Prelim has ended and we are in the FINAL month before A level exam commences. You may be wondering: “What else can I do to boost my grades?”
Here are some humble suggestions from me based on my experience as a former JC lecturer and private tutor for A level.
1. YEARLY – TOPICAL – YEARLY (YTY) approach
In the final stage of the preparation you should be spending most of your available time doing revision. Yes breaks are important but you would prefer to study hard now and enjoy a true happy break after A levels knowing you have done well.
You probably need to set aside 3 + 3 + 3 hours a week on Mathematics. The two rounds of 3 hours is to try one year’s past year A level paper 1 and paper 2, each paper doing it without any breaks.
Mark your script, circle the questions that you could not do and spend the remaining 3 hours doing topical revision and do corrections for the questions answered wrongly. You may want to seek help from your teacher, your tutor or your friends.
Repeat this 3 + 3 + 3 cycle with another set of A level papers, hopefully you can apply the lessons learned from the mistakes and perform better in the next set of papers.
2. Study the trends of the exam papers (there is IMO)
In one of the past years’ examination markers’ report, it was mentioned that students may not do well if they try to predict questions based on past year papers.
There is some truth in this statement as every year there may be a couple of questions that are “unusual”, which serve as a benchmark to separate the A students from the rest.
However this doesn’t mean the entire paper is going to be different. In my opinion there is a core structure of how the paper is set according to the syllabus set by MOE or SEAB.
Join my October revision class and I will share with you what I think some of the trends worth to know.
3. Never give up!!
Remember A level is one sitting 100%. If you have performed badly for prelims and done well for A levels, your certificate will only reflect the A grade you obtained. Therefore there is always the chance that your grades will jump up significantly. However if you choose to give up then nothing can be done. I recalled one of my students who never scored more than 20 marks for all the test / exams since JC 1. However by following some tip I gave, he never give up and managed to pass the subject during A levels. This is already a very big improvement, to jump by at least 25 marks which is equivalent to 4 or 5 grades.
4. Never be too confident!
Scoring well for Mathematics requires consistent practice, you can get “rusty” if you stop practicing for a period of time. You would not want to waste all the efforts of scoring A in all school assessment only to not obtain it at the only important moment. I had a student who scored high As throughout the two years in JC yet scoring B in A level. Therefore if you have been scoring As, please maintain it.
Good luck to all students taking A levels!