Help!

Wherever you are in your A-level course, everyone gets to a point where they are fed up with it! Here’s some advice to clear up your confusion or concerns.

Help! Did I make the right decision?

Maybe you’ve just decided to take a language for AS-level or have chosen to continue your language onto A2. Things may seem a bit confusing and complicated; the lessons might be moving too fast for you and you may feel that you've forgotten everything you knew over the summer holidays...perhaps you're thinking of changing subjects. Give yourself time to settle into the lessons and get used to them. All lessons at AS/A-level are a step up in pace from what you learnt at GCSE, but it's perfectly normal to feel a little lost. Try not to let this get to you - let your teacher or form tutor know that you don't understand and that you feel you made the wrong decision. Your teacher might be able to help you by going slower in class or explaining things in more detail. Students always struggle at different times and in different subjects. If you stick with it, you may well find that this is your strongest subject and that you absolutely love it!

Help! Got any good advice?

If you’re finding yourself in a tongue-twister when speaking, feeling snowed under with vocab and homework is driving you mad, check out our top tips for reading, writing, listening and speaking ; they’re full of great tips for improving your language skills and grades. If revision is getting you down, why not look at our exam preparation sections, the transition from GCSE to A-level and what next? sections to give you some uplifting inspiration.

Help! Revision ideas?

In a revision rut? No problem! We have loads of advice to get you ready for your exams. Revision shouldn't be stressful or take up all of your time, but it is important that you do it. Finding a way to revise that suits your learning style is key to doing well in exams. Follow our top tips on improving your 4 key skill areas (reading, writing, listening and speaking)to help make revision more fun - you needn't spent all your time with your head in a book. There are lots of fun, interactive activities online that you can use to revise. 

Help! I’m worried!

Are your exams coming up soon? Starting to feel a bit nervous? We all get worried, nervous and stressed before any examination and the language exams are no different. There’s a lot to remember but it needn’t be a struggle. This website has plenty of ideas and strategies that we used when feeling anxious just before the exams. Look at the different sections for tips on improving your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills which will hopefully put your mind at ease.

Help! Does anyone else find languages hard?

Yes! Of course they do, but everyone learns things in different ways. The great thing about learning a language is seeing the progress that you make in it; you can really see how your knowledge and skills are growing as you start to be able to express yourself more confidently and understand more and more of what your teacher says. Have a look at our what type of learner are you? section to work out how you learn things best and start using some of the suggestions in your language learning; this should make things easier. Language learning is a challenge, but one with a massive reward.

Help! Is anyone out there? I’m stuck!

There are lots of forums on the internet that are great for talking through your worries with other students who may feel the same. Also, don’t forget about the support that’s already around you. Your teacher is your first stop when you feel like there’s something you’re not understanding and if you feel you need a bit more time to get to grips with it- why not see if there are any catch-up sessions you could go along too? Never feel like you’re the only one dealing with the problem - you’re most certainly not!

Help! I just don’t get it!

Everyone has felt like this more than once when learning a language so you’re not alone on this one. If you don’t understand something, the best thing to do is go back to the start and work through it again. If you're still confused, ask your teacher - they’re there to help you so don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are that you won't be the only one who doesn't understand!

Another option is to look the problem up in a book or online - you may just need it explaining in a slightly different way. The internet is full of online learning guides which are topic specific so you can read through some different explanations and try putting them into practice with a game or activity. If you’re still not sure if you’ve got it, go and see your teacher outside of lessons so you can chat through it.

Help! I can’t be bothered!

Is your motivation missing? Learning a foreign language requires time and effort to ensure that you remember new words and grammar, as well as improving on your 4 key skills. This doesn't mean that you have to spend all your free time learning a language though! Little and often is the best strategy for language success. Check out our section on tips for staying motivated.

Help! My exam is tomorrow morning!

Don't worry! Make sure before you go to bed that you have everythng you need (pens, water bottle, tissues...) ready for the exam and that you get plenty of sleep too; you want to go into the exam feeling confident and fresh.

Doing well in exams isn't just about learning the subject, it's also about making sure that you understand the questions and write good answers. So double check you're familiar with the exam format and what the examiners are looking for.

Have a look at getting through the exam section for hints and tips on what to expect for each exam. This should help calm you down a bit.

Help! How do you study?

Everyone studies in their own way , so check out our sections on listening, reading, speaking and writing to see different strategies for language learning. When it comes to revision, knowing what type of learner you are can make a difference to your revision plan; look at our section on leaning styles to see what methods could work best for you.

Help! How do I remember key words/phrases/grammar?

Everyone has different methods to help them remember things so this bit is up to you. Once your teacher has taught you a phrase, a tense or some frammar, think of some ways to easily remember what you've just learnt. Try putting what words or a phrase to a tune that you can sing or draw pictures that look like the words for inspiration...the options are endless.

Another great way of remembering them is to surround yourself with them! Provided your parents don't mind, write everything up in lists and stick them up around the house. Use the bathroom mirror and you can revise while brushing your teeth, or on your kitchen cupboard so that you'll review the words again when you go to open it. This is great preparation before your exams and there's enormous satisfaction in taking them all down afterwards!

Help! What’s covered in each exam?

Each exam board is different, so make sure you know which exam you will be doing- ask your teacher. Normally the 3 exam boards include similar topics and have similar structure to their exams. Look through our getting through the exam section for ideas on how the exams are set out and ask your teacher about what is included in the exam.

Help! How do I remember it all?

Just like you remember everything else! If you’ve followed our hints on doing vocab learning little and often and splitting up your workload into manageable chunks then it’s probably already embedded in your brain. In the exam you’ll have a few ‘light-bulb’ moments where awesome phrases and brain waves come to you, and that’s when you know you’ve remembered it all.

Help! How do I fit it all in?

It may feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with all the work you have to do and the actual time you have to do it in, but you’re not. Create a revision planner to organise your revision into achievable, 'bite-size' pieces. Make sure you pick a time of day that suits you. Not everyone wakes up early on a Saturday morning feeling ready to get up and revise so don’t worry; decide when you can do your revision and stick to that.

It’s also really important to take regular breaks during revision; it's more effective to do 30 minutes and then take a 10 minute break then it is to work solidly for 2 hours. Don’t forget to write your breaks into your revision planner and set a goal that you want to achieve by the end of each section. This means you’ll have a target to aim for and a way of measuring whether your revision was successful.

Help! I did well, where can I go now?

Your language learning doesn’t have to stop because you’ve done your A-levels. You never know when you might need to use your language skills so don’t lose them. Check out our what next? section to see what other options are open to you to carry on with languages - you won’t regret it.

Help! I can’t concentrate...

Make sure there are no distractions around you. Sit in a quiet and tidy area where you know you work well and let whoever's at home know that you're doing you're homework. Take a 5 minute break every half an hour - have a drink or walk around. You'll find it much easier to work if you split the homework up into manageable chunks.

Help! I don’t have time for my homework...

Socialising and hobbies are extremely important, but so is your homework. Include time for your homework in your daily routineso it feels like a normal part of it, not something you have to make specific time for or a chore. You can even arrange with your friends to do it together so that you'll all be free together afterwards too!

Help! I’ve got too much to do...

Break it down into smaller parts - this will make it seem much more manageable as you won't be tackling lots of things at once. If you keep organised with a list or homework planner, you can work out what to do when more easily.