A-Levels are the next step after your GCSEs, and they show just how good you are as a student – there’s less support, and much more independence. Therefore, it’s important to get the best grades you can on them.
In this article I’ll be going over the best way to revise for your A-Levels, and what you should be doing in the days leading up to your exams. Read on for the best tips on how many hours of revision you should do per day for your A-Levels.
In theory, you should revise for about two hours every day in the month leading up to your exam. That should allow you enough time to perfect your exam technique in time to ace those exams. You can take breaks on the weekends if it works for you, but that means you should revise for a little bit longer each day.
How Many Hours Of Daily A-Level Revision Is Too Much?
You might be focused and ready to learn, but there is a point where A-Level revision can be too much. How can you work out that point to avoid overworking yourself?
Anything above 4 hours a day will seriously strain your mental capacity, and decrease your concentration. The longer you work for, the less productive you get.
That’s because you start to lose focus on what you’re revising. You won’t pay any attention to your revision, and so none of it will stick in your memory – which results in wasted time and efforts from you.
There’s no point revising for longer than four hours, as the content you revise won’t stay in your brain. You won’t be able to focus on your work, which means you won’t be able to remember it, and then you’ll miss out on marks in an exam.
You’ll also leave yourself overworked and worse off for any revision that might actually help. If you try to do more than you can handle, it’ll actually have a negative effect on the outcome of your GCSEs.
This revision should go alongside your independent study too. Don’t shirk off the responsibilities you already have at college – your independent revision should be separate from your exam revision.
How Can Revising For Too Long Even Be Bad?
We know that anything above 4 hours a day is really pushing the limit. What are the consequences of revising too much, though? Surely they can’t be that bad…
Wrong. Revising for this amount of time is inefficient, and can lead to some very bad outcomes for your exams. A-Level exams are tough, but that doesn’t mean you should work yourself to the point of exhaustion.
The longer your time spent revising, the less focused you’ll be. This means that the longer you revise for, the less efficient you’ll be and the less information will get stuck in your memory.
If you think you’ve revised something but can’t remember it, you’ll have gaps in your knowledge. This will leave you helpless in an exam, and precious marks will be lost.
Revising for over four hours a day will leave you exhausted, too. Studying for this extreme amount of time will make you tired, especially alongside your independent studies.
The better option for A-Level students is to take the right amount of time out each day to work on your revision. Managing your time well will lead to successful revision, and successful exams.
How Many Hours Of Daily A-Level Revision Is Too Little?
Probably a very common mistake students make is not doing enough revision. A question not many ask though, is how much is not enough?
Try to revise for any amount of time above an hour and a half in the weeks leading up to your exam. Anything under this will leave you underprepared to pick up those vital marks.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but by now you should really have the whole revision thing sorted. A-Level students are the best of the best, and shouldn’t be found not to be doing revision.
Procrastination is the main culprit of not enough revision. Watch out, because procrastination will lead to huge gaps in your knowledge and a poor understanding of exam techniques.
Exam technique is almost as important as knowing your content in A-Level exams. Depending on what A-Levels you take, the right exam technique can make the difference between a pass and a fail.
Revision timetables are the perfect way to sort out your revision, so that you don’t revise for too long (or not long enough). Take a look at this helpful guide, if you’re not sure how to make one.
Does The Amount Of Revision You Need To Do Per Day Depend On The A-Level?
A revision timetable is good for working out the average amount of time you need to spend revising, but the A-Levels you take can affect the specifics of your timetable.
Harder A-Levels will take longer to revise for, and easier A-Levels won’t need as much. This is because some A-Levels are just a bit more difficult to understand than others, and will need more revision to secure the content for your exams.
You can usually tell how hard an A-Level is to revise for due to the amount of content in the course. The more content there is, the harder you’ll have to work to ace your exam.
The amount of revision you have to do can also depend on how good you are at the A-Level. If you’re really good at a specific subject, you’ll find it much easier and therefore won’t have to revise it as much.
