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How to get a-stars in a-level? is it possible?

How many hours of revision should I do in the holidays to get A stars....like how many did anyone who got them do in the y12 hols and then in y13...and is it too late to get those grades if i start working really hard for the next 9 ish months...
Original post by Anonymous
How many hours of revision should I do in the holidays to get A stars....like how many did anyone who got them do in the y12 hols and then in y13...and is it too late to get those grades if i start working really hard for the next 9 ish months...

Hey :smile:

I just want to preface this by saying that everyone has their own study habits and what works best for me may not necessarily be the same case for you.

In general, I would normally allow myself at the very least 3 hours of strict studying during the holidays for about 4 times a week just so that I can keep my brain rehearsing information. That might not sound like a lot of hours because that's just 12 hours of studying a week but to my friends whom I shared this with, they found it to be too exhausting. If you would feel similar to that, I suggest just studying for at least an hour a day for about 5 days a week, just so that you can at least keep reminding yourself of topics you already know and even familiarize yourself with your weaker topics.

If you a serious about achieving A stars, the timeframe should not be an issue. As I know a few people that have managed to get A stars in roughly 6 months of strict studying. For as long as you are adamant about achieving a high mark, just know that you will be rewarded for the amount of effort your put towards studying and rehearsal.

I hope this helps!

Derrick
Reply 2
Original post by University of Suffolk student
Hey :smile:

I just want to preface this by saying that everyone has their own study habits and what works best for me may not necessarily be the same case for you.

In general, I would normally allow myself at the very least 3 hours of strict studying during the holidays for about 4 times a week just so that I can keep my brain rehearsing information. That might not sound like a lot of hours because that's just 12 hours of studying a week but to my friends whom I shared this with, they found it to be too exhausting. If you would feel similar to that, I suggest just studying for at least an hour a day for about 5 days a week, just so that you can at least keep reminding yourself of topics you already know and even familiarize yourself with your weaker topics.

If you a serious about achieving A stars, the timeframe should not be an issue. As I know a few people that have managed to get A stars in roughly 6 months of strict studying. For as long as you are adamant about achieving a high mark, just know that you will be rewarded for the amount of effort your put towards studying and rehearsal.

I hope this helps!

Derrick

I rlly appreciate your advise...thank you...the fact that other ppl have done it in a short time frame gives me hope and i understand..everyone is different and hopefully i will figure out a study schedule that works best for me .:smile:
Reply 3
I’d say you should be doing some work over the holidays to give yourself a head start for year 13- say 3 hours 5 times a week.

Then when you start year 13, if you want A*s the majority of your time should be spent studying. I would say 3 hours after school and then 6 hours a day at weekends minimum.
Reply 4
Original post by Anonymous
How many hours of revision should I do in the holidays to get A stars....like how many did anyone who got them do in the y12 hols and then in y13...and is it too late to get those grades if i start working really hard for the next 9 ish months...


Am sorry that I may not be (currently) qualified to answer this (getting remarked for maths (missed out A* by 5 marks) and chemistry (missed an A* in both by 3 marks) but having recently completed and received my A level results I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome as I barely stressed out during the entirety of my revision. In my Y12 hols I actually did 0 revision. Non. I was a medicine applicant and therefore had to prepare for the UCAT (medical school entrance test) and finish writing my first EPQ draft. To answer your question it really depends on the subjects you take. I only did the 2 mentioned above and Biology which to me were quite straightforward subjects. I just had to constantly make sure my notes were in order and updated. Having prepared for topic tests, I made sure to get a full understanding of a topic during my revision for topic tests. By the time year 13 mocks were about to come (in Feb), I just had to re-read my notes a month in advance and ppqs 2 weeks in advance. Only started revising for the actual A-levels 2 months before my first exam date and revised the same way as I did for mocks but this time of course doing everything twice. My advice would be to not stress about the whole revision process. Take your time going over the old topics and enjoy the whole revision process whilst looking after yourself. Make time for hobbies and make sure to get enough sleep especially during study leave as at the end of the day, you could know all there is to know in the syllabus but if you didn't catch enough zzz's you are still prone to mistakes and you won't be able to think clearly. Oh yeah and of course enough sleep to make sure you stay healthy. Hope this would be of some help :biggrin:. P.S whenever you choose to start working really hard it really is never too late.
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
Am sorry that I may not be (currently) qualified to answer this (getting remarked for maths (missed out A* by 5 marks) and chemistry (missed an A* in both by 3 marks) but having recently completed and received my A level results I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome as I barely stressed out during the entirety of my revision. In my Y12 hols I actually did 0 revision. Non. I was a medicine applicant and therefore had to prepare for the UCAT (medical school entrance test) and finish writing my first EPQ draft. To answer your question it really depends on the subjects you take. I only did the 2 mentioned above and Biology which to me were quite straightforward subjects. I just had to constantly make sure my notes were in order and updated. Having prepared for topic tests, I made sure to get a full understanding of a topic during my revision for topic tests. By the time year 13 mocks were about to come (in Feb), I just had to re-read my notes a month in advance and ppqs 2 weeks in advance. Only started revising for the actual A-levels 2 months before my first exam date and revised the same way as I did for mocks but this time of course doing everything twice. My advice would be to not stress about the whole revision process. Take your time going over the old topics and enjoy the whole revision process whilst looking after yourself. Make time for hobbies and make sure to get enough sleep especially during study leave as at the end of the day, you could know all there is to know in the syllabus but if you didn't catch enough zzz's you are still prone to mistakes and you won't be able to think clearly. Oh yeah and of course enough sleep to make sure you stay healthy. Hope this would be of some help :biggrin:. P.S whenever you choose to start working really hard it really is never too late.


