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i think i'm doing past papers wrong? (BCC to AAA)

hihi so basically, its quite obvious now i'm doing past papers wrong. i have been doing at least 2 past papers every day for my subjects (ocr a biology - B, ocr a chem - C, edexcel maths - C, i don't know what happened since i used to be predicted BBA for those subjects respectively) since november-december but now there's about a month left and i have not improved at all

day 1: i would do 2 papers (example paper 1 and 2 of biology) then spend the whole day going over mistakes, asking teachers / friends etc.
day 2: more work on mistakes then redo the paper hopefully get higher. if i get atleast 80% for biology, 85% for chemistry or 90% for maths then i would move on to the next subjects
day 3: if not then i do the papers again but i must have reached it by this last day
then on sundays i focus on homework and exam technique / skills

however, my content knowledge is still really bad, i feel like i can only do good on those papers that i have already done. i was told to track my progress of the first attempt but my first attempt has plateaued at 40-50% (sometimes a shocking 30%) for biology and chemistry, and for maths ~70% for pure and barely 50% for applied.

what am i doing wrong or what should i be doing instead? i am an early riser naturally so i have time before school from 5am and i don't mind staying up later. im just really demotivated.. :/ and i don't really want to be a resit either

thank you 🫶🫶
(edited 1 month ago)

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Reply 1
Original post by mikabun
hihi so basically, its quite obvious now i'm doing past papers wrong. i have been doing at least 2 past papers every day for my subjects (ocr a biology - B, ocr a chem - C, edexcel maths - C, i don't know what happened since i used to be predicted BBA for those subjects respectively) since november-december but now there's about a month left and i have not improved at all
day 1: i would do 2 papers (example paper 1 and 2 of biology) then spend the whole day going over mistakes, asking teachers / friends etc.
day 2: more work on mistakes then redo the paper hopefully get higher. if i get atleast 80% for biology, 85% for chemistry or 90% for maths then i would move on to the next subjects
day 3: if not then i do the papers again but i must have reached it by this last day
then on sundays i focus on homework and exam technique / skills
however, my content knowledge is still really bad, i feel like i can only do good on those papers that i have already done. i was told to track my progress of the first attempt but my first attempt has plateaued at 40-50% (sometimes a shocking 30%) for biology and chemistry, and for maths ~70% for pure and barely 50% for applied.
what am i doing wrong or what should i be doing instead? i am an early riser naturally so i have time before school from 5am and i don't mind staying up later. im just really demotivated.. :/ and i don't really want to be a resit either
thank you 🫶🫶

You need to learn the knowledge first. If you know how to answer each question style that is great but it doesn't work in the real thing if you don't know what content to put in your answers. After learning for a few weeks, try papers again and see what happens x
Original post by mikabun
hihi so basically, its quite obvious now i'm doing past papers wrong. i have been doing at least 2 past papers every day for my subjects (ocr a biology - B, ocr a chem - C, edexcel maths - C, i don't know what happened since i used to be predicted BBA for those subjects respectively) since november-december but now there's about a month left and i have not improved at all
day 1: i would do 2 papers (example paper 1 and 2 of biology) then spend the whole day going over mistakes, asking teachers / friends etc.
day 2: more work on mistakes then redo the paper hopefully get higher. if i get atleast 80% for biology, 85% for chemistry or 90% for maths then i would move on to the next subjects
day 3: if not then i do the papers again but i must have reached it by this last day
then on sundays i focus on homework and exam technique / skills
however, my content knowledge is still really bad, i feel like i can only do good on those papers that i have already done. i was told to track my progress of the first attempt but my first attempt has plateaued at 40-50% (sometimes a shocking 30%) for biology and chemistry, and for maths ~70% for pure and barely 50% for applied.
what am i doing wrong or what should i be doing instead? i am an early riser naturally so i have time before school from 5am and i don't mind staying up later. im just really demotivated.. :/ and i don't really want to be a resit either
thank you 🫶🫶

Are you Traffic lighting your mistakes?

