I received my AS results on Thursday so I thought that would share my experiences with the AS subjects that I took to hopefully help some of you out if you’re about to start A Levels. If you have any questions about any of my subjects (or just any questions about A Levels in general) please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. I know that the A Levels are changing slightly this year but at least I can give you some first-hand information before you start!
AS Grade: A
Exam Board: AQA
Exam Topics: Paper one – Culture and Identity, Wealth and Poverty, Families and Households. Paper 2 – Education, Health, Research Methods.
Exam Info: You have 2 papers; one is 1 hour long and the other is 1 ½ hours. In paper one you choose to do one of the topics (see above) and you have a mixture of short answer questions and one essay to write. Paper 2 is harder. You do either education (I did that) or health as well as research methods. You have four essays to write in total one about education or health, one shorter essay about education or health, one linking question (the worst) that combines research methods and your chosen topic and one research methods question.
My Advice: Start learning the sociologists ASAP and their theory as well as criticisms.
My Opinion: I absolutely loved Sociology from the very first lesson! However, I think you either hate it or love it, luckily I loved it. I found it really interesting to learn about the different family types and why females are more likely to live in poverty than men. Also, as I want to be a teacher it was really useful to see all of the different perspectives on the functions of education. I liked Sociology that much that I made revision YouTube videos about some of the topics. (Click here).
AS Grade: B
Exam Board: WJEC
Exam Info: You have a 2 ½ hour exam (it’s not as bad as you think) that consists of mostly short answer questions (like GCSE) but there are a few slightly longer ones. Plus coursework.
My Advice: Make sure you choose a business for the coursework section that you actually like otherwise you’ll find doing the project a total nightmare and really boring.
My Opinion: I really liked ICT A Level. It wasn’t too different to GCSE, well coursework wise anyway. You pick any business/organisation, I did my Senior Section, and you have to make a leaflet, website, business template and video about your organisation. For the exam, there’s a lot more content to learn and you have to have the wording of your answers just right in order to get the marks. I think that’s what I struggled with at first. However, it’s very enjoyable and if you don’t do too well in the exam, you’ve always got the coursework to back you up!
AS Grade: B
Exam Board: AQA
Exam Topics: Categorising texts, language and power, language and gender and language and technology.
Exam Info: You have a 2 hour exam were categorising texts is compulsory but you choose one language and… to write about. Plus coursework.
My Advice: For the coursework choose something you’re interested in and include lots of complex sentences and ‘big’ words! And for the exam do as many past papers as you can and make sure you know the theorists!!
My Opinion: It was very interesting learning about language and gender because you find out about all of these theorists that have investigated the different language that males and females use. However, the course for 2015 has changed so I couldn’t tell you anything about what the new curriculum is Sorry. For the coursework we had to write a newspaper article on anything we liked (mine was on mobile phone addiction) and then we could do whatever we wanted! I choose to do an album review for a magazine.
AS Grade: E
Exam Board: AQA
Exam Topics: Media, popular culture, healthy lifestyles and families and relationships.
Exam Info: A two hour listening, reading and writing paper and a 15 minute speaking exam.
My Advice: LEARN VOCABULARY EVERY NIGHT, RIGHT FROM SEPTEMBER AND REVISE THE GRAMMAR!
My Opinion: Okay, as you can tell German didn’t go well… I simply didn’t enjoy it which is weird because I loved it at GCSE. I just struggled with the grammar and I never bothered to sit down and learn vocab because it was just so boring. Actually, that’s a lie I made online flashcards (link’s here (that’s to one topic)) but even that didn’t work. Obviously, I’m dropping German next year.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first year in sixth form because I was doing the subjects that I had chose to do. However, with hindsight I would have changed to History and dropped German in those first few weeks because then maybe I would have gotten a better grade in a different subject. If you don’t like a subject in the beginning I would advise you to stop doing it and do something else because IT’S NOT GOING TO GET ANY BETTER – trust me!
I hope you enjoy the last two weeks of summer off but don’t get too stressed out about A Levels yet! I’m planning on doing a ‘things you’ll need for A Levels’ blog soon but I’m off to Bulgaria for two weeks so I won’t able about to write it until I get back. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope I’ll be back on soon!