Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Starting & Surviving Sixth Form: Tips & Tricks

The 'Back To School' season can be extremely daunting, especially if you are moving up from taking GCSEs to A-Levels. After already doing two years at sixth form and being halfway through getting my overall A-Level grades, I have found a few trips and tricks along the way to help me be more organised and less stressed. The jump from GCSE to A-Level is big and the workload is ridiculous but with a bit of organisation, it can be easily solved so without further ado, lets get straight into my top ten pieces of advice.

  1. You will need both folders and refill pads during both AS and A2. Many people use A4 Ring Binders but I find for the subjects that I am studying, they aren't thick enough and prefer to go for the A4 Board Lever Arch Files. As for paper, you will need it as teachers are no longer responsible for providing you with work books and stationary.
  2. I know that it is already stressed enough and has probably been drilled into your mind all of your life but a good night of sleep is essential. Being sleep deprived and having to study is both difficult and frustrating. I know that when I haven't had enough sleep, I can barely concentrate and spend at least the entire morning being miserable. I would recommend going to bed at a reasonable time and creating some sort of night routine.
  3. Get your outfit and bag ready the night before. I cannot even explain the amount of times that I have been late to sixth form due to getting changed eight times. I am indecisive as it is and therefore it is important for me to check the weather forecast and pick my outfit the evening before.
  4. Don't spend your free periods having naps, playing games or watching Netflix. I tried that in my first year and ended up dropping out as A-Levels don't complete themselves.
  5. Create a study timetable from early on in the year where you dedicate different time periods over the week where you can prioritise work from specific subjects. I am still useless at this but it is so important to ensure that not only are you studying outside of sixth form, but to make sure that you aren't slacking in your less favourite subjects. After all, you should be equaling the hours spent in lessons with independent study.
  6. Try not to skip assemblies which is something that I am trying to do this year as although they can feel like a waste of time, they actually usually contain a lot of important and crucial information regarding university, working and other opportunities and events.
  7. If you have a part-time job, make sure that you are clear with your management about how many shifts you would like each week and for how many hours as you need to remember to leave time to study.
  8. Make friends with other people on your course. I know it is easier said than done, but chances are that if you and your friends from school are going separate ways, you won't be very close in a few months down the line.
  9. If you do have any queries or concerns then make sure that you are communicating with your teachers, tutors or head of years about them as they will most likely be able to help and support you or even lead you in the right direction. If you have any medical conditions or events which have caused you to have some time away from sixth form, then tell them about it if you feel comfortable enough because they will be supportive and more understanding.
  10. Ensure that the subjects you are choosing, are right for you. There is no point in choosing subjects that you don't enjoy, as it will only make it harder to learn. On the other hand, if you've changed your mind about your chosen subjects then there is always time to switch over, especially within the first few weeks of term. 
I hope that this post was at least slightly helpful and have given you a few tips for starting A-Levels, if you have any questions then please don't hesitate to contact me or leave them below.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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