Updated for 2018 and applicable for exams in 2019/2020, How to ACE your A-Levels teaches you how to ACE your exams. No matter how smart or behind you may think you are this book will teach you how to revise… properly!

This is my story. I was an average student in a typical state school. I was by no means a ‘geek’ or conversely, a ‘bad-boy’. I was just a normal guy. I went to all my lessons and did my homework. I did everything my teachers told me to. BUT, I failed my AS levels.

I was shocked, how did I fail when school had given me all the information I needed to pass the exams? I knew it was something to do with the way I worked and the solution would be to rectify my revision technique. I formulated a handful of simple strategies tailored to the specific type of learning in each of my subjects. I created detailed plans on how to absorb the information to perform and achieve my target of at least 3 A’s out of 4 subjects.

One year later, I finished college with straight A grades. At university, I used the same principles and techniques to motivate myself, and it worked. I left UCL (University College London) with a first class honours degree. My results were in the top 5 percent of the year and I was awarded with a commendation of excellence by the Dean of Students. Since my AS levels, I have never failed an exam, and I have full faith that I never will.

Over the years, with the help of the co-author of this book, I gathered all these techniques and produced a 3 step plan for students.

**Step 1** is ‘Method’. We tell you what top students do to secure top marks in exams. Here we cover repetition theory, the most effective memorisation techniques and discuss how to tailor your learning technique to the subjects you are taking.

**Step 2** is the ‘Study Cycle’. For years I’ve heard the term ‘work hard’ thrown around with no explanation. I believe ‘working hard’ is a skill in itself which must be understood and practiced as much as any A level subject. Here we provide case studies and examples of other students and their day to day habits during the academic year to help you gauge how much is enough.

**Step 3** is ‘Motivation’. This section provides the fuel for the ‘Study Cycle’. We show you how to increase your attention span through simple and effective tricks. Furthermore, we discuss the damaging insecurities that hold you back from reaching your maximum potential and help you tackle them head on.

Read this book and you will be armed with techniques that will help you ACE your A-levels and equip you for any other exams during the rest of your life.

## Sagar Joshi

Hello, Raja

I finished my AS and now I am in A2’s. I do Maths, Computer Science and IT, for Computer Science there aren’t any past papers. Also, I have to remember and understand many things from the book itself. It is taking me quite long to learn this. I read your Scribble Technique method but I am just not too sure on how to properly make use of it.What should I do ? Also, I got a B in Maths and I want my teachers to predict me an A but they think I can’t do it. I am still trying to convince them but it’s just getting too stressful now. If I want to go to a Uni with requirement grades AAB or ABB and if I do not get those grades is it even worth applying there? I m just not too sure on this and it’s getting very stressful to a point where I can’t think straight and study.

Thanks

Sagar

## Mark James

Hi,

I just have a question, I seen your comments on here and created a revision timetable over the half term where I calculated the time I have between now and the end of Feb and created a revision timetable around it. I started this Monday but what I realised is in the first rep I haven’t given myself enough time, it feels like im rushing through everything and not processing it in and given myself too much time in the 2nd rep, more than in the first. If I was re starting now would this be okay:

Complete all first reps by the end of March

2nd repetitions to be done in the months April and May, roughly 60 days, 10 days per exam with 6 exams I have

3rd rep to be done between exams

Would this be okay? Just hope from next week I can stick to it

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your question and reading my book. Ideally you want all first reps to be done by end of Feb. But given that you only have 6 exams the timetable you suggested should be OK.

Thanks,

Anshul

## Hira Khawaja

Hello Mr Raja

I wanted to ask how can i revise for exams, when I have mock exam as well, wont I have to stop my layered revision plan to revise for upcoming mocks/assessments.

And also how I should catch up with my revision and how do you incorporate the power layer because I have read the book but I got confused as how can I fit in the layer revision with revision for upcoming exams as every night I only have 4hours to spare to do.

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Hira,

Thanks for reading my book and your question. Do your mock exams count for anything? Are they important? If not, my advice would be to continue your layered learning timetable and by then hopefully you should have finished a first layer for one or two subjects. You should see a significant difference between the marks of subjects you completed your first layer for and those you are still working through. That’s what happened to me and I found it very motivating to see that my plan was working.

To incorporate the power layer, you simply complete the first layer on a topic or group of topics that haven’t yet been taught in class. Ask your teachers what they are going to teach next term and complete it now. Does that make sense?

Raja

## Charlotte Perry

Hi raja

I’ve just started A-Levels and I was wondering if because of the new two year course for A- Levels, that I might need to revise differently for the two years. Previously, I understand that I would have to revise fully the first year, for the AS exam and then again for the second year A2, with slightly different material. However now it is all the same material for one exam at the end of both years and I’m not sure if the same strategy applies.

I hope you can understand my thoughts and would be grateful for any helpful suggestions.

Thank you

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Charlotte,

Thanks for your interest and reading my book. Waiting to start the layered learning time table in your A2 year is risky business and will make your life much harder. It’s best to start it from now and spread your revision over the 2 years. I recommend allocating approximately a month per exam and using the techniques in the book.