i appreciate that thanks, i do bio, chem and english lit aqa a-level
Original post by Anonymous
How many hours of revision should I do in the holidays to get A stars....like how many did anyone who got them do in the y12 hols and then in y13...and is it too late to get those grades if i start working really hard for the next 9 ish months...


1-2 hours(Depending on how behind you are) is, in my eyes, good enough until around Easter time. I only really stepped it up then and came out with A*A*A.
Original post by Anonymous
How many hours of revision should I do in the holidays to get A stars....like how many did anyone who got them do in the y12 hols and then in y13...and is it too late to get those grades if i start working really hard for the next 9 ish months...

Hi, I got 3 A*s (bio, chem, maths) and didn’t do that much revision in the y12 holidays to be honest. I don’t know exact times but I just focused on going over the content I was least comfortable with, and making sure revision resources were made. I don’t think it’s too late to get A*s
Reply 8
Original post by Teribblestudent
Hi, I got 3 A*s (bio, chem, maths) and didn’t do that much revision in the y12 holidays to be honest. I don’t know exact times but I just focused on going over the content I was least comfortable with, and making sure revision resources were made. I don’t think it’s too late to get A*s


thanks so much! do u have any tips for me....
Original post by Anonymous
thanks so much! do u have any tips for me....

I used flashcards to learn content for bio and chem, then did past paper questions (you can use the physics and maths tutor website to get them by topic) and marked them using the mark schemes to see what comes up and the kind of answers the mark schemes are looking for. If you struggle with timing in exams then try to answer past paper questions with a time limit to see how much you can get done in that time. I found the content in y13 to be quite a bit more complex than in y12 so make sure you’re asking questions if you don’t understand anything, and make your revision resources as you go along so you can just focus on using them when you get close to exams so you’re not wasting time. But honestly, just do what works for you.
In the year 12 holidays - I did not revise much at all - just like another person who replied (congratulations btw anonymous #2 and I hope your remarks turn out well) - I had work experience to attend and a UCAT to prepare for. Yesterday I got 3A*s and so I do think you can also do it if you work hard. This doesn't mean that you should also not revise in the summer you have left. Please be productive in some way - go over some content that you've found difficult - maybe pay some mind to that personal statement that you'll have to write or get work experience related to a course you are intending to apply to. Maybe try to get a head start on some year 13 content.

