Without a doubt, A Levels were by far one of the most challenging and stressful things I have ever faced. However, at the same time, it was also insanely rewarding. All the hard work builds up to a few letters on a page – work hard to get the grades you want, and there’ll be no better feeling. A Levels are really difficult, and in this article, you’ll find some tips that helped me when I was doing them.
1. Try to get the right balance between your subjects.
For me, I found this difficult. Some subjects I was better at than others, and I felt that I needed to spend more time on the weaker subjects. But I soon realised that getting the right balance between A Level subjects is crucial if you want to succeed. Not only that, but trying to fit in homework, revision, preparing for class tests and doing course was extremely difficult. Many nights I would be up to the early hours of the morning trying to get everything done. It was a very testing time, and I thought about quitting several times. But quitting gets you nowhere, and in reality, quitting is the easy option, something you can turn to when times get tough. A Levels aren’t meant to be a walk in the park, they are meant to test you and if you quit, then you aren’t pushing yourself to achieve your full potential.
2. Make sure you get enough sleep at night.
I remember that when I was doing my A Levels, for the few nights I could get an early night, I would wake up the next morning even more tired. Getting enough sleep is difficult and it’s easy to adopt an ‘all nighter’ approach when you have a lot of work to do.
I remember that for one of my subjects, there were girls from my class up at 2 am posting on our class group chat, trying to understand some of the topics. Getting enough sleep is particularly important the night before an exam. Trying to cram all your revision into one night isn’t a good idea. Sleep has several benefits, and it’s important to establish a good sleep routine. Try and set a realistic time for going to bed each night. Some nights, you won’t always be able to get an early night, but getting the minimum recommended eight hours sleep each night is a must when doing your A Levels.
3. Ask for help if you are confused or don’t understand something.
One of my friends always used to ask questions, and teachers would always joke her about asking if she had any more questions. But she was doing the right thing! Too many times, students sit in class not having a clue about what the teacher is saying and they just smile and nod (I have been guilty of doing this myself a few times). It may seem stupid asking a question, but who cares? If it’s going to help you in the long run, then it’s definitely worth something.
If you don’t understand a topic, then you should speak to your teacher. I remember that my teachers were very accommodating if I didn’t understand something. They would run revision classes over lunch, so check to see that you aren’t missing out on any revision classes that could really help you. I found the revision classes especially useful because it allowed me the opportunity to speak to the teacher about topics I didn’t understand in a more private setting, and I felt more confident explaining areas I didn’t understand.
4. Eat well!
When you’re doing A Levels, the temptation is there to ‘treat yourself.’ Many times would I be doing revision and find myself eating a chocolate bar at the same time, just as a reward for doing well. That was what I told myself anyway. Eating well is essential, and not eating well could impair concentration and this could have a negative impact in the longer term. Try to eat a few pieces of fruit and vegetables each day to help you stay alert. I remember that at lunch time between classes, I would always try to eat healthy because I felt so much more awake in the afternoon compared to if I ate a really unhealthy lunch.
Try not to rely on caffeine or sugary drinks to keep you awake – these may work in the short term, but after a while, your left on an energy slump. In addition, you should always try and have a bottle of water with you in all your classes. Not drinking enough water again can have a negative impact on concentration, so make sure you eat and drink well during this stressful period!
5. Make sure you have some ‘me’ time.
Even though A Levels are a lot of hard work and they aren’t easy, make sure you schedule some time out of each day and week to have some ‘me’ time. Reward yourself, take yourself to the cinema with friends, do something you enjoy to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to always be revision and hard work. You can never abandon yourself during this time, that is one of the worst things to do! I would always look at my planner for the week and take a few hours out to do something for myself. You deserve some fun after working so hard!
Have you got any more tips you feel would be useful to anyone going through A Levels? Make sure you tweet us and let us know: @Fuzzable.