Advice For New A Level StudentsPosted: 17th of June 2016 by
Are you starting A levels after the summer break? If so,here's a bit of advice for new A Level students.
You will know that A levels are tougher than GCSE, as you take your studies further, specialising in a handful of subjects rather than completing the broad range that GCSE offered. For a lot of students this is a great thing, as you can focus on those areas that really interest you, allowing yourself to shine and hopefully get the grades you desire at the end of it all. However, it is not just the level of study required that changes as you move up to A levels from GCSE, but you will also need a slight change of perspective when it comes to how you approach your studying.
Take Charge Of Your Studies
This is perhaps the single-biggest change in how you should study for A levels compared to GCSE. While your GCSE teachers may have been constantly on your back to make sure you got your homework done, at A level the onus is much more on you. You may have study periods where there are no planned lessons, and you will be expected to do more work outside of class. This means that you need to take charge of making sure you get your studying done. As things begin to ramp up you might want to make a study plan for each week so that you don’t fall behind. You will be expected to show more maturity than before, which means more responsibility for your studying.
With most sixth forms and A level colleges having smaller class sizes than you may be used to, chances are you will get much more contact time with your teachers. This means a better chance of learning, but also gives you more chance to interact with your tutors and fellow students. Don’t become a passive observer in class, but use the opportunity to get involved, ask questions, and discuss what you are learning. Your interaction with your tutors doesn’t have to end with class either. You should feel able to speak with them about any problems and ideas you may have. Perhaps you can discuss an essay idea, or even see if you can get some extra help with something you didn’t understand. By getting involved in your studies you will get more out of them as well as improving your grades.
While there are loads of great media-savvy ways to interact with your chosen subject, there is no real alternative to simply reading. Just like a tradesperson uses their tools to work, so a student should use books to get their own work done. Read as much as you can about your subjects, but always make sure you do the recommended reading for class at the very least. It may seem old-fashioned, but reading appropriate material will always help you get further.
Don’t Rush Your Work
This is all part of taking charge of your studies, but deserves its own mention. Leaving your work to the last minute is setting yourself up to fail. The sooner you can get started the more time you have to think about that essay or piece of work. It gives you time to check your work, redraft it to make it better, and ensure that you only present the very best of yourself. No examiner can know how good you are unless you show them – so make sure not to rush your work and end up selling yourself short. Rushed work is never as good as something which you have taken some time and effort over.
Aside from these tips you might also want to make sure you eat a healthy diet and get some regular exercise (you are what you eat, etc), while getting enough sleep is also important for teenagers. You might also want to check out our ten top tips for Sixth Form success!
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