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Calling all year 11s! You're going to start your A-Levels soon, ask me anything!

You're all going to start your A-Levels in less than 2 months which means you all are going to make some big decisions about what courses you want to do, where you might want to do them, etc.
Ask me anything about Sixth Form, A-Level choices and about making the right decision. I'm here to help!

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Original post by JA03
You're all going to start your A-Levels in less than 2 months which means you all are going to make some big decisions about what courses you want to do, where you might want to do them, etc.
Ask me anything about Sixth Form, A-Level choices and about making the right decision. I'm here to help!


What a levels did you take?
Original post by JA03
You're all going to start your A-Levels in less than 2 months which means you all are going to make some big decisions about what courses you want to do, where you might want to do them, etc.
Ask me anything about Sixth Form, A-Level choices and about making the right decision. I'm here to help!

On average how much study hours should be done per day? Any regrets? Anything you wish you'd done from the beginning of year 12 that you now regret? Any advice or hacks to make all this easier? Study techniques that you swear by? How much extracurriculars should I do? When should I start writing my personal statement?

Sorry for bombarding you
Original post by abubakar06
On average how much study hours should be done per day? Any regrets? Anything you wish you'd done from the beginning of year 12 that you now regret? Any advice or hacks to make all this easier? Study techniques that you swear by? How much extracurriculars should I do? When should I start writing my personal statement?

Sorry for bombarding you


Hey, I’ve also just finished my A Levels so perhaps I could also help? So I took Law, Psychology and sociology incase you want to know. When it comes to study times, everyone is different. I knew some people who did an hour or so 3 times a week and then others who did a couple of hours a day. It’s purely based on how much time you personally have to study and the motivation to do so. For me, I started off only really revising when I had a test coming up which would mean a couple of hours a day until the test and then stop. Coming up to the actual exams I was doing wayyyy more but you’ll find what personally suits you best. I don’t regret not pushing myself to do more as I learnt my brain limit, and when I reached this limit I stopped as if I carried on learning in that state, nothing would have gone in and I would have just gotten really frustrated with myself. I wish that at the beginning of year 12 I didn’t worry so much about the little tests. At the end of the day, they don’t mean much they are purely to track progress, they don’t count towards your end grade. Obviously give it your best go, but don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped. If you want to hang out with your friends rather than study, do it! It’s only year 12, just set aside some time to study, don’t let it take over your whole life. Advice and hacks to make life easier is don’t leave homework till that last minute. Tell yourself the deadline is earlier and try to do it the day or day after it’s set so you don’t have to worry about it. If you struggle, don’t give up. Have a break and come back to it, and if this doesn’t work after 2 tries, ask family and friends and then go to a teacher. Study techniques I swear by are putting the lesson notes into your own notes, whether that’s flash cards or mindmaps e.t.c and then LEARN IT!!! I find for short term memory, learning it off by heart so you can recite it word for word the best. Focus more on the things you don’t understand, and try to understand the meaning of what your learning as this helps send it to the long term memory. In terms of extracurriculars, this depends on you. I did none and turned out okay, but they definitely help with job and uni applications so they won’t hurt, they’ll only benefit you. I think for writing your personal statement, you can start a draft version at any point and just amend it as time goes on. I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck starting year 12!!!
Original post by abubakar06
On average how much study hours should be done per day? Any regrets? Anything you wish you'd done from the beginning of year 12 that you now regret? Any advice or hacks to make all this easier? Study techniques that you swear by? How much extracurriculars should I do? When should I start writing my personal statement?

Sorry for bombarding you


I do history, maths, further maths and economics and did an EPQ for context and have just finished year 12, getting 4 A* predicted + 49/50 for my EPQ.

For year 12, you don't really need to set aside that much time specifically for 'study' after school. I used the majority of my free periods (3 in one week and 5 in the other) to do work and then did my homework after school, which I found was enough for me, but you might want to do more/less depending on your situation. Obviously this varied slightly if I had more work to do - for example, if I had a test the next day, I would spend 1-2 hours revising for that. My advice to make your life easier would be to not spend too much time revising - don't burn yourself out in the first term of year 12, A-levels are a marathon not a sprint. In terms of study techniques, it really depends on the subject. Personally, I swear by flashcards for key facts (e.g. trig identities for maths, definitions for economics) and timelines for history. Practice questions (textbook or past paper) are what I mainly use for maths, and although I haven't really done that many full essay questions for history and economics because I have only just finished year 12 and haven't entered full revision mode yet, I do still use past papers for them to inform my revision (e.g. what topics come up the most. examiners reports to see what the examiners are looking for, getting used to the style of question).

