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A level chat

I'm currently doing my A levels but all of my friends are in yr12 so making this as a place to chat about my exams without annoying my irl friends. For context, I'm doing Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science and got A*A*A in my mocks, although I think the A in computer science must have been a mismark lol. I'm hopefully going to Durham in September to do maths, but need A*AB or A*A*C to get in, so I'm in serious revision mode right now.

I've already had my Further Pure exams and my first maths exam (I'm on Edexel in both if you're interested) and they've been okay so far. Further Pure 1 was fantastic and then Further Pure 2 today was awful, so it evens out I suppose. Maths Paper 1 was just fine. I felt like the first half of the paper (by half I mean 12/16) was fine and then the rest was just awful. I nearly went through the unofficial mark scheme and had to stop myself because I know that if I lost stupid marks I wouldn't get anything else done out of pure sadness lol.
Anyway, I don't expect anyone to read this, or for myself to update it very regularly, but I'm going to try as I hope it will help me be more motivated and productive.

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Original post by maisiem448
I'm currently doing my A levels but all of my friends are in yr12 so making this as a place to chat about my exams without annoying my irl friends. For context, I'm doing Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science and got A*A*A in my mocks, although I think the A in computer science must have been a mismark lol. I'm hopefully going to Durham in September to do maths, but need A*AB or A*A*C to get in, so I'm in serious revision mode right now.

I've already had my Further Pure exams and my first maths exam (I'm on Edexel in both if you're interested) and they've been okay so far. Further Pure 1 was fantastic and then Further Pure 2 today was awful, so it evens out I suppose. Maths Paper 1 was just fine. I felt like the first half of the paper (by half I mean 12/16) was fine and then the rest was just awful. I nearly went through the unofficial mark scheme and had to stop myself because I know that if I lost stupid marks I wouldn't get anything else done out of pure sadness lol.
Anyway, I don't expect anyone to read this, or for myself to update it very regularly, but I'm going to try as I hope it will help me be more motivated and productive.


Hey, I. in year 12 so not really any help to you lol but what's your revision technique for computer science as I'm on a C rn and struggling as to how to revise. Thanks :smile: (good luck in the exams btw)
Original post by M.A.T.T.
Hey, I. in year 12 so not really any help to you lol but what's your revision technique for computer science as I'm on a C rn and struggling as to how to revise. Thanks :smile: (good luck in the exams btw)


Hi, funnily enough, that was exactly me last year lol, just scraped a C in end of yr 12 mocks.

Honestly, the only way that works for me is blurting. So I choose a topic from the specification or whatever topic your exams on and write bullet points of stuff that's in that chapter, eg processor components, factors affecting processor performance etc, and then put the textbook or notes away and write everything you can think of about those bullet points. Then afterwards check what you've written and add in anything you forgot. In yr12, I made notes of every topic after we covered it in class (or whenever I could be bothered), I do OCR so we have 12 topics, and I use these notes to check my answers. Although its important that you don't just do this once and then forget everything. You have to do it regularly, like every few weeks / once a month until your exams. UnjadedJade on youtube did a good video on it which was how I heard of it so I'd recommend you watch that if you're interested.

I also got smartrevise, which was made by Craig n Dave who I'm pretty confident every CompSci student in the country has heard of lol. Its pretty good and has loads of questions, which you can filter by which specification points you want to revise. I got it through my college but I believe its only like £6-£10 ish for the year so its not that expensive to buy for yourself. Its on smartrevise.online if you want to have a look.

Hope this helps and good luck with the rest of year 12 and your exams next year :smile:
Original post by maisiem448
Hi, funnily enough, that was exactly me last year lol, just scraped a C in end of yr 12 mocks.

Honestly, the only way that works for me is blurting. So I choose a topic from the specification or whatever topic your exams on and write bullet points of stuff that's in that chapter, eg processor components, factors affecting processor performance etc, and then put the textbook or notes away and write everything you can think of about those bullet points. Then afterwards check what you've written and add in anything you forgot. In yr12, I made notes of every topic after we covered it in class (or whenever I could be bothered), I do OCR so we have 12 topics, and I use these notes to check my answers. Although its important that you don't just do this once and then forget everything. You have to do it regularly, like every few weeks / once a month until your exams. UnjadedJade on youtube did a good video on it which was how I heard of it so I'd recommend you watch that if you're interested.

