**How to get A* in A-level Mathematics? A Common question my students often ask**

A-level Mathematics is a popular subject but has a reputation for being very difficult and demanding. It’s a huge step up from IGCSE math but, due to its challenging nature, is highly regarded by universities and a necessity for many STEM courses. Although you may feel worried about getting the grades, with the right preparation, practice, and patience, it is possible to achieve A and A* in A-Level Math course. There are three main periods through the two-year A-Level Maths course that are very important: when you first learn the content, revise the content, and take the exam itself. This article will break down each of these stages so you can work more efficiently and make the most of your revision time, resulting in you feeling that much more prepared for your A-Level exams.

**The best way to get an A* in A-level math course is to practice as many exam questions as you can. Pair this with good revision methods, organization, and an understanding of the content, and you’re sure to be successful. Making the most of your lesson time and staying on top of the content as you learn is also vital when getting the best grades in A-level maths. If you put in the effort when first learning a new topic, you will save time when revising later and cut down on how often you need to revisit a topic.**

I’ll be discussing the importance of reviewing each lesson, asking for help, and keeping up with previous topics later on in this article.

**I. Review Each of Your A-Level Math Lessons To Gain Top Grades**

Reviewing each of your math lessons is a key method for achieving an A* in A-level math course. This advice can apply to every A-level, but it’s especially vital when learning new content. Reviewing your math lessons, even for 10 minutes, has been shown to dramatically improve recall when it finally gets to crunch time during the exam. Recapping what you learned in the 24 hours following the lesson will solidify the new information and quickly highlight anything you struggled with. There are multiple ways of reviewing the lesson, and you need to find which method works best for you. Below is a list of ideal methods that you can utilize when going over an A-level mathematics lesson’s content.

### Rewriting Your Notes

The most obvious example is to simply rewrite your notes. The advantage here is that you can quickly jot down as much as you want in a lesson without having to worry about whether your notes are neat and tidy – *you can always make them more readable later on.*

### Redo Exam Questions

If you did exam questions during your A-level Mathematics lesson, I recommend that you redo the same questions and see if your mark improves and *then revise accordingly.*

**Teach Others What You’ve Learned**

If you have a friend in your class, or a parent willing to learn about A-Level math, try teaching them about what you just learned during your lesson. ** It’s been shown that teaching others is one of the best revision techniques**, as it can be very beneficial to answer questions you hadn’t thought of before.

**Create Mind Maps**

Some students like to make mind maps as** these can be unbelievably useful for seeing an overview of a topic and testing your recall abilities**. For example, you could make a mind map with all the formulas you need to memorize and which topics each formula relates to.

**Choose Your Preferred Method**

The key to effective lesson review is finding the method that works best for you. **Take a customized approach.** Experiment with different review techniques and choose the ones that boost your understanding and confidence the most.

Overall, when reviewing a lesson, you want to gain a greater understanding of what you learn and build your confidence, therefore, use any method that you feel will achieve this.

**II. When Learning A-Level Mathematics Content, Ask For Help**

One of the biggest mistakes that students make when studying A-level mathematics is not asking for help. Often, people feel worried about sounding stupid or making mistakes, but, in reality, making mistakes and learning from them is the only way you can improve.

Firstly, your teachers are there to help you, and they want you to succeed. If you’ve been doing A-level math questions at home and don’t understand them, take them with you to one of your A-level math lessons and ask your teacher if they can explain them. Your teachers will have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience and will be ready to answer any questions, no matter how silly they may seem. It’s also valuable to ask your friends for help or you can sit and work through problems together.

**III. Don’t Ignore A-Level Maths Topics You Learned in Year 1 (AS)**

** It’s really important to keep up with past topics while you are learning new content**. A lot of students focus solely on what they’re currently learning and don’t revisit other topics for months;

**. Alongside two or three other A-levels, it may seem impossible to learn new topics and keep revising at the same time, but even 15 minutes a day on previous content will be enough to refresh your memory. If you want to know exactly how much you should revise for your A-Levels a day.**

*this is bad practice*Testing yourself regularly runs parallel to this; if you give yourself small tests on past topics (even using the end-of-chapter textbook questions) you’ll keep the information at the front of your mind, be able to use your skills for various question styles and ** reduce the pressure of doing large chunks of revision before a mock or a real exam.** Ultimately, being able to balance your A-Level Mathematics work relies on good organization and time management. If you combine all of this, achieving an A* in A-level math course becomes much more manageable.

**IV. Don’t Just Learn Surface-Level Topic Knowledge: This won’t Let You Score A* in A-level Mathematics**

The most important part of A-level math is the need to ** truly understand the content and not just regurgitate the information**. Although ‘understanding the content’ may seem like very obvious advice, it’s harder than it seems.

