If you have done well in your GCSEs, you may feel well prepared for A level, but there are new skills required to be successful at A level. Many students find this jump quite daunting and it is sensible to make sure you are fully prepared.
If you are reasonably quick at picking up new ideas and are able to understand and explain what is taught in class, you will do well at GCSE. However, A level requires applied thinking and opinion forming. Many students get a great deal of satisfaction from learning the advanced skills they require to do well at A level and they will tell you that their enjoyment increases with the difficulty. However, in order to succeed there are some important points to consider:
Choose subjects you enjoy
If you choose subjects you have a genuine interest in and aptitude for, you are more likely to find the work rewarding. If you lack this interest, you will find it hard to do the necessary reading and work required to get a top grade. Teachers will also expect you to have a personal interest in the subjects you are studying (as they do!). You will be working with a small cohort of students (a maximum class size of 13-15 students) and you will get to know your teachers well.
Many students only put some concerted revision into the final months of their GCSE course and still manage to achieve good results. However, at A level, revision must be a regular part of your work routine. This is the reason Kings Institute tests its students regularly throughout the academic term. The tests are not about remembering information, but using it!
Time management is a new skill for students to acquire. It takes some real discipline to use these wisely. Spending time when you get your timetable, considering how you can get all the homework assignments done and revising regularly can be the key to early success. At Kings Institute, we provide our students with a planner to make sure all deadlines can be met.
Learn to build on ideas
A levels are more about applying ideas than learning and understanding them. You will be expected to think for yourself, compose original work, dedicate time to reading about a subject and build on the ideas you have been introduced to in your lessons. This will mean using (or improving) your organisational and analytical skills. Whilst ideas can be introduced in lessons and you may understand them when the teacher goes through them, it will only be when you go away and think about the ideas and then apply them for yourself that you will have reached a good A level standard.
Maintain a balance with extracurricular activities
It is important to ensure you keep a balance between your academic work and other important activities that keep a healthy work-life balance. Regular exercise is very important and sports which helps with discipline hence why at Kings Institutes, we offer a myriad of extra curricular activities so students life is balanced.
Use your tutors well
Your teachers will know that the transition between one level of learning and another is difficult. At Kings Institutes, we encourage students to talk to their teachers if they are finding it hard or are struggling with the workload. They will encourage you to use our tutorials to get some help. Your personal tutor will also be keen to talk to you and offer help.