Kitty’s Review – History A Level

Justin Craig helped me achieve the A grade I needed to study History at University

After achieving A*AA in my A-Levels, I am now studying History at Newcastle University. Achieving these results took a lot of hard work and dedication – along with a little help from a Justin Craig revision course.

When it came to my mock History exam, I still couldn’t achieve the all-important A I wanted because I was told I wasn’t answering the question properly, despite my ‘solid knowledge’. Having attended an AS revision course with Justin Craig and gaining an A at AS, despite getting an E in my mocks, I was disheartened by my apparent revert into old habits. I hoped that attending one final course would help my chances at achieving the grade I needed.

My pre-course nerves were quickly forgotten

I remember being nervous for my course even though I had attended courses since GCSE. However, I had no need to be. It is easy to make friends due to such small classes and a shared experience – I even saw friends I had made in previous years! I was also scared that I would look stupid however everyone is on the course for the same reason and everyone is in the same boat. I had no need to worry.

At GCSE I attended a two-day course which then increased to three days at AS Level. My A-Level course was four days long, which sounded like an absolute nightmare, four days solid of JUST History? However, it was actually incredibly beneficial. As I was doing two topics for my A-Level course, I spent two days focusing on each topic. This allowed me to really find my issues within each topic and work on them.

It really helped that my tutor was a senior examiner

The tutor for my A-Level course was a senior examiner, as a lot of the tutors are. As a senior examiner, my tutor was able to direct everyone to overall useful tips that would help us all gain crucial extra marks. However, the tutor also guided us individually and let us work at our own pace, so I spent a lot of my time writing timed essays because my issue was with essay writing. I think I ended up writing about ten essays in those four days, which is certainly a lot more than I would have written at home! This was so beneficial to me because my tutor could give me immediate feedback and I could see myself genuinely improving, which encouraged me to work harder. Before attending a course, you are also required to fill out a form about what you struggle with and your predicted and target grades. This allows the tutor to know what your issues are, and they can then prepare to help you before you have even attended the course. To further this, before my AS and A-Level course my tutors and I had a phone call to discuss the issues to guarantee I got the most from the course. This level of interest in myself and my issues was very welcomed. The tutor also gave out resources he had found himself that applied to each individual and the topics they were studying. This personal touch allowed me to find new information that my teachers hadn’t given me.

I liked the more informal learning environment

What I also liked about the Justin Craig course was that it was not a school setting. Tutors are to be called by their first name, which creates a more relaxed and informal setting. There are also regular breaks which allowed me to relax after working hard for an hour and a half. You were also given freedom as you could leave the site for lunch, which meant that I could go out for nice meals which is always a bonus. On the last day of my AS English Lit course we even invited our tutor out for lunch with us! All the staff are always so friendly that it makes the experience more enjoyable.

Invaluable exam technique & essay practise/feedback

Looking back, the courses were exhausting but certainly enjoyable. I liked being able to meet new people doing the same course as me and find out their own issues and experiences with the course. The course was certainly beneficial to me and gave me confidence that I could achieve the A I needed to get into university. I would recommend the courses to anyone who is struggling with the exam questions for subjects like History or English Lit because I often feel like school teachers overlook exam technique and focus on content. The course definitely helped me get where I am today.