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August 21, 2017

REVISION TIPS: How I got 3A*s at A Level

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With results day over and done with, I thought this would be a good idea to kick off my A Level/University series. Whether you’re heading towards taking your GCSE, AS, A Levels or even a degree, I hope that this post is useful!

First, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me + my results. I took my A Levels back in 2016, and my subjects were Biology, Chemistry and Maths (not everyone’s cup of tea, I know!). On results day I was over the moon to open the envelope to 3A*s! I’m going to share my revision technique with you so that hopefully you guys can get the grades that you want:

1 – Type up your notes. 

During Year 13, I tried to type up all of the notes I’d made in lessons every day when I got home (or during my frees). Doing this is a really good way of making sure that you understand everything you’ve learnt at school, rather than just forgetting about it as soon as you walk out of the class!

2 – Use your textbooks/revision guides. 

Once I’d finished typing up a particular topic’s class notes, I would add to them using the corresponding sections in the relevant books. This is such a useful step because it helps you to fill in any gaps that you may have missed when taking notes in lessons. It’s also particularly useful for topics that you don’t understand – each book will offer a slightly different way of explaining something, and you might understand one way much more than any others.

3 – Make revision cards. 

Obviously everyone learns differently, so it’s important to find what type of learning works best for you. For me, this is definitely using revision cards. I will make a much more detailed post on this soon, but in short, I basically rewrite all of my completed notes in revision card form, with questions on the front and answers on the back.

4 – Test yourself – or get someone to test you. 

Using the revision cards I’d made, I would then get my friends and/or parents to ask me the questions and make me answer them. I would make note of the cards/topics that I had real trouble with, so that I could spend extra time working on learning them.

5 – Do past papers. 

This is probably the most crucial step if you want to achieve the really high grades. You often find that they repeat questions from year to year, so doing the past papers can ensure that you’ll know the answers to at least one question in your actual exams! It also allows you to practise your exam technique, get to know the mark schemes and spot which topics you’re getting right every time and which ones you need more work on.

6 – Do past papers effectively. 

I’ve given this a point of its own because there is a difference between just doing a past paper and doing them effectively. If you just complete the paper and then forget about it, you haven’t really learnt anything. I made sure that after I had marked the paper (using the mark schemes) I circled every question that I lost marks on and went over it. If, after this, I knew why I lost the marks and was sure that I could answer similar questions in the future, I would leave it. If I wasn’t sure how I would answer a question on the same topic, I would take it into school to ask my teacher to explain it to me until I understood. This way, I was improving my knowledge every time I did a paper.

7 – Use the specifications. 

Every exam board has a specification for each subject. Something that I didn’t realise until my last year of school was that the exam boards aren’t allowed to ask you anything that isn’t on their specification. What this means is that if you know and understand everything on the spec, you should (in theory) be able to answer every single question in the exam. I would print off a copy of each spec and colour code. Red meant that I had no clue what this topic was, orange meant that I would probably be ok with a topic if I went over it a few times, and green meant that I completely understood it. I then spent time on all of the red/amber topics until they were green.

8 – Don’t be scared to ask for help. 

Sometimes there are things that I just could not teach myself – as many times as I went over certain topics, I just couldn’t get my head around them. If I’d have left them, I would never have understood them and if a question on one of these topics had come up, I couldn’t have answered it. I made sure that I asked either my friends who study the subject or my teachers to explain anything that I couldn’t understand.

This post has been an absolute essay but I hope that you’ve found something in here of use! This is basically everything I did during Year 13 to get the grades that I wanted. I’m posting this now because the earlier you get organised with your revision, the easier and less stressful it is in the long run (I promise!).

Question: What are your academic goals for this year?

