A Guide to Transitioning Years: Sixth Form/College

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absolutelysprout
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YEAR 11 TO YEAR 12

contrary to what some people would like you to believe, the jump between gcses and year 12 is not that bad, providing you are organised with your time and put the effort in for your subjects throughout the year.

some of the bigger changes are-

you'll have more independence- you will likely have study periods and teachers may be less strict with you in terms of things like completing homework and classwork. it'll be your responsibility to ask teachers for help and to complete the work. your relationships with teachers may be different to how they were previously.

you are doing less subjects; however, don't underestimate the workload!! you'll be covering content at a quicker pace compared to gcse, and will likely be set more homework to ensure you understand the content.
bear in mind you're some of the oldest students in the school so younger years may view you as examples of good behaviour.




what you can do between year 11 and 12:

to prepare for your a level subjects, you could read over the specification and if relevant and revise gcse content so it remains fresh in your mind. cgp do some books specially for the transition, which you can find on amazon. but don't overdo it- there's only so much you can do- you deserve the break after gcses so make sure you're doing fun stuff too

clear out your notes- any notes for subjects you're not planning to do at a level, get rid of and organise your workspace ready for the next two years. you'll probably find that you won't need much of your gcse notes either once you've started the a level course.
would definitely recommend buying a binder for each of your subjects- the notes will accumulate quickly and organisation will make revision much less stressful!

complete transition work set by the school, if you have any. don't worry if you don't have any- some schools will strongly encourage students to bridge the gap with this work and some schools don't offer it at all. it won't massively affect how do you at a-level.




tips for year 12:

don't let work pile up and make organisation a regular habit, whether that'd be sorting your notes out into folders once a week and writing notes as you go along. you'll find year 13 less stressful if you organise yourself in year 12 :yep:
i'd recommend getting a 'day' folder that you take with you to school- in this, you'll just put your notes needed for the day (or week) rather than carrying around heavy subject folders.

your teachers are there to help. don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification on concepts you don't understand- understanding the content is important whatever year you're in. getting low grades at the beginning is perfectly normal; it can take a while to adjust :yep:

create a revision/study timetable- you can easily create one on google sheets or the app adapt creates one for you. it doesn't need to be strict, but having a schedule to follow may make your life easier when working around other commitments.

make use of your free periods to complete coursework, revision notes etc. though they'll seem like just extra time to relax in the beginning, work will pile up quickly and you'll thank yourself in the future if you're productive in most of them! setting up good habits is easier than breaking unhelpful ones.
Last edited by absolutelysprout; 5 days ago
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absolutelysprout
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YEAR 12 TO YEAR 13

the change isn't bad here either!! you'll feel greater pressure perhaps from teachers and yourself as you gear up for the summer exams, but as long as you maintain a good work ethic throughout the year and organise yourself from the beginning you'll be fine.



what you should do in the summer holidays:

sort out your year 12 notes- ensure they're good enough to revise from and that they cover the content that has been covered so far. i recommend having separate folder for year 12 and year 13 content. use dividers so it's easy to pick out and refer to notes later.

start thinking about your personal statement whether you're applying for uni or an apprenticeship- what things will you be putting in it?? have you done some things to demonstrate your interest in the subject or field?? make a list of potential things you could put in it. this could be extra reading, attending lectures/conferences, listening to a podcast...

relax! year 13'll be a fairly intense year so don't overwork yourself. remember to take some time out for yourself, meet up with friends etc.

review your year 12 knowledge- look at any exams you've done in the year to identify gaps in your knowledge and take the time to fill in these gaps. a weak or average year 12 performance won't necessarily determine how you do in year 13- you'll have plenty of opportunity to make further progress and lots of people do as they work out what exam techniques are best for them in specific subjects. a little bit of revision, especially towards the end of the summer is better than no revision at all.

complete summer homework! this may be work set by teachers, something towards your epq or writing up first drafts of your coursework. you will have something to do in the summer, no doubt about that!




