A Levels Advice and Tips for new Year 12 pls Watch

AHB54321
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I am starting year 12 at college next month hopefully.
I want to work exceptionally hard for my A-Levels and achieve all A*s, but I need some advice if possible. I’m not really sure how college works e.g, such as free periods. I would be really appreciate if someone could answer some of the following questions, as well as giving me some general tips. I have understood that I should be making flashcards after each lesson - should that be at home or during my frees? Should I be looking at my flashcards on the weekend for a few hours to keep my knowledge refreshed. What is the homework like? How long would it generally take a person to make condense flashcards after one lesson?
Should I be doing homework during my frees?

I would be really appreciative if someone could help. I know some of my questions are too specific, and may be hard to answer as it depends on my timetable, personal preferences, my college etc. But I’m just looking for general advice and responses based a persons experience. If it helps, I have chosen to take Biology; chemistry and history. And I prefer making flashcards at home.

I dont want it to seem like I’m tempting fate about going to college as I haven’t had my gcse results yet. I’m well aware that i might not get in. The reason I’m asking is that I’ve had anxiety issues and to prevent them I need to plan for all options. At GCSEs I had stress due to the fact I was unprepared. So hopefully that gives some reasons why I’m asking about college when I haven’t even got my gcse results yet. I hope I don’t come across as being arrogant, as that isn’t my intention. I know there is a high probability I might not get it.

I would appreciate any advice. Some general tips and personal experiences will help. I know my questions may seem specific, but any answer will help.

Thanks.
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username4911280
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Hello there,

I just finished Y13 and got AAA (so not quite as high as what you want ) but I feel that I got a good grip on things. I'll start with how things will work.

In a day, you will likely have 5-7 periods based on your college. Some periods will have lessons (just like GCSE). You will have a certain number of lessons each week per subject. In your free periods, you have no lesson. This is time for you to go away and:

A) Complete homework.
B) Revise
C) Do further reading into the subject (this will be a key one for History).

Okay, so onto your questions:

"I have understood that I should be making flashcards after each lesson - should that be at home or during my frees?"

To be honest, a lot of teachers are rubbish and can't teach properly or will miss something out. This is my advice for you.

- Buy all the textbooks for your course.
- Condense info from textbooks into flashcards.
- Do these flashcards AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until you can do them with your eyes closed.
- Then, print out past papers and do them and give them to your teacher to mark.
- Use the lessons to ask teachers things you didn't understand.

I was always a few lessons ahead of the teaching because I relied more on independent teaching. The only "jump" from GCSE to A Level is the fact that you have to actually put effort in and teach yourself. When you get your timetable, colour-code each free period (Green for Bio, Red for Chem, Blue for History etc.) and do 1 topic per free period.

Just imagine in February when everyone's fretting about the summer exams and you not only have revision materials for every single topic in your subjects, but you've done them to death AND you've got exam technique done. You're gonna be rolling in A*.

"Should I be looking at my flashcards on the weekend for a few hours to keep my knowledge refreshed. What is the homework like?"

You need to do them frequently. Use an app like Quizlet, and you can just do them everyday to and from school. The key thing is you set up a timetable where you can cover every topic before an exam. As for homework, it's mainly just to complete a sheet based on the class or to write essays in the case of History.

How long would it generally take a person to make condense flashcards after one lesson?

Not long if you use an online app.

Should I be doing homework during my frees?

Your main focus should be making the revision content so by the time March rolls around you can just spam flashcards until your exams and perfect exam technique. I'd do homework at home if you have the time.

I'm worried about my GCSEs!

I got pretty average GCSEs (mainly Bs and Cs) and I got offers from 4 Russell Group Unis (but rejected by Cambridge, the posh swines...) Nobody cares unless it's Oxbridge, Medicine, Law or a few other courses. You just need a pass in Maths and English.

Other tips?

- Don't go out partying or socialising too much. Honestly, it's worth being a social loser for two years and get great grades rather than being the life of the party and having to resit.
- Questions repeat themselves in exams with different wordings. Look out for that.
- Don't study in a group - people just talk and nothing gets done. Study alone. If you want, you can have a Whatsapp chat for your class or something, but nothing more.
- Nobody's gonna get that A* for you. Work.
- KEY TIP THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SAID: EXAM TECHNIQUE EXAM TECHNIQUE EXAM TECHNIQUE do every paper and then do it again!


