A-Level Maths Revision And Exam Tips

A second-year Medicine student offers her A-level Maths tips. Learn how to effectively revise for A-Level Maths to achieve the highest grades.

Author: Areeba Ahmed

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Preparing for an A-Level Maths exam does not have to be a stressful and challenging time. With the right preparation, you will achieve the highest grades. 

Let’s start from the beginning. I am Areeba Ahmed, a second-year Medical student at the University of Liverpool. Class of 2020 AKA the class of Covid-19. 

Not so long ago, I was an A-Level Maths student frantically differentiating and integrating seven days a week. My whole life, I have been an average student who has had to work twice as hard as my peers to get the grades needed, especially in Maths.

I have five top tips on how I revised for A-Level Maths, and they are tried and tested methods that work.

1: Change Your Attitude Towards A-Level Maths

What I found whilst doing A-Level Maths was that mindset was vital. If I went in thinking, ‘I hate statistics, I will not understand it.’ Guess what happened? I did not understand the topic, which was a constant theme for me throughout year 12.

But when revising for my AS exams, I realised that the content was not hard, but the way I was approaching it made it difficult to understand.

With this realisation, my approach to Maths completely changed. I never really hated the mathematical concept, I just never approached it the way I should have done. 

So, instead of going in thinking ‘I will not be able to do it,’ I started going in thinking, ‘I can do this, it’s not as hard as I expected,’ which had such a significant impact and completely turned around what I gained from my Maths lessons and propelled me towards getting those top grades.

Do not underestimate the power of your attitude.

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2: Consistency is Key

Maths is a very practical subject which means that the more questions you do, the better you will do. Also, doing them regularly is a lot better than just cramming in the last week.

This approach is known as The Compound Effect, which is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions. This applies to A-Level Maths revision, by starting early and consistently revising you will get to grips with the questions and equations. 

Doing a few questions a day will help you develop and retain skills that will help you in the long run. Having a routine is very important, so plan realistically. For example, if you have a day with less homework or a few free periods, maybe plan to do a past paper. Alternatively, if it is a very busy day, then pick a topic and do a few questions on it.

3: Fully understand concepts Of A-Level Maths

Before doing anything else or revising, ask yourself, ‘Do I even understand this topic?’ If your answer is no, your first goal should be to understand the topics.

When I first started my A-Level Maths studies I had no idea what exponentials and logarithms meant when I first came across them. 

I spent many hours going over and over the concept until I felt confident that I understood it fully, by looking at online resources and attempting sample questions. 

I did this even with concepts I felt fairly confident in such as trigonometry, to ensure that I fully understood the concept and knew the best way to go about answering the questions.

4: Do A-Level Maths Past Papers

Past papers are a vital revision resource. These are your survival guide for Maths. Once you have fully understood the concept and tried your hand at some questions, these are your next point of call.

I would suggest working from the first year that the exams were sat for your curriculum and then work your way up to the most recent set of exams for your specification. When you have worked through them all, then repeat this.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can only do a paper once. This is not true.

Once you have gone over the papers a few times and are getting close to 100%, try papers from other exam boards, but be careful that there will be things on there that you may not cover or stuff you have covered that might not be on there.

Keep in mind, the examiners want to see your working and you will receive marks for showing this so it is good to get into the practice of doing so.

If you are in year 13, I would suggest starting by doing AS papers and progressing to the A-Level ones after completing them a few times.

5: Focus on yourself

As a student, there will always be someone doing better than you, but there are also people who will not be doing as well as you.

Do not waste your time or energy focusing on anyone around you because their grade does not affect you, and giving them that sort of power will always demoralise you.

Instead, focus on yourself and put the effort in, and you will not be disappointed.

Summary

In summary, do not be too hard on yourself.

You will have good days and bad days, but the good thing about Maths is once you understand a topic, it’s just about practising. The more you practice and challenge yourself, the better your grade.

A-Levels are a very tough time in your life, so it’s essential to keep things in perspective. One thing I wish I had done differently is not being so hard on myself.

It is important to use your time wisely and effectively, but that doesn’t mean you must work 24/7. Taking time for yourself is just as important as revising.

A healthy and happy mind is more productive than a tired and unhappy one.

I hope that I was able to give you some guidance and motivation to go for the grade you want and do not let anything or anyone stop you.  

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