However, if you tend to struggle more with a certain A-Level, you’ll want to revise more for it. It’s all about finding the balance between revising your bad subjects more and good subjects less.
Ultimately, you should try to prioritise your worst A-Levels and topics. The same can be said for individual topics within A-Levels, try to work on whatever you’re not good at.
What Days Should You Revise On?
You might think that revising every single day in the weeks leading up to your exams is a good idea, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, there’s another option that might be better for you.
Revising every day of the week can be beneficial, but it also has some disadvantages. Revision every day in the weeks before your exam is good, because it keeps your brain constantly in that revision headspace.
It also means you don’t have to revise so intensively every day. The more days you revise on, the more you can spread out your revision so that you only have to revise in short periods, but often.
However, revising every day can tire you out. You never get a day off with this method, and that can lead to lower motivation and less productivity in your revision.
The other method you could try is revising on the weekdays and taking a break on the weekend. A number of students opt for this, as it means you get a chance to rest and recuperate.
However, it does mean that you have to bump up the revision you do on the weekdays. Instead of revising for just 2 hours a day, you should be revising for 3.
How Should You Split Up Your A-Level Revision Sessions?
Revising for A-Levels can be long and stressful, and realistically no one wants to do it. However, there are certain ways you can split it up to make it easier – what are those ways?
The most common and useful method of splitting up your revision is the pomodoro technique. The pomodoro technique is widely used among many students, as it really boosts your revision.
The pomodoro technique is a way of revising that makes it easier for you to revise, with loads of other benefits too. Traditionally, you work for 25 minute periods with 5 minute breaks in between.
This way of working maximises your efficiency and productivity, leading to more effective revision. By taking short breaks, you allow your brain a chance to rest, increasing your focus and motivation to continue revising.
This means that the content you revise is more likely to stay in your memory for your exam. Higher productivity and better focus means you’re more likely to pick up those crucial marks when it matters most.
It also means that you’ll get your revision done a lot faster, with less procrastination. Because of the short breaks, you’ll be more inclined to continue working and you won’t be demotivated by how much you need to do.
How Should You Revise For A-Levels?
There are many ways you can revise for your A-Levels, but only a few are actually worth trying. Here are a few of the best ways you can prepare for your A-Level exams.
Flashcards are one of the most useful ways to revise for any exams, even A-Levels. Flashcards are the staple revision tactic of any student, because of how easy they are to set up and use.
All you have to do is write a term on one side, and a definition on the other. Show yourself one side of the card, and try to remember the other side – simple!
The only thing you have to watch out for is recognition instead of revision. You could end up learning the cards instead of the actual content, and then you’ll be left with gaps in your knowledge.
Luckily, another great revision technique can be used to identify the gaps in your knowledge. Mind maps are a great method of revision, and can help you fix your weak subjects before your exam.
Mind maps are used to write down everything you know about a topic. You can then compare what you’ve written with your A-Level syllabus, and work on whatever you missed out.
There are helpful guides on how to make both mind maps and flashcards, so I’ll just leave them here.
- How to make effective flashcards (that actually work)
- How to use mind maps effectively while studying
When Should You Start Revising For A-Levels?
A-Levels are not easy to complete, and take a lot of revision. Organised right, that revision can be easy and also effective – where should you set your starting point?
The best time to start revising for your A-Levels is about 7 weeks prior to your first exam. This should hopefully give you enough time to perfect your exam knowledge and technique.
Anything less than this, and you’ll find that you’re underprepared for your exams. You won’t have had the right amount of time to revise, and so you won’t know all your content.
Anything more than this, and you’ll start to forget the earliest things you revised. That will leave you with gaps in your knowledge, and you’ll miss out on those important marks in your exam.
There are more details on the perfect time to start revision on the Think Student website. Take a look at this article for the best tips on when and how to start your A-Level revision.