What am I doing wrong😭😭

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sianhill26
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Hi Everyone!, Im in Year 13 and currently doing A levels. I am not achieving the grades I want
- Im doing Biology, Sociology and Psychology and my target grades are BBC to get into uni.
- Im revising for around 4 hours a night but I'm barely scraping a C in all of them

Can anyone give me some revision tips on how to do effective revision and try and boost these grades before the real exam

Thanks
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I AM GROOT 1
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You need to look at the areas which you are weak on and work on them, how is it that you are revising? past papers are perhaps best but its important that your knowledge is sound on all the topics so that you can answer questions appropriately
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sianhill26
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Im currently making mind maps and then condensing into revision cards but I find it hard to remember the content in depth to elaborate my answer in the exam. I do try and do past paper questions and practice writing essays ect. as often as I can but I struggle to find an effective way of using them, eg looking at an examiners report
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
You need to look at the areas which you are weak on and work on them, how is it that you are revising? past papers are perhaps best but its important that your knowledge is sound on all the topics so that you can answer questions appropriately
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I AM GROOT 1
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(Original post by sianhill26)
Im currently making mind maps and then condensing into revision cards but I find it hard to remember the content in depth to elaborate my answer in the exam. I do try and do past paper questions and practice writing essays ect. as often as I can but I struggle to find an effective way of using them, eg looking at an examiners report
Past paper are a good indication of what you know and what you need to work on use them to figure out your areas of weakness and work on them, by looking over the content and so on. If you are struggling speak to a teacher ask them how you can improve. Maybe try a different technique of learning you could try teaching someone else or just explain it to yourself like you were the teacher i find this helps. With psychology ur best off doing past papers as questions are tended to be repeated and recycled so they will be similar to what you may get in the exam
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sianhill26
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Thank you so much, I will try this and let you know how it goes
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
Past paper are a good indication of what you know and what you need to work on use them to figure out your areas of weakness and work on them, by looking over the content and so on. If you are struggling speak to a teacher ask them how you can improve. Maybe try a different technique of learning you could try teaching someone else or just explain it to yourself like you were the teacher i find this helps. With psychology ur best off doing past papers as questions are tended to be repeated and recycled so they will be similar to what you may get in the exam
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I AM GROOT 1
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(Original post by sianhill26)
Thank you so much, I will try this and let you know how it goes
No worries happy to help
Hope it works for you best of luck
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sotor
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nooo mindmaps

you have to test yourself on content. you need to not look at the content and force yourself to actively recall it from your memory. in the simplest form this is flashcards, but also extends to past papers, blurting* etc. past papers are vital exspecially for biology because you need to understand how to answer the questions as well as recall the information

*You read over your notes/textbook and then write down the headings of those notes, cover up the notes and write down what you can remember of the topic. Then check if you have remembered everything and write in a different colour what you missed out/got wrong.
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sianhill26
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Thanks for this advice! Over easter I'm determined to do as many past papers as possible so I will try the blurting method and hope it helps my recall
(Original post by sotor)
nooo mindmaps

you have to test yourself on content. you need to not look at the content and force yourself to actively recall it from your memory. in the simplest form this is flashcards, but also extends to past papers, blurting* etc. past papers are vital exspecially for biology because you need to understand how to answer the questions as well as recall the information

*You read over your notes/textbook and then write down the headings of those notes, cover up the notes and write down what you can remember of the topic. Then check if you have remembered everything and write in a different colour what you missed out/got wrong.
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Rabbit2
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All the way through elementary school, high school, and undergraduate college, i used to study like crazy for an exam. When i took it, i found that most of the stuff i had studied was NOT on the exam - so basically i had wasted my study time. In addition, there were about 12 kids in my class, that never seemed to study, but got straight A's, or nearly straight A's. I couldn't figure this out!! When i ended up in graduate school years later - the same effect occurred. I figured out that, if i didn't 'clean up my act' - i wasn't going to make it out with a degree! Thinking about it after a couple of drinks - i realised that what i had to do, was to figure out what the instructor thought was important - because that was what he was going to put on the exam.

