A levels are tough.
Even at uni, I haven’t found an exam that’s been nearly as tricky as any of my A level exams. It wasn’t even the actual content that was particularly difficult, it was a combination of the quantity of content we had to memorise, the pressure of university prospects (especially if you hadn’t gone for an unconditional uni offer), and the stress of revising topics you may have covered 2 years prior.
All in all, A levels are a bit of a headache. However, if you put your mind to it, the situation probably doesn’t have to be as daunting as I made it for myself.
There were several revision strategies that I’d tried and tested through my GCSEs, AS levels, and mock exams, all of which enabled me to cherry-pick the best methods for each subject, and for each frame of mind I was in. Which doesn’t sound important, but when I was really not in the mood to revise but knew I had to, facing an entire day of essay writing was a lot more gross than doing quick fire revision cards.
I started my revision in January, I can’t remember if that was particularly late to start, or the norm (but knowing me I probably left it as long as I could). For me, the worst part about revision is beginning it; because I know that once I start, the exams become real and looming, as opposed to this situation that was in the distant future, which I could forget about and carry on idly scrolling through Twitter.
I found that writing out revision cards in a question and answer format helped me a lot, and I made sure I wrote down the answers I was giving – as before then I was liable to turn the card over and go “umm yeah I totally was going to say that”, when in reality, I knew I had no clue.
I also made sure to use A LOT of colour. This was so that my notes looked more aesthetically pleasing, and I hate a messy notes book. Although, I probably spent more time choosing which colour to use than actually writing, so there are pros and cons.
I realised quite early on that I couldn’t revise at school. Don’t get me wrong, I really tried, but there were way too many distractions – my friends felt the same, so that probably made them more distracting. Instead of revising at school, I decided to make sure my class notes were up to date, and as detailed as possible, so that when I went home to make revision cards out of them, it was a lot easier and much more efficient.
Lastly, instead of trying to learn each individual point or case study, I’d group them into rhymes or sayings, which, in the exam, meant I could easily recall the information I needed.
So there it is, what did and didn’t work for me during my A level exams, and don’t worry if none of these seem to be working, you just have to put the hours in, and you will come out with the grade you worked for.