Now at university, if I could go back in a time machine I would say to myself…
There’s nothing more irritating than sitting your A-Levels, while also listening to university students complain incessantly about how easy and irrelevant sixth form was in comparison to their “real” undergraduate work.
But if I’ve learnt anything from being at university, it’s that A-Levels do matter- and that doing well is important.
So if I could go back in time and tell myself anything, above all, it would be to take them more seriously. And to completely disregard the twenty-something year olds that told me otherwise.
The reason why working hard on your A-Levels, and your GCSEs too, is so important- is primarily because you establish a good work ethic. Yes, grades are essential to securing your place at university to begin with- but it goes beyond that.
Working hard while you’re still in school will give you an edge over other students (and colleagues) later in life.
University is really demanding, and the amount of reading and essays that you’re assigned can be overwhelming without a system. However, by learning how to study early on, and devising a revision technique that works for you- you can develop this system.
This system I’m referring to doesn’t entail anything too complex: it’s basically about learning how to manage your time effectively, how to prioritise what matters most, and how to know your limits.
These are skills that you can use in employment, and apply to the real world, so they’re worth developing regardless of whether or not you choose to attend university.
While this may seem obvious, it’s surprising just how many students neglect to prioritise things like a reliable revision technique, and struggle because of it.
I know it can be tedious to listen to teachers berate you on how mind mapping is key to good grades, but there is some validity to it. If nothing else, it’s an insight into how your brain works, and how you remember things that matter.
If I could go back in time, however, I would definitely tell myself to experiment a little more with my studies. For some reason I was under the impression that memorising textbooks was a foolproof way to revise, and I paid for that mistake in my exams, when simply knowing facts without understanding quickly became insufficient.
If I’d had the foresight to know this, I probably would have tried more than one technique, if anything to make the process more enjoyable.
This is because enjoying yourself at school is really important too. Exams and revision do matter, but if you learn to manage your time effectively early on, you’ll ensure that you have enough time to dedicate to your social life too.
If I could go back in a time machine, I would definitely tell myself not to postpone my revision for friends- and then completely isolate myself when exams started approaching.
Because as it turns out, if you work hard consistently throughout the year, then you can socialise fairly consistently too- meaning that when exams arrive, you’ll have the rare benefit of being able to (somewhat) relax.