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Articles > Student Life May, 12, 2017

Further Reading: The Real Way To Ace Your A Levels

Vasilios Goulas
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8.52 / 10

We’ve all heard our teachers banging on about doing some further reading outside the classroom. They usually slip it in at the end of the lesson when we’re more preoccupied about getting to the front of the lunch queue, but bottom line is the majority of us don’t take it seriously when we really should…

Further reading books stacked

Why further reading will secure you the higher grades


So, its that time again. Another year, another set of exams, however this time its different. Your AS exams were mocks with the new linear system and now you are just a few months away from your first meaningful exams since your GCSE’s. But its not like you’re doing English language GCSE again where you can fabricate a random story and get an A*. You either know the topics, or you don’t.

But as you may have found, reading the textbook simply inst enough anymore. I know a lot of people that knew the curriculum inside out but fell short of the higher grades in exams because there was a lack of depth of knowledge. This is something that you would gain from further reading. Sound familiar?

You cannot be studying A-Levels that will get you into University without further reading. If you want a job in a field that you’re taking an A-Level on, there should be a passion for further reading and exploration, otherwise are you really going to be happy when going to the real world and working that job?

“You still need to know all the basics of your subject, but you want show you know more than the average person to get a more than average grade”

University is a place to further your education and knowledge, to specialise your skills in the area in which you want to go into. If you are not doing this already, you will know just as much as a textbook does, and that simply isn’t enough for a future employer, who can purchase and use this textbook without the need to hire you.

At the end of the day, we are all human, we don’t like revision. It’s tedious learning your textbook inside out from page to page. However, this intensive revision isn’t the only way to revise. Mix it up by doing some further reading around your subject. Now I know you’ll immediately think it’s a waste of time or going off on a tangent to your A-Level syllabus, however not only does it give you better chances at the higher grades, it gives your brain a rest from the monotony of ordinary revision. You can always find relative writings or relative skills that can be obtained through your own exploration in your subject. Nobody said revision has to be boring, hard and tedious!

girl further reading book

Further reading doesn’t just mean reading…

So what methods are there of this so called further reading…

Funnily enough, it doesn’t have to even be “reading”. It all depends on your subject really. Whatever is relevant to your course and further enhances your knowledge and understanding of the subject is what you want to be looking for. For example, you could be analysing trends in the Foreign Exchange Market as an Economics student, seeing new plays and adaptations as a Drama and English literature student, going to art galleries as an Art student or engaging in your own hypothesis and experiments in your own time as a Scientist. Even you Mathematics students can watch countless intriguing youtube videos.

Your comprehension of your further reading however must be truthful. You cannot read a whole economist magazine and feel fulfilled if you didn’t understand any of it or have not let anything sink.

However, whatever style of further reading you choose, it is revision. You may not think it is as you don’t have the textbook learning word for word definitions, diagrams and concepts, but in reality, as long as you are further enhancing your understanding and knowledge of relative topics through your exploration and further reading, you are revising. Of course you still need to know all the basics of your subject but you want show you know more than the average person to get a more than average grade.

Also, if you have the time you could even engage with your studies one step further by taking all your revision and knowledge and applying it. Be active, start a blog or a youtube channel about your subjects. Make a revision pack, challenge your brain and mind to your realistic extremes. Experiment and try a new approach. This won’t only help things stick in your brain but could be something to add to the personal statement.

Finally, just take a breather. Take a step back and look at everything you have learnt so far and what you have ahead. These last few months will be pain. But if you put the hours in now, you guarantee yourself a secure future and a lifetime of happiness.

So the next time your teacher tells you to do some further reading as its crucial, they are simply telling you to revise but also to take some time to look at the bigger picture of your subject. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

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  1. katrina

    Further reading doesn’t have to be tedious. If you’re doing your A levels then you’ve chosen to study that course material so you must enjoy it. Further reading gives you a better understanding of the subject’s content and it’s not as boring as you may think! Then again, I am a literature student so I should enjoy reading!

  2. ok1995

    I think students should just focus on skills

  3. Miara

    I want to start doing the further reading but my issue is I don’t know what sources to use and what is more effective e.g reading articles or watching documentaries.

  4. Mary

    Personally I don’t mind further reading too much but the real problem is that i find it difficult to know what I should read about. There are virtually no guide line. Especially with subjects like chemistry. I mean for English literature and psychology I haven’t had much of a problem. But biology for example sometimes you come across completely irrelevant info or degree level stuff which confuses me even more. So I tend to just stick to doing barely any.

    • Miara

      I agree with this, it’s hard to differentiate information you need and don’t needs.

  5. Samuel Green

    I just don’t really agree with the substance of this article. I was a biologist (3 sciences and maths), but it always seemed bizarre when the head of 6th form said we should be doing further reading. I dropped out of AS levels, and I did very little further reading because there’s virtually none to do. I also asked some of the smartest people in the class what they did, and further reading was not on the list. I even asked my maths teacher (who was head of maths), and she even said that you didn’t need to before university!

    My sister is an arts student who needs a very broad but shallow knowledge of her subject, and that is where further reading is important. Learning a lot of simple/experiential information is easy. In precision subjects like the sciences, you need time in proper labs with proper teachers to help you understand the depth and substance of what they’re saying.

    On a side note: the idea that a 17 year old scientist can test a hypothesis (with what equipment?), and have it produce meaningful results or educationally valuable knowledge seems somewhat fanciful.

  6. Jawad Ali

    failure is not an option its an opportunity!!

  7. pramod kumar netam

    I think…outside study is better.

  8. Kisn

    drop out