Darcy Dang’s article is a worthy read. But since y’all are busy studying (right? right?), here’s an exclusive, tl;dr version.
Warning: contains loads of profanities, might sound condescending. Well advice is supposed to sound condescending, isn’t it?
- Start early, do work. You don’t *have* to go to lectures if you end up sleeping in them anyway, but set aside time every weekday at least to study. Emphasis (again) on “every”. Make studying a habit.
- Organise your shits. Get a concertina file to keep day-to-day stuffs (e.g handouts that you are still using, worksheets to be handed in,…) and a few D-ring files to archive the older stuffs by subjects.
- Scholars. If you can tank, don’t take naps. Don’t go back to boarding halfway through the day. Stay in the library, squeeze out a few productive hours, nap 20 mins on the table if you need to. You have more energy than you think you do. Then go to bed early at night. I find that much more efficient than trying to stay up late to study, in your room, with a soft, comfy bed. And Facebook.
- If you haven’t started… Whoa, a bit late now eh? But no worries (actually, worry a little bit). It can be done – it has been done. But you have to work hard and ask questions and not afraid to admit that you know jackshit.
- Study in groups. Preferably with people who have the same subject combis so you can ask questions and cross-check stuffs. Seriously, the answer keys they give out are sometimes a)wrong b)dense as fuck; and when you are tired, it always helps to have a few other people to help figure out “Why issit D and not A??? I’m sure it’s A!!!”. Preferably have a few hardcore muggers in your group, so you’ll feel guilty and inadequate if you slack off too much.
- Try not to feel inadequate all the time though. That shit’s unhealthy yo. Go out once twice a week! Blow off some steam! Have a quiet day at the beach, have a busy day at USS, whatever. There will always be people who appear more intelligent and well-prepared than you (true in A-levels and true in life) and you need to accept that.
- Exercise! Mens sana in corpore sano and all that. But yeah it actually makes mugging much more effective. Trust me I was a Bio student.
- Timed drills. Don’t stop at reading notes and doing the revision questions. Do timed papers, do them soon, and do them often. Here’s a recommended progression: do past RJ prelims. Oh no jk you should have finished those already, before this year’s prelims. Ok for real now: do other schools’ current year’s prelims, start with like JJC and end with HCI or sth -> feel progressively shittier -> do past year A-levels in chronological order -> feel slightly less shitty -> you are ready.
- Keep your goal in mind. Remember why you are doing all this. Remember the past 4 years toiling away. It’s all for this one exam (well not really, but for our purpose, let’s think it is). Carpe fucking Diem.
Ok so that’s about it. 9 short(ish) tips to study for A-levels. Now get yo ass of Facebook and get working.
Nguyễn Hoàng Phong, Cornell University 2018