Advice from previous Year 12's to upcoming year 12's

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xtremespec
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So I've just got my GCSE results and I'm moderately happy with them. I thought that I'd make this thread so all upcoming year 12's will hopefully know what to expect in the next year. So to begin with..

1) How was Year 12 for you?

2) Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?

4) How many exams did you sit in total?

And finally, the big question...

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
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Master722
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1) Year 12 was a fun year, I met new friends, enjoyed my subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Geography). There was more freedom and independence being in year 12.

2) Yes it was more stressful. Looking back on GCSE's, they weren't hard to prepare for (cramming wasn't a problem). But with your AS don't have a GCSE mentality. You will fall behind and cramming isn't the solution.

3) I started revising in December for Mocks, but real revision was around late March.

4)I had 9 Exams and 2 Coursework units (Biology and Chemistry EMPAs)

5) There are so many things you need to be aware of but a summary

* Meet new people (or atleast make the effort)
*DO Homework (like for real, Do it and not on the day its due, or on the bus to school)
*Be Organised (have folders and dividers for each subject)
*Be punctual
*Evaluate what you've learnt (read over your notes at home)
*Choose the Right subjects (what i mean is choose subjects that you want to learn and will enjoy or else you will just drop it mid year or try to change to a different one and be far behind.)
*Don't waste your Frees (spending time with your friends is great and all but don't do it if you have work to do)
*Don't rely on your teachers (Their job is to teach you but you need to make an effort to learn. Do some research/ further reading on topics. Find useful resources such as Chemguide or exam board websites, don't rely on your teacher's handouts)

Just enjoy your year and have fun.

What subjects are you choosing?

EDIT: Formatting
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JennaK
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1) It went by alright, not too many hiccups. It's not as stressful as some make it out to be but it's definitely not on the same level as GCSE. I felt that I had to start thinking seriously about my future a lot more.

2) More stressful but not hugely, seeing as I revised for a lot of my GCSEs just a few days before and got relatively good grades, but I was definitely unable to do that for AS. Just start revising on time and you won't have problems.

3) Started properly around Easter holidays. Don't do this as I felt quite panicked at the time. Try and revise throughout the year if you can, but don't burn yourself out by starting too early and doing too much.

4) 9 exams... So not fun.

5) Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Choose subjects you actually enjoy and please, please... Don't focus too much on teacher's predictions or mock results. I got Ds, E and a U in the last set of mocks we did but I was able to get AAAB in the real thing. Just believe you can do it.
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bluebeetle
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1) How was Year 12 for you?
Pretty fun. I remember getting a bit stressed about physics at the beginning of the year, but otherwise I enjoyed having fewer subjects and more free periods. Not having to do art or chemistry any more was really nice too.

2) Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?
I sat most of my GCSEs in year 10, and didn't find it stressful at all, so in that respect, yes. However, I sat triple science in year 11 and I found that really stressful towards the end of the year as I hadn't worked hard at all throughout the year and I was getting Es in a lot of my mocks. I think that if you go into year 12 with the right attitude and work hard from day one then there's no reason it should be that stressful (until exam day, at least!).

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?
Beginning of the year. I stayed after school and just made sure I understood absolutely everything. I started doing past papers from December onwards, because before then we hadn't really covered enough material to do any of the questions.

4) How many exams did you sit in total?
11 (3 in January, and one of them was a retake)

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
If you work hard from the beginning, things should be fine. Don't let yourself fall behind on understanding (my only source of stress in y12 was physics, simply because I didn't understand the first few lessons and was too scared to ask, and so it kept getting worse and worse). Know exam strategy and how marks are awarded. Read examiner's reports. If you can't keep yourself motivated to do work at home, stay in school or at the library until all your work is done for the day. Best of luck to everybody!
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Cryinglightning
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1) Year 12 was great for me, I picked subjects I enjoyed so doing work as actually quite enjoyable and then I got good grades as a result. The social aspect was better as well because it's easier to meet people with the same subjects as you (rather than being stuck in a form group with people you hate..)
2) personally I found it less stressful than GCSEs because you have so many different subjects at GCSE, whereas I did maths, bio, chem and psychology at AS so there were a couple of areas that came under more than one subject so overall I had to revise less. Also because I liked my subjects revision was more enjoyable!
3) April ish for summer exams, December for January exams
4) I had three exams in January and seven in summer (one was a resit)

5) in case i haven't emphasised it enough, pick subjects you enjoy! It's makes things so much easier when it comes to revision. Also sixth form isn't just about work, make some great memories with your friends before you all go off to university. If you want to go to uni, start thinking about it now and looking into what you want to do, it won't be long until the pressure builds up to sort out your application. Last thing: you won't be spoon fed, keep up to date with your notes and find out which way you learn best (highlighting, making presentations, mindmaps etc..)



