Physics help on how to get an A* - A level OCR

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killak434
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Hello everyone, I’m currently going into yr 13 and I’m so clueless on how to revise for physics. Well not really clueless but I’m struggling between understanding whether I should be memorising content and practicing questions or solely practicing questions with a tinny bit of memorisation. I did many papers last year for all the modules we did from physics and maths tutor. I think it was like 6 exam papers per module. Iv completely forgot everything. I did achieve numerous a stars last year because of the exam papers I did. I’m planning to go through all the content again and look over all the exam questions Iv done. I was just wondering if someone can help me plan what I should be doing next year. Should I re do all these exam papers again in the a2 year to keep a1 content fresh? Is there any other websites/ question locations, such as websites I should be using? I’m fairly confident I will achieve a stars in my other subjects with are maths and economics. I’m just stressing about physics, because I really want the a star. Btw I’m prepared to put in loads of work and time to get the a star in physics so any advice would be great.
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Invective
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Out of the options you stated, memorising content and practising questions. From my experience with the OCR A Physics new spec, and just Physics in general. The practice is essential and should be what you invest most of your time into to familiarise yourself with the exam technique and approach.

However, you cannot answer an exam question without knowing the concepts the questions are based off. What you need to do is first understand the concept presented; what I recommend is learning the same concept at least through 2-3 sources to ensure you have understood it entirely. Then begin to answer as many questions revolving around the topic as possible.

To help consolidate and store concepts to memory, I implore you to use the active recall method (Google it if you're unfamiliar) It's good you're worried now as there is plenty time to prepare the information you need to remember/understand.

In regards to your exam question, when you've finished an exam, you have to learn from your mistakes. Unless you got 100%, there is always something to learn from an exam in preparation for your summer examinations. There is a method of reviewing your mistakes that Study Youtuber UnJaded Jade released that helped her get an A* in OCR A Chemistry; it can apply to all subjects IMO.

For your AS/1 year content, I recommend you do the active recall method as well, however since you should've learnt/ at least are familiar with the content you can very quickly get back up to speed in any spare time you have before March, I recommend you do this by March 2021 ahead of your Summer 2021 exams because the workload can become heavy. Once March comes and you've consolidated the AS content, and are in the final few months before your exams, do and most importantly, re-do any exams/ exam questions you can get your hands on. This includes for other specifications as Physics is Maths based and the mathematical applications/approach each exam board expects you to be familiar with differs very slightly.

TLDR/ What to do now;
- Understand then consolidate concepts before attempting any questions
- Re-learn your AS from October - March 2021 in your free time, by March you should have gone through all AS content
- Learn the active recall method
- Do and re-do every past paper questions you've done and learn from your mistakes.
- If you don't get 100%, there is always something to learn
- Invest in doing other exam board Physics questions as they won't differ by any margin large enough to render them useless.