the first few months of year 13 you'll probably find yourself quite busy with sorting out your ucas application, mocks, interviews, any admission tests you need to take etc. start prepping for these in the summer holidays whether that be creating checklists for your first few weeks back or aiming to do several practice admission tests every week if possible.
Last edited by absolutelysprout; 1 week ago
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absolutelysprout
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:bump: have you guys got any tips of your own if you've experienced sixth form/college already? share them here
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MartinisSkip
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(Original post by absolutelysprout)
"contrary to what some people would like you to believe, the jump between gcses and year 12 is not bad at all, providing you are organised with your time and put the effort in for your subjects throughout the year"
I would say it is a leap; while I think students shouldn't be scared, they should be aware of the realities.
I agree that it isn't that bad if you put in the effort, but things do change that take time to get used to. The first essay I got back in year 12 got a D, and at GCSE I had been used to getting As! This was disheartening, but when I spoke to my tutor about it, he told me it was usual because essay technique changes somewhat in year 12. I stuck at it, and ended up getting great grades overall, so my advice is that there are some things that will catch you by surprise, but you've gotta stick at it and not let it get you down, and seek help when you need it!
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absolutelysprout
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(Original post by MartinisSkip)
I would say it is a leap; while I think students shouldn't be scared, they should be aware of the realities.
I agree that it isn't that bad if you put in the effort, but things do change that take time to get used to. The first essay I got back in year 12 got a D, and at GCSE I had been used to getting As! This was disheartening, but when I spoke to my tutor about it, he told me it was usual because essay technique changes somewhat in year 12. I stuck at it, and ended up getting great grades overall, so my advice is that there are some things that will catch you by surprise, but you've gotta stick at it and not let it get you down, and seek help when you need it!
this is great advice! it definitely was disheartening at first to get low grades but you gotta remember you're just at the start and adjusting can take a while :yep:
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Becca216
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(Original post by absolutelysprout)
YEAR 11 TO YEAR 12

contrary to what some people would like you to believe, the jump between gcses and year 12 is not that bad, providing you are organised with your time and put the effort in for your subjects throughout the year.

some of the bigger changes are-

you'll have more independence- you will likely have study periods and teachers may be less strict with you in terms of things like completing homework and classwork. it'll be your responsibility to ask teachers for help and to complete the work. your relationships with teachers may be different to how they were previously.

you are doing less subjects; however, don't underestimate the workload!! you'll be covering content at a quicker pace compared to gcse, and will likely be set more homework to ensure you understand the content.
bear in mind you're some of the oldest students in the school so younger years may view you as examples of good behaviour.




what you can do between year 11 and 12:

to prepare for your a level subjects, you could read over the specification and if relevant and revise gcse content so it remains fresh in your mind. cgp do some books specially for the transition, which you can find on amazon. but don't overdo it- there's only so much you can do- you deserve the break after gcses so make sure you're doing fun stuff too

clear out your notes- any notes for subjects you're not planning to do at a level, get rid of and organise your workspace ready for the next two years. you'll probably find that you won't need much of your gcse notes either once you've started the a level course.
would definitely recommend buying a binder for each of your subjects- the notes will accumulate quickly and organisation will make revision much less stressful!

complete transition work set by the school, if you have any. don't worry if you don't have any- some schools will strongly encourage students to bridge the gap with this work and some schools don't offer it at all. it won't massively affect how do you at a-level.




tips for year 12:

don't let work pile up and make organisation a regular habit, whether that'd be sorting your notes out into folders once a week and writing notes as you go along. you'll find year 13 less stressful if you organise yourself in year 12 :yep:
i'd recommend getting a 'day' folder that you take with you to school- in this, you'll just put your notes needed for the day (or week) rather than carrying around heavy subject folders.

your teachers are there to help. don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification on concepts you don't understand- understanding the content is important whatever year you're in. getting low grades at the beginning is perfectly normal; it can take a while to adjust :yep:

create a revision/study timetable- you can easily create one on google sheets or the app adapt creates one for you. it doesn't need to be strict, but having a schedule to follow may make your life easier when working around other commitments.

make use of your free periods to complete coursework, revision notes etc. though they'll seem like just extra time to relax in the beginning, work will pile up quickly and you'll thank yourself in the future if you're productive in most of them! setting up good habits is easier than breaking unhelpful ones.
A tip to anyone starting Y12: (From someone who has just finished Y12)

Take any opportunities you can throughout year 12: This could be extra-curricular activities, any optional tests/Olympiads (UKMT or Physics Olympiad for example), competitions run in school (for example my local district did an inter-school engineering contest over a couple of days), uni taster days, sign up to summer schools, work experience.....etc. In other words anything that could help boost your personal statement/CV, don't worry if you don't know what you want to do post-18 yet, doing activities can help you cross things off and decide what things you really enjoy

If you do know what you want to study at uni or have a rough idea, have a look at some courses and may be attended a couple of open days if possible at the start or year 12, this will take the pressure off looking round unis next year (as open days often clash with each other) and may also motivate you to do well in your alevels.
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absolutelysprout
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(Original post by Becca216)
A tip to anyone starting Y12: (From someone who has just finished Y12)

