We had a conversation with the world topper in A-level Mathematics, User @ducky#8938 on the discord server, who talks about their preparation techniques, studying habits and a lot more!
What are the techniques you used to prepare? Are there any specific ones you can tell us about?
Past papers are the best and fastest way for you to improve. Ensuring studying is enjoyable is also important and for me, I really enjoyed listening to music so I would listen to music while I solve past papers (except for biology which personally required more thinking) which helps lengthen my study time and also increase my focus (this may not work for everyone though so be aware of that). Noting when you are most active is also important i.e. whether you focus more in daytime or nighttime. Forest was a very good app for me as it restricted my phone use and unlocking new trees based on my study time was enjoyable. I preferred to study entire subjects in one go rather than divide the day into different subjects. Reading the examiner's report was a very helpful way to gain explanations for wrong answers and keeping spreadsheets of marks I got for each paper was a good way to keep track of my progress. Treat mock exams as if they were real so you won't be so stressed bulk revising for the actual exam (I spent more time studying during my mocks than A2 exams). Even though it's seriously tedious creating your own notes is definitely something I'd recommend because even if you're just copying other notes you can retain the information by writing it down and it'll be really handy and convenient when you're doing final exam revision. What I did was make Google docs of chapter-by-chapter information for my science subjects and I also made formula sheets on paper for biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics and further maths.
How long did you take to prepare for these exams?
In all honesty, I didn't really do much outside of exam periods and I really enjoyed my holidays between AS and A2 but I significantly increased my study time during exam periods (this doesn't mean ditching your schoolwork when it's not exam period)
Did you spare some time for leisure, ie watching television or playing games?
I personally spent my entire holiday playing games and not studying so yeah I suppose? I also procrastinated a lot and used my phone when I was not supposed to but I did delete all my games when school started. I personally believe quitting in one go is easier than slowly reducing your time. You won't immediately increase your study time just because you quit games but it will eventually have an effect. So yeah you don't need to spend every single minute studying.
What are your plans for the future?
I'll be applying to universities so nothing interesting right now.
How do you feel about this achievement?
I came out of my A2 mechanics feeling terrible because I made many mistakes and barely corrected them in time so it was very shocking, to be honest.
Is there anything you want to convey to students?
I am not a robot, and everyone can do excel! Just choose the subjects you enjoy and you don't need to spend your whole day studying, so don't worry too much and enjoy the process.