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username1431415
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Thanks a lot for advice everyone and thanks for starting the thread.
I just have one question, can anyone tell me useful sites for each of the subjects below:
Business Studies:
Chemistry:
Physics:
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Dylann
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(Original post by Hellper)
Thanks a lot for advice everyone and thanks for starting the thread.
I just have one question, can anyone tell me useful sites for each of the subjects below:
Business Studies:
Chemistry:
Physics:
www.a-levelchemistry.co.uk for Ocr and AQA specs
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Dylann
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The best thread ever created on TSR "Things you wish you knew before a-level"
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LilyZo
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1) How was Year 12 for you?
Year 12 was a bit of an adjustment from being the one who didn't revise particularly hard for anything to being in an environment full of people similar to me academically meaning I had to revise and work to get back on track. It's a lot like 'Big fish in small pond to little fish in big pond' effect.

2)Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?
It's however stressful you make it, if you're a worrier, you'll find it heaps more stressful than GCSEs but if you're more laid back you'll appreciate the learning curve and not let it throw you off course.

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?
I started minor revision in March when my mocks began and as soon as they were over I geared it up to doing an hour of revision per subject a night.

4) How many exams did you sit in total?
I sat 5 exams.

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
Don't think you're defined by a grade, I saw a lot of GCSE A* students crying their eyes out when they got Es and Ds in the first couple of months of year 12. You know you're better than that and you need to just go through your adjustment time to find your feat again.




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LilyZo
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(Original post by Hellper)
Thanks a lot for advice everyone and thanks for starting the thread.
I just have one question, can anyone tell me useful sites for each of the subjects below:
Business Studies:
Chemistry:
Physics:
For business studies, Tutor2U is a godsend for condensed info, just check your exam board though


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stewarte
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1) How was Year 12 for you?
It was a really good year, I did enjoy it! It's great being able to study subjects that you actually care about as opposed to having to study subjects like Maths, English & Science when I hated them all! It was a stressful year towards the end and I did have an intense workload. I didn't particularly enjoy the jump from GCSE to A level but I got used to it quickly and I loved my subjects at the end!

2) Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?
Yes. I can't stress this enough. When you're studying for your A levels, you will realise how hard they are in comparison to GCSEs.

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?
I started in April and my first exam wasn't until June. I wish I had've started earlier though because I had 4 subjects to revise for and I ended up not having enough time to revise everything!

4) How many exams did you sit in total?
I had 6 written exams and 2 practicals. My exams were crammed into two weeks!

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
When teachers talk about revising early, PLEASE do it! It's the only thing I regret about not doing. I didn't take a few assignments as seriously as I should have last year and I didn't revise for a few class tests that I really regret doing. As stupid as they may seem, they really are vital. It does make all the difference between grades in the end up. And for homeworks, you need to take them really seriously and not do them in 5 minutes. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to do your homework and not the night before! Make sure to organise yourself and know what homework you're doing when. You're only going to be doing 3-4 subjects and you shouldn't have a whole load of homework each night, you might find one homework might last you the whole night! FINALLY, don't waste your free study periods. I regret doing it. I could've made wise use of them, but unfortunately I didn't use them to their full potential.
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username1431415
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Thanks guys : LilyZo and Dylann
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xtremespec
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(Original post by Master722)
1) Year 12 was a fun year, I met new friends, enjoyed my subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Geography). There was more freedom and independence being in year 12.

2) Yes it was more stressful. Looking back on GCSE's, they weren't hard to prepare for (cramming wasn't a problem). But with your AS don't have a GCSE mentality. You will fall behind and cramming isn't the solution.

3) I started revising in December for Mocks, but real revision was around late March.

4)I had 9 Exams and 2 Coursework units (Biology and Chemistry EMPAs)

5) There are so many things you need to be aware of but a summary

* Meet new people (or atleast make the effort)
*DO Homework (like for real, Do it and not on the day its due, or on the bus to school)
*Be Organised (have folders and dividers for each subject)
*Be punctual
*Evaluate what you've learnt (read over your notes at home)
*Choose the Right subjects (what i mean is choose subjects that you want to learn and will enjoy or else you will just drop it mid year or try to change to a different one and be far behind.)
*Don't waste your Frees (spending time with your friends is great and all but don't do it if you have work to do)
*Don't rely on your teachers (Their job is to teach you but you need to make an effort to learn. Do some research/ further reading on topics. Find useful resources such as Chemguide or exam board websites, don't rely on your teacher's handouts)

Just enjoy your year and have fun.

What subjects are you choosing?

EDIT: Formatting
Thank you very much for your feedback! Oh and I'm doing maths, biology, economics and chemistry.

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HollieAMarie
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1) How was Year 12 for you?
Year 12 was a really challenging and exciting year. Having gone into the Sixth Form at my Secondary School I was familiar with staff and the site. One of the big things for me compared to GCSE was that the teachers are a lot more genuine with you. They tend to be more honest about your progress and are more approachable. The Sixth Form environment is a lot more relaxed than lower school which a really good thing for settling into a new situation.

2) Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?
Yes! Don't underestimate the difficulty of A-levels. It's important to look at you A-levels as a big step up from GCSE rather than the same thing again - even if it feels that way to start with. The temptation to abuse the new blank spot in your timetable was something that people had problems with at my Sixth Form to begin with, use your frees wisely!

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?
The end of March/April. Having taking Theatre Studies, I had to start my performance exam preparation in February.

4) How many exams did you sit in total?
2 Performance Exams, 7 Written Exams + 1 EMPA (physics) and 1 ISA (biology)

And finally, the big question...

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
- Homework becomes a must, if you don't do it you run the risk of getting kicked out, just do it. However, if you have a genuine reason for not being able to do homework then explain it fully to the teacher as soon as you can.
- Use frees wisely.
- Don't work 24/7. It doesn't help. Eat properly, get a good nights sleep, spend a suitable amount of time on homework and revision per week (my sixth form says 4 hours of homework per subject per week at AS).
- If you have any problem with doing any of the things listed above then tell someone.
- Predicted grades aren't all they're cracked up to be.
- Don't be afraid of saying that you don't understand something or asking a question.
- Start thinking about degrees/employment/apprenticeships if you haven't already, find out what grades you need in each subject.
- Enjoy your first year of Sixth Form!

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Toriar
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1) How was Year 12 for you?
Good because I actually enjoyed all my lessons so going to college never felt like a chore.

2) Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?
In one way it is because you have to do a bit more revision and have to understand harder concepts, but in another way it's not because you're only doing 4 subjects. So overall I'd say it's a bit more stressful but not massively.

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?
Well, I made sure I stayed on top of classwork so that I wouldn't need to do loads of revision, so I started for maths about a month or so before the exams I think because that's when I had mocks, but for all my other subjects it was a week or 2 before the exams and it wasn't much revision, maybe just an hour or 2 each day.

4) How many exams did you sit in total?
8

And finally, the big question...

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
Don't let work pile up throughout the year otherwise it is harder to revise. Ask questions in all your lessons, even if you feel like you're annoying your teacher, because at the end of the day they're there to help you so you should use their knowledge to maximise your grade as much as possible.
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robzwolf
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As someone who's going into Year 12 in just a few days, this is a really helpful and insightful thread.

The general message I'm getting is this:
• Year 12 is more relaxed and enjoyable as it's a focus purely on subjects you enjoy (no English Lit. or History, hurrah!!)
• BUT the content is a significant step up from GCSE
• As long as you keep up-to-date with revision and homework, and make sure that you clear up topics you don't understand, you'll be fine.

Thanks so much to all for their advice :-)
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Planckton
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(Original post by xtremespec)
So I've just got my GCSE results and I'm moderately happy with them. I thought that I'd make this thread so all upcoming year 12's will hopefully know what to expect in the next year. So to begin with..

1) How was Year 12 for you?

2) Is it a lot more stressful than GCSEs?

3) When did you start revising for your AS exams?

4) How many exams did you sit in total?

And finally, the big question...

5) What advice do you have for upcoming Year 12's?
Was looking forward to this thread so I can share last year's words of wisdom
Just made it out of Year 12 alive...

1) Loved it. I went to my school's sixth form, but it was still really different socially. All the groups interact more, there's very little (if any) social hierarchy, and you discover people with similar interests, even if you've known them for years!
Obviously the work load is a step up from GCSE, but that's for Q2. I really did enjoy AS, so yeah.

2) Lots more work. That being said, I didn't do anything at GCSE, it all came naturally and I barely revised. In September I decided to get As and so I worked hard all year. Having done so, it wasn't highly stressful at all. Stressful enough for me to want to get things done, but not so stressful I felt overwhelmed. I did science subjects though (except French) so was only doing say 1 essay a week, whereas people who did some combo of essay subjects had to do more work.

3) For physics, I started past papers at Easter. For everything else, way after that. I didn't revise at all for French, because I couldn't work out how to, but the exam was fine anyway. (For French, I would say that it's essential to prepare for the oral properly. I scraped an A because I was underprepared.) Apparently I'm unusual because I don't re-read notes etc, I just plough straight into past papers, but that works for me.

4) 12 (16 including ISAs) 2 for French, Physics and Chemistry, then 3 each for Maths and FM. Spread over more than a month though so it was all good!

5) It is harder than GCSE. Expect to not understand things. Expect to have to work hard. Then do it.
Uni offers depend on your grades this year, so work as hard as you can, and maybe you'll have a nice surprise on results day when you've smashed your predicted grades!
(That being said, don't be disheartened if they're not the best, there are always options).

Stay sane xxx
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