If you want help with organising, send me your timetable for school and I'll even fill in your frees for you. Someone did that on TSR for me once.
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entertainmyfaith
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make flashcards whenever you feel like it, you may find it more productive to make them during frees so you can revise at home where it'd be quieter with less distractions. definitely a good idea to keep on top of your work from the beginning, make sure you stick to your plan.
the more frequently you go over these flashcards, the better as they're more likely to stick in your mind quicker.
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nzy
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To add, organising yourself and keeping on top of revising is important, but pace yourself. For the first few weeks, just settle in and socialise. Since you'll be starting each course from scratch, there just won't be very much content to learn and revise for the first term. Just a couple hours a week studying (which is a couple hours more than lots of people will be doing anyway) will probably be enough to completely consolidate everything you've learnt in lessons, and any tests or assessments you have will be based on such little content that you'll honestly be fine with about a week's worth of revision.

Don't get me wrong, you should do some revision and get yourself into the habit of it so that it'll be easier later in the year (I'd say you the workload really picks up at around Easter), but if you do try to get everything done as quickly as possibly after every lesson from day 1, which is pretty much what I did last year, you're gonna find yourself sitting around without much work to do and simultaneously burn yourself out (if that makes sense).
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AHB54321
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(Original post by _polaroid)
Hello there,

I just finished Y13 and got AAA (so not quite as high as what you want ) but I feel that I got a good grip on things. I'll start with how things will work.

In a day, you will likely have 5-7 periods based on your college. Some periods will have lessons (just like GCSE). You will have a certain number of lessons each week per subject. In your free periods, you have no lesson. This is time for you to go away and:

A) Complete homework.
B) Revise
C) Do further reading into the subject (this will be a key one for History).

Okay, so onto your questions:

"I have understood that I should be making flashcards after each lesson - should that be at home or during my frees?"

To be honest, a lot of teachers are rubbish and can't teach properly or will miss something out. This is my advice for you.

- Buy all the textbooks for your course.
- Condense info from textbooks into flashcards.
- Do these flashcards AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until you can do them with your eyes closed.
- Then, print out past papers and do them and give them to your teacher to mark.
- Use the lessons to ask teachers things you didn't understand.

I was always a few lessons ahead of the teaching because I relied more on independent teaching. The only "jump" from GCSE to A Level is the fact that you have to actually put effort in and teach yourself. When you get your timetable, colour-code each free period (Green for Bio, Red for Chem, Blue for History etc.) and do 1 topic per free period.

Just imagine in February when everyone's fretting about the summer exams and you not only have revision materials for every single topic in your subjects, but you've done them to death AND you've got exam technique done. You're gonna be rolling in A*.

"Should I be looking at my flashcards on the weekend for a few hours to keep my knowledge refreshed. What is the homework like?"

You need to do them frequently. Use an app like Quizlet, and you can just do them everyday to and from school. The key thing is you set up a timetable where you can cover every topic before an exam. As for homework, it's mainly just to complete a sheet based on the class or to write essays in the case of History.

How long would it generally take a person to make condense flashcards after one lesson?

Not long if you use an online app.

Should I be doing homework during my frees?

Your main focus should be making the revision content so by the time March rolls around you can just spam flashcards until your exams and perfect exam technique. I'd do homework at home if you have the time.

I'm worried about my GCSEs!

I got pretty average GCSEs (mainly Bs and Cs) and I got offers from 4 Russell Group Unis (but rejected by Cambridge, the posh swines...) Nobody cares unless it's Oxbridge, Medicine, Law or a few other courses. You just need a pass in Maths and English.

Other tips?

- Don't go out partying or socialising too much. Honestly, it's worth being a social loser for two years and get great grades rather than being the life of the party and having to resit.
- Questions repeat themselves in exams with different wordings. Look out for that.
- Don't study in a group - people just talk and nothing gets done. Study alone. If you want, you can have a Whatsapp chat for your class or something, but nothing more.
- Nobody's gonna get that A* for you. Work.
- KEY TIP THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN SAID: EXAM TECHNIQUE EXAM TECHNIQUE EXAM TECHNIQUE do every paper and then do it again!


If you want help with organising, send me your timetable for school and I'll even fill in your frees for you. Someone did that on TSR for me once.
Thank you so much for the great response. Don't worry I am already a social loser . Your post has helped me loads. I really appreciate you taking out your time to help me. I will take on board everything you had said. Congrats on ur amazing A-Level results! I feel a lot better and have gained a lot of knowledge on college, thank you so much.