Have you asked your teacher for the Maths shadow papers to do rather than the same paper again?
Reply 3
Original post by sadrien
You need to learn the knowledge first. If you know how to answer each question style that is great but it doesn't work in the real thing if you don't know what content to put in your answers. After learning for a few weeks, try papers again and see what happens x

i might try to do that, but i don't know how to structure my time so i can get through everything and especially since it's so close to the exams.. may i ask how you would go about learning the content with such short time? 😭 xx
Reply 4
Original post by Muttley79
Are you Traffic lighting your mistakes?
Have you asked your teacher for the Maths shadow papers to do rather than the same paper again?

oo shadow papers, i don't think i've heard of those, i'll definitely ask them! :biggrin:
and wdym by traffic lighting my mistakes?
Original post by mikabun
oo shadow papers, i don't think i've heard of those, i'll definitely ask them! :biggrin:
and wdym by traffic lighting my mistakes?

Teachers have access to shadow papers - basically another version of the paper. on the Edexcel Emporium

Traffic lighting is RAG rating questions
RED - few or no marks - need to go over this topic - ask for help
AMBER - got half marks or so - focus on this topic for rapid improvement
GREEN - go it mostly right - keep this topic ticking over

https://www.drfrost.org/courses.php?coid=29
hi! I do the same exam boards for chem + math so hopefully my advice should be some help :smile:

for chem I'd recommend going over almost all the content before you begin to do full practice papers because if your knowledge of the topics isn't thorough enough you'll likely struggle, leaving you feeling demotivated which is the opposite of what you want! the way I organise my revision for chem is I list every single chapter in physical and organic and then order these topics by least confident to most confident, this way it's easier to prioritise the harder topics, I then use flashcards/blurt the content for these topics and attempt the pmt question packs for each topic- I think this is probably the most useful thing to do as it is targeted exam practice for the chapter you have just revised and if you complete it after learning the content you'll likely score better and also be able to identify areas within the topic you still need to work on. Continue doing this until you have gone through most, if not all of the chapters and then you can do the full papers because hopefully by then you'd have both the knowledge and the exam technique to score highly in a full paper! I know it might seem daunting but I was in the same situation in y12 and learnt how to actually study for chem and moved up 2 grades and feel much more confident in the subject!

for maths my advice is pretty similar to chem- learn the concepts for every topic before attempting past papers. I'd recommend again listing each topic in maths and ordering them least confident to most confident and start from there. For each chapter as much as possible start with looking at the Edexcel textbook and reminding yourself of what the chapter entails and then try the mixed exercises before attempting targeted question packs from websites such as naiker maths, maths genie + pmt. Then after you've covered the concepts and most question packs for the topics you can try a full paper, by then you should have a clearer understanding of each chapter and the exam technique. Maths is all about practice and trying a wide range of questions to develop your application of concepts so I'd avoid repeating the same paper more than once!

also if you are looking for shadow papers they used to have them on mymathscloud under the past paper section below, not sure if they got removed but its worth checking -https://www.mymathscloud.com/modules/a-level/practice-papers

mymathscloud also has a group of papers titled IYGB papers, I'd recommend checking these out when attempting past papers because they tend to be harder than the typical maths papers however if you get used to attempting harder questions the real exam will seem easier in comparison!

please remember- don't be too hard on urself, I promise if you put the work into learning the content it'll pay off and you'll see an improvement! :smile:

if you have any more questions feel free to pm me! <3
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 7
Original post by mikabun
i might try to do that, but i don't know how to structure my time so i can get through everything and especially since it's so close to the exams.. may i ask how you would go about learning the content with such short time? 😭 xx


I don't think I revise very effectively for others but what I do is watch videos and make notes. I also go through PMT and just copy out their information and it stays in my brain. It doesn't need too much time you can probs get through most of it this holiday!!! I think the issue is also if you know what you are doing because for me geography has gone in one ear and out the other so I am having to reteach myself everything, which may be similar to your situation? This gets very overwhelming quickly. Good luckkkk
Reply 8
Original post by sadrien
I don't think I revise very effectively for others but what I do is watch videos and make notes. I also go through PMT and just copy out their information and it stays in my brain. It doesn't need too much time you can probs get through most of it this holiday!!! I think the issue is also if you know what you are doing because for me geography has gone in one ear and out the other so I am having to reteach myself everything, which may be similar to your situation? This gets very overwhelming quickly. Good luckkkk

do you mean the pmt like notes? o: i will try to do that if so!!
Hello 👋 I'm in the same situation and hope to benefit from the advice given in thred
Reply 10
Original post by mikabun
do you mean the pmt like notes? o: i will try to do that if so!!

