Friday, 22 September 2017

How To Survive Your A Levels


I'm gonna say this straight up. A levels are hard. They can take over your life. But they don't have to. From someone who has experienced A level hell, here are my top tips on what helped me, what I learnt and what I would do differently to make life a whole lot less stressful.

The work gets harder. Alot. But you will survive.
Over the 1st and 2nd year of A levels, your workload increases and the work gets harder. It happens to everyone and you're all in the same boat. You will survive but if you are finding it unbearable, tell your teachers. They understand its a step up and they'll help you.

Stay on top of your coursework
I handed my history coursework in 4 weeks late. I know. It was only because my teacher was an absolute gem that I didn't get penalised but some may not be as lovely as he was. Do the work in advance. It saves you stress and time and you'll also make your teachers more likely to grade you better if its all organised and in on time.

Practical stationary over aesthetic stationary
Trust me on this. You may see video after video cute stationary hauls, all the aesthetic notepads and folders in Paperchase and as pleasing as they are to look at, they just aren't practical. They will likely break in the first couple of weeks or you just will find yourself just not using them and you will then resort to buying the basic stuff from WH Smith. Just cut out the middleman and buy the practical stuff straight up. Ring binders, lever arch files and Pukka pads are your best friends and both your bank account (from only buying stuff you use) and you backpack will thank you.


Actually do work in your free periods
This advice comes from spending 2 years doing the complete opposite. Now don't get me wrong, you don't have to spend your frees in solitary confinement, but try to at least get your homework pieces done, so that at home you can focus on longer essays, papers and revision. Find a balance between work and chatting but make sure your use your time and if something needs to get done, a free is a great time to do it.

Communicate with your teachers
Now, more than ever, you need the help of your teachers. Seek out the ones you feel you can talk to and connect with (some you can even have a laugh with) and don't be afraid to ask them for help with anything. The specific subject, UCAS, future plans, you name it - you're A level teachers are there to help you prepare for actual adult life so use them.

Revise for your mocks 
Mock exams don't matter but if you want them to be, they can be incredibly helpful. Utilise them to test revising strategies and work out what you need to work on in order to get the grades you want.



START REVISING EARLY 
This is in capitals because I cannot stress it enough. I did not do this and it bit me in the arse, not in terms of grades which turned out OK (how I have no idea) but in terms of mental stability. There is no such thing as starting to revise too early and if you don't you will have 3 weeks of sheer and utter hell before your exams and you will go crazy. Trust me, I've done it, its not fun and it is about all the one thing I would do differently if I could go back.

Do actual practises of the exam
This goes for all exams not just A levels but the best way to effectively test that you know what your doing is to do past exams. Obviously revise the knowledge first but then bite the bullet and do the actual questions. You can give this to your teacher to mark and that way you will know exactly what you are getting right and what you are getting wrong. And make sure you master it in timed conditions. That is also essential.

Find a revision environment that works for you
For me this was my local library. My bedroom became a prison for me and I struggled to do work there so I took myself out of it. I worked out the library was the best place to be free of distractions (mainly YouTube - I just didn't take my headphones so I couldn't watch videos) and it resulted in me getting way more done and I wish I'd done it earlier. If your environment ain't working, change it.

Go on trips
In my experience, school trips in sixth form are infinitely better than those in school. YOU HAVE SO MUCH FREEDOM. Go on them.

 (Berlin lads) 

Do not sacrifice your social life. 
This is about the only thing I think I got right during A levels and I think it was about the only thing that kept me from going completely batshit crazy. Enjoy yourself. These are the final 2 years you'll be with all your friends so make the most of it. Go to that concert, go to the party, have that drink at the pub. Balance is key to keeping you sane. And also utilise your sixth form/college socials. Some might be shit but you're with your friends and its nothing a pre-drink can't solve!

(us all fancy for our U6 boat trip :)

Don't procrastinate you're future. 
Whatever you decide to do after A levels, explore every option you possibly can and want to. As cliche as it is, the world is your oyster and you can do whatever the hell you want. As scary as it is, you have to face head on what you want to do in life so get researching. If you want to get to uni, get your UCAS going early, a first draft of your personal statement by October is the best. And if you can't decide, just take a gap year :)

Enjoy it.
A levels maybe be hard but you got this. You will come out the other side, having smashed your exams and had a blast while you were at it. I swear.

xoxo
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2 comments

  1. all these tips are so so so true. I couldnt imagine doing the whole 2 years again, but I actually kind of loved it. It certainly is a whirlwind. Also, 100% agree about the school trips-they're such a HOOT. aha
    great advice X
    http://kaatielouu.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah same - I kind of miss it now I'm gone :( Thanks! xo

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