best bet (you'll end up cramming anyway but it helps!) And just try and enjoy yourself. Make time for yourself which can be hard but make sure you do it!

About uni applications? Don't worry too much about enriching your personal statement with every opportunity. I had teachers shoving 10 different things down my throat saying I'll need all of it for my personal statement when in actuality I only wrote about like 3 of them! Focus on stuff that is actually linked to your course or shows skills, you don't have to do tonnes (well maybe for medicine you do 😅).

What would I do differently? Not burn myself out in first year. I revised so hard for my AS levels that by exam time this year I've had no motivation. And I'd probably not do EPQ either but hey ho!
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indigo55
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I would say first and foremost, start making revision notes early for each subject and try not to forget what you learn at the start of year 12, also don't be scared to drop/pick up a subject, because dropping physics was the best decision I ever made. Doing three subjects instead of four is totally fine.
Also think ahead to applying for universities, try to get work experience or join clubs in year 12, that way you will have stuff to write about in your personal statement without having to try and cram it all in at the start of year 13. If you don't know what you want to do (which is completely normal) take year 12 to decide, read about unis/courses and go to open days. You won't have time to do that in year 13 really.
Good luck with your A-Levels, I hope this advice helps. I am just finishing year 13 now and honestly I'll miss it. It is a stressful two years but there's sort of a 'we're all in this together' attitude and it can be a really good time.
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Teeenbe
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(Original post by Anonymous030701)
REVISE FROM THE START - also make sure you stay on top of work
MaizieAmyr


Absolutely this. You don't need to smash out past papers and pages upon pages of notes from the beginning, but you should definitely make sure that you take some time every week to consolidate whatever it is that you've learnt. I can't stress enough just how invaluable that will be to you when it comes to exam season. Start making revision resources around Christmas time - or do that for your consolidation every week if that's what you'd prefer, e.g: making flashcards on the topics you've covered that week. You should start doing questions on the topics you've covered at around Christmas time as well and should definitely be doing past papers by the start of the summer term; although, you should take care not to burn through all the resources available to you too soon. Try saving some of the revision material that's more relevant to you (i.e: recent exams and specimen papers if you're doing a fairly new spec) for later on so that you're aware and reminded of what they will be expecting of you in your exams going into them. Also, do not be afraid to ask your teachers for help. They play a huge role in your A levels and should be consulted when you need help understanding something. They are there to help you - that is what they are paid for - so make use of them.

It is fully understandable that a lot of new A level students go into their first year thinking that they have loads of time ahead of them and don't need to do any work for a long time yet, especiallyif they found GCSE to be easy, but I am telling you now that that time will fly by ridiculously fast. I can also appreciate that a lot of them will also take the advice of those before them lightly, thinking that they don't need to worry about it; it's all going to be fine for them; they won't find it difficult like all those plebs before them and they'll handle it beautifully. This isn't helped by the fact that you typically only take 3-5 subjects, but the amount of work that you have for each of them is far more intense than it ever was at GCSE. A lot of them don't believe the current/old A level students when they say that A levels are a lot harder than they think. Again: this is especially the case if they found GCSE to be easy, so if you did, then do not get complacent, as I can assure you now that it is truly that much more difficult.

Trust me now when I say that the advice given is absolutely right. Those A level students are speaking from experience as they have actually been through the process and have a much better understanding of the course and the work surrounding it than any GCSE student will. Those that carry on thinking those things will soon realise once they get to their exams that the advice that they were given all that time ago was perfectly right. You cannot afford to go into your A levels thinking those kinds of things as they will be the ruin of you, so take this advice seriously.

I made the mistake of leaving it far too late to revise and I'm paying the price for it, as I'm not getting the As and A*s that I wanted, so I'm going to have to resit some exams next year.