 

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31 Comments

  • whenlifeawakens

    Congrats on your results, it must have been really nerve-wracking waiting for results day to come around. I remember being in that exact same position for my A-Levels last year. Good luck for the future!! 🙂

    August 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm Reply
  • hiitskirstyy

    I never did a levels cause I’m rubbish at exams but well done you! These tips are amazing x

    August 21, 2017 at 5:52 pm Reply
  • lifeoflarissablog

    These tips are very helpful! Especially making revision notes as you are going along and asking for help too xx

    August 21, 2017 at 6:12 pm Reply
  • georgiaheaddon

    Even though I’ve already done my a levels I had to read this as I find it so fascinating how other people revise and might take some tips for uni revision!
    Best wishes, Gee x
    thelifeofgee.com

    August 21, 2017 at 6:45 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      I’m the same, everyone revises so differently so its always good to pick up new tips! Good luck for uni xx

      August 21, 2017 at 6:47 pm Reply
  • Ellyn Rebecca

    Congrats on those amazing results! I did Biology at AS Level and got an E haha! I knew I not going to take it to A2 so in the end I wasn’t actually that bothered!

    Ellyn x | Life Of A Beauty Nerd

    August 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      Thank you, I found biology the hardest by far so I’m with you there! x

      August 21, 2017 at 7:06 pm Reply
  • laura anne

    WOW well done on your A’s that’s amazing! I used revision cards when I did A levels and they really helped x

    LAURA ­| Laura Thinks About

    August 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm Reply
  • palegirlrambling

    I seriously could have used this post when I was back at school! I had no idea how to go about revising, I wasn’t very good at it! I did the same subjects as you though! I did Bio, Chem, Physics and Maths! Congrats on such incredible results!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    August 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      Thank you so much! I know its sooo important to find a revision method that works for you!! x

      August 21, 2017 at 7:09 pm Reply
  • anniiimore

    This is so helpful, thanks! Also well done with your 3 A*!👏👏

    August 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm Reply
  • sightswithhsite

    Congratulations, and every student needs to read this.

    August 21, 2017 at 8:46 pm Reply
  • UnJaded Jade

    THIS IS SO HELPFUL!! Congrats on such genuinely amazing results, and I really commend you for wanting to help others with their exams 💗 I hope I can do half as well as you next year in my a levels my friend!! x

    August 21, 2017 at 9:17 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      Ah thank you so much Jade! Good luck for your A Levels, I’m sooo sure you’ll smash them!! 💗

      August 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm Reply
  • Amy

    Wow – congratulations on your results! Thats incredible! I wish I had a post like this to read when I was doing my A levels, haha. Xx

    https://allaboutamy.uk

    August 21, 2017 at 10:00 pm Reply
  • Madiha

    SMASHED IT! Girl, you did AMAZING!
    I’m using your tips to help me with uni!!
    Madiha x
    http://www.mevstheodds.com

    August 22, 2017 at 1:33 am Reply
  • Faye

    Congrats on the amazing results! I wish I knew and utilised these tips when I was doing my alevels. But I’m gonna take a similar approach with university! Best of luck for the future!

    Faye x
    https://cultureeighteen.wordpress.com/

    August 22, 2017 at 4:07 am Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      Aaah thank you, I’m definitely going to use this approach at uni as well so hopefully it works out too!! xx

      August 22, 2017 at 8:10 am Reply
      • Faye

        No worries!! Good luck with university too, you’ll smash it with the work ethic you’ve already got xo

        August 22, 2017 at 8:33 am Reply
  • Olivia

    This is very helpful. I’m going into year 12 in September. What tips do you have for year 12? Also, how did you manage the jump from GCSEs to A Levels? I’m getting my results in two days and I’m quite scared I won’t do well enough to get into the sixth form I want. X

    August 22, 2017 at 7:04 am Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      I would say exactly the same! I did all of these in year 13 but I wish I’d have got into the habit of it from the start of 6th form! I didn’t find the jump that bad, I think that it’s over-hyped a lot so don’t worry about that – your teachers should help you through it anyway! Good luck for your results, I hope you get what you want! x

      August 22, 2017 at 8:12 am Reply
  • pinkiebag

    Hi, congratulations on your results. Agree don’t be afraid to ask for help and revision cards are a must.

    August 25, 2017 at 8:02 pm Reply
    • Jennifer Grieve

      Thank you so much, and yes, its so true!!

      August 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm Reply

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