For me even during year 13, I felt I had not much time due to interviews. From December to near the end of January, I focused on interview preparation as all my interviews were in a single month. After that period it was quite stressful because I was quite exhausted and burnt out - I tried my best from March to the final exams and I made it in the end.
Reply 11
Original post by AnotherStudent!
1-2 hours(Depending on how behind you are) is, in my eyes, good enough until around Easter time. I only really stepped it up then and came out with A*A*A.


the actual mocks i got was D in chem C in bio B in eng lit...in chem i panicked the most and it meant than i did worse than i ever did before...i am trying to fin my notes and go over y12 content...but most of my work will be done in y13............i rlly do still wanna achieve the grades i need for my dreams
Reply 12
Original post by Teribblestudent
Hi, I got 3 A*s (bio, chem, maths) and didn’t do that much revision in the y12 holidays to be honest. I don’t know exact times but I just focused on going over the content I was least comfortable with, and making sure revision resources were made. I don’t think it’s too late to get A*s


Congratulations btw
Reply 13
Original post by Anonymous
In the year 12 holidays - I did not revise much at all - just like another person who replied (congratulations btw anonymous #2 and I hope your remarks turn out well) - I had work experience to attend and a UCAT to prepare for. Yesterday I got 3A*s and so I do think you can also do it if you work hard. This doesn't mean that you should also not revise in the summer you have left. Please be productive in some way - go over some content that you've found difficult - maybe pay some mind to that personal statement that you'll have to write or get work experience related to a course you are intending to apply to. Maybe try to get a head start on some year 13 content.

For me even during year 13, I felt I had not much time due to interviews. From December to near the end of January, I focused on interview preparation as all my interviews were in a single month. After that period it was quite stressful because I was quite exhausted and burnt out - I tried my best from March to the final exams and I made it in the end.


btw congratulations.well done :smile: ...i wanted to go for med.....my next mocks miss the deadline and the school doesnt think i can do it because of my poor mocks so ive decided to take a gapyear and apply as soon as i get a-level results....i rlly am trying harder now...i just feel so afraid that i have left my work till too late and i rlly wnat to believ i can jump to the grades i want but its hard when everyone around me doesnt
Original post by Anonymous
the actual mocks i got was D in chem C in bio B in eng lit...in chem i panicked the most and it meant than i did worse than i ever did before...i am trying to fin my notes and go over y12 content...but most of my work will be done in y13............i rlly do still wanna achieve the grades i need for my dreams


I can't really help you very specifically unfortunately(Did none of the 3 subjects), however I do think that you can fairly easily make up for it. Just keep practicing, get the revision guides if you need them, and make sure when you revise you're using proper methods(Active recall).
Original post by Anonymous
btw congratulations.well done :smile: ...i wanted to go for med.....my next mocks miss the deadline and the school doesnt think i can do it because of my poor mocks so ive decided to take a gapyear and apply as soon as i get a-level results....i rlly am trying harder now...i just feel so afraid that i have left my work till too late and i rlly wnat to believ i can jump to the grades i want but its hard when everyone around me doesnt

Thank you.

Some advice I can give is below

Something that worked for me in Chemistry is doing lots of questions. Lots of them (especially all the maths/calculation-based questions). You want to be really good with mechanism and maths questions so please practice them a lot - you want the methods for calculation questions to be hard stuck in your brain so if they ever come up you automatically know what to do 90% of the time - the only way I could do this was by actually just practicing again and again. Don't get intimidated by large chunks of text when you see those math questions - look for where the numbers are - what they are referring to and what actually is happening.

E.g a common back titration method is always dissolving something - making it up to 250cm^3 and then using 25cm^3 titres to react it with something.
They can complicate this by using the product of this first reaction and titrating/mixing it with another reactant. They'll give you a way to calc the moles of this second reactant and you have to work backward to find out something about the original thing that was dissolved like its percentage purity or its mass.

Also when you are revising/ learning something new in Chem - a really, really big thing that helped me when doing questions on a new topic was doing a question and then marking it before moving on to the next question. Some people just do a big paper and mark it at the end and find that they made a similar mistake on every question - they acknowledge it once and just move on. More often than not - you will find yourself making that same mistake again if you keep at it like this.

Marking a question before doing the next one is helpful in chemistry because you are constantly reminded of any mistakes you make. If you mark and see that you made the same mistake in the two previous questions - you are more likely to pick up on it the third time/later on. This method that a teacher told me in year 12 is what carried me in both year 12 and year 13.

However - nearer to end-of-year exams - you want to be doing full, complete papers in exam-time conditions without distractions and then marking them so you have an idea of how it will feel in your real A-Levels.