Look at these two websites https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and https://www.studysmarter.co.uk/explanations/ and since you are doing chemistry and biology you have freesciencelessons to watch
I don’t know if this will be helpful but I had kind of this problem in my GCSEs, in that I had so much content to learn and I felt like I had no time to do it. And the thought of that made it really hard to revise because I kept thinking that I needed to do more! And I think honestly the best thing to do is just do SOMETHING. Find one topic, whether it be double page spread in a textbook or something like that, and learn the content, perhaps for biology and chemistry watch a Freesciencelessons video on it, and make sure that you know it, and keep doing this. I’d say maybe focus on the topics in Module 2, because the knowledge in that really builds up your knowledge for the rest of the A Level, and they are the foundation of the subject. There are also videos that briefly go through all of the content of Biology, I assume there also are for chemistry but I haven’t looked for those! You could also read through the Physics and Maths Tutor notes on things, as well as Flashcards on PMT etc, and then test yourself on those topics with questions on those topics. And yes I definitely agree with others on taking the mistakes you make and learning the content behind those, by watching videos and things like that. But yes, generally I think just revise one thing, don’t keep thinking about a plan, just revise something! Because revising anything is better than revising nothing, and I think often (at least I) get bogged down in choosing the best schedule when anything I do, even if it’s not the optimum plan, is beneficial to my understanding of the subject and my grade :smile:
I don’t know if this will be helpful but I had kind of this problem in my GCSEs, in that I had so much content to learn and I felt like I had no time to do it. And the thought of that made it really hard to revise because I kept thinking that I needed to do more! And I think honestly the best thing to do is just do SOMETHING. Find one topic, whether it be double page spread in a textbook or something like that, and learn the content, perhaps for biology and chemistry watch a Freesciencelessons video on it, and make sure that you know it, and keep doing this. I’d say maybe focus on the topics in Module 2, because the knowledge in that really builds up your knowledge for the rest of the A Level, and they are the foundation of the subject. There are also videos that briefly go through all of the content of Biology, I assume there also are for chemistry but I haven’t looked for those! You could also read through the Physics and Maths Tutor notes on things, as well as Flashcards on PMT etc, and then test yourself on those topics with questions on those topics. And yes I definitely agree with others on taking the mistakes you make and learning the content behind those, by watching videos and things like that. But yes, generally I think just revise one thing, don’t keep thinking about a plan, just revise something! Because revising janything is better than revising nothing, and I think often (at least I) get bogged down in choosing the best schedule when anything I do, even if it’s not the optimum plan, is beneficial to my understanding of the subject and my grade :smile:
Reply 13
Original post by inu_okami19
Hello 👋 I'm in the same situation and hope to benefit from the advice given in thred

oh em gee twinning !!! i hope we can get all A* together
Original post by mikabun
oh em gee twinning !!! i hope we can get all A* together


:》
Reply 15
Original post by raindropxox
I don’t know if this will be helpful but I had kind of this problem in my GCSEs, in that I had so much content to learn and I felt like I had no time to do it. And the thought of that made it really hard to revise because I kept thinking that I needed to do more! And I think honestly the best thing to do is just do SOMETHING. Find one topic, whether it be double page spread in a textbook or something like that, and learn the content, perhaps for biology and chemistry watch a Freesciencelessons video on it, and make sure that you know it, and keep doing this. I’d say maybe focus on the topics in Module 2, because the knowledge in that really builds up your knowledge for the rest of the A Level, and they are the foundation of the subject. There are also videos that briefly go through all of the content of Biology, I assume there also are for chemistry but I haven’t looked for those! You could also read through the Physics and Maths Tutor notes on things, as well as Flashcards on PMT etc, and then test yourself on those topics with questions on those topics. And yes I definitely agree with others on taking the mistakes you make and learning the content behind those, by watching videos and things like that. But yes, generally I think just revise one thing, don’t keep thinking about a plan, just revise something! Because revising janything is better than revising nothing, and I think often (at least I) get bogged down in choosing the best schedule when anything I do, even if it’s not the optimum plan, is beneficial to my understanding of the subject and my grade :smile:

