Maths is an incredibly useful A-Level to gain. It opens the doors to so many university courses and jobs due to the vast array of skills you gain. Employers look for problem-solving, logic and reasoning skills in potential candidates, all of which you'll learn through your Maths A Level.
To get the best grade you can, it's essential that you revise. However, some people find revision easier than others. If you don't know which revision techniques to use, you may struggle to cover the necessary topic areas.
There is no right or wrong way to study, as everyone learns differently. Some techniques tend to be more helpful than others, but it's up to you to decide what works the best.
In this article, we'll look at some of the most popular study techniques that can help you revise for your maths A-Level.
Maths experts divided-by.com suggest you do the following study techniques to give yourself the best chance of achieving a high grade in your maths A-Level exams.
Plan a revision timetable
Most students use some timetables to help them manage their study time. You can use them to divide up your day so you spend a reasonable amount of time on your maths A-Level and your other subjects. It's important that you also factor in regular breaks so that you don't burn yourself out. You could give yourself an hour or two to study each topic before moving on to the next one so that you don't become bored.
Retrospective revision timetables work in a slightly different way from traditional timetables. Rather than dividing up your day, you break down which subjects and topics you need to cover. From here, you list the topics in order of those that you feel most confident with and the ones you struggle more with. You can then add more study sessions to cover the topics you are less confident with as they need more attention.
The amount of breaks you have depends on how long you are revising. It's a good idea to revise for at least one or two hours a day. You should aim to have a five to 10-minute break every hour or a two-minute break every 20 minutes. If you'd prefer to work for a longer chunk of time, you should reward yourself with an hour's rest for every three hours of work.
When you have breaks, you need to stand up, stretch and give your eyes a rest from screens. You could go for a short walk to get some fresh air and clear your head so that you're ready for more studying.
Check the syllabus
No matter which subjects you are studying for your A-Levels, you should always check the exam board's syllabus. They will be listed on the AQA, OCR, and Edexcel websites (or whichever exam board you're studying for). The syllabus will list the topics that may appear in your exams, although you won't know which ones will be in your exam until you actually sit it.
Checking the syllabus can help you work out which topics you need to focus on. Although it's good to have a well-rounded view of your subject, there's no point studying intensely for topics that definitely won't appear in your exams.
Just because a topic hasn't appeared in past papers, doesn't mean it won't feature in yours. Exam boards often add questions that haven't appeared in test papers for years. It's a good idea to revise each topic area in the syllabus to some extent so that you have a base knowledge of all of it.
Use classroom notes
The notes you make in class are one of the most valuable resources you can use. Your teacher should have taken you through a whole host of topic areas that will likely appear in your exams. You should refer back to these when you're revising each topic to remind yourself of what you have already learned.
When writing your notes in class, make sure that they are neat and well-structured so that you can easily read them in the future. You should also add extra information that you think is important and will help you to understand the topic in greater detail when it comes time to revise.
You can add sticky notes or use highlighter pens on your classroom notes to make it easier to identify key information. It might help you to recall the information better if you copy the notes out of your books and add them to mindmaps or flashcards.
Practice on past papers
Exam papers often word questions in ways you may not be familiar with. They tend to add context to questions rather than simply writing an equation and expecting you to answer. It's your job to pick out the information in the questions and determine what is expected of you.
The best way to become familiar with the layout of exam papers is to practice on past papers. You can do them as a few questions at a time or set aside a couple of hours and do the paper in exam conditions in one go.
Most exam boards have several past papers on the websites, along with the answers, so that students can become familiar with the layout ad types of questions. It's important that you use practice papers from the same exam board that you'll be tested from. This is because exam boards have different syllabuses and you need to study for the right one.
It's a good idea to do at least one mock exam before your actual exams. You should set aside two hours to do the exam. Make sure that your phone is turned off and you are away from any distractions. Ideally, you should be in a room on your own so no-one tries to talk to and distract you.
Understand, don't memorise
Many students make the mistake of memorising their notes rather than trying to understand the logic behind them. If you don't understand why you need to use a certain formula or make a specific calculation, it will be harder to answer questions in your exams.
When you start off your revision journey, you should focus on understanding the topics. Once you fully understand a topic, it's easier to memorise the associated formulas and apply the right calculations. This will also make it easier if you want to learn different techniques for calculating equations.
You should reread your class notes and ask your teacher for help if there's something you don't quite understand. There are lots of YouTube videos and other online resources that you can also use to help you understand a specific topic better.
Identify difficult areas
It can be tempting to keep studying the areas that you feel most comfortable with. However, this is counterproductive as you are neglecting the topics that actually need work.
You could try to do practice papers back to front so that you work on the most difficult questions first. This will help you identify questions that you struggle with and you can work out which topics you, therefore, need to work on.
It's important that you only do this technique in a study setting — in the actual exam, you should start with the easier questions at the front of the test paper and work your way through to the harder sections. This ensures that you don't spend too much time on one or two questions when you could be gaining more marks on the easier questions.
Join a study group
There's a good chance that your strengths and weaknesses differ from those of your classmates. This can prove beneficial as you can help each other improve by sharing your knowledge and study techniques. Joining a study group can also motivate you to revise more as you will have other people spurring you on.
You could study a different topic each week, complete past papers or use flashcards to test each other. It's a good idea to cover topics that you are comfortable with and topics that you find more challenging. Hopefully, the other people in your study group will be able to advise you on different techniques to understand the topics better.
Flashcards are an excellent secondary tool to help you memorise important information. It's good to keep the information on each flashcard brief so that they're easy to remember and aren't too cluttered. You could list formulas, definitions and other key bits of information you think you should memorise.
You can write on physical flashcards, which are available to buy from most stationary shops. There are also various websites that allow you to make flashcards online.
Ideally, you should only write a few words or phrases on each side of the flashcard. You can also use images if they help to spark a memory in some way. It's a good idea to colour-code your cards so that you can organise them into different topics and subcategories.
Use online resources
There are countless revision websites and apps that you can use to help with your revision. They usually offer flashcard features so that you can make your own study prompts. You may also be able to find an app that helps you create a study timetable or a timer feature that alerts you when it's time to take a break.
There are plenty of past papers online that you can use to practice. Doing mock exams should help you become familiar with the language in exams and hopefully make you feel more confident when it's time to sit and do the real thing.
Ask for help
Don't be scared or embarrassed to ask for help. Your teachers, family and friends all want you to do your best and would rather you ask for help than suffer in silence. Whether you're stuck on a certain topic or you need a study buddy, you should find someone you trust and ask for their assistance.
Some students benefit from extra tuition to help them prepare for their exams. Alternatively, you could find out if there are any after-school study groups or clubs in your local library that you could join.
It's advisable to ask questions when you're being taught about a new topic. Teachers will be happy to explain things in a different way or in more detail if it means you understand it better. This will help you to take better notes, which will come in handy when you come to revise them.
Everyone learns differently, which means everyone studies in their own way. There are various techniques that you can use when it comes to studying for your exams, from flashcards to past papers.
Whichever techniques you use, it's always a good idea to plan your study periods through timetables and ensure you spend plenty of time on areas you aren't as familiar or confident with.
Once you've found a study method you feel comfortable with, you should be able to apply it to other subjects and exams in the future.