Make a big A3 sheet that connects all the mechanisms together - like a spider web diagram. This is better once you learn all the different functional groups and the mechanisms that associate with them. For example, haloalkanes can become alcohols (so draw an arrow from haloalkane to alcohol) alcohols can become aldehydes, or ketones so you draw two arrows from alcohols, one goes to aldehydes and the other goes to ketones ~ you get the idea. Under/above the arrows you can write in small writing what the conditions of the mechanism is - what the actual mechanism is called, the reactants and so on. About two months before the final exams is when I recommend making a sheet like this. Then memorize it. You might find that someone else has already made a diagram like this somewhere but its good to make your own one as it helps further your understanding

You also need to know a lot about practicals. Sometimes in AQA questions, they'll even ask you to write out a whole practical method for something. I suggest you make a collection of mark schemes with questions for these types of questions that you see in past papers that you can find online. Then memorize those mark schemes.


For all the reactions with colors that you'll see in the transition metal topic - make a table for all the reactions, and what they react with and fill in the blanks in the table with the observations and colors that you'd expect.

Some advice on Biology - try to annotate questions when you feel stuck - Biology can be a little weird at times. There have been moments where I've missed out on marks purely because my idea was correct but I didn't word it correctly and sometimes because the mark scheme is just way too specific (at least that's what I thought from my experience). An example of annotating can be on graphs - if you see an unfamiliar type of graph - annotate what the dependant and independent variables are. Write out what questions the scientists/Biologists/student who made the graph was trying to answer/show.
Things like this can simplify graphs.

When you see large chunks of text with words/processes you know (or even if its a process you dont know) - try drawing a little diagram that shows the process they are talking about.

To be honest - annotating questions in general is helpful because it helps you simplify large chunks of text.
With memorizing content - it kinda depends on you and how you like to memorize things. Some people like making flashcards - others use the blurting method. My method was to basically speak content out loud as if I was explaining it to someone. If I could explain everything clearly without hesitation/pausing to think - I knew the topic well - if I slowed down/couldn't explain clearly enough then I didn't memorize well enough and would need to go over the content again by reading it and trying to understand every step that is happening. It can be weird speaking to yourself sometimes but you can also try to explain it to a friend or anyone at home if possible. I did both and it worked out for me.

Also, make a timetable for revision and stick to it - consistency is vital. Include a buffer time in the timetable so you have a period where you can finish off anything that you couldn't finish in the time you originally gave yourself to do that task

As some of the others have said - do get sleep and stay hydrated so you can function better when revising - you don't want to be sleepy and tired and unbothered to revise when the time comes.

Also, really try and take an interest in your subjects and what you are learning. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning my subjects and that is another reason I have been able to get what I have gotten. It might be boring sometimes but there's always something interesting to find somewhere - this is subjective I guess.

Some more general advice - don't feel afraid - I think if you are willing to sacrifice your time and really want to achieve those higher grades - you can do it in the time you have. It doesn't matter when others don't believe in you - believe in yourself. Caring about what others think doesn't benefit you at all in this context. Be consistent and disciplined, if you procrastinate at times try and bounce back - notice it if it's becoming a problem and take steps to avoid it like restricting your phone/devices. Don't eat/watch youtube/go on your phone in the same place you use to revise. Reserve your revision space for only revision. This will help you get into the appropriate mindset for revision quicker. Most of all though, try your best.

Once again, good luck - I believe in ya
I've written a lot there - might want to read it more than once/ on different days so you can process it better.
Reply 17
Original post by AnotherStudent!
I can't really help you very specifically unfortunately(Did none of the 3 subjects), however I do think that you can fairly easily make up for it. Just keep practicing, get the revision guides if you need them, and make sure when you revise you're using proper methods(Active recall).


thanks for trying :smile:
Reply 18
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you.

Some advice I can give is below

Something that worked for me in Chemistry is doing lots of questions. Lots of them (especially all the maths/calculation-based questions). You want to be really good with mechanism and maths questions so please practice them a lot - you want the methods for calculation questions to be hard stuck in your brain so if they ever come up you automatically know what to do 90% of the time - the only way I could do this was by actually just practicing again and again. Don't get intimidated by large chunks of text when you see those math questions - look for where the numbers are - what they are referring to and what actually is happening.

E.g a common back titration method is always dissolving something - making it up to 250cm^3 and then using 25cm^3 titres to react it with something.
They can complicate this by using the product of this first reaction and titrating/mixing it with another reactant. They'll give you a way to calc the moles of this second reactant and you have to work backward to find out something about the original thing that was dissolved like its percentage purity or its mass.