I also got smartrevise, which was made by Craig n Dave who I'm pretty confident every CompSci student in the country has heard of lol. Its pretty good and has loads of questions, which you can filter by which specification points you want to revise. I got it through my college but I believe its only like £6-£10 ish for the year so its not that expensive to buy for yourself. Its on smartrevise.online if you want to have a look.

Hope this helps and good luck with the rest of year 12 and your exams next year :smile:


Craig n Dave are a lifesaver lol. How did you manage revising plus the coursework? idk whether to just try and get the coursework done ASAP so I can focus on the theory next year or just have a balance of both
Original post by M.A.T.T.
Craig n Dave are a lifesaver lol. How did you manage revising plus the coursework? idk whether to just try and get the coursework done ASAP so I can focus on the theory next year or just have a balance of both


I'd recommend trying to get the coursework done quickly, but I can't really talk given that I finished mine 2 days before it was due in (and so did literally everyone in my class lol). I'd say get as much done over Summer as you can. I finished my analysis over the Summer, and was really proud of it and worked really hard on it, and then when I started yr13 kept putting my design off due to the higher workload so didn't really touch it again until Christmas.
I don't know which exam board you're doing, but for the analysis and evaluation I would definitely recommend working off an exemplar. Some of the stuff in the mark scheme doesn't make any sense or uses weird wording and exemplars usually give a good example of what they mean. Mostly I just rephrased exactly what they said to make sense with my project lol.
Also, for the coding, I would definitely recommend using Pygame. Most people do either Pygame or Tkinter, but I found pygame easier to code with and the finished game looked so much better than my friends' Tkinter projects. There's a great tutorial series by Tech with Tim on Youtube that I would recommend taking notes from if you don't already know how to code with Pygame.
Original post by maisiem448
I'd recommend trying to get the coursework done quickly, but I can't really talk given that I finished mine 2 days before it was due in (and so did literally everyone in my class lol). I'd say get as much done over Summer as you can. I finished my analysis over the Summer, and was really proud of it and worked really hard on it, and then when I started yr13 kept putting my design off due to the higher workload so didn't really touch it again until Christmas.
I don't know which exam board you're doing, but for the analysis and evaluation I would definitely recommend working off an exemplar. Some of the stuff in the mark scheme doesn't make any sense or uses weird wording and exemplars usually give a good example of what they mean. Mostly I just rephrased exactly what they said to make sense with my project lol.
Also, for the coding, I would definitely recommend using Pygame. Most people do either Pygame or Tkinter, but I found pygame easier to code with and the finished game looked so much better than my friends' Tkinter projects. There's a great tutorial series by Tech with Tim on Youtube that I would recommend taking notes from if you don't already know how to code with Pygame.


im doing ocr aswell but yeah I'll check him out on yt thanks :smile:. My class finished the first year theory pretty fast so we've been doing the analysis stage in lessons I'm more worried about balancing the workload of the design stage with revision. Plus I've got history coursework to do aswell lol
Original post by M.A.T.T.
im doing ocr aswell but yeah I'll check him out on yt thanks :smile:. My class finished the first year theory pretty fast so we've been doing the analysis stage in lessons I'm more worried about balancing the workload of the design stage with revision. Plus I've got history coursework to do aswell lol

You're so lucky haha! We didn't even really find out about the coursework until like the last week of yr12. I also did history in yr12 but dropped it because of the coursework so I can't really help you there lol, but I'd recommend doing your design and possibly starting your development over the Summer. I know I was worried about working ahead of what my teacher was doing in lesson, but getting ahead now will seriously help you when it comes to Jan-March of yr13 because for me that was pretty much entirely my coursework when I really should have been starting my revision.
Although, if you don't get that much done over Summer, don't panic! Although my development and evaluation were incredibly rushed, I still managed to get 65/70 overall, which I was very happy with. My main advice is just this - justify EVERYTHING. Like just write a sentence at the end of every paragraph justifying what you've done. Pretty much all of the top mark band criteria is justification, so make sure you're constantly justifying.
Original post by maisiem448
You're so lucky haha! We didn't even really find out about the coursework until like the last week of yr12. I also did history in yr12 but dropped it because of the coursework so I can't really help you there lol, but I'd recommend doing your design and possibly starting your development over the Summer. I know I was worried about working ahead of what my teacher was doing in lesson, but getting ahead now will seriously help you when it comes to Jan-March of yr13 because for me that was pretty much entirely my coursework when I really should have been starting my revision.
Although, if you don't get that much done over Summer, don't panic! Although my development and evaluation were incredibly rushed, I still managed to get 65/70 overall, which I was very happy with. My main advice is just this - justify EVERYTHING. Like just write a sentence at the end of every paragraph justifying what you've done. Pretty much all of the top mark band criteria is justification, so make sure you're constantly justifying.