I did OCR A-Level Physics back in 2017 and achieved A*s throughout my studies simply through understanding concepts and then practising applying to any relevant situation I could find. This is what worked for me, and I hope it can for you. BEST OF LUCK!
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killak434
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Thank you for this. I researched into the active recall method and Iv realised I’ve been doing it throughout the AS year for a level economics. I’m going to do this! How long do you think I should spend on AS a week in general. I was thinking of doing purely AS on a Saturday. Bearing in mind I have a study day off from college also, so about 3 days off in a week. Do you know any websites or books where I can get a bunch of questions from, excluding physics and maths tutor. I think I’m going to go through the whole spec for AS now, develop my knowledge on everything and it will most likely take me a few days to refresh my brain with all the content and then each day I’m going to spend 15 mins a day, doing different modules everyday, going through flash card questions and answering them without hints etc (active recall). Would this be good practice? Your advice has been great and it’s really made me feel like I have a chance to get back to where I was.
Last edited by killak434; 10 months ago
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shafeeqking11
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(Original post by killak434)
Hello everyone, I’m currently going into yr 13 and I’m so clueless on how to revise for physics. Well not really clueless but I’m struggling between understanding whether I should be memorising content and practicing questions or solely practicing questions with a tinny bit of memorisation. I did many papers last year for all the modules we did from physics and maths tutor. I think it was like 6 exam papers per module. Iv completely forgot everything. I did achieve numerous a stars last year because of the exam papers I did. I’m planning to go through all the content again and look over all the exam questions Iv done. I was just wondering if someone can help me plan what I should be doing next year. Should I re do all these exam papers again in the a2 year to keep a1 content fresh? Is there any other websites/ question locations, such as websites I should be using? I’m fairly confident I will achieve a stars in my other subjects with are maths and economics. I’m just stressing about physics, because I really want the a star. Btw I’m prepared to put in loads of work and time to get the a star in physics so any advice would be great.
In the same boat bro. I'm more worried that we didn't actually get to do end-of-year exams for physics because of covid. So now I don't really know what level I'm at even though I feel pretty confident with the content - because exam conditions are a different thing altogether.
Hopefully we'll both get the A*. Keep working hard
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killak434
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True, I’m creating a set of flash card questions on quizlet for each module as a way of testing myself on the content. Can share them with you if you want. The questions are like ‘how can you model an electric current’. Thank you and same to you!
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minasqrd
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practice papers!!!
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Invective
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(Original post by killak434)
Thank you for this. I researched into the active recall method and Iv realised I’ve been doing it throughout the AS year for a level economics. I’m going to do this! How long do you think I should spend on AS a week in general. I was thinking of doing purely AS on a Saturday. Bearing in mind I have a study day off from college also, so about 3 days off in a week. Do you know any websites or books where I can get a bunch of questions from, excluding physics and maths tutor. I think I’m going to go through the whole spec for AS now, develop my knowledge on everything and it will most likely take me a few days to refresh my brain with all the content and then each day I’m going to spend 15 mins a day, doing different modules everyday, going through flash card questions and answering them without hints etc (active recall). Would this be good practice? Your advice has been great and it’s really made me feel like I have a chance to get back to where I was.
Sorry for the late response, I don't come on here often.

The amount of time you should spend on AS should be dependent on how much you need to cover, ideally this shouldn't be the entire course and you that you only need to touch upon a few topics through practising some questions to refresh your knowledge. Assuming you have to re-learn the entire course, dedicate maybe 1-2 hours a day after school or during your frees to read a little bit. This may result in you covering what you need a lot faster, however, the workload increases by 1-2 hours a day and possibly more (assuming you're like me and can't get over and have to know why you got a question wrong, which is the right attitude, but I take it to a whole other level)

Doing AS on Saturday seems fine, you should be able to cover your hours through the week or at least cover enough to have everything done by March. Regarding questions, all I used was the Maths and Physics tutor page and a Physics Workbook (orange cover, this was made for the new spec. Has a decent amount of questions in total, forgot the name) but I don't think it should be hard to find some more question compilations online through googling A-Level Physics questions (As I said before, all specs can be used, but if you somehow run out of questions from the OCR spec (new+old) and you've learned from your mistakes, you shouldn't need any more and would've covered a lot. But I encourage to find more questions from another spec, if this ever happens. You can never know what the Unified Paper will come up with.

I made flashcards using the Chegg app on my phone, I use this all through till now in University. I used this for concepts, and really anything I knew I had to remember, so this is definitely the approach that worked for me. Keep in mind, the strategy comes into effect the more the recall it over a greater amount of time. So yes, your flashcard method would work, I use the same, just online (because I will definitely lose the papers lol) But like I said before, the biggest help was practice. My First year (AS which luckily doesn't count) I made the approach of just trying to remember everything without much practice, let's just say that year was very unsuccessful and almost cost me my ability to study further into 2nd year with the same subjects.

However, I learnt that practice is the biggest thing with Science/Math-related subjects. That exam tests your ability to answer the questions where you apply the basic concepts to different scenarios, not how well you understand/ have remembered the content.

Don't want to repeat myself again, but the practice is by far the most important part of your revision for your Science subjects I can assure you. Work on practising and you will drastically improve your grades. Any A-Level Physics question is useful. And I can pretty much guarantee if you're able to finish all OCR questions, learn from your mistakes, re-do them without making the same mistake (either straight away or after a couple of days) you will get your A*.

Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.
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