What you need to take with you to sixth form or college


The ultimate checklist

Starting at a new college means you probably get to wear your own clothes finally, choose your own subjects and call your teachers by their first names. But with all the new freedom, it can be easy to forget the essentials. We've got you covered, with this list of all the things you'll need for your next two years at sixth form. 

Stationery and academic

  • Diary/planner/timetable

TSR member Tabers says a diary is "very useful" for making notes of homework, adding, "maybe get an acedemic one that goes from halfway this year to summer next year."

  • Highlighters
  • Pens (a black biro or black ballpoint pen is needed for exams)

CheeseIsVeg recommends the Paper Mate Ink Joys, saying: "Got 18 of these bad bois for £2.50 at my local Tesco What a cracking deal! Absolutely fab for making notes and revision cards, colours are great. Would recommend."

  • Pencils
  • Pencil sharpener (or mechanical pencil)
  • Rulers
  • Rubber
  • Pencil case

homeland.lsw says: "Can't beat a good quality pencil case, mine is a simple Paperchase one, but is pretty roomy and doesn't take up too much space."

  • Calculator (this needs to be natural display if you're taking any maths subjects)
  • Graphic calculator (for Further Maths)
  • Folders (you won't necessarily need to bring all your folders to every lesson – when not needed for a subject, you can leave them at home or put them in your locker)
  • Books
  • Textbooks
  • Plastic pockets/wallets
  • Memory card/USB stick
  • Laptop (to avoid taking down illegible notes in class etc.)
  • A bag to put it all in
  • Lined paper/squared paper
  • Revision guides and flashcards for frees

To sum up the essentials, freedomyak says: "If you are doing sciences, maths, business studies or accounting (not exhaustive) you will need a calculator, definitely scientific for the sciences and maths and also a graphical calculator is not a bad idea especially for further maths.

"Obviously two to three pens and pencils along with a rubber, sharpener, ruler and such should be required, if you're doing art then you'll probably need colours and those expensive HB specific pencils.

"In terms of paper it varies between colleges however for most you'll need to supply your own paper so a notebook is pretty handy, also you'll definitely be given a lot of papers, printouts and worksheets so a couple folders and one or two ringbinders will also be helpful, don't forget a stapler and holepuncher either."

But Eva.Gregoria thinks it's more about attitude, saying: "I literally went in with a black pen and a notepad and a desire to learn and still managed to get good grades. Elaborate, fancy stationery doesn't work for everyone."

You'll definitely be given a lot of papers, printouts and worksheets so a couple folders and one or two ringbinders will also be helpful.


  • Money or canteen card if you need it
  • Student ID card/student discount card
  • Tissues or wipes
  • Paracetamol/painkillers (this is a good idea as, for legal reasons, your school won't be able to administer these unless they have permission)
  • Plasters
  • Bottle of drink
  • Packed lunch (if you don't want to buy food every day)

Gabriela says: "Most importantly your brain! And sense of humour as days can get pretty tedious sometimes."

And as s_axo adds: "Motivation. Lots of it."

You don't have to take absolutely everything on this list every day – let it act more as a reminder of things not to forget. And now you should be fully covered for your new life as an A-level student! 

What are your daily essentials for college?

More useful links

11 things all A-level students wish they'd known
The 10 most important pieces of advice for anyone starting A-levels
Starting second year of A-levels

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