“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” - Socrates
Are you concerned that you’re not organised enough to get the most out of your A Levels?
Don’t panic, we’re here to help with some tips and advice.
The Best Books for A Level Students
A Levels can dictate which university course you get onto. While you spend two years studying them, you can still feel like it all hinges on the exams at the end of your second year. Even if you’ve reached this point, it’s not too late to change how you work and improve your grades.
Let’s start by looking at some resources to help you. Here is a couple series of books that you might want to look at investing in to help you with your studies.
CGP Complete Revision & Practice Series
These study guides are among the most popular in the UK and are regularly recommended for students studying GCSE and A Level. While you couldn't go so far as to say they make revision fun, they do have a style that a lot of students will appreciate.
In addition to the study guides, there are also revision flashcards and online version of the books to help you effectively study. Not only do the books focus on the subjects they cover, but they also have a lot of information on the courses and exams so you'll know exactly what to expect and can set your goals accordingly.
My Revision Notes
This is a series of revision guides that focuses on the essential. While the CGP guides tend to add a dash of humour to make certain points more appealing to some students, others may find this superfluous. The My Revision Notes books tend to trim away the fat and leave you with concise and informative study guides.
They're structured with exam-style tasks that you can use to review the topics that you've studied and test your knowledge of the subjects.
Websites to Help You with Your A Levels
The A Levels and AS Levels were reformed in 2015. Generally, this means that an AS Level is no longer part of an A Level but rather a qualification in their own right. This has led to a massive drop in students studying AS Levels so we’ll just look at websites for the A Levels as they are now.
Studywise is a great online resource for A Level students to go over revision notes. The website is full of information for both GCSE and A Level students and you can even find revision notes organised by exam boards.
The notes aren't interactive or anything like that, but they do have all the information you'll need once you've worked out a way to effectively study them.
This website is useful for anyone studying GCSE or A Levels as it includes revision resources for a variety of different subjects including past papers, exam tips, and notes for you to go back over.
You can print out the notes and past papers to practise with and save PowerPoint presentations to back through. There are also subject guides you can ask for help once you're a registered user of the site. As this is free, you may as well sign up and start benefitting from this valuable resource.
This website offers revision resources for GCSE and A Level across a variety of common subjects. You do need to sign up to use the website, but once you do, you can access resources for revising and tools for creating a revision timetable.
While the site doesn't cover as many subjects as some of the other resources in our list, it does have all the core sciences, maths, English, French, art, and a few others worth looking at.
Academic Support Tutorials for A Level Students
If you struggle to get the most out of your homework and studying even with books and websites to help you, consider getting in touch with a private tutor. You could be working really hard, but not really smart. Good A Level results could define your career.
A private tutor can offer tailored lessons that work with you and any difficulties you’re having. You won’t have to be worried about asking questions in front of the whole class as it’ll just be you and your tutor. They can help you with your studies, homework, or even your general approach to learning throughout your A Levels.
Don’t hesitate to look for private tutors on Superprof. A lot of tutors offer the first lesson for free, which is a good opportunity to try a few different tutors out before you choose the one that’s right for you. More on that later.
In addition to general tuition, you can also get specific tutors for specific subjects.
How to Make the Most of Your A Level Homework
There’s no big secret to benefit from homework; you need to set aside the time to do it. You can end up spending up to 2 hours a day on it. But a good strategy can shorten this time and make it more effective. We recommend:
- Sitting comfortably in a place where you won’t be distracted. Turn off your phone, the TV, and your computer if you’re not using it for work.
- Sitting in an appropriate chair: A good posture will help you to concentrate and also help you to avoid neck and back pain.
- Studying regularly: Has your teacher set any homework? That doesn’t matter. Take the initiative to go back over each lesson to make sure that you remember all the important information. This will save you a lot of time when it comes to revising.
- Doing your homework as soon as you have time: Do you have a free period? Get on top of your workload.
- Paying attention and actively listening: Get involved and participate in class when invited to do so. Take clear and organised notes that you can still understand weeks later.
- Adapting to each subject: You can revise different subjects in different ways. Scientific subjects may have you remembering approaches and techniques while the humanities have a greater focus on writing and putting your thoughts into words with an appropriate writing style.
- Prioritising your homework and projects: Get urgent and difficult projects done first.
Start with these tips and things should start to turn around. If you need more help, consider getting in touch with a private tutor. Academic support can help you prepare for your GCSEs and A Levels and also learn study skills that you can take with you to university.
Finding a tutor on Superprof is easy. You can search by subject and by location and you're free to browse the tutors' profiles to compare their qualifications, experience, rates, and tutoring approach.
You can enjoy tutoring face-to-face, online, or in groups and each type of tutoring comes with its pros and cons for you and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials, for example, tend to be more expensive than the other two. However, you'll also enjoy one-on-one tuition from a tutor who can adapt the lessons to you, what you want to learn, and how you like to learn. As a result, this type of tutorial is usually the most cost effective.
Online tutorials are usually cheaper than face-to-face tutorials as the tutor doesn't need to factor in travel costs and time and can schedule more tutorials every week. While these tutorials mightn't be as effective for hands-on subjects, they're just as effective for academic subjects and very useful if you can't find any suitable local tutors or can't afford face-to-face tutoring.
For families on a really tight budget, group tutorials are a great option. Since the students are sharing the cost of hiring the tutor, this will usually work out as cheaper per student per hour.
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson or hour for free and you can use these sessions to try out several tutors before deciding on which is right for you.
The free session probably won't be like your typical tutorial but it is a good opportunity to discuss how each potential tutor can help, how they like to teach, and the finer details of the tutoring like how much they'll charge, when the tutoring will take place, and what they'll need from you.