2020 was a year of unexpected school closures, cancelled examinations, and online learning for students sitting for GCSE, AS level, A-level exams across England. As exam season came around in the summer, pupils were understandably distressed about beginning revisions as unexpected circumstances prevailed.
Eventually, examinations were cancelled for the year and the students were awarded a calculated grade. Colleges and schools provided centre assessment grade based on the student’s previous performance, which was then further standardised using an Ofqual model.
However, we’ve now stepped into the year 2021 yet new stay-at-home orders and school closures were announced in January. As per Boris Johnson’s announcement, remote learning will be the norm this year as the country embarks on a mission to flatten the curve.
While exam cancellations are being considered, the Department of Education hasn’t yet made an official announcement on its website. If the government pursues and finalises cancellations for the second year, PM Boris announced a possible alternative that will be developed in collaboration with Ofqual.
Until an official announcement is made, A-level candidates taking the exam in 2021 will be busying themselves with self-study and prep for mock papers and other examinations.
While each subject requires meticulous and well-planned study, we’ll be focusing on A-Levels maths revision and how students can go about it effectively.
A-Levels Maths Revision Tips
A-levels maths is one of the most difficult subjects to undertake, especially when students are self-studying and attending school online. It takes having a grasp of basic mathematical concepts and aptitude in geometry, arithmetic, algebraic equations, geometry, trigonometry and calculus.
Lacking the structure of classroom instruction throughout the academic year, gaps in understanding these courses are to be expected when students start prepping for A-level. The following tips will assist them during revisions so they can come out the other side with a grade that is reflective of their acumen and understanding of the course.
1. Draw up a timetable
With students constantly at home, traditional routines most college-going students used to follow have changed. It’s more important now than ever to draw up a timetable and structure revision accordingly.
Divide the course by topic and break them down further based on how in-depth they are. If the student struggles with certain topics such as coordinate geometry or integration, allot more time to it.
Start revising as per the AS & A-Level mathematics curriculum, starting with basic pure mathematic and then moving on to more complex topics.
Do remember to schedule breaks between sessions to prevent information overload. A 45-minute study session followed by a 15-minute break will reset their brain to absorb more knowledge.
2. Access the right resources
In addition to the course materials teachers provide throughout the year and the curriculum published by the exam board (which can vary between AQA, OCR, MEI, and Edexcel), students can find revision guides and preparatory material on the internet that covers topics from pure mathematics, mechanics and statistics.
There are even A-levels maths revision courses available that recap course material most relevant for the upcoming exam as they often provide study crafted to help students self-study for the exam.
Courses that require numeracy skills require continuous practice to get it right. Whether it’s quadratics or differentiation, students should dedicate at least 20 minutes at the end of each day to do problem exercises.
Almost every chapter in math textbooks has practice problems that students can try solving on their own when they’ve gone through theory and understand the underlying concepts. Start with simpler problems to make sure you have the basics down before moving on to more complicated ones.
4. Solve past papers
Past papers are effective for getting an idea of how problems are worded, which prevents students from spending too much time focusing on how the paper is set on exam day.
Also, they get to check their preparedness level. To truly test how well they are able to complete an exam, build the typical exam day pressure by timing them. Following additional exam room instructions will also help to put the student in the right headspace during the self-assessment.
5. Review work
Whether it’s timed practice problems, worksheets or a mock exam using a previous paper, students should review their work and how they came about completing it.
Besides double-checking the answers, students should honestly consider how difficult or easy it was for them to complete the task. When practice tasks are evaluated with the same scrutiny board assessors do, students can catch problems and remedy them for the actual exam.
For example, a student might be struggling with managing their time. By reviewing their work and how they approach the test, you can get a gist of where they got stuck or problems that took them longer than necessary to solve.
With further practise and revising the topic they might be struggling with, students will be better prepped.
6. Start as early as possible
Students around the world have been often guilty of leaving exam prep for the last minute. While some are able to make it work, other students often struggle to cover the entire course. They are unable to dedicate their time to understand the theory and logic behind different mathematical formulas and equations.
Starting a couple of months in advance is the only way students can avoid being overwhelmed when exams or assessments are approaching.
7. Getting help when it’s needed
Whether students find difficulty grasping certain concepts or need help with the entire course, getting help through A-levels maths revision courses can be beneficial.
Exam Tips is one such tutoring service that provides students with guided instruction for A level maths revision. These revision courses are highly tailored to each student’s individual needs and are structured to fill knowledge gaps.
Qualified maths tutors cover curriculum topics as well as providing each student with one-on-one prep consultation. They can provide further assistance by addressing common mistakes and how to address them.
Furthermore, revision courses are delivered to students in small groups with usually 10 or fewer students. This allows the tutor to address every student’s concern regarding maths revision and exam preparation.
Whether you’re a parent concerned about your child’s exam prep or a student finding it hard to find structure in your math revision routine, these tips may prove effective. It’s pretty simple advice but is often neglected.
By simply getting organized, finding the right A-levels maths revision course, and sticking to a schedule, students can find a pattern that allows them to build conceptual understanding and required numeracy skills necessary for acing their exams.