A-Level Advice: Success Tips and the Realities

Updated November 2020

It's no secret that A-levels are an incredibly stressful time with plenty to think about and do! I've finished my A-levels and managed to get into my first choice university and am about to start my final year so I've been through the stress of A-levels, the panic of pre-university jitters and have managed to survive freshers and my first year so I thought a fun little list post of some of the realities and successes I learnt throughout my A-level years would be fun to look back on, and hopefully, I can offer some A-level advice to you too!

laptop next to mug, noteboook and pen studying
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

1. No matter how much you like a subject there will be parts of it you will come to hate eventually if not all of it.

In theory, you should really enjoy the subjects you pick but they will always have parts you find less interesting or you might realise that you don't really like the subject at all. It's just one of those things and you'll soon realise what you really like!

2. You won't remember that homework for later - just write it down.

I was awful for this and never used to write things down and have to message someone to ask what we needed to do!

3. The AOs will haunt you for the rest of your life.

The English AOs were the bane of my life! Constantly being reminded of what they were and when to include them in your essays will be permanently ingrained in my mind forevermore

4. You're gonna have to answer that question in Spanish even if you have no idea what was just said cause you're the only person there.

I was the only person that studied Spanish at A-level so I had classes alone. This was both the best and worst thing as if I missed what my teacher said, zoned out for a second or didn't understand there was no one there to rescue me or help if I missed things.

5. Don't try and take 4 A-levels - you lasted a week with Maths.

4 A-Levels were too much work and although you liked Maths the workload wasn't manageable

6. The common room is always a distraction - if you want to work go somewhere else.

Don't try to kid yourself that you'll work hard despite the music, annoying boys shouting and the general bustle of the common room. If you're serious about working go elsewhere

7. Don't cram revise, you've tried too many times and it doesn't work.

I used to be a bit of a crammer in my younger years but at A-levels, there is just too much content to learn to be able to cram. Start early and  you'll thank yourself later

8. New stationery, whilst nice, does not count as revision.

I love having new stationery but buying stationery is not a substitution for revision. You need to use it, not just admire it from a distance

9. There is way too much content to learn in History.

History has too much content! It was so difficult to revise for as even if you knew everything you were probably still missing information

10. Don't study the wrong book in English.

Shout out to my school for teaching us the wrong book for an ENTIRE YEAR! That really messed up my English A-level. Check the syllabus, just in case!

11. It's not that bad if you get something wrong.

It's not the end of the world if you give something a go and get it wrong, especially in Spanish. A language needs you to try and get things wrong rather than just not talking at all

12. Some people are idiots and you've just got to accept that.

My sixth form was full of clowns and people I'd rather not meet again - that's just life.

13. If you work hard now, it'll all be worth it in the summer and on results day!

Trust me, you'll be able to have the best summer and relax for months. Work hard now and reap the benefits later!

A-levels were, being completely honest, both a good and bad time in my life. Yes, they were stressful and weren't without several breakdowns but, overall did I enjoy them? Yes! On the whole, I liked my subjects, my classes and my teachers. I had good friends around me and we did a lot in those 2 years. Now I've come out the other side I can appreciate all the hard work that A-levels were and I hope you enjoyed this slightly jokey advice post with tips for success and some of the realities of studying!

What were your experiences at A-level like?

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