Each time he discussed a particular topic, i kept track of how long he addressed that topic, and how much work he did whilst he was addressed it. As an example: Just talking about something is easy. I assigned a 'work factor' - as a metric of how much work he had done - of 1 to 3 for just talking about something. Drawing on the board is harder. I assigned a 4 to a 6 for board drawing. Say he talked about a topic for 5 minutes - a 'medium' complexity talk (something that he had spent some time organising, but not a lot). I would take the 5 minutes, and multiply it by 2 - for a medium complexity talk. This gives a total of 10. Then, later, he spent 9 minutes drawing a diagram on the board relating to the same topic. I would give him a 5 - for a 'medium complexity' drawing. Multiplying by the 9 minutes gives 45. Adding the 45 to the initial 10, gives 55. I would continue this for every time he mentioned that topic during the grading period. I would do this for every topic he went over in class during the grading period. Then, i would 'rank' all the topics, from the highest total to the lowest. Then, i figured how many questions could be asked on the exam. Figuring an hour for the exam, and that it typically would take 8 to 12 minutes to do each problem - there could be 4 to 8 questions on the exam. I would take the 10 highest ranking topics, and make sure i could answer any question that could be asked on each of them - questions that had shown up on homework problems, during class discussions, or anything else.

The first time i did this, i had 100% of the exam questions on my 'sample' exam. It took me 12 minutes to do the 1 hr exam. I checked my work 3 times. The first time i checked my exam - i found 2 small errors. Correcting them, i checked it 3 more times. Finding no other errors, i turned it in. 100%.

My 2 'study buddies' were amazed. I had showed them my 'sample exam' about a week before the actual one, and they didn't like any of my questions: "Oh, he wouldn't ask that - he asked it on the mid-term".... (me): "Yeah, but nobody could DO it on the mid-term & he ended up yelling at us. Don't you remember that???" After the exam, they asked me: "How did you DO that"?? Easy!!

Try that - it may work in the Uk too. Best of luck!!
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sotor
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(Original post by Rabbit2)
All the way through elementary school, high school, and undergraduate college, i used to study like crazy for an exam. When i took it, i found that most of the stuff i had studied was NOT on the exam - so basically i had wasted my study time. In addition, there were about 12 kids in my class, that never seemed to study, but got straight A's, or nearly straight A's. I couldn't figure this out!! When i ended up in graduate school years later - the same effect occurred. I figured out that, if i didn't 'clean up my act' - i wasn't going to make it out with a degree! Thinking about it after a couple of drinks - i realised that what i had to do, was to figure out what the instructor thought was important - because that was what he was going to put on the exam.

Each time he discussed a particular topic, i kept track of how long he addressed that topic, and how much work he did whilst he was addressed it. As an example: Just talking about something is easy. I assigned a 'work factor' - as a metric of how much work he had done - of 1 to 3 for just talking about something. Drawing on the board is harder. I assigned a 4 to a 6 for board drawing. Say he talked about a topic for 5 minutes - a 'medium' complexity talk (something that he had spent some time organising, but not a lot). I would take the 5 minutes, and multiply it by 2 - for a medium complexity talk. This gives a total of 10. Then, later, he spent 9 minutes drawing a diagram on the board relating to the same topic. I would give him a 5 - for a 'medium complexity' drawing. Multiplying by the 9 minutes gives 45. Adding the 45 to the initial 10, gives 55. I would continue this for every time he mentioned that topic during the grading period. I would do this for every topic he went over in class during the grading period. Then, i would 'rank' all the topics, from the highest total to the lowest. Then, i figured how many questions could be asked on the exam. Figuring an hour for the exam, and that it typically would take 8 to 12 minutes to do each problem - there could be 4 to 8 questions on the exam. I would take the 10 highest ranking topics, and make sure i could answer any question that could be asked on each of them - questions that had shown up on homework problems, during class discussions, or anything else.

The first time i did this, i had 100% of the exam questions on my 'sample' exam. It took me 12 minutes to do the 1 hr exam. I checked my work 3 times. The first time i checked my exam - i found 2 small errors. Correcting them, i checked it 3 more times. Finding no other errors, i turned it in. 100%.

My 2 'study buddies' were amazed. I had showed them my 'sample exam' about a week before the actual one, and they didn't like any of my questions: "Oh, he wouldn't ask that - he asked it on the mid-term".... (me): "Yeah, but nobody could DO it on the mid-term & he ended up yelling at us. Don't you remember that???" After the exam, they asked me: "How did you DO that"?? Easy!!