It is my biggest regret that I didn't start working sooner - don't let it be yours too.
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Teeenbe
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(Original post by indigo55)
Good luck with your A-Levels, I hope this advice helps. I am just finishing year 13 now and honestly I'll miss it. It is a stressful two years but there's sort of a 'we're all in this together' attitude and it can be a really good time.
I agree! There's a certain sense of camaraderie that surrounds the whole thing and I am certainly gonna miss it. So yes, make the most of it while you're there and take some time out every so often to give yourself a break from it all, as sometimes the stress can get a little overwhelming, just don't let it stop you from enjoying it all!
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username3989988
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(Original post by yeahthatonethere)
Biggest takeaway from my a levels: no matter how much work you do you'll probably never feel prepared 😅

Constantly doing bits and pieces of revision through both years is your best bet (you'll end up cramming anyway but it helps!) And just try and enjoy yourself. Make time for yourself which can be hard but make sure you do it!

About uni applications? Don't worry too much about enriching your personal statement with every opportunity. I had teachers shoving 10 different things down my throat saying I'll need all of it for my personal statement when in actuality I only wrote about like 3 of them! Focus on stuff that is actually linked to your course or shows skills, you don't have to do tonnes (well maybe for medicine you do 😅).

What would I do differently? Not burn myself out in first year. I revised so hard for my AS levels that by exam time this year I've had no motivation. And I'd probably not do EPQ either but hey ho!

Even for my GCSEs I didn't feel prepared. :dontknow: I'm not sure about doing an EPQ. Why wouldn't you suggest doing one?
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pickleonthebriny
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Consolidate your learning at the end of every week; come exam time you'll be glad you did.

If you found GCSEs easy, don't become complacent. So many people did in my college and I remember how many people were crying at AS Level time because for some reason they thought it'd be the same as GCSEs. You need to put in the work.
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username3989988
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(Original post by Teeenbe)
MaizieAmyr


Absolutely this. You don't need to smash out past papers and pages upon pages of notes from the beginning, but you should definitely make sure that you take some time every week to consolidate whatever it is that you've learnt. I can't stress enough just how invaluable that will be to you when it comes to exam season. Start making revision resources around Christmas time - or do that for your consolidation every week if that's what you'd prefer, e.g: making flashcards on the topics you've covered that week. You should start doing questions on the topics you've covered at around Christmas time as well and should definitely be doing past papers by the start of the summer term; although, you should take care not to burn through all the resources available to you too soon. Try saving some of the revision material that's more relevant to you (i.e: recent exams and specimen papers if you're doing a fairly new spec) for later on so that you're aware and reminded of what they will be expecting of you in your exams going into them. Also, do not be afraid to ask your teachers for help. They play a huge role in your A levels and should be consulted when you need help understanding something. They are there to help you - that is what they are paid for - so make use of them.

It is fully understandable that a lot of new A level students go into their first year thinking that they have loads of time ahead of them and don't need to do any work for a long time yet, especiallyif they found GCSE to be easy, but I am telling you now that that time will fly by ridiculously fast. I can also appreciate that a lot of them will also take the advice of those before them lightly, thinking that they don't need to worry about it; it's all going to be fine for them; they won't find it difficult like all those plebs before them and they'll handle it beautifully. This isn't helped by the fact that you typically only take 3-5 subjects, but the amount of work that you have for each of them is far more intense than it ever was at GCSE. A lot of them don't believe the current/old A level students when they say that A levels are a lot harder than they think. Again: this is especially the case if they found GCSE to be easy, so if you did, then do not get complacent, as I can assure you now that it is truly that much more difficult.

Trust me now when I say that the advice given is absolutely right. Those A level students are speaking from experience as they have actually been through the process and have a much better understanding of the course and the work surrounding it than any GCSE student will. Those that carry on thinking those things will soon realise once they get to their exams that the advice that they were given all that time ago was perfectly right. You cannot afford to go into your A levels thinking those kinds of things as they will be the ruin of you, so take this advice seriously.

I made the mistake of leaving it far too late to revise and I'm paying the price for it, as I'm not getting the As and A*s that I wanted, so I'm going to have to resit some exams next year.

