How to Revise for A-Levels
A-Levels can be a daunting task for many students. The sooner you get revising, the less daunting it becomes and the more prepared you are for whatever the exams may throw at you.
Not all students learn the same way. Many students are able to simply sit down with a book and remember it all with no issues at all. Others may be visual learners and others may benefit from writing things down. There is no right or wrong time for when to start revising for A Levels, but sooner rather than later is always best.
Whatever your A-Level revision strategies are, there’s no harm in learning some new revision ideas. There are no right or wrong ways to revise. From past papers to flashcards to teaching members of your family, we have a collection of revision tips below.
Read the examiner’s reports
You’d be surprised at how many examiner’s reports are available online and how useful they can be. These reports will be essential to your revision.
YouTube tutorials are an excellent way of understanding complicated problems.
Examiners’ reports give helpful insights into previous exams. The reports give you an insight into the marking criteria and include common mistakes most students make when revising. Some reports will even have walk-throughs on specific questions and student feedback. This is especially helpful if you are re-taking your A-Levels.
Re-do past papers
Past papers form an essential part of any revision strategy. Past papers give you a chance to see what kinds of questions have been asked on previous exams and what types of questions you can potentially anticipate.
Make sure you take a look at the mark scheme too. The marking scheme gives you an insight into how the questions are marked and what constitutes a complete answer. Make sure you practice showing your work too. Many mathematics and science-based examinations will mark you higher if you show how you arrived at your answer, even if it's wrong.
Preparation is key
Preparation is the most important revision technique you can think of. Whatever it is you are studying, make sure you have all the materials you need before you begin your revision session.
How you revise is up to you. Having all the materials you need is of the utmost importance. Make sure you are prepared for any eventuality and any issue that may arise. Make sure you have spare pens and paper, make sure you have all of the equipment you need and that you have all of the books you need.
Space out your revision
Not all revision needs to be done in epic 9-hour shifts. Sometimes, giving yourself some time can be a very good way of ensuring that the information you are revising is getting through.
You’d be surprised at how many examiner’s reports are available online and how useful they can be.
Many believe they must cram all of their revision into one long session. It is generally advised that you revise one hour a night for two weeks. This way, you aren’t overloading yourself with information, and you also aren’t completing sessions you haven’t got the energy to see through.
Revising the night before an exam is a double-edged sword for many. The night before an exam is not generally the best time to revise, simply because you will be taking on too much new information and not enough time to either remember it or know how to implement it. This is generally a good time to go over what you have already revised rather than revising anything new.
Stave off procrastination
Procrastination happens to the best of us, no matter how big our revision motivation is. Who among us hasn’t found themselves coming out of a YouTube wormhole after four hours or suddenly deciding that that manky old pair of trainers you’ve lobbed into the back of the wardrobe could do with a surgical deep clean? Let them cast the first stone.
The best way to stave off procrastination is to give yourself some breaks and bite-sized revision sessions. This means giving yourself a session of an hour and then giving yourself a fifteen-minute break.
Preparation is the most important revision technique you can think of.
There are several ways around this. Ensure your friends know you are studying so you aren’t tempted to text them. Avoid the urge to scroll through TikTok by leaving your phone in another room. Put on some relaxing, preferably instrumental, music to revise to. Anything with lyrics is just going to distract you.
Flashcards! Saviours of the universe
You’d be surprised just how much flashcards can do for your revision. Writing small bits of information onto flashcards, preferably in different colours per card, is a really good way of absorbing information quickly.
Putting small pictures or stick figures on a flashcard can make it more memorable. Bold, bright colours and written in big text make revision that much easier. Every little help when it comes to revision and flashcards are a huge help.
Eat and drink plenty
Eating and drinking are so important. Revision can drain a student, so keeping your blood sugars replenished and your fluids in balance is essential.
Procrastination happens to the best of us, no matter how big our revision motivation is.
It is important to maintain a balance. Eating healthy foods is important, but having a chocolate bar can help you to go the distance when trying to get your blood sugars back to normal, along with a glass of water. Revision can be pretty draining, after all.
Mind maps are very good revision techniques for visual learners. You may also know them as “spider diagrams”.
Colour is key to making a mind map work. Mind maps are visual representations of knowledge you already have or have looked up. Use different colours and shapes to make the information stand out more clearly in your memory.
YouTube tutorials are an excellent way of understanding complicated problems. That doesn’t mean watching clips from Breaking Bad because it’s a bit related to chemistry. YouTube tutorials and even YouTube shorts often provide viewers with simple breakdowns of scientific experiments, ways to work out mathematical formulas or even ways to analyse pieces of text.
Mind maps are very good revision techniques for visual learners.
When watching, make notes. Watching a video repeatedly can be useful, but some YouTube videos can prove more re-watchable than others, so making notes of the important elements of each video is a very good way of retaining key information.
Teaching people is a good way of teaching yourself. You don’t need to go out and teach an entire classroom of students, but practice on family members.
Speak to your parents, siblings or guardian and see if they are happy for you to teach them something. Explaining a concept to someone is a good way to understand it yourself. Vocalising new theories or ideas is something that most students seldom if ever, do - so this can be a good way to do that.