1. Practice question papers
To get a fair idea of what you may be headed for, question papers are the only ‘solution’. A less daunting way to initiate the process is by starting with: in text and end-of-chapter questions from the prescribed textbooks; then moving on to the topical questions which can be found on endless websites, and finally starting with past board papers. As daunting as it may seem, it is better to feel intimidated and helpless at home instead of at an exam hall.
2. Time management
The A-Levels are an intense course. The short time span for the entire course and two exams that have to be attempted within a year of each other makes it even more strenuous. The only way to do well is by following a thorough study-planner intensely. You could start by getting some cute planners from shops if you are into stationeries or have a to-do list, whichever works best for you. The idea is to keep you reminded so that you won’t get distracted easily.
3. Thorough understanding of concepts
Most A-Level questions are analytical, which requires that candidate to have a thorough knowledge of the concepts. There are abundant videos and blogs on those concepts, the web is a magnificent repository of information, make the best use of it.
4. Constant evaluation, both self and from mentors
When it comes to the thorough understanding of concepts, and sticking to a stringent routine, a constant evaluation is necessary. Your school will have a regular evaluation, and you will be guided by teachers; however, if you feel the slightest hint of fumbling with a concept, take the time to completely understand it. Make time to assess yourself and do not always expect your school to guide you.
5. Self-study is key
One can only truly understand a concept when they can completely deliver the concept in as simplified terms as possible. Self-study can be in the forms of teaching someone or self, orating a concept, thinking about the possible applications of that concept, and solving questions. You could record yourself (audio/video) while learning, this makes you push yourself to give your best.
6. Creating a healthy balance and taking care of your mental health
The A-Levels are an incredibly stressful time in a student’s life. College applications, two sets of board exams annually, competitions, events that have the potential to decide the professional life of an individual’s life occur within these two years. A burn-out or an anxiety episode is far too frequent to not be anticipated.
An effective way of dealing with this is making an exhaustive checklist that gives significant importance to socializing with family and friends, consulting mentors and counselors, and taking creative breaks from your study routines.
On an off-day during the week, engaging in some outdoor sport, visiting an old-age home or orphanage, interacting with pets, or reconnecting with hobbies and passions can help tremendously with destress.
7. Be open to guidance and seek help
With regards to the sudden stress that hits each A-Level student, a lot of the time the tips mentioned in the earlier section may sound like an exaggeratedly utopian scenario. More often than not, regardless of how wonderful a planner is, we tend to go astray. Getting back on track may seem like a Herculean task. Some may tend to isolate, some others may forgo their study timetable, some may show signs of slacking at everything from interactions to academics to hobbies.
Remind yourself, it is easier than you may imagine making a come-back. Seek help. There is an abundance of it. From online therapists to school counselors, teachers or mentors, tuition centres or agencies which help with college applications; and the obvious, try talking to family members or friends. I repeat, there is an abundance of help. Seeking it is the first and most difficult step, it gets easier from there on.