It is my biggest regret that I didn't start working sooner - don't let it be yours too.

Thanks for the reply.

I found at GCSE I did a lot of work in year 10 and started my proper year 11 revision in February yet I still felt pressed for time. I was also burnt out by the end, only one more exam left now

The idea of consolidating information after each lesson seems a lot better. If I do this would I write more concise notes from my class notes and then do practice questions after each lesson. If I have extra time would it be a good it be a good idea to self-teach myself from the book e.g. from back to front? Because I find that at my school they still teach stuff a week or two before the exam and then I obviously don’t know that topic as well which affects my work.
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Jack123123
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As other people have said, start making your good set of notes from the very start, as soon as you fall behind it’s very hard to catch up in a subject like history. I’d also recommend learning content as you go along so you’re not having to do so much nearer the exam. Also lots of past papers and examiner reports. Good luck.
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yeahthatonethere
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Even for my GCSEs I didn't feel prepared. :dontknow: I'm not sure about doing an EPQ. Why wouldn't you suggest doing one?
Personally the EPQ didn't do much for me. My firm choice doesn't consider it in applicants and it seemed to be a lot of work for little merit. Don't get me wrong it was great researching a topic I was actually interested in and getting in touch with scientists and professors but the process is boring and tedious with the logbook. My personal experience may be clouded by the fact I hated my supervisor but I put a lot of effort into it and was constantly being predicted low grades (I have a provisional A right now though so let's hope for the best). Don't write it off immediately though! My insurance has lowered their offer for me and it was a big part of my personal statement and solidified my interest in my topic/course choice. I'd check if any courses you're interested in take EPQ into consideration when making a choice and consider that it's not just a 5000 word essay/product but it's also a logbook (this gets you most of your marks, not your essay) and a presentation.

Hope I've helped and anymore questions, just ask! If you don't mind me prying what subjects are you going to take? 😊
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Skyewoods
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Go through all the past papers at the start to see what topics come up alot. Then when your teacher covers that topic you know it's time to pay attention
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username3989988
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(Original post by yeahthatonethere)
Personally the EPQ didn't do much for me. My firm choice doesn't consider it in applicants and it seemed to be a lot of work for little merit. Don't get me wrong it was great researching a topic I was actually interested in and getting in touch with scientists and professors but the process is boring and tedious with the logbook. My personal experience may be clouded by the fact I hated my supervisor but I put a lot of effort into it and was constantly being predicted low grades (I have a provisional A right now though so let's hope for the best). Don't write it off immediately though! My insurance has lowered their offer for me and it was a big part of my personal statement and solidified my interest in my topic/course choice. I'd check if any courses you're interested in take EPQ into consideration when making a choice and consider that it's not just a 5000 word essay/product but it's also a logbook (this gets you most of your marks, not your essay) and a presentation.

Hope I've helped and anymore questions, just ask! If you don't mind me prying what subjects are you going to take? 😊
That really helped thanks
I'm taking maths, physics and biology (but I will probably change it to further maths) And I am doing german externally.
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JessThomas6
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- Revise form the start - not loads but it 100% helps
- if you need work experience for the uni course you're looking into get it ASAP - don't do what I did and go straight from exams into work experience, I got scarlet fever and was out for a couple of weeks after I had finished, ruined the start of summer for me
- consolidate your work stye ASAP so you can just revise without worrying
- use your frees for work!!!!! I didn't and looking back i realise how much time i actually wasted by playing cards and chatting to friends
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JessThomas6
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Just adding - work for your AS levels! Even though they don't count, they're used for predicted grades and by not really caring I got bad predicted and couldn't apply to the unis I wanted - treat them as if they count
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username3989988
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(Original post by JessThomas6)
Just adding - work for your AS levels! Even though they don't count, they're used for predicted grades and by not really caring I got bad predicted and couldn't apply to the unis I wanted - treat them as if they count
My school doesn't do AS anymore because they are getting rid of it
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