I take Further Maths, Maths, Computer Science and Geography, applying to Durham Maths too this year, so I may see you around, need an A*A*A, currently in my exams, CP1 and 2 have gone well so far and just hoping FM1 and FP1 follow as nicely. Honestly, I am in the same boat with computer science, I got a 68/70 in the coursework but cannot get above an A. I just don't like the styling of OCR questions to be honest, but going to try my best to revise computer science and get that A :smile:.

Out of interest, are you taking the STEP exams? And what college have you got into at Durham?
Original post by 1Joshua
I take Further Maths, Maths, Computer Science and Geography, applying to Durham Maths too this year, so I may see you around, need an A*A*A, currently in my exams, CP1 and 2 have gone well so far and just hoping FM1 and FP1 follow as nicely. Honestly, I am in the same boat with computer science, I got a 68/70 in the coursework but cannot get above an A. I just don't like the styling of OCR questions to be honest, but going to try my best to revise computer science and get that A :smile:.

Out of interest, are you taking the STEP exams? And what college have you got into at Durham?

Hi, yeah OCR questions suck, 12 marker practise is doing my head in rn lol. I'm not doing STEP but I did do the TMUA in November and did awfully haha. I got a reduced offer due to my town being pretty poor, so I don't really need to do STEP and also it looks like a lot of work. Good luck if you're taking it though :smile:
I got into John Snow, which I was quite happy with tbh. Where are you going? Hope to see you there in September!
Original post by maisiem448
Hi, yeah OCR questions suck, 12 marker practise is doing my head in rn lol. I'm not doing STEP but I did do the TMUA in November and did awfully haha. I got a reduced offer due to my town being pretty poor, so I don't really need to do STEP and also it looks like a lot of work. Good luck if you're taking it though :smile:
I got into John Snow, which I was quite happy with tbh. Where are you going? Hope to see you there in September!


I got into Collingwood, pretty happy with it, are you going catered or self-catered? I didn't have to take STEP, but in case I do not get an A* in Further Maths, I would have to get a STEP Grade 1, which will be extremely hard. So my effort is on A-Levels to get that A*, but STEP is more of a challenge and a bit of fun, but yes, it is a hell of a lot of work lol.
Original post by maisiem448
Hi, yeah OCR questions suck, 12 marker practise is doing my head in rn lol. I'm not doing STEP but I did do the TMUA in November and did awfully haha. I got a reduced offer due to my town being pretty poor, so I don't really need to do STEP and also it looks like a lot of work. Good luck if you're taking it though :smile:
I got into John Snow, which I was quite happy with tbh. Where are you going? Hope to see you there in September!


How far are you from Durham, what's the travel going to be like? I'm down in Suffolk so have to travel a good 6 hours!
Original post by 1Joshua
I got into Collingwood, pretty happy with it, are you going catered or self-catered? I didn't have to take STEP, but in case I do not get an A* in Further Maths, I would have to get a STEP Grade 1, which will be extremely hard. So my effort is on A-Levels to get that A*, but STEP is more of a challenge and a bit of fun, but yes, it is a hell of a lot of work lol.

Original post by 1Joshua
How far are you from Durham, what's the travel going to be like? I'm down in Suffolk so have to travel a good 6 hours!

