15 Tips if You Feel You Are Failing Your A-Levels

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A-Levels are considered by students the two most difficult years of their education. Therefore, it is completely normal to be worried that you are failing your A-Levels. Many students face concerns about whether or not they will pass their exams and get the grades they need. Whether that be for University, an apprenticeship or something else. Without a doubt A-Levels are stressful and often cause students anxiety, but it is important to try and be optimistic and see them in a positive way.  

You may be wondering how can you be more positive about your A-Levels? Are you really failing your A-Levels? How can you improve your A-Level grades? If this is you then please continue to read the rest of this article for 15 helpful tips. 

1. Get a Private Tutor 

If you feel that you may be failing one or multiple of your A-Levels, you may benefit from a private tutor. Many A-Level students decide to get a private tutor for some, or all of their subjects which provides them with extra support.  

Private tutors will be specialised in a particular subject area meaning they can help you with a range of tasks including learning content, practicing exam skills and meeting homework deadlines.  

Tutors are trained to identify your weaknesses in the subject meaning you can focus on improving in the aspects of the subject which you struggle the most with. Additionally, they aim to meet your individual needs through working at a pace to suit you and in a location that you feel most comfortable. There are private tutors available for most subjects, the most popular including Maths, English and Science. 

A disadvantage of getting a private tutor is it usually costs between £30 to £60 per hour to have a private tutor. If you are interested in finding a tutor then check out this link.  

2. Speak to Your Teacher  

The most obvious way to find out if you really are failing your A-Levels is to ask your subject teachers. You could discuss with them what aspects of the subject you feel your struggling with the most, such as structuring exam answers or a particular topic you find confusing.  

Your teacher would be able to give you some advice and guidance about your concerns. They may even tell you that you’re not failing and actually you are doing well! Your teacher may be able to offer support through setting up revision sessions or giving you work sheets or booklets to support your revision.

They may also be able to identify your weaknesses within your work meaning you will be able to address your weaker areas and improve your A-Level performance. This will help you to feel more confident and less like you are failing.   

3. Try to Identify Where You are Struggling

One effective way to find out if you are failing your A-Levels is to identify how much and which parts of your subject you are struggling with. Once identifying these, you will be able to improve your performance in your A-Levels.  

You may find you are struggling with learning and revising the content of your subject. Likewise, you may find it the exam elements such as structuring your answer which you are struggling with. One way you could identify where you are struggling is by making a list of what you are struggling with and what you are okay with. You will then be able to easily identify how much of your subject you are struggling with. Knowing this information means you will be able to focus on these areas to improve your A-Level performance. 

4. Assess Your Revision Strategies 

If you feel like you are failing your A-Levels, this may be due to you underperforming in exams. Therefore, this could be because of the revision techniques you are using.  

There is a link between the types of revision strategies used by students and their achievement in exams, for example reading through notes is not as effective as using past papers.  

If you identify which revision techniques you are using and change these for more effective techniques, this could help you to feel more confident in your revision as well as achieving higher grades in your A-Levels. To find out more about effective revision techniques you could use, check out this helpful article 

It can also be helpful to change the way you revise and the techniques you use quite often. After using the same revision technique for a long period of time, it can become monotonous and result in the technique becoming less effective. Changing techniques will make your revision more effective and help you to achieve better grades. To find out more about how to revise effectively for an exam, check out this useful article. 

5. Consider Changing to a Different Subject 

It may be that you feel like you are failing your A-Levels because one or multiple of your subjects are not right for you.  

A-Level study means that students have the opportunity to study new subjects, such as Psychology and Accountancy which they have never studied before. Although this gives students the opportunity to experience new subjects and to learn something new. Some students realise the subject is not right for them after all. Therefore, if you feel like you are failing your A-Levels, consider changing to a different subject. 

You may feel that the subject is too hard, confusing or you just don’t enjoy it and that is absolutely fine! Not everyone will enjoy the same subjects. Therefore, speak to your teacher or head of year and ask if you can change to a different subject.  

For some institutions, you may have a deadline to change subjects, so be sure to check this. If you would like some more information about changing A-Level subjects check out this helpful article. 

6. Attend Revision Sessions 

If your institution offers revision sessions that you can attend and you feel like you are failing your A-Levels, make sure you go.  

Revision sessions are a great way to practice what you already know and revisit topics which you struggled on. You will also be able to ask your teacher or classmates any questions about the subject and gain a greater understanding of your subject ahead of any exams.  

Revising in a group will be more helpful for some students, as they will be able to have their work checked and marked whilst asking questions or discussing any concerns they may have. Revision sessions are usually very interactive which can support students if they feel anxious or stressed about upcoming exams.  

An alternative to this is online revision sessions. You can find helpful revision resources online such as YouTube videos which talk through entire topic areas. There are also some websites such as Up Learn which involve interactive video lessons and a range of resources to support you. A disadvantage, however, is these online resources may cost money. 

7. Speak to Your Friends  

If you feel that you are failing your A-Levels, do not keep it to yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your teachers, talk to your friends 

The majority of students doing A-Levels will be feeling stressed and anxious the same as you and concerned that they are failing their A-Levels. Therefore, talking to them and share your thoughts about how difficult A-Levels are. Tell each other which subjects you love and which you hate and ask them how they revise. They may be able to give you some advice and you them. After all, they are your friends!  