**. The examiners will purposefully write questions that require an excellent understanding of the concept to achieve full marks.**

*Many students will memorize every past paper question but be stumped when it comes to the real exams*Take the time to fully appreciate each and every A-level mathematics concept and understand why each step must be taken to solve a question. As your understanding improves, even the hardest questions will become intuitive. A large part of really understanding the content is having a genuine interest and wanting to learn how mathematics works. This, of course, isn’t a necessity to succeeding, and getting your A* in A-level maths,* but it will definitely make revision easier and less tiresome.*

Eventually, you’ll be finished learning new content in your lessons, and your main focus will be revision. Math** r**evision can be tiring and often takes a lot of motivation. Students will spend hours and hours revising but feel like their knowledge hasn’t improved. There are four main ways to revise effectively and efficiently: practice past papers, use the examiner’s report, use the specification, and make the most of all your resources. You can learn more about how to implement the most effective revision techniques.

**V. Use Past Papers to Achieve an A* in A-Level Math Course**

**Regularly Practice Past Papers**

When it comes to achieving an A* in A-level mathematics, this is the most common piece of advice – but for a good reason. Practicing past questions in the actual style of the A-Level exam is essential for understanding the content and improving your exam technique. Although making notes from the textbook is useful when initially learning new topics, past paper questions give the greatest insight into what the exam will be like, how quickly you need to solve questions,** **and where the marks come from.

**Thoroughly Cover Your Exam Board’s Past Papers**

** Although it’s tempting, don’t look at the mark scheme until you’ve really tried to solve the problem. **One technique with past papers is to complete a paper fully, then, in a different color pen, use the mark scheme to annotate your answer and ‘redo’ the question. This will clearly show where you missed marks and help analyze each step to solving the problem.

Successful A-level mathematics students often say they completed every past paper they could find. Be like them. Start by making a list of every past paper on your exam board’s website and tick these off once you’ve completed them. There are several websites, including My Maths Club that can help you find past papers or topic-specific questions if you’re having difficulty with a certain question style.

**Explore Other Exam Boards’ Past Papers**

Once you’ve answered all these questions, move on to other exam board’s past papers. Obviously, make sure you know what your course covers and don’t answer questions that you’ll never be tested on! A great benefit to doing other exam board’s past papers is the different styles of questions; if you become too familiar with your exam board’s style, you can be caught out in the real exam by a question that is phrased differently or a combination of techniques you haven’t tried before. By looking at other exam boards, you can feel more prepared for unusual question styles, and you won’t panic in an exam.

**Step Out of Your Comfort Zone**

Many students prefer to practice with shorter questions or stick to topics they find easier. **Force yourself to practice questions that are out of your comfort zone, as you never know what topic the exam board could decide to focus on . **

**Master Long Answer Questions**

Practice lots of long answer questions so you are comfortable with the layout and know what steps to take when answering.

**Monitor Your Progress and Patience**

** Eventually, you will notice your speed increasing,** and the questions you once found impossible are now more intuitive. Go easy on yourself, as generally practicing questions can be difficult, especially considering the vast amount of content, so continue reading for more specific tips.

**VI. Time Yourself Doing A-Level Maths Questions**

** Don’t jump straight into timing yourself, it can be discouraging and cause unnecessary stress.** Start with a certain topic, integration for example. Practice a few questions until you feel relatively comfortable with the ideas and have a basic understanding of the content. Then, keep practicing the questions, but time yourself each time and make a note. At this point, don’t try to rush yourself or panic.

*Keep familiarizing yourself with the style of question, and hopefully, you’ll see the average time per question begin to drop.*If you keep getting stuck on a particular part, it may be helpful to speak to a teacher and find out how to get over that specific hurdle. Now it’s time to set time limits. According to the minute-per-mark model, a four-mark question should take four minutes. This may be easily done for one topic, but very difficult for another. Use this number as a basic time limit for each question you practice, but use your previous timing, own experience,** **and initiative to see if that is a realistic goal.

Another benefit to timing yourself is being able to practice a paper in exam conditions without having to sit down for two straight hours. ** It may also help you if you feel anxious about exams or if you tend to panic as soon as a time limit is set.** Not only are you getting familiar with the content but also the exam style and how it will feel in the real exams. When you groom yourself to this level nobody can stop you from achieving an A* in A-level math course.

**VII. Pay Attention to Your A-Level Maths Exam Board**

In order to achieve an A* in A-level mathematics course, you really need to know your exam board. Start by seeing which topics come up in which paper, this information can be found in the specification. Although it seems simple, many students spend time revising the night before for topics that won’t even appear in the paper.

Next, familiarize yourself with the way your exam board asks questions. Often, they will repeat certain techniques from papers, so it’s great to recognize what skills the exam board desires from students. However, the exam board can always throw in a different style of questions. Don’t expect the obvious, and you won’t get thrown off in the exam.

