A Level retakes article – Revision Tips
This article focuses on the importance of answering lots of questions – both from your textbooks and past exam papers – throughout the year in which you retakes you A Level exams.
Since you are retaking your exams, you will (hopefully) have seen the entire syllabus for each exam before, and therefore you must change the way that you study and revise.
A Level Past Papers
You have a huge advantage over students taking the A Level examinations for the first time, in that you do not have to learn new material before moving on to actually answering questions. As you will have found out during your first attempt at A Levels, the hardest part is normally learning new material, and having enough time while you learn to be able to answer questions.
Active Learning for your A Level Retakes
Answering questions from your textbooks and then past exam papers is, for most students, the best way to truly remember and understand material. You may have seen this for yourself, for example when you thought you understood a topic the first time around but could not remember much of it when you came to revise it for exams. The chances are you did not do enough answering of actual A Level-style questions, but instead you “passively learned”, ie you read the textbooks but did not answer questions on the topics as you went along.
Revising strengths or weaknesses?
You have 2 options as you go along with your A Level retake courses and start to revise and answer questions. The first is to focus on the areas you are not good at. The second is to focus on the topics that you are good at.
We suggest focusing initially on areas that you are good at, to get used to answering questions and build your confidence, but then quickly move on to focusing your study, revision and question answering for the rest of the year on the areas you are not so good at.
To identify your main areas of weakness, you can either look over the syllabus and mark down the sections you found hardest last year, or look at the breakdown of your unit results from your first A Level exam results. Your results should make it clear which units are your weakest. Then you can even do a past A Level examination paper for those units and see which topics are the hardest in each unit.
However you choose to study, answer plenty of questions for each topic that you are covering for your A Level retakes. Even if you answer the basic questions from each chapter of your A Level subject textbooks you will have a massive advantage at the end of the year.
Regular work and Teacher Help
Speak with your teachers and agree to give them answers on certain questions from your textbooks and past exam papers each week, and have them look over your answers and then discuss any issues with you.
You only need to be doing 30 minutes of questions per subject, per day, to see a huge improvement in your overall A Level grades at the end of the year. Good luck!