Try that - it may work in the Uk too. Best of luck!!
that sounds amazing! well done for figuring it out and taking the time to share it

unfortunately it wont work in the UK for GCSEs/A levels as all the exams are set by an external company and the teachers have no idea what will be set. there are some things that could be considered more likely to be set than others, but that is risky business to start trying to guess what will come up :/

but that is really good advice for here: trying to cover every kind of question you can think of abour a topic. the ranking could be done by keeping track of what you struggled to understand the most and assigning priority that way instead for uk style exams!
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Rabbit2
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(Original post by sotor)
that sounds amazing! well done for figuring it out and taking the time to share it

unfortunately it wont work in the UK for GCSEs/A levels as all the exams are set by an external company and the teachers have no idea what will be set. there are some things that could be considered more likely to be set than others, but that is risky business to start trying to guess what will come up :/

but that is really good advice for here: trying to cover every kind of question you can think of abour a topic. the ranking could be done by keeping track of what you struggled to understand the most and assigning priority that way instead for uk style exams!
Well, what needs to be done is to figure out what criteria the external company uses to select questions. Then you should be able to do the same trick with those exams. They must have some means of 'filtering' the course material to do this. Otherwise, none of the students could answer any of the exam questions - if the companies picked questions that had not been covered in the lectures.
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sotor
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(Original post by Rabbit2)
Well, what needs to be done is to figure out what criteria the external company uses to select questions. Then you should be able to do the same trick with those exams. They must have some means of 'filtering' the course material to do this. Otherwise, none of the students could answer any of the exam questions - if the companies picked questions that had not been covered in the lectures.
honestly no idea how they pick them. i love the idea, but there is so much material in the course and there is a previous exam question out there about literally every specification point. they might as well pick them out of a hat. at this point in my life i must have sat nigh on 100 different past papers from each of the 3 major exam boards and never noticed a pattern :/
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Rabbit2
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(Original post by sotor)
honestly no idea how they pick them. i love the idea, but there is so much material in the course and there is a previous exam question out there about literally every specification point. they might as well pick them out of a hat. at this point in my life i must have sat nigh on 100 different past papers from each of the 3 major exam boards and never noticed a pattern :/
Ok, i've been thinking about this over night. There MUST be a course syllabus somewhere, that outlines what is to be taught in the lectures. Otherwise, the schools would be teaching Greek, and the tests were designed to test for competency in aeronautical design. I think that this situation is like what you have when you are taking a course from a large uni that is taught by 5 or 6 instructors. Each instructor teaches 3 or 4 sections. The dept head [who may be one of the instructors too], and the instructors get together and decide on a 'Departmental Final'. They agree on the questions, and the exam is given to all students taking the course. In this case - they would have to co-ordinate across all unis teaching the course - so that lectures and tests would cover the required material.

If you could get a hold of class notes from 5 or 6 unis teaching a particular course, and 'correlate' the notes, to 'filter out' all the topics, i think you should have a 'handle' on it. Make a list of all the topics covered in each set of notes. Then, alphabatise each list of topics - so that you can easily compare them. Line each of them up - so that you can compare the topics covered in each course. I would expect that the list of topics covered at each uni would 'correlate' with those at the other unis.

Each topic that appears in each of the sets of notes, should correspond to one of the exam questions. Formulate a question that asks absolutely everything that you could ask about that topic. Then, practice so that you can answer everything asked in that question.

