Starting Sixth Form in September? Here's some advice! Watch

HarryEd9899
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So if you've recently finished Year 11, you'll be waiting for your results, and then some of you will intend on going to Sixth Form in September. Having just completed my first year of Sixth Form, let me provide you with some advice:

1) Mindsets

I went into Sixth Form on my first day, and my mindset was that it would be similar to GCSEs, that it wouldn't be too difficult and I'd have plenty of free time. Now I was wrong here, but I'm certainly not implying you'll find it incredibly hard or that you'll have no free time, of course you will, but you will be required to do plenty of work in your spare time. After the first few weeks, I began to notice I should really be speeding up in my ways, and found that it would have been better to enter Sixth Form with a positive mindset, and a motivational mindset to prepare me for the work. I was pleased that I forced that mindset upon me early as some folk I know who didn't do that struggled towards the exam period.

2) What to take?

So I'm sure some of you will be thinking what you need to take with you when you go. Now to put things short, I had 10 folders in total, along with 10 notepads and many many pens. Don't let this worry you though, I will explain my system, then you'll see it doesn't sound as depressing as I make out!

First of all, I had two folders for each subject (so that's 8 so far). You're likely to have two teachers per subject, so I made sure I had one for each teacher. This is handy in subjects like history as, for example, one teacher taught me Russian history, the other British history. I'd advise you have file dividers as well for each topic, and I'd date all pieces of paper as it really helps your filing system! Now, I didn't take any of these to school.

This is where the ninth folder comes in. This was my "weekly folder". This is where I'd file the weeks work (again, dated and filed correctly), and then at the end of the week, I would file them in their relevant folder (these being the 8 folders). This saves you carrying folders to school. And if you need anything from an earlier lesson, presuming it was in the same week, you can go back to it in your weekly folder, and look at the date of it to see if it was that lesson.

My tenth folder came in for revision notes. I'd advise you make revision notes at the end of each topic, as this saves you cramming it all in once you've learnt everything, and are preparing to take your exams. Cramming is a very bad idea.

I had 10 notepads as I put one in the front of every folder, for any notes relevant to that folder. You might not want to do this, but I feel it was good.

You'll be making lots of notes, and most schools don't provide you with notepads, so it's handy to have some, another reason to why it's good to have plenty of pens!

I'd also highly suggest you take highlighters. I've never found so much joy in them since joining Sixth Form! They are great for going over revision notes, and having the different colours is great. In subjects like history, it's handy as you can have a colour for a date, a colour for a name, and other areas etc...

You'll be given textbooks, however it can be handy to purchase extra-reading books, like in English literature, buying revision guides for texts you study can be a good call. Don't be afraid to make light notes with a pencil in your books, just ensure you rub them out before handing them back.

Make sure you have a memory stick. I can promise you that you will do work on a computer at some point in your year. It's handy to have one so you can take stuff home and finish them/amend them/print them. I'd advise you print off all computer work for your folder, again, dating it.

3) Sixth Form Life

Sixth Form life is wonderful. Most Sixth Forms are very sociable and nice-to-be places. Your teachers are likely to be more "friendly" with you, and more accepting of things like forgetting pieces of work - however don't use this as a way of not doing any work. You will find though it is very sociable during free periods, however I would advise you to use them wisely. In the run up to the exams, our free periods were completely silent due to revision. Because of the social element, it can be easy to get distracted at times during independent work, so just keep in mind that they really are good, especially for things like homework if you've forgot to do it at home!

If you are off anytime during Sixth Form, do not think you can merely forget about the work from that day, ensure that you go and see your teachers and collect the work! I missed some work from one day, and there was a 2 marker on the sociology exam that was about something learnt that day, and gosh I felt like a fool. Luckily I was aware of the definition, but please do make sure you collect any missed work.

4) Exam Period

Like all things, there's a negative somewhere. The negative of Sixth Form being you'll have exams at the end of it! The exams shouldn't be feared. They will be tricky, but like all exams, if you put the work in, you will do fine. You will get plenty of support from your teachers, and they will be likely to hold revision sessions. I really would advise you to go to revision sessions. The exam period will be stressful, and there will be hiccups here and there, but the main thing is not to worry too much about it as it won't help. If you're in doubt, speak with either your head of year, or a subject teacher.

5) Other Things

I can't think of many other things right now that may be of help. Just basic things like the libraries are a fantastic source for certain subjects (if your institution has a library) like history during your personal study. And also, don't give up on Sixth Form, don't mess around, respect the teachers. Giving up is a bad idea. I know people who've done it and they regret dropping out. Obviously, if you're finding it incredibly difficult, it may be a good idea, but make sure you go over your thoughts many times, you don't want to make a rash decision. Like anywhere in the school, teachers won't put up with messing around or disrespect. You'll be old enough to understand that you shouldn't be messing about. I've noticed that teachers happily accept more "friendly banter" in the class, but certainly don't go ahead and try and be as daft as possible, it's not worth it. Finally, if you respect your teachers, and you accept what they say, they will be just as kind to you in return when you're in need of anything.