Also when you are revising/ learning something new in Chem - a really, really big thing that helped me when doing questions on a new topic was doing a question and then marking it before moving on to the next question. Some people just do a big paper and mark it at the end and find that they made a similar mistake on every question - they acknowledge it once and just move on. More often than not - you will find yourself making that same mistake again if you keep at it like this.

Marking a question before doing the next one is helpful in chemistry because you are constantly reminded of any mistakes you make. If you mark and see that you made the same mistake in the two previous questions - you are more likely to pick up on it the third time/later on. This method that a teacher told me in year 12 is what carried me in both year 12 and year 13.

However - nearer to end-of-year exams - you want to be doing full, complete papers in exam-time conditions without distractions and then marking them so you have an idea of how it will feel in your real A-Levels.


Make a big A3 sheet that connects all the mechanisms together - like a spider web diagram. This is better once you learn all the different functional groups and the mechanisms that associate with them. For example, haloalkanes can become alcohols (so draw an arrow from haloalkane to alcohol) alcohols can become aldehydes, or ketones so you draw two arrows from alcohols, one goes to aldehydes and the other goes to ketones ~ you get the idea. Under/above the arrows you can write in small writing what the conditions of the mechanism is - what the actual mechanism is called, the reactants and so on. About two months before the final exams is when I recommend making a sheet like this. Then memorize it. You might find that someone else has already made a diagram like this somewhere but its good to make your own one as it helps further your understanding

You also need to know a lot about practicals. Sometimes in AQA questions, they'll even ask you to write out a whole practical method for something. I suggest you make a collection of mark schemes with questions for these types of questions that you see in past papers that you can find online. Then memorize those mark schemes.


For all the reactions with colors that you'll see in the transition metal topic - make a table for all the reactions, and what they react with and fill in the blanks in the table with the observations and colors that you'd expect.

Some advice on Biology - try to annotate questions when you feel stuck - Biology can be a little weird at times. There have been moments where I've missed out on marks purely because my idea was correct but I didn't word it correctly and sometimes because the mark scheme is just way too specific (at least that's what I thought from my experience). An example of annotating can be on graphs - if you see an unfamiliar type of graph - annotate what the dependant and independent variables are. Write out what questions the scientists/Biologists/student who made the graph was trying to answer/show.
Things like this can simplify graphs.

When you see large chunks of text with words/processes you know (or even if its a process you dont know) - try drawing a little diagram that shows the process they are talking about.

To be honest - annotating questions in general is helpful because it helps you simplify large chunks of text.
With memorizing content - it kinda depends on you and how you like to memorize things. Some people like making flashcards - others use the blurting method. My method was to basically speak content out loud as if I was explaining it to someone. If I could explain everything clearly without hesitation/pausing to think - I knew the topic well - if I slowed down/couldn't explain clearly enough then I didn't memorize well enough and would need to go over the content again by reading it and trying to understand every step that is happening. It can be weird speaking to yourself sometimes but you can also try to explain it to a friend or anyone at home if possible. I did both and it worked out for me.

Also, make a timetable for revision and stick to it - consistency is vital. Include a buffer time in the timetable so you have a period where you can finish off anything that you couldn't finish in the time you originally gave yourself to do that task

As some of the others have said - do get sleep and stay hydrated so you can function better when revising - you don't want to be sleepy and tired and unbothered to revise when the time comes.

Also, really try and take an interest in your subjects and what you are learning. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning my subjects and that is another reason I have been able to get what I have gotten. It might be boring sometimes but there's always something interesting to find somewhere - this is subjective I guess.

Some more general advice - don't feel afraid - I think if you are willing to sacrifice your time and really want to achieve those higher grades - you can do it in the time you have. It doesn't matter when others don't believe in you - believe in yourself. Caring about what others think doesn't benefit you at all in this context. Be consistent and disciplined, if you procrastinate at times try and bounce back - notice it if it's becoming a problem and take steps to avoid it like restricting your phone/devices. Don't eat/watch youtube/go on your phone in the same place you use to revise. Reserve your revision space for only revision. This will help you get into the appropriate mindset for revision quicker. Most of all though, try your best.

Once again, good luck - I believe in ya


ur welcome...its an amazing accomplishment
Thank u so much! for going through the effort to give me ur advise and time....i appreciate ur kindness, hopefully i will be coming here to post about my successful results and academic comeback rather than retakes...and ill make sure to go back to ur advise if need be :smile:

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