Take any opportunities you can throughout year 12: This could be extra-curricular activities, any optional tests/Olympiads (UKMT or Physics Olympiad for example), competitions run in school (for example my local district did an inter-school engineering contest over a couple of days), uni taster days, sign up to summer schools, work experience.....etc. In other words anything that could help boost your personal statement/CV, don't worry if you don't know what you want to do post-18 yet, doing activities can help you cross things off and decide what things you really enjoy

If you do know what you want to study at uni or have a rough idea, have a look at some courses and may be attended a couple of open days if possible at the start or year 12, this will take the pressure off looking round unis next year (as open days often clash with each other) and may also motivate you to do well in your alevels.
great tip!! year 12's a good year to take advantage of these things :yep: and prepare for year 13 and beyond!
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maschro
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Thanks for the advice

I'm going into year 12 in September, but I'm kind of confused as to what stationery would be a good idea to have? Do I take 4 different notebooks, or do I just take one and tear out the pages? Do I take a refill pad or an exercise book or a spiral bound one or what? Do I need squared paper for maths? For a day folder, do I need a lever arch file, or will a ring binder be enough? Do I need 4 different lever arch files at home?

Sorry for all the questions haha, but I would appreciate it if someone could clear a few things up for me?
Last edited by maschro; 3 days ago
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Becca216
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(Original post by maschro)
Thanks for the advice

I'm going into year 12 in September, but I'm kind of confused as to what stationery would be a good idea to have? Do I take 4 different notebooks, or do I just take one and tear out the pages? Do I take a refill pad or an exercise book or a spiral bound one or what? Do I need squared paper for maths? For a day folder, do I need a lever arch file, or will a ring binder be enough? Do I need 4 different lever arch files at home?

Sorry for all the questions haha, but I would appreciate it if someone could clear a few things up for me?
So basic stationary I would have pens (2 or 3+ colours would be ideal), pencils, ruler, rubber, highlighters would be your main ones. I don’t think I’ve ever used it in maths but i do have a protractor which is often used in physics. What paper you take is up to you, I take a refill pad and tear out the pages but i do know people who have a notebook for each topic. I have never used square paper in maths (I think) and your school might provide you some if it is necessary.

So in terms of folders I have a large ring binder which I take every day, and then I have loads of leaver arch files at home. I started with 4 (one for each subject) but I now have 10 and I’ve only finished year 12. I would say start with 4 though as I k ow some people who have only used one per subject, and you can easily buy more throughout the year (I get mine from Wilkos and the range but most stationary shops seen them).

Hope this helps
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maschro
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(Original post by Becca216)
So basic stationary I would have pens (2 or 3+ colours would be ideal), pencils, ruler, rubber, highlighters would be your main ones. I don’t think I’ve ever used it in maths but i do have a protractor which is often used in physics. What paper you take is up to you, I take a refill pad and tear out the pages but i do know people who have a notebook for each topic. I have never used square paper in maths (I think) and your school might provide you some if it is necessary.

So in terms of folders I have a large ring binder which I take every day, and then I have loads of leaver arch files at home. I started with 4 (one for each subject) but I now have 10 and I’ve only finished year 12. I would say start with 4 though as I k ow some people who have only used one per subject, and you can easily buy more throughout the year (I get mine from Wilkos and the range but most stationary shops seen them).

Hope this helps
Thank you so much
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absolutelysprout
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(Original post by maschro)
Thanks for the advice

I'm going into year 12 in September, but I'm kind of confused as to what stationery would be a good idea to have? Do I take 4 different notebooks, or do I just take one and tear out the pages? Do I take a refill pad or an exercise book or a spiral bound one or what? Do I need squared paper for maths? For a day folder, do I need a lever arch file, or will a ring binder be enough? Do I need 4 different lever arch files at home?

Sorry for all the questions haha, but I would appreciate it if someone could clear a few things up for me?
i took a refill pad and tore out the pages, depends on your preferences though! i feel like a refill pad is easier than several notebooks. i used a ring binder for my day folder and never had any problems with it being too full as i sorted through the notes regularly i'd definitely have a lever arch file for each subject at home; you'll likely find you will fill one up for year 12 and one for year 13.
the stationery i didn't find much different from gcse apart from bringing my own paper.
hope this helps
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maschro
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(Original post by absolutelysprout)
i took a refill pad and tore out the pages, depends on your preferences though! i feel like a refill pad is easier than several notebooks. i used a ring binder for my day folder and never had any problems with it being too full as i sorted through the notes regularly i'd definitely have a lever arch file for each subject at home; you'll likely find you will fill one up for year 12 and one for year 13.
the stationery i didn't find much different from gcse apart from bringing my own paper.
hope this helps
Thanks
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