How to get an A* in A-level Physics



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A-level Physics is one of the most challenging A-levels. If you’re aiming for top marks, check out this article on how to get an A* in A-level Physics.

1. Use the A-level Physics specification as a checklist

Every exam board creates an A-level Physics specification. The specification list all the topics that you will cover throughout your A-levels. Having your own personal copy of this specification is useful as you can use it as a checklist. So as you cover content independently you can tick it off on the specimen. Often teachers will cover content in order of the specification, so you can get ahead of class by reading up on the next point in the specification. This way you have an idea of the topic before the lesson. The specification is a good way of knowing what you must know and also what you don’t need to know. If you find the textbook is going into detail on a topic you don’t need to know as it’s not on the specification feel free to move on.

2. Have a set study method

In A-level Physics, there is a lot of content to cover. You want to ensure that you don’t waste any time. To avoid wasting time, have a set study method for learning the content. If you are writing notes, ensure that you aren’t just copying out the entire textbook and that you are using your own words. You may find that flashcards are more effective for your learning or watching YouTube videos. Having a go to method when trying to learn content means you don’t waste time doing many things to learn one concept.

3. Keep a list of your common mistakes

As you go through topics or practice past paper questions, there are mistakes that you may find you make frequently. Make note of these mistakes and have them in a document that you can add to as you practice more questions. Just before you practise a past paper go through this document of your common mistakes. This way as you do the past paper you will be more aware of the mistakes that you often make, so you will be more conscious of avoiding them. This is a great way of minimalizing mistakes to gain more marks to get in an A*.

4. Utilise A-level Physics resources

There are some great A-level physics resources that you can use to help you get an A star. On YouTube, try checking out Science Shorts which has topics on all the A-level physics topics that are quite detailed and good for really getting to grips with a topic. Physics Online has short videos that you can use to get a brief overview of a topic before you go to lesson or you can use it as a refresher once you’ve learned a topic properly.

5. Practice drawing diagrams

In your textbooks, you will often find diagrams that are drawn alongside different concepts that you are learning. It can be helpful to learn how to draw these diagrams for yourself. This means during the exam you can visualise a question. This often makes it easier to understand and figure out the answer. Practice drawing these diagrams as you learn the concepts for yourself so you know how to draw them during the exam.

6. Understand your practicals

Throughout A-level Physics you will be set practical experiments you have to complete. During your written exams you will be tested on your knowledge regarding the practicals you have done. Whilst you are doing the practicals ensure that you understand what you are doing and why you are doing them. If not ask your teachers or your friends as soon as you can and add them to your notes. Having a separate folder with all your practicals and written notes on them can be very helpful to refer to just before exams.

7. Practice A-level Physics Past Papers

Practice exam papers a few months before exams. You don’t want to start too early when you don’t know enough for them to be useful. Feel free to use exam papers from the old A-levels. Just make sure that you ignore the questions bar on content that you haven’t been taught.

After doing practice questions whilst going through the mark scheme ensure that you are trying to understand where you went wrong and how you can avoid making this mistake in the future. You can take a look at the examiner’s reports, which is a document produced by the examiners that break down the exam and the mistakes students made. This way you get insight into what the examiners are looking for and what they expect from you to get an A*. You can also check on YouTube for breakdowns of the exam paper that you’ve practiced and explanations for different questions.

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