stop i relate to that last bit especially, i will do that!!! thank you !!!
Reply 16
Original post by mikabun
hihi so basically, its quite obvious now i'm doing past papers wrong. i have been doing at least 2 past papers every day for my subjects (ocr a biology - B, ocr a chem - C, edexcel maths - C, i don't know what happened since i used to be predicted BBA for those subjects respectively) since november-december but now there's about a month left and i have not improved at all
day 1: i would do 2 papers (example paper 1 and 2 of biology) then spend the whole day going over mistakes, asking teachers / friends etc.
day 2: more work on mistakes then redo the paper hopefully get higher. if i get atleast 80% for biology, 85% for chemistry or 90% for maths then i would move on to the next subjects
day 3: if not then i do the papers again but i must have reached it by this last day
then on sundays i focus on homework and exam technique / skills
however, my content knowledge is still really bad, i feel like i can only do good on those papers that i have already done. i was told to track my progress of the first attempt but my first attempt has plateaued at 40-50% (sometimes a shocking 30%) for biology and chemistry, and for maths ~70% for pure and barely 50% for applied.
what am i doing wrong or what should i be doing instead? i am an early riser naturally so i have time before school from 5am and i don't mind staying up later. im just really demotivated.. :/ and i don't really want to be a resit either
thank you 🫶🫶

The best way to learn content in my opinion occurs in 3 steps. Firstly have anki or any other form of flashcards and do some for each subject everyday, this practices general active recall similar to the exam. Then list all of your weak topics and go through them slowly 1-2 daily, doing your worst ones first. Learn them by watching yt videos and then completing all PMT questions for that topic. Finally go through past papers, and questions/topics you get wrong you add to your list of bad topics and create flashcards on the specific questions you got wrong. Hope this helps.
Reply 17
Original post by Alex177
The best way to learn content in my opinion occurs in 3 steps. Firstly have anki or any other form of flashcards and do some for each subject everyday, this practices general active recall similar to the exam. Then list all of your weak topics and go through them slowly 1-2 daily, doing your worst ones first. Learn them by watching yt videos and then completing all PMT questions for that topic. Finally go through past papers, and questions/topics you get wrong you add to your list of bad topics and create flashcards on the specific questions you got wrong. Hope this helps.

my only problem is i don't have any flashcards to use (i was stupid and didnt make any) do you know anywhere that have good flashcards? i do ocr for my sciences and edexcel for maths?

other than that thank you thank you!!
Original post by mikabun
hihi so basically, its quite obvious now i'm doing past papers wrong. i have been doing at least 2 past papers every day for my subjects (ocr a biology - B, ocr a chem - C, edexcel maths - C, i don't know what happened since i used to be predicted BBA for those subjects respectively) since november-december but now there's about a month left and i have not improved at all
day 1: i would do 2 papers (example paper 1 and 2 of biology) then spend the whole day going over mistakes, asking teachers / friends etc.
day 2: more work on mistakes then redo the paper hopefully get higher. if i get atleast 80% for biology, 85% for chemistry or 90% for maths then i would move on to the next subjects
day 3: if not then i do the papers again but i must have reached it by this last day
then on sundays i focus on homework and exam technique / skills
however, my content knowledge is still really bad, i feel like i can only do good on those papers that i have already done. i was told to track my progress of the first attempt but my first attempt has plateaued at 40-50% (sometimes a shocking 30%) for biology and chemistry, and for maths ~70% for pure and barely 50% for applied.
what am i doing wrong or what should i be doing instead? i am an early riser naturally so i have time before school from 5am and i don't mind staying up later. im just really demotivated.. :/ and i don't really want to be a resit either
thank you 🫶🫶

You need to make sure that you know the content for your subjects inside out. Essentially, if somebody asked you about a topic, you should be able to explain it to them with minimal hesitation. That's how you know that you've actually understood it and can apply it to exams. I would recommend imagine that you are teaching somebody (or actually teach somebody), and explain concepts out loud. Blurting on a whiteboard is also extremely useful. I would recommend watching some videos of how to do this if you're not familiar with blurting. The areas in which you hesitate or forget things, are the ones that you need to go over the most!
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 19
Original post by mikabun
my only problem is i don't have any flashcards to use (i was stupid and didnt make any) do you know anywhere that have good flashcards? i do ocr for my sciences and edexcel for maths?
other than that thank you thank you!!

I imported all of mine from shared decks on anki - as long as it specifies the exam board they are great. There are YT vids explaining how to do so id assume

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