A Level revision: Five ways to an A* in your exams

A Level grades

Wondering just how to get an A* in your A Level exams? It's not going to be easy but here are five killer tips to get you on your way there.

First things first, just what do you need to get an A-star at A Level? You must achieve two things: An overall average of 80% in all of your exams AND an average of 90% in your second year (A2) exams.

Getting an A star in some subjects is incredibly difficult - just over 1% of students managed it in courses such as Media Studies in 2013 - but others it's far more common - 28% in 2013 managed the grade in Further Mathematics.

So how to get there?

Actually UNDERSTAND the content

The key to doing well in any of your exams and to prepare yourself for University level work is to make sure you understand the content. Simply being able to regurgitate facts and figures or recite passages from memory just isn't good enough.

A good way to test whether you understand is to simply ask yourself 'Why?'. You may well know that Sodium reacts with water but if you want to be getting that A* you'll need to understand why and be able to apply that knowledge to other problems.

Work on your exam technique

Exams can be tricky little things so work on and revise not only your course content but also your exam technique to make sure you don't drop any easy marks.

Basics including MAKING SURE TO READ THE BLOODY QUESTION, showing your working, writing concisely and checking all your answers before you even think about leaving the exam hall.

Make sure you take some time to read our recent guide on how to improve exam your technique for some more top tips!

Start revision early

Revision shouldn't be an afterthought: Start it early and continue it constantly throughout your course. Once you finish learning about a topic go back over it and make sure you know and understand everything. Use this time to make yourself revision aids for future use such as flash cards and similar with key or important information, or notes on areas you may have struggled with or found difficult.

This needn't be tough work, just an hour or two or a week, if that, to go back over what you've done in class is enough ahead of your proper revision in the build up to the final exams.

Bother to go to class

Actually bother to turn up to classes should be obvious but many think they can get away with skipping lessons. Not only is it a bad habit to get into ahead of attending Uni but you'll only end up with giving yourself more work to do.

While notes and slides may be available online, the opportunity to get help, advice and tips from tutors is not. If you find yourself looking at the work online only to realise you don't understand it you're a bit stuck.

Ask for help

Finally, never be afraid to ask for help: Whether it's from your tutor, friends, family or even the internet. Some subjects and topics can be hard to grasp and chances are you won't be alone in finding bits tough going. If you don't understand what's going on or why something is always get a hand!

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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