Updated: Aug 5
Finished your GCSEs and looking to get ahead of the game? Genevieve runs through 5 tips which will get you ready for studying A levels this summer.
So, the summer holidays are upon us. Your time is finally your own and you are free to do what you like. You might be planning on relaxing at home, holidaying, or working. No matter what you’re doing, of course it is really important for you to take a break from your studies over summer. Going back in September bored of studying certainly wouldn’t help anyone!
However, if you do have some spare time on your hands, it can really make a difference if you start your next academic year just that little bit ahead in terms of organisation and your mindset towards your work. So, here are 5 non-studying activities that you can do over summer to prepare for your A levels!
1) Buy some stationery, and get organised
This can be a fun one if you’re a stationery fan. This one involves hitting your local stationers, and buying some nice folders and notebooks that you’re going to enjoy using in your next academic year.
Once you’ve got the shopping sorted, it is time to find a system that works for you. Perhaps you’ll decide to have one small folder per subject, or a lever-arch folder for all your subjects in one. Have a think about what will be most practical and realistic for you, and start organising your things now.
If you’re anything like me, having an organisation system firmly in place before you start your studies makes everything just that little bit easier. Make it really easy for yourself to just throw your papers into the right places in September – use folder dividers or stickers to make everything doubly clear and organised.
If stationery isn't going to help you get organised, why not try out some revision apps over the summer? Using technology can be a great way to improve your organisation if the thought of buying folders and dividers fills you with dread.
2) Set yourself some goals for the next year
This might sound a little cliché, but setting goals genuinely is a great way to improve from year to year. I’m sure there are things you have learnt from GCSEs that you can take forward onto A levels. It might be something like ‘to wake up an hour earlier so I have time to wake up properly before school starts’. Or, it might be ‘to create a study timetable’.
Try to be as specific as possible with these goals, and set a reminder in your phone in October to review them and see how you’re getting on. This is a great way to improve on your last year and make sure you’re off to the best start possible!
3) Take a look at your A level specifications
Another way to make sure that you’re really set up for the coming year is to look at your A level specifications. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right exam board for this (maybe look on your school’s website). This won’t require you to intensely memorise everything, but just take a look at your specifications.
Make sure you know what sort of topics will be coming up, how many exams you have, and any coursework that you might have. There’s nothing worse than some coursework being sprung on you by surprise, or realising that you’ve forgotten to revise a whole topic.
Knowing your course before you start it will help you to stay on top of everything, and will certainly get you ahead with the academic year. If you’re really keen (or really bored) you could even start doing some background research on one of the topics!
This one might seem a little daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Taking some time over the holiday to have a think about what sort of career you’d like to go into, or what university course you might like to take after your A levels, may be beneficial.
It isn’t the case that you must know what you want to do after you finish A levels at all – you certainly have time to figure it out. However, my advice is to start thinking about and researching any careers that you are remotely interested in.
Check out Prospect’s website for a place to start, and think about any work experience you might have done, and what you liked and disliked about it.
It might even help to make a mind-map of the skills you have, and see if you can relate them to a certain career path.
5) Pick up a hobby
Now, this one’s a little more fun – my advice is to pick up a hobby: new or old. It might be a lifelong hobby that you started to neglect as your workload increased in year 11. Or it might be something completely new. Why not move outside your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before?
This might entail joining a club, using YouTube tutorials to learn something new, or getting a tutor to learn a language or instrument you’ve never learnt before. If reading is something you want to pick up again, check out our Summer Reading blog series for inspiration on what to read this summer:
Blog Post Crafted by Genevieve
Born in Coventry, she now tutors English SATs and GCSE in her free time, as well as working for the university as an outreach ambassador in local schools.
She also enjoys playing piano and flute, and often performs as a backing singer at local gigs.
Whenever she has a moment to spare, you might find her driving to the beach or catching up on her reading!