How to pass your A-levels

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The Independent Online

Tips for getting through your A-levels without banging your head against the wall.

Getting your UCAS application right and, of course, getting it on time, are two crucial factors in making sure you get to do the course you want and end up at the institution you’ve set your heart on. However, in among all of that there is still the small matter of your A-levels: getting good results needs to be right at the top of your agenda. It’s no small task, so follow our top 10 tips for making your final year in sixth form as productive as possible.

Keep on top of work

It might sound obvious, but keeping on top of your work is a must; if you let one thing slip it will have a knock-on effect on everything else. This will make things even more difficult as you head towards your finals, when the volume of work is high enough as it is.


As you will have found out already, there is more freedom in the sixth form. Don’t get carried away with the autonomy though, as you still have to maintain the self-discipline to actually complete your studies!


Plan and prioritise your work. Writing out a revision or coursework plan will help you to visualise what needs to be done and ensure that you aren’t putting all your efforts into an area where it isn’t required, or ignoring subjects that need to be covered. It’s also a chance to get out the felt-tip pens and highlighters – always good fun!

Eating well

If you eat foods with a high-sugar content during the day the energy highs and lows will do nothing for your concentration. Eat breakfast, as this is the most important meal of the day, and have a full, healthy lunch to revitalise you for an afternoon’s school work.

Work and play

Extra-curricular activities are brilliant when writing a personal statement, as they illustrate just what a well-rounded individual you are. Make sure that you keep that balance between doing stuff outside of school and your academic work, because all work and no play won’t do you any favours.

Peace and quiet

When you’re working on coursework, find somewhere quiet where you can give it your full attention. If you want to work in your bedroom then turn the television and your mobile off. However, if playing some music helps to relax you then having that playing quietly in the background will do you no harm.

Work experience

If you do get any spare time during your schedule then see if you can arrange some work experience in the career sector you are interested in. This will give you the chance to see if it really does appeal to you, and even if it doesn’t it will look good on your CV.

Chill out

Don’t work non-stop. Take some time off during the evenings and even a whole day at the weekends. Try to get out of the house: go to the park, meet with some friends for shopping or even just watch some DVDs. The time out means you will feel refreshed enough to get started on study again.

Stress less

Try not to get stressed before exams. Take regular breaks when you are revising and drink lots of water to keep your body in good nick. Working solidly for three hours isn’t good for concentration; you’ll retain more doing one-hour slots followed by half-hour breaks.

Ask for help

If there’s something you can’t get your head around, don’t leave it sitting there until the last minute because you don’t want to face it. Ask someone – your parents, teachers or friends – and do so as soon as possible. That way it’s one less thing to worry about.