Making the move from GCSE to A level is packed with challenges besides just studying at a higher level. The relief of finishing GCSE exams can be quickly replaced by thoughts of new courses and new structures. So, in preparation for A Level study, we offer our tips, guidance and learning materials to help ease the transition and make the prospects of advanced study exciting!
Worried about losing your knowledge during the school holidays?
When you finish your GCSE courses, you’ll likely want to relax, unwind and take your mind off studying completely. And quite rightly so! It’s important to rest and refresh after your exams so that you’re ready to bring your A (Level) game to the new academic year.
However, when the time comes to prepare for A Level courses and get your mind in gear for the topics ahead, the page below makes for a great starting point:
It offers a selection of English, Maths and Science materials for students heading into KS5. Worksheets and activities join lesson plans, interactive resources and practice papers in providing you with what’s needed to hit the ground running.
After all, if you disregard the preparation phase of A Level, it could really affect your ability to understand what’s being taught at the start of the courses. Using materials like those linked above can help you start on the front foot instead.
Adjusting to a Higher Level of Difficulty
You will have noticed the step up in difficulty in each transition from KS1-KS4 but the move to KS5 is a larger step.
If you feel like you have a strong grasp of the GCSE criteria for your subject of choice then you’ll have acquired the base level of knowledge needed for your new course. However, if you indulged in some last-minute cramming before your exams then you may not feel as confident as you could!
Whichever one is you, your route will still be similar. In preparation for A Level courses, students of all abilities and confidence levels will still need to revise previously learnt material to retain or recap essential information.
All-in-one revision guides like the A Level Maths resource below provide a great opportunity to consolidate your learning and can really help to boost your skills pre-term.
You may also choose to review topic lists and revision material from GCSE to identify areas of strength and highlight areas for development. The links below provide perfect ports of reference for this information and will arm you with a ready supply of refresh resources:
- Revision – Maths
- Revision – English
- Revision – Science
This article from The Guardian – How should GCSE students prepare for A-levels? – presents an excellent account of the transition from KS4 to KS5. It highlights the difference of simply remembering information for GCSEs as opposed to understanding topics at A Level.
It also suggests using videos to help you in preparation for your A Level courses. With this in mind, you might find something useful on our ever-growing YouTube channel – Beyond Secondary Resources.
Becoming More Independent at A Level
Yes, it’s true – you’re expected to become more independent as you integrate into KS5 study. But this doesn’t need to be a burden. Instead, taking on more independence can be quite liberating as you get to do things your way.
That’s not to suggest that you won’t (and shouldn’t) get help on your journey. As you’re preparing for your A Level courses, it might be a good time to set up your organisational tools.
It should help you to visualise the forthcoming academic year a little more clearly and you can add items as you start and progress through your new courses. Highlight important dates – like exams(!!) – make notes on assignment deadlines and complete a revision timetable using the framework of the resource.
Preparation for A Level Comes Before Your New Course, Not During!
When you start a new course, you’ll have a lot of things to think about. There will be new people, classrooms, curricula, topics, methods of working and standards. That’s without mentioning the fun things like making new friends and social circles that you’ll form as you work out which fields of study you most enjoy.
So, you don’t want to be conducting a rapid GCSE revision programme at the same time that all of this is going on. The preparation you do before the course starts will make your experience and enjoyment of what you do from there far greater than it would if you were still bogged down re-learning old course content.
As the saying goes, preparation is the key to success! Though cliched, this is also undoubtedly true, particularly when it comes to A Levels. You need not feel lost, though. Timely preparation and effective organisation can save mountains of time in the future as well as enhancing the quality of your study and social life.
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