We’ve compiled our top revision tips for students who are preparing for their A level maths exams.
Studies have shown that we concentrate best for periods of 20 to 30 minutes, so take short, frequent breaks. Mix up the order of your subjects, so that throughout the day you cover each topic at least two or three times, at different times of the day.
Divide it up into 10 – 20 sections. Aim to work on at least 5 sections every week. There will be a lot to cover in your A-Level Maths revision, and this careful plotting of topics will mean you won’t miss out any.
Revision is important, but you need to have understood the concepts in class to begin with. If you miss a lesson through illness, try and catch up as soon as you can. If you realise your basic understanding of a topic is shaky, ask your teacher to go through it with you – this is much easier than trying to fix it yourself at revision time!
Don’t ignore something you don’t understand! Start with these topics and complete as many examples as you can, then find more examples to test yourself with. If you find something difficult, then you’re going to need more time to improve in it – don’t leave these topics too late!
It may seem like a long time ago that you were learning about the maths basics. Photo Source: Unsplash
Don’t just learn and apply formulae parrot-style. Try to understand the reasons behind the creation of the formula. Maths is a creative subject, and true understanding will enable you to tackle any problem. You will not get very far if you think you need to memorise, say, 18 different formulae relating to trigonometric identities – you will do much better if you simply understand how they are all interrelated.
Once you’ve finished working through the syllabus, start practising past papers. Start off with no time limit, and allow yourself to use your textbook or revision notes. After a few like this, start doing them to time, to imitate the pressure of the real exam. When you mark your paper, any weaknesses in your knowledge will become clear. Try to understand where and why you made mistakes, so you are able to go back to the original topic and revise more effectively.
Here you will be able to get hold of specimen and past papers. Some boards even produce their own revision guides. You can also look up the Examiners’ Report for past exams, which will highlight common mistakes that students have made. Look at these topics in particular to make sure you don’t make the same errors!
A level Maths is a ‘doing’ subject, and success in Maths exams will only be achieved through practise over a long period of time.
Need more help? Search for “maths tutors near me“.
Once you feel confident in the theory, and have completed a number of past papers, begin to work on completing problems faster. If you are able to work quickly, checking effectively, then you are more likely to achieve a high mark. Careless mistakes caused by time pressure are the enemy of success.
Sometimes many heads are better than one, and if you don’t understand a concept, chances are someone else in the group might be able to help you. You will also increase your own skill and understanding by explaining to others how to do something.
If you are looking to study maths as an adult then this post is for you!