It would probably help if you could get someone to help who already had their degree in the appropriate subject - because they could probably see relationships between the topics that would not be apparent to an undergraduate student. What would also help, would be a copy of the sylllabus for the course, from one of the unis in question. Try the trash dumpsters. Best of Luck!!!
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Alaska215
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Ok so revision techniques:
- flash cards are great for revising and recall
- listening to videos on a specific topic can be really helpful e.g when your on the bus for example
- past questions are great: I like to make notes on a topic and then answer past paper questions as this helps me recall the information
- blotting: this is a technique of recall where you find a topic e.g memory (for psychology) and write down everything you can remember. Anything your struggling with you can then go over and revise.
- essay plans: making essay plans are great practice for the exam as you can work out exactly what you are going to say if that question comes up. Personally I think having a 4 by 4 grid and using each box as a paragraph with headings is the best way of approaching this.
- recalling information : this is especially useful in terms of formula. Spending 5 minutes a day writing out formula that you need to know off by heart can really help when it comes to the exam.
- visual cues: if your having trouble remembering a specific piece of information attach a visual image such as a drawing to it. For instance, if you can’t remember the name of a researcher e.g sultana and mcmonagle (picture a raisin and professor mc gonagle) for instance. I promise you this really does help.
- highlighting areas of concern: leading up to exams it’s really helpful to go through each subject highlighting key areas which you are struggling. E.g red amber green. You can then work through any red topics and make sure that you understand these first before going on to the less harder topics (Amber).
- make your own revision guide: use text books, your notes, the internet and summarise the information from all of these into your own condensed revision guide that you can refer back to.
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Alaska215
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Also recall is so important when revising. Get someone to test you for 5 minutes a day and it will make a lot of difference
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sotor
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(Original post by Rabbit2)
Ok, i've been thinking about this over night. There MUST be a course syllabus somewhere, that outlines what is to be taught in the lectures. Otherwise, the schools would be teaching Greek, and the tests were designed to test for competency in aeronautical design. I think that this situation is like what you have when you are taking a course from a large uni that is taught by 5 or 6 instructors. Each instructor teaches 3 or 4 sections. The dept head [who may be one of the instructors too], and the instructors get together and decide on a 'Departmental Final'. They agree on the questions, and the exam is given to all students taking the course. In this case - they would have to co-ordinate across all unis teaching the course - so that lectures and tests would cover the required material.

If you could get a hold of class notes from 5 or 6 unis teaching a particular course, and 'correlate' the notes, to 'filter out' all the topics, i think you should have a 'handle' on it. Make a list of all the topics covered in each set of notes. Then, alphabatise each list of topics - so that you can easily compare them. Line each of them up - so that you can compare the topics covered in each course. I would expect that the list of topics covered at each uni would 'correlate' with those at the other unis.

Each topic that appears in each of the sets of notes, should correspond to one of the exam questions. Formulate a question that asks absolutely everything that you could ask about that topic. Then, practice so that you can answer everything asked in that question.

It would probably help if you could get someone to help who already had their degree in the appropriate subject - because they could probably see relationships between the topics that would not be apparent to an undergraduate student. What would also help, would be a copy of the sylllabus for the course, from one of the unis in question. Try the trash dumpsters. Best of Luck!!!
PRSOM thanks for the help, defo gonna try what you suggested
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Rabbit2
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(Original post by sotor)
PRSOM thanks for the help, defo gonna try what you suggested
Ok, let me know how you make out!! When you're comparing the notes from different unis, look for text that is identical, or lists of items that are in the identical order. This would probably be copied from the original syllabus. That must be generated up by whatever educational authority decides what to teach in each course. There must be something 'synchronizing' them - otherwise nobody could pass the tests. Best of luck.
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nintysixthousand
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i did sociology and got an A* and psych i got an A. I would reccomend using quizlet to make flashcards to learn the facts/info. also mindmaps to summarise info eg a mindmap for marxism, functionlism and the theories in psych eg biological and cognitive. then link those to all the topics you do eg families, education and schizophrenia, stress etc. for the essays, for me i struggled a lot with sociology until i broke it down. Look at the mark schemes and figure out exactly what you need to do for all the marks, this is easier for the 16 marker in psych which i think is 6 mark description(so 3 points) and 10 mark eval(so 5 or 6 points). In sociology i found my grade went up when i simply repeated the question at the end of every para. eg if it was about functionism and education i would write at the end of every para, therefore functionlists would support the education system because... (summarising my point). It may seem stupid and small but it really did improve my grade! also in the exam just try to write as much as you can!
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PilboBaggins
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Try using past papers to brush up on the areas you think you need to study the most.

Maybe get a friend or family member to quiz you on what you've learnt?

Good luck! I'm sure you can do it. Remember to take regular breaks and look after yourself too
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Emma1999_
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Don't do a levels but I wouldn't stress. In my personal experience I was revising all the time and wasn't improving in mock tests by the exam everything had came to me and clicked and I felt like I never had before. Just keep going back over your revision but you will get there. Also don't put yourself down a C is still a good grade and shows your commitment and dedication. You need to just relax keep going over things and ensuring you look after yourself as well grade focusing.
I have been in a situation where I revised too much as I was getting the same however, even though it massively helped me get the grades it had some effects on my mental health to the point I couldn't even properly celebrate results and even though now I do i look back on that time and it was awful and it is something that still has mild impacts now.

Moral of the story put yourself first and do what you can do without the pressure. I wish you all the best and hope you get what you want
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