Raja

## Charlotte Perry

Thank you very much for your response! Your suggestions are very helpful and I will use this timing plan.

## varun

Hi, I have read your book and just have a couple of questions:

1. If I was going to start now how would I structure the timetable? When do I need to finish the first rep by? My first exam is on the 7th of June and final one the 29th, I have 6 exams.

2. When should I be doing practice questions and analysis? All my subjects are essay based (English Lang, Lit & sociology)

3. For english language I have a text book but if I’m honest it seems like there’s too much information, should i persist with it?

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Varun,

Thanks for reading my book and for your questions.

1. Calculate the total number of days between now and end of February. Then divide that by the total number of exams you have. This will give you the number of days you have per subject for your first layer.

2. Complete the practice questions in your verified textbooks/learning material as part of your first layer.

3. The textbook only helps so much for English language. There is so much more to it. Which textbook is it?

Raja

## varun

Thanks for the reply. It’s the official textbook for AQA, the exam board I am doing. I thought I did a full repetition for it using the exam board but coming to do a mock paper didn’t do well, how else can I revise for it? I will have to re do the whole rep, I have my classroom book but bar that can’t think of anything else.

Also for english language, I am in year 13 now, the year 13 paper is split into 2 parts, part 1 is all the work we covered in year 12 which is quite familiar to me now but as mentioned having trouble recapping it and part 2 is the year 13 work, is it best to split up the revision for this exam and don’t start revising the year 13 work until it’s actually been fully taught in class? Because teaching it to myself seems rather daunting.

## Ahad Hameed

Hi Raja,

I sent you something on your email you gave us in the workshop have a look when you can 😀

Thanks

## Ahad Hameed

Quick question raja, what time does the A level workshop start tomorrow?

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Ahad,

Th workshop starts at 14:00 but please be there for 13:45. Does it state this time on your ticket?

Thanks,

Raja

## Ahad hameed

I printed one a couple weeks back and it said time 14:00-17:00 but registration time was 9:45

I printed one yesterday and it says registration 13:50

Im quite confused

## Moizz Ahmed

Hi raja,

I have read your book and it has inspired me to do well. I am just confused that when am I meant to use the sciribble technique? Is it for the different layers. Also how do I revise maths as the you can not use the scribble technique. So before I use the sciribble technique I need to understand everything.

## Moizz Ahmed

When I use the scribble technique how often should I read the notes.

## Academic Underdogs

After using the scribble technique, discard the notes and use the textbook again in your second layer

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Moizz,

Did you come to the workshop?

Raja

## Raj

Hey raja quick question, I am starting A2 with poor AS grade and I wanted to know I haven’t started an A2 power layer how can I incorporate this whilst revising for AS and A2 as my subjects are linear and have the synoptic paper style. Also I am studying biology, psychology and sociology. I am hoping to start this technique right away however I am confused as to how to incorporate the A2 power topics as I read your book like two days ago.

Thanks

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Raj,

Thanks for reading my book. Ask your teacher for their teaching plan as soon as you can. This way you can do a power layer on the topics they start teaching around Jan/Feb.

Thanks,

Raja

## Raj

Thanks raja for replying also when do you recommend after doing one rep of a module how long to revisit the same rep of module thanks

## Aishah Rao

Hi Raja,

I’m just a little bit confused on how to make my timetable as I’m only doing the three subjects not the four like it says in your book. I figured out when my first exam is this academic year, 8th June my last one is the 22nd (I have the total of seven exams) and how many days from now until then (277 days) as I want to get straight into revision. I was confused on working out how many days I do for each layer and was wondering if you could explain to me on how to work it out? (I’ve read the book but I’m still confused)

(When making the time table I wanted to re-learn all the work I did at AS for those three subjects, so I’m confused on how I’d fit it into my timetable, as this is my second year?). I would be ever so grateful for your help as I’m starting to stress out.

Many Thanks

Aishah

## Academic Underdogs

Hi Aishah,

Thanks for reading my book and I’m happy to help. As you are starting now, aim to have your first layer completed by end of January. (End of December if you can)

First layer – Calculate the total number of days between now and Jan 31st and divide that by the total number of exams you have (AS + A2). This will give you the number of days you should spend revising for each exam for the first layer.

Second layer – Calculate the total number of days between start of Feb and end of May. Divide that by the total number of exams.

Third/Fourth layers – Spread this through your exam period making adjustments for exam clusters as per the explanation in How to ACE Your A-Levels.

Does this answer your question?

Thanks,

Raja

## Aishah Rao

Hi Raja,

Yes thank you that has helped tremendously! Even though I’m not re-taking my AS subjects, I want to go through it all again to reinforce it in my head, so would I for the first layer just divide the total number of days (between now and Jan 31st) by the total of A2 exams I have, and repeat that for the other layers? whilst additionally revising the content that I did for AS alongside/on-top of it?

Many Thanks,

Aishah

## Academic Underdogs

Am I right to assume that the AS content will be examined alongside A2 this summer?

## Aishah Rao

Yes I believe so