Haha cool, we'll be just across the road from each other lol. I'm going self-catered. I can barely afford the accommodation on my student loan, so definitely can't afford to be catered - Durham has such expensive accommodation I swear. I was really pleased with my reduced offer, without it I'd be in the same boat as you lol, A* in further maths seems pretty much impossible rn, but I'm sure you'll be able to do it :smile:.
I'm in South Cumbria so its only about a 3 hour drive - across the Pennines though so trains are a nightmare. I don't envy you with a 6 hour journey lol! I've visited twice now and I really love the city - and the maths building is so cool lol. Have you managed to get up there to visit?
Original post by maisiem448
Haha cool, we'll be just across the road from each other lol. I'm going self-catered. I can barely afford the accommodation on my student loan, so definitely can't afford to be catered - Durham has such expensive accommodation I swear. I was really pleased with my reduced offer, without it I'd be in the same boat as you lol, A* in further maths seems pretty much impossible rn, but I'm sure you'll be able to do it :smile:.
I'm in South Cumbria so its only about a 3 hour drive - across the Pennines though so trains are a nightmare. I don't envy you with a 6 hour journey lol! I've visited twice now and I really love the city - and the maths building is so cool lol. Have you managed to get up there to visit?


Yeah, with catered, first year it is around £8000, but my loan is only in the £4000s, it is super expensive. I have visited once and really liked it, but wasn't there for more than a few hours, wish I could have stayed longer to be honest. The maths building is awesome, the hill up there is not as much so 😂.
Original post by 1Joshua
Yeah, with catered, first year it is around £8000, but my loan is only in the £4000s, it is super expensive. I have visited once and really liked it, but wasn't there for more than a few hours, wish I could have stayed longer to be honest. The maths building is awesome, the hill up there is not as much so 😂.

Haha yeah, John Snow's right at the top of the hill as well so I'll have to go all the way up everyday lol. Free exercise I guess haha
I think first year self catered is around £6500 and my loan is in the £4000s as well, but luckily I'm working full time this Summer so will be able to save up a bit before I arrive. Hopefully they have a lot of part-time jobs in Durham because I'm seriously gonna need them lol
Original post by maisiem448
Haha yeah, John Snow's right at the top of the hill as well so I'll have to go all the way up everyday lol. Free exercise I guess haha
I think first year self catered is around £6500 and my loan is in the £4000s as well, but luckily I'm working full time this Summer so will be able to save up a bit before I arrive. Hopefully they have a lot of part-time jobs in Durham because I'm seriously gonna need them lol



Yeah, I've got full time work too, but am going to try and become an online maths tutor, as the pay is good and it's quite flexible around times and places.
Original post by 1Joshua
Yeah, I've got full time work too, but am going to try and become an online maths tutor, as the pay is good and it's quite flexible around times and places.

Cool! I was a primary school maths tutor last year, because I thought I might want to be a primary teacher, but I've gone off that now lol - kids are kind of hard work. Online tutoring sounds really cool, but hard to get into. Are you planning on joining an established website or just advertising yourself somewhere?
Original post by maisiem448
Cool! I was a primary school maths tutor last year, because I thought I might want to be a primary teacher, but I've gone off that now lol - kids are kind of hard work. Online tutoring sounds really cool, but hard to get into. Are you planning on joining an established website or just advertising yourself somewhere?


Yeah, I was a sports leader at a primary school, it was hard but a lot of fun at times, besides when they tried to chew my friends shoelaces. I don't know whether to work on an established website or freelance, I'll look into it more when a levels are over :smile:
Original post by 1Joshua
Yeah, I was a sports leader at a primary school, it was hard but a lot of fun at times, besides when they tried to chew my friends shoelaces. I don't know whether to work on an established website or freelance, I'll look into it more when a levels are over :smile:

I've heard Collingwood's supposed to be the sporty college - seems that's a good fit for you! We had a similar thing at my secondary school and you don't want to know how many times I got hit in the face by bean bags lol
Original post by maisiem448
I've heard Collingwood's supposed to be the sporty college - seems that's a good fit for you! We had a similar thing at my secondary school and you don't want to know how many times I got hit in the face by bean bags lol


Oh no I'm not sporty at all, mostly did sports leaders for the experience 😂. Collingwood's big facilities and bar attracted me to be honest.
Original post by 1Joshua
Oh no I'm not sporty at all, mostly did sports leaders for the experience 😂. Collingwood's big facilities and bar attracted me to be honest.

Haha me neither! Collingwood does look cool - I like the stag statue lol. Annoyingly John Snow got renovated or something a few years ago, so I'm not really sure what its like. I didn't really feel like snooping around the accommodation when I went to visit lol. How do you feel about gowned formals? John Snow has them I think and I just think its so weird lol

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