How to Pass A-Level Maths
I thought, before even so much as mentioning how to revise A-Level Maths (although, admittedly, I just did!), it is very important to take a step back and look at the learning process right at the very start. So what we’re going to cover here is
- How to cope with the pace of the maths classroom
- How to “do work” between lessons
- Getting ahead of the game
- How to catch up if you miss a lesson
1. How to cope with the pace of the classroom
Picture the scene: you’re sat in class, your teacher going at lightspeed through what’s made out to be the easiest topic in the world to understand.
In your mind: I think this is HARD. But why is everybody else is seeming to understand it? Maybe I’m just not as good as everyone else ☹.
The reality: You are finding it difficult simply because IT IS DIFFICULT. A Level Maths is difficult. And the others in the class are probably sitting there quietly for the same reason as you: because it IS difficult.
The solution: Your teacher wants you to do well. It’s their job, their career, their passion. So your teacher will appreciate you asking a question, whether mid-lesson or at the end of the lesson. But the point to take away is that YOU SHOULD ASK at the earliest opportunity at which you feel comfortable. The longer you leave it the more difficult it becomes and the longer your to-do list gets. ASK ASK ASK!!!
2. How to work between lessons
“Make sure you work between lessons” is every A-Level Maths teacher’s favourite phrase. But what does it actually mean? What should you actually work on? How much work should you do?
Well, the answer to these questions depends on many factors. But your best strategy is to finish the rest of the exercise that you started in class……IN FULL! You should be spending roughly the same amount of time outside of maths lessons working as you do inside of maths lessons. And if you already did finish every question in the exercise, don’t stop there! Find others to do. There are so many useful resources out there, some free, some paid. For a variety of carefully chosen questions aimed at giving you everything you need to be successful, I recommend The Ultimate Study Tool for A Level Maths (yes, a shameless plug for my current project. But give it a try; it’s free for 7 days!).
3. Getting Ahead of the Game
It is really helpful if you can spend a little bit of time, as well as looking over what you have learnt in class, trying to look ahead to get some basic familiarity with the material you are about to learn in class can be a good strategy. Things in class can seem more clear if you are knowing what to expect. So you could ask your teacher for a document that has the order in which topics are going to be taught (often called a “teaching schedule” or “curriculum plan”). But then what you do with that is the important thing: I recommend that you at least take a sneak peek at the material a little ahead of the lesson in which you’re going to learn it. But don’t go too far ahead – one lesson is enough! But how do you do this? There are many free resources out there that can help, but in another shameless plug, I recommend The Ultimate Study Tool for A Level Maths where every skill required by the A Level Maths curriculum has an associated tutorial video, introducing topics from scratch in a way that is easy to understand.
4. Catching Up After a Missed Lesson
Illness happens. And it can be overwhelming to return to class after a couple of lessons off to find that the rest of the class is part way through a new topic. But you weren’t there for the introductory lessons so what hope have you got of understanding? Well, unfortunately even though illness happens, it is your job to make sure you’re caught up. But it is your teacher’s job to make that as easy as possible for you. When you feel up to it, email your teacher asking them exactly what you have missed. You can then use the wealth of resources that the internet has to offer to help you get back on track, ready to run with the rest of the class (and it may come as no surprise that I have another shameless plug: The Ultimate Study Tool For A Level Maths has EVERYTHING you might need to help you catch up on missed lessons. Give it a try – it’s free for 7 days).