That's pretty much everything I can think of, but if you have any questions, please do feel free to ask!
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,L,
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Really good post!
I'm a year 13 student
You're mindset advice is really good. Loads of people love to say a levels are incredibly hard compared to GCSEs but they're not impossible! If you dedicate your time you can easily ace your AS levels.
One thing I would add is be wary when you first start socialising, lot of people act nothing like they actually are in the first few weeks.
You should make an attempt at socialising but do not spend more than a few weeks at it. You should start revising properly after a month of starting A levels if you want good grades
You should spend your free periods revising not socialising. Don't follow the crowd, cause the majority of first time sixth form students do poorly as they don't take a levels too seriously and spend their free periods talking
Also be deterred by poor mock results. In all my mocks I was getting Es and Us but I ended with BBC. Most of the people who get As are usually retakers or cheaters
If you're doing practicals or coursework make sure you come to the student room for "advice" :mmm:
If you need more advice feel free to PM me
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MissDobalina
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Fantastic post, lovely to see that it's not just me who gets excited about stationery. My crush during A2s was mildliners, pastel highlighters. I did make sure that I had all my notes digitalised though, because typing them up was a great way to revise, and it meant that I had all my notes safe and in one place if I suddenly needed them while in class

(Original post by ,L,)
Most of the people who get As are usually retakers or cheaters
Or people who work very hard and love what they do! It comes across as a tad dismissive to label such people as cheats To work hard, you need to have the mindset that you're capable of achieving top grades, and telling others that the only way to get those grades is by cheating or resitting isn't at all productive
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,L,
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(Original post by MissDobalina)
Fantastic post, lovely to see that it's not just me who gets excited about stationery. My crush during A2s was mildliners, pastel highlighters. I did make sure that I had all my notes digitalised though, because typing them up was a great way to revise, and it meant that I had all my notes safe and in one place if I suddenly needed them while in class



Or people who work very hard and love what they do! It comes across as a tad dismissive to label such people as cheats To work hard, you need to have the mindset that you're capable of achieving top grades, and telling others that the only way to get those grades is by cheating or resitting isn't at all productive
Lol i'm sorry some people who do get good mock grades do work hard. In my sixth form all the people who aced mocks failed at the end of the year with Es and Us.
BTW I wasn't trying to offend anyone, I was just don't be dismayed by bad mock results, you still have the ability to leave with good grades ,which is a positive message
It can be incredibly discouraging when you're working your butt off but other people acing mocks by cheating are supposedly doing better than you
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HarryEd9899
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L, I wouldn't necessarily say those who get As are the retakers/cheaters. A friend of mine achieved four A's in Year 12, and she worked incredibly hard to achieve that. There will certainly be more who achieved similar, but it is true that you can achieve better if you re take an exam. Frees can be sociable, and I agree that's it's important not to use them just for socialising, however the Sixth Form community in general is a sociable experience, especially during things like charity challenges.

MissDobalina, there's many folk out there who love stationary! It certainly does wonders when you're more independent. I remember turning up on my first day expecting an exercise book and a pen because I'd forgot mine! Boy was I wrong!
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brainzistheword
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(Original post by HarryEd9899)
L, I wouldn't necessarily say those who get As are the retakers/cheaters. A friend of mine achieved four A's in Year 12, and she worked incredibly hard to achieve that. There will certainly be more who achieved similar, but it is true that you can achieve better if you re take an exam. Frees can be sociable, and I agree that's it's important not to use them just for socialising, however the Sixth Form community in general is a sociable experience, especially during things like charity challenges.

MissDobalina, there's many folk out there who love stationary! It certainly does wonders when you're more independent. I remember turning up on my first day expecting an exercise book and a pen because I'd forgot mine! Boy was I wrong!
If you don't mind me asking - what subjects did you do? Btw - amazing post, really helpful as I've just finished GCSE
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HarryEd9899
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No problem! And I did English Literature, Applied Science, Sociology and History
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brainzistheword
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(Original post by HarryEd9899)
No problem! And I did English Literature, Applied Science, Sociology and History
Cool - that's a good mix did you do AS exams for the new spec (if that applies to you), and if you did, good luck with the results
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HarryEd9899
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I did the new spec, yeah. It's quite annoying though as we can't do much with these results, but they're a good idea at where i am! Thanks!
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brainzistheword
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(Original post by HarryEd9899)
I did the new spec, yeah. It's quite annoying though as we can't do much with these results, but they're a good idea at where i am! Thanks!
You're welcome - have you done anything like EPQ or D of E?
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HarryEd9899
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I didn't do the DofE, and I took interest in the EPQ, and I'd advise folk to do it, however I eventually took the option not to do it.
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bubblegum789
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hi guys..
i'm also starting sixth form this year!!

i'm really nervous as i haven't decided the subjects i'll be taking and what course to do in uni...

please give me some advice...........
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HarryEd9899
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I shall send you a message!
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Leah45
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This is really helpful coming from a just finished GCSE student! Thank you for this!
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HarryEd9899
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No problem Leah - good luck with Sixth Form!
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jazz_xox_
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Thanks for this post it was very helpful . It sounds like you have just had your first year at sixth form and appears you have done the new specs. I want to know if we still do AS exams (for me it would be summer next year) and get the results from them? I've heard that we now just get results at the end of the 2nd year but I don't understand this, do you know?
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bubblegum789
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(Original post by HarryEd9899)
I shall send you a message!
thankyou
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brainzistheword
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(Original post by jazz_xox_)
Thanks for this post it was very helpful . It sounds like you have just had your first year at sixth form and appears you have done the new specs. I want to know if we still do AS exams (for me it would be summer next year) and get the results from them? I've heard that we now just get results at the end of the 2nd year but I don't understand this, do you know?
Yes we can still the AS exams but not all colleges will, so you'll have to check with them. If you do sit them officially, then you'll get the grades and everything as you do with GCSE, but when you go to do A2, none of your scores will count towards the A2 exams.
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