What to do when I finish Year 12?

Year 12 Summer Holidays! YAY! What should I do?

Well done on finishing year 12. The past year would have been tough. The extra workload, the more complex information to learn, the exam to take, the revision to do etc. But you are through. BUT...

It will get harder next year! 

Lots of new stuff to learn, and you will have to use what you learnt in Year 12 to be able to do thiis new maths.

But don't worry, with a little extra work during the summer, it will not be as hard, instead you will be ahead.

Main idea to remember from this article is:

  • What we don't use or think about, we forget.
  • The more time you spend learning, the easy it gets, and the better you become at what you learn.

From these two ideas, it is obvious what you should do:

>Review (revise) the material you learnt in year 12.

Essential, as A2 (year 13) maths, is built on knowing this material. If you forget it, and it will happen, you will struggle at the beginning of the year and lag behind.

It is similar to how you struggled with remembering basic concepts every time you go back to school after your summer holidays. 

As you have already put in the hours of practise in, you only need to do a little practise (active review) during the holidays. 

Again review should be active, so reading your notes and examples is useless.

This means doing EXAM PAPERS or mixed questions from the text book.

>Start learning the material that you will cover in Year 13 during the summer.

The summer is a great time to get ahead of the class and learn the material before it is taught in school. Getting ahead of your class will make the year easier, you will not spend as much time figuring out stuff you don't get during the lesson, you will be able to spend more time practising in class and thus get more help from the teacher, and you will be able to start on practising exam papers earlier. 

In short, it will lighten your course load during the year, and with that extra time, you can use it for improving your learning in weak subjects or topics, or if you are strong do some extra curricular activities.


>How long to work?

I suggest to get it out of the way early in the day. Do 1 to 2 hours within an hour of waking, and you are done.

>How should I split up my learning?

For every A Level you are taking, I would suggest you do at least some review of the modules. This means for every module you studied and took an exam for, do at least TWO exam papers, and spread these throughout the summer. Make sure to mark, and understand your mistakes and add to your notes any thing you got wrong and how to clear up (which means checking books and internet for an explanation of how to do that problem if you cant figure it out from the mark scheme).

You can just focus on one subject, and learn the new modules that you will study in Year 13. This could be useful for subjects that you enjoy as you wont get bored and give up. If going down this route, try and aim to finish one or two modules you will do in year 13 during the summer.

You can also do 1 hour learning something new, and another hour doing exam papers.

If you don't have much to do during the holidays, you can do an intense approach of learning a module within a couple of weeks doing 6 hour days and do exam papers  until the holidays are over. This might be useful if you are studying further maths, as you will not have the time to study all the modules in depth during the next year.

There are many ways to split your time. But I would advise you not to do too much. Better to do a little over a longer period. 

I would be best to have a couple of weeks off at the beginning of the holidays, not do any learning. Just rest and relaxation. Maybe organise all your materials, so your notes are not all over the place. 

>How to review?

The best way to do this is to do exam papers. 

Note how many modules (ie lets say you have studied 15 modules). Then every 2, 3 or 4 days you can do an exam paper for each module. When you have finished all the modules, repeat with a different exam paper. Always best to do them in the order that you learnt you modules ie do C1 then C2 then your applied module. 

For every paper, mark it using the mark scheme. For any questions you did not understand, even after checking the mark scheme, search your books, notes, internet for an explanation, then add this explanation to notes (ie write out the example, with the notes of what to do). 

If you have done all the exam papers, choose an exam paper from a different exam board. You can do this for core modules, but the applied modules will be different. Even the core modules will have some differences in the exam papers, but in general everything you learnt in C1 and C2 will be in one of these papers in the other exams board papers.

I would suggest looking at the exam boards in pairs, as they are similar in terms of content and exam questions, but there will always be slight differences: 


>How to learn new stuff without a teacher

I will go through this in more depth later on in a separate article.

Here is slim down version, but is basically how you learn at school:

  1. Read the material in your textbook, make sure you understand the ideas and examples, and can follow the method. 
  2. Can write down a couple of examples, which you can annotate showing how to do the method
  3. If stuck on anything, check other textbooks or internet resources
  4. After you are clear on how to do the method, do the questions
  5. For the first few, check your answers, if you can check that your working out is correct. IF you book does not provide worked solutinos, check other resources for worked examples and do the question without looking at the solution (cover it up with a paper, or copy question down in notes)
  6. Once you can do a few questions yourself without mistakes, and can follow the method correctly, do some more questions without looking at your notes
  7. Any problems, or slight differences, make a not of what you need to do extra to solve the problem.
  8. Write a general method, a step by step guide to doing a general problem.
  9. Once you are happy that you can do that type of problem (or section) move on to the next section and repeat.

>I am stuck or I don't understand the material, what resources can use if I have no teacher to ask?

See this list of links here.

>What if I have a part time job or I am on holiday abroad.

You will not be able to get as much learning done, but you can always do something. 

As you wont have much time, I would suggest you stick to doing reviews (exam papers) rather than getting ahead of the class. But this is up to you, if you are very comfortable with the year 12 material, spend more time learning new material.

You can watch less TV, and do some work. Do some work on the weekends. Read your textbook during lunch. There is always a way of doing something. Don't let all your hard work go to waste.

One thing I would not advise, is too quit your job or not go on holiday. These are wonderful experiences that you should take and you will learn something from them. 

>I want to do this, but I find it hard to start and carry on, what to do?

Make it a habit. Once a habit, you wont have to think about it, and it wont be hard to do. 

To get started, start small. Only do 5 minutes, set a timer, and do this for a few days, then increase the time. If you get into it, then just carry on. Just do start with minutes everyday and stick with this, commit to it, and eventually, it will be easier to do. 

Make a commitment which will have undesired consequence if not followed through
For example, 

  • ask your parents, to only let you play your computer games only after you have done you work, 
  • or give you parents your money and if you have not done you work, you don't get it back and every day you do it they give you a bit back, 
  • Or make a public commitment on facebook saying you will have finished learning the module before the start of year. 
  • Find something that you are loathe to give up, and give it up to your parents or someone who will not givce it back unless you complete what you wanted to do. 

Make it easy. Night before, set up your desk with the equipment and resources you need to start work, and remove all distractions (e.g phone hidden on silent), you can even go to the library or somewhere where you will not be disturb.

Dont over extend. It is good that you lose track of time, but if you do 2 or 3 hours of work without a break, you will be exhausted and not want to carry on the next day. Best to work for a max of 50 minutes and rest for 10 minutes, and repeat. 

>Anything else I can do?

Do some background reading on the topics, especially for arts subjects (history, French  English etc) and even content heavy subjects like (geography, chemistry, biology). You don't even have to read text books, you can read general books on the topics or articles or Wikipedia. 

Remember, the more background knowledge you have of a subject, the more you will learn. 

>Final point

Don't worry if you did not learn every thing that you wanted to over the summer, or revised everything, as long as you made the effort, and did some thing, it is better than nothing. 

Doing these activities does not mean you can slack off during the upcoming year, you will have to still put in the effort. But if you were struggling in year 12, it should help you keep up with the class.