Hi guys, it's Lauryn! Today, I'm going to be sharing my AS results with you all but more importantly, reminding you why you shouldn't let grades define you. Due to the new specification for all of my subjects, my grades this year do not count towards my final A2 grade however, they are obviously still important as they will help me get into university. This means that I will essentially be repeating this year for A2 as well as much more content. Sounds stupid, right? I don't understand it either.

So, for A level, I chose to take English literature, psychology, sociology and chemistry but due to not being able to cope with chemistry and dropping out in May, I ended up taking three AS levels which I will be carrying forward to next year. In these subjects, I achieved Bs in psychology and sociology and a C in English literature which in reflection, I'm actually pretty happy with.

I'm over the moon with a B in psychology because I want to do a degree in psychology at university and honestly, I wasn't even sure if I had passed the exams. However, the C in English literature was a little disappointing for me just because I had been getting As all year and then a C in the final exam but I'm hoping that I will be able to achieve a higher grade next year for A2 but I'm sure that I will because I think that I now know where I went wrong so I know how to improve. This is a key tip for anyone taking exams - make sure that you go over your exam papers if you can and see where you went wrong and which parts you did well in order to improve. During AS, we did many essay type questions as practice and I know that a lot of my people in my classes just saw the grade and threw the paper to the bottom of their bag, never to be seen again. However, if you get yourself some highlighters or coloured pens, you can annotate your practice papers and keep them in a folder then see how you've progressed throughout the year and how you can progress even further. This really worked for me!

It's important to remember that these grades do not define you, yes they will help you depending on which path you want to go down in later life but they are not the be all, end all. Maybe you took one year of A levels and decided it just wasn't for you? That's ok! There are so many options out there such as BTECs and apprenticeships so A levels really aren't the only way to succeed.

I'm really not a fan of the new specification for most subjects because it has eliminated the coursework element of the final grade and made it, for the most part, purely exam based. This is a problem for people like myself who perhaps do not perform as well in the exam sections. For example, last year during GCSE for many of my subjects I found that the coursework marks really helped to pull my grade up. I think that by removing the coursework for many subjects in GCSE and A level, the education system is putting many people at a disadvantage and really only focusing on those who are able to perform well in exams.

I can't say that I'm the best person to give advice but I do have some tips for anyone starting A levels or GCSE in September...

  • Don't leave your work until the last minute. You may think you have "all year" but believe me, the time goes quickly and before you know it, you're sitting in the exam hall only having covered half of the syllabus because "you thought you had more time".
  • Stay organised. Get some folders or notebooks or whatever helps you and make sure you keep all your work for each subject together. For my subjects, I had a great deal of handouts which were very easy to misplace so get yourself some plastic wallets and label! Also, I used Google drive to make notes from these handouts and work that I had done in the classroom. This worked really well for me because I could also access it from my phone and it was super easy to revise from.
  • Create a healthy balance between work and socialising. So, life is supposed to be fun and as much as you want those good grades, you need to get out and see your friends too. This is something that I definitely didn't do enough of during first year and I spent pretty much all of my time revising in my bedroom which in hindsight, probably wasn't the best idea because I wasn't giving my mind a break. 
That's the end of today's post! Remember to comment below if you have any other tips and good luck to those collecting their GCSE results this week and I hope everyone doing A levels got what they wished for!

See you next time,