It’s February 2021, and for many students, that means one thing, and one thing only. A-Level exams are almost here. This means there’s plenty of hard studying in the near future, possibly some sleepless nights, as students rush to cram as much as they can, to ensure the best possible grades.
Good A-Level grades might not matter much in the long run, but in the short run, they can be very important. It can set one up for success, making admissions into dream colleges and universities more attainable.
So, for now, these exams are very important, and also very difficult. If you’re struggling, don’t despair, everyone struggles with A-Level exams so you’re not alone. Just follow these tips to make your life easier:
Take Plenty of Time
When preparing for your exams, make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Preparing last minute might seem like the easier option, and you may think you can handle it, but why take the risk? Cramming at the last minute can lead to a variety of unintended consequences. You may find you don’t have enough time to study revise everything, or you may end up pulling all-nighters, which can have serious impacts on your health, in both the long and short term.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with the course, even in just one subject, it’s best to start preparing and revising early. Give yourself plenty of time to cover everything, and to do so in a way that doesn’t demand last-second cramming.
The best way to go about your revision is to do so in an organized manner. Students often ignore their teacher’s advice to do just this, but this is the best way to ensure you stay on top of everything, and are able to cover your entire course in a timely manner. Set aside a chunk of time every day for each subject you need to revise.
Make sure to factor in any unavoidable commitments, and put off any that you can until exams are over. Splitting your revision into chunks will help you stay focused on one thing at a time, plus removing something from your list once you’re done with it can provide a huge motivational boost.
It’s important, however, to be realistic when making your timetable. Don’t demand too much of yourself at any time. This tip is best used in conjunction with the first, by giving yourself more time, you make it easier to set aside chunks of that time for focused revision.
Plenty of research over the years has shown that it’s better to study in small chunks than it is to spend hours at a time doing so. By studying in chunks, you give yourself away to get rest in between intense study sessions, which your brain needs to recharge, and prepare for the next session.
It can also be a valuable revision technique, allowing you to review everything you revised in the last chunk, and also helps you feel better, and stay healthy. Do whatever helps you relax during these breaks, go for a walk, spend time with a pet, watch some television, or just check in on your social media. It’s important to enjoy these breaks, as having fun will keep you in a good mood, which in turn will help you revise better.
Science has proven time and again, that not getting enough sleep can adversely affect mental health and performance, so make sure you also take an appropriate amount of time for sleep, or your brain will not be able to operate at full capacity.
Past Paper Practice
Past papers are easily available on the internet. They can serve as a way to test how well you’ve retained what you’ve revised. They can offer an indication as to what’s going to be in the exam, and also what formats the questions will be in.
Downloading and attempting the past papers for the past 5 years or so can help you test what you’ve learned, and make any necessary corrections, using the available solutions.
A-Level exams generally follow a similar pattern every year, so by practicing you’ll be making yourself more accustomed to the types of questions, and can also help you improve your time management skills, by timing yourself as you practice. Set the time at how long the actual exam will give you, and practice until you’re sure you can finish on time.
Eating junk food and unhealthy snacks might seem like a convenient way to satiate your hunger quickly as you study, however eating unhealthy too often can have detrimental effects on both your body and your mind. There’s a lot of research pointing to fish, especially oily ones, being a great way to boost memory. Whole-grain foods like cereal can also help boost short-term memory, due to the excess of vitamin B.
Energy drinks, on the other hand, are not recommended. They may give you an energy boost in the short term but, sooner rather than later, you’ll find yourself crashing back down to earth. Water is a much better alternative, keeping you hydrated, and alert during revision sessions.