** Your teachers have likely been teaching the same exam board for years so they are the best people to ask about common question styles or content. **With higher mark questions, there will be certain calculation stages that exam boards always award a mark to. By knowing and recognizing these, you can easily pick up marks that other students miss by not showing the correct work. If you follow this advice, as well as previous tips like reading the specification and examiners’ report, you’ll have all the knowledge of how the exam works. Good exam technique is key to achieving the highest A-level mathematics grades.

**VIII. Be Composed and Organized**

This last piece of advice should be practiced across the entire two years of A-levels. Students who achieve the best grades are often the most organized. This means having a solid revision timetable and sticking to it, ensuring all the course content is covered, and working through every practice paper.

Many students are capable of achieving an A* in A-level math course and they work incredibly hard but end up burning out before their exams.** It is so important to work at a feasible pace and not let the stress get to you. **This is, of course, easier said than done.

*If you start revising early, you can avoid cramming and slowly build up your confidence over the next two years.*Finally, if you feel you are struggling to keep up with A-Level mathematics, talk to someone. Your teachers want you to succeed,** **and if you feel like you aren’t keeping up, ensure that you talk to them. Many colleges have a school counselor, use this service to your advantage! Just being able to vent can help alleviate stress and having a professional discuss how you’re feeling can make getting through A-Levels a lot easier.

**Conclusion**

A lot has been discussed in this article, so let’s recap. There are three main periods when you’re doing A-levels:

- Learning the content
- Revision
- Sitting in the exams

To get an A* in A-level math course, it’s important to review every lesson, do as many practice questions as you can, and learn to work within the time limit. To access the top grades, you need to understand the content fully, use the examiners’ reports and specifications and ask your teachers for help. A-Level maths is seen as one of the most difficult A-Levels, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t let it put you off. Speak to your teachers and get their help whenever you can. Ensure you use all your resources, don’t just rely on the textbooks. If you reach a point where you understand the topics, can confidently attempt the most confusing questions, and know where to gain marks, you’ll be ready for your exam and all set to get that A* in A-level maths.

**Most frequently asked questions on “How to get an A* in A-level Mathematics?”**

**Q1) What are the most important topics I should concentrate on to excel in A-level mathematics?**

To earn an A* in A-level mathematics, you should pour yourself deeply into understanding fundamental concepts like calculus, algebra, trigonometry, and mechanics/probability & statistics. These concepts form the base of the A-level mathematics curriculum and frequently bear the most weight on exams.

**Q2) What is the minimum threshold of marks required to get an A* grade in A-level mathematics?**

To get an A* grade in A-level Maths, you need to score at least 90% in your exams. However, this may vary depending on the exam board and the difficulty of the exam. Some exam boards publish grade boundaries for each exam series, which show the minimum number of marks needed to obtain a particular grade in a paper or in a subject. For example, you can find the grade boundaries for Cambridge International AS & A Level Mathematics (9709) in June 2022 [here]

**Q3) How can I enhance my problem-solving abilities at the A-level level?**

Achieving an A* in A-level Math requires the development of excellent problem-solving skills. Solve a variety of challenging problems, both from your textbooks and from previous examinations. Consider seeking assistance from teachers or tutors when confronted with difficult problems.

**Q4) Is it necessary to seek out additional resources, such as textbooks and online courses?**

The textbooks and other materials you use in class are undoubtedly important, but there are many students who could also benefit from access to online information. To solidify your knowledge and develop your problem-solving skills, you might benefit from using specialized textbooks, online courses, and instructional websites. Online resources from prestigious universities like Cambridge, MIT, and My Maths Club’s online maths courses are also widely used.

**Q5) What advice can you offer to gain A* in A-level math examinations?**

Before beginning to solve exam questions, thoroughly read and plan your approach to them. You may receive partial credit for showing all your work, even for simpler procedures. Do not become stuck on a single query; if uncertain, move on and return later. If time permits, examine your responses to identify any remaining errors.

**Q6) Can you recommend some websites specifically for A-level maths preparation?**

Certainly! You can explore websites like Oxibridge, Up-Learn, Khan Academy, etc. They offer comprehensive resources, video lectures, and resources tailored to A-level mathematics topics.

**Q7)** **Should I consider paid websites for A-level maths preparation?**

Paid websites like My Maths Club, Wolfram Alpha Pro, and Brilliant.org offer more in-depth content and personalized learning experiences. Depending on your budget and learning preferences, they can be valuable investments.

**About mymathsclub.com online education website’s founder, teacher and author of this blogpost Maria Mehmood:** Maria Mehmood is a digital marketer, blogger, and online mathematics educator. After completing her Master’s degree in Pure Mathematics, she has been teaching Mathematics online since 2012. She loves sharing her enthusiasm for mathematics with her students and finding creative ways to make learning the subject enjoyable. She also enjoys acquainting people with trending topics in Mathematics and digital marketing through her blog posts.

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