You could make suggestions such as organising revision sessions or working through an exam paper together. Revising as a group will help you to learn more from those around as you each bring your own ideas and perspectives about topics. It will also help you to avoid procrastination making you feel more confident.  

8. Remember That You Can Re-Sit Your A-Levels 

If you feel like you are failing your A-Levels don’t stress because you can always re-sit them.  

No student wants to fail their exams and then have to re-sit them, however lots of students do. If you do end up in this position you can apply through your institution to re-sit your exams in the summer the following year. If you decide to re-sit your A-levels at your original sixth form or college, you will continue to have classroom lessons and sit an exam in the same way. 

Some students decide to re-sit their exams online as a private candidate with a personal tutor. This is a more flexible option and students can complete study at home. To re-sit your A-Levels costs, but online study is the costliest. For more information about re-sitting your A-Levels, check out this useful article. 

9. Improve Your Mental Outlook 

Most students will have a pessimistic mental outlook when doing A-Levels, especially during exam time. Howeverhaving a more optimistic outlook can better your exam performance and your achievement in A-Levels 

If you are worried that you are failing your A-Levels, you already have a negative mental outlook. Even if you are failing, a positive mental outlook will help you to boost your grades and revise more effectively. 

Likewise, anxiety may be making you worried that you are failing your A-Levels when actually you are not. Anxiety can also increase the chance of you failing through impacting your ability to concentrate and revise effectively. 

To get a more positive mental outlook, consider factors including your diet, exercise and stress levels. Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water combined with exercise can help to give you more energy and improve your memory and concentration. Additionally, trying to keep calm and not stress by keeping organised and revising small amounts often will help you to remember more of the content needed for your subject. 

10. Consider Changing From A-Level to BTEC 

If you feel that you are failing your A-Levels, it could be because of the type of subjects you are studying. Some students perform better through coursework and practical work (BTECs) whereas others perform better through revision and examinations (A-Levels).

If you are taking A-Level qualifications, it maybe you feel you are failing because you are better suited to BTECs or a combination of the two. If you would like more information about the differences between BTECs and A-Levels, take a look at this website. 

Changing one or more of your subjects from A-level to BTEC may result in you achieving higher. In particular if you are someone who struggles with revision and examinations a swap to a BTEC may be very beneficial.  

11. Remember That You Can Re-Do 2 years of A-Level Study 

No student wants to have to repeat their 2 years of study for A-Levels, but some do. If you are worried that you are failing your A-Levels, remember that you may be able to re-do your two years of study and re-sit your exams. The decision, however, will be down to individual institutions. This should not impact any university application you submit after re-taking your exams and allows students to have another attempt at performing well at A-Levels.  

12. Look Into Life After Studying A-Levels 

It may be worth looking at your options after A-Level study if you feel you are failing your A-Levels. Just because you feel you are failing; it doesn’t mean you will. Researching for a realistic backup plan if you pass or fail your A-Levels would be useful. There are many options after A-levels such as higher education at University, apprenticeships, and jobs 

The website UNIFROG is handy in helping you find and research about your options after A-Levels. You may have the option to do an apprenticeship. Not all employers require students to have A-Level qualifications meaning if you do fail your A-Levels this could be a great option for you. If you would like to find out more information about why you should do an apprenticeship, take a look at this helpful website. 

Alternatively, if you fail your A-Levels you could plan to re-sit your exams or your two years of studying. Resitting you’re A-Levels will have no impact if you decide to apply to a university after this.  

Furthermore, if you decide to re-do your two years, you may be able to change subjects. If your choice of subject was the reason you feel you failed, this option may benefit you, however this will depend on individual institutions. 

13. Keep Yourself Determined and Motivated to Succeed 

Even if you feel like you are failing your A-Levels, don’t give up. With determination and motivation, you can easily achieve good grades 

One way to keep motivated is to focus on realistic grades you would like to achieve and aim towards achieving these. Your goals need to be in perspective and realistic so that you are able to achieve them. It is also important that you balance your workload with social life and keep yourself organised.  

14. Stop Procrastinating 

If you are someone who procrastinates, this may explain why you feel like you are failing your A-Levels. Procrastinating is the delay or postponed action meaning you put off doing something. 

Students comment on how difficult A-Levels are mostly because of the workload, meaning if you are someone who procrastinates, it won’t take long for your workload to catch up on you.  

Ineffective revision may make you feel like you are failing your A-Levels and therefore learning more effective habits can help to improve your grades. It’s never too late to change this though and doing so will help you to boost your performance in A-Levels. 

One way to stop procrastinating is to create to-do-lists and to stick to them. This will help to keep you organised meaning you have enough time to complete each task without needing to rush and stress.  

Doing revision little and often and not cramming last minute work into one night will also help you with revision for your A-Levels. Half an hour slots every night or two would be suitable. Also, avoid putting off tasks and just get it done. This will save you a lot of stress in the long run. 

15. Remember That it is Okay to Struggle With A-Levels 

If you feel like you are failing your A-Levelsremember it’s okay. A-Levels are hard and it’s okay to struggle, lots of students do. It is important to remember just to try your best and be confident in yourself. 

It is not the end of the world if exams don’t go your way because there are still a range of options available to you. You can choose to re-sit your exams or redo your two years for example. Additionally, you may still be able to get onto an apprenticeship or get a job without A-Levels at all. If you are really concerned, then it is always best to talk directly to your teachers who can offer you guidance and support.

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