Just a quick final follow up question (no worries, if you can't reply, the first response was a great help enough);

Would you recommend a wordy long revision/text book or an already condense revision/text book. The reason i'm asking, is that when i get a condense revision guide, i find myself just copying down the revision guide 'word by word', as it is already condense on the flashcards - should i get a long wordy one and condense it myself, cutting out all the useless information OR condense further the already condense revision guide (lol if that makes sense .) I struggle with knowing how condense my flashcards should be and i end up just re-writing the revision guide. I'm not a fan of online flashcards and prefer paper ones. Sorry if that doesn't make sense and thanks again for the response.
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username4911280
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(Original post by AHB54321)
Thank you so much for the great response. Don't worry I am already a social loser . Your post has helped me loads. I really appreciate you taking out your time to help me. I will take on board everything you had said. Congrats on ur amazing A-Level results! I feel a lot better and have gained a lot of knowledge on college, thank you so much.

Just a quick final follow up question (no worries, if you can't reply, the first response was a great help enough);

Would you recommend a wordy long revision/text book or an already condense revision/text book. The reason i'm asking, is that when i get a condense revision guide, i find myself just copying down the revision guide 'word by word', as it is already condense on the flashcards - should i get a long wordy one and condense it myself, cutting out all the useless information OR condense further the already condense revision guide (lol if that makes sense .) I struggle with knowing how condense my flashcards should be and i end up just re-writing the revision guide. I'm not a fan of online flashcards and prefer paper ones. Sorry if that doesn't make sense and thanks again for the response.
Many will say don't put too much on flashcards - the truth is that I basically put the entire textbook on my flashcards and forced myself to learn everything word for word. Of course, you don't need to do this. Work out the key info and make flashcards with them.

As for the textbook, avoid CGP because they suck. I'd just get the official textbook that's endorsed by your exam board. eg. If you're doing OCR History, you would get the OCR Textbook.

If you're going to do physical flashcards make sure they're not lost. Also, repeat the flashcard piles you have the most difficulty with.

A final tip - get good sturdy folders for each subject, get dividers for the units and store all your notes neatly! Nothing worse than losing them.



Any more questions - feel free to ask me! Doesn't have to be academic. Can be about stress relief etc.
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Dancer2001
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I try to do as much work as possible in college because I never get anything done at home. This means working in all of my frees and sometimes staying late if I really need to get something done.
I also take chemistry but didn’t start making flash cards until a few months in (when I had already done some parts of papers). I just go through the textbook pages and write down anything I know I might not remember, sometimes using pictures and shorthand. I tried to look through these regularly but mainly relied on past papers tbh.
These flash cards come in useful just before an exam when you need to revise but it’s too late to test yourself. I’m going into year 13 and I got an A at AS. I can’t really help with the others because I didn’t take any essay-based subjects.
Last edited by Dancer2001; 4 weeks ago
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AHB54321
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(Original post by _polaroid)
Many will say don't put too much on flashcards - the truth is that I basically put the entire textbook on my flashcards and forced myself to learn everything word for word. Of course, you don't need to do this. Work out the key info and make flashcards with them.

As for the textbook, avoid CGP because they suck. I'd just get the official textbook that's endorsed by your exam board. eg. If you're doing OCR History, you would get the OCR Textbook.

If you're going to do physical flashcards make sure they're not lost. Also, repeat the flashcard piles you have the most difficulty with.

A final tip - get good sturdy folders for each subject, get dividers for the units and store all your notes neatly! Nothing worse than losing them.



Any more questions - feel free to ask me! Doesn't have to be academic. Can be about stress relief etc.
Hello, sorry a quick question. With flashcards; do you just write key points on them or do you write a question on the front and an answer on the back e.g, what is nucleus for? Controls all cell activity?
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username4911280
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(Original post by AHB54321)
Hello, sorry a quick question. With flashcards; do you just write key points on them or do you write a question on the front and an answer on the back e.g, what is nucleus for? Controls all cell activity?
Well I had massive chunks of information to learn for economics, so I would literally just put the entire chunk of text onto one side of the flashcard and then a prompt on the other side. For example:

Prompt: Adam Smith Economic Views

Text: Adam Smith believed in a laissez-faire economy where the government had minimal intervention... etc.

Use the prompt, then try to recite the text by heart. Many will disagree with this method, but honestly if you can remember the course content down to the word you'll be unstoppable in exams. It just takes time.
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