In terms of extracurriculars, do as many as you want to do and feel you will have fun doing. Obviously there are certain courses, like medicine, which require volunteering/work experience so try and get some of that if it applies to you. Ideally, you should try and have at least one extra-curricular/hobby that is NOT related to what degree you want to do to show you are well rounded - sport is always a good one and has the bonus of keeping you healthy. In terms of a personal statement, I would say you probably don't need to start properly writing until the summer holidays (unless your school wants you to do it before then - I know Oxbridge candidates had to have a first draft in before the summer at my school). You should keep it in your mind throughout the year in case the opportunity to do something related to the degree you want to do (if you want to go to uni) comes up - e.g. a MOOC, a Ted Talk, work experience - or if you don't know what you want to do then you should start coming up with some ideas during year 12 and start to narrow it down. Overall though, you don't need to stress too much about it in the first term, a lot of stuff for your personal statement will be done in the summer holidays, but I would recommend trying to figure out what you want to do after A-levels as soon as possible
what if i cant make any new friends bc im going to a different sixth form
Original post by axyxn980
what if i cant make any new friends bc im going to a different sixth form

You’ll meet a lot of new people on the first day. They may have the same interests! A lot of new people came to the school I was already attending and some of us have became really good friends but some old friends have drifted. However, you’ll make friends - it’s inevitable.
Original post by abubakar06
On average how much study hours should be done per day? Any regrets? Anything you wish you'd done from the beginning of year 12 that you now regret? Any advice or hacks to make all this easier? Study techniques that you swear by? How much extracurriculars should I do? When should I start writing my personal statement?

Sorry for bombarding you

Many people studied around 1-3 hours per day due to teacher recommendation to do some consolidation of the lesson notes.
I initially regretted Spanish but I think I was pressured by my Spanish teacher because I had a natural talent for it however I realised I didn’t like it quickly and switched my A-Level, best decision ever!
I wish I applied for more things for the summer/easter such as summer schools, more placements, etc but I wasn’t told much about them so myself and peers were almost left in the dark.
Choose subjects you love. It will make the motivation to study so much easier instead of doing a subject you despise. Make your revision material as you go however if you decide to do a science-based subject including maths - do active recall techniques because sciences are by far the hardest A-Levels you’ll take. However it is great to do some exam practice and (if you take an essay-based subject) revise structures to essay questions - they can be lifesavers.
Exam questions and flashcards! Especially for biology and chemistry - in Chemistry, the questions are super repetitive so doing past papers work wonders. Biology don’t have much to actually examine you on so past papers work a lot here along with maths too. For flashcards - use anki! It’s an amazing active recall flashcards app which allows for spaced repetition so you can really get the knowledge in your head.
In terms of extracurriculars, doing things like volunteering, work experience, summer schools, applying for summer placements are imperative! Start applying for them in the Winter Term because that’s when a lot of applications start opening. All the things I’ve listed would be amazing to go on your personal statement due to the number of experiences and interchangeable skills you gain!
Start writing your personal statement after your AS exams because that’s when you are beginning to do more extracurriculars (as you would be applying early) and it’s great to start a little but earlier so you can get your final draft perfect! Your personal statement will have many drafts so it’s best to start early!
Original post by axyxn980
what if i cant make any new friends bc im going to a different sixth form


There are going to be soooo many new people. For me, there was no one I knew from my secondary school in my college classes so I had to make new friends. It’s like a domino effect, you make 1 new friend and then they introduce you to their friends, and then you make friends with them and all there friends etc. trust me, you’ll be absolutely fine, just be yourself and complimenting people is always a great start. For example if you go into your first class and sit with someone you don’t know, say “I really like your notebook” or “I really like your shoes” something simple but obviously tailor it for your circumstance. Hopefully that helps :smile:
Original post by abubakar06
On average how much study hours should be done per day? Any regrets? Anything you wish you'd done from the beginning of year 12 that you now regret? Any advice or hacks to make all this easier? Study techniques that you swear by? How much extracurriculars should I do? When should I start writing my personal statement?

Sorry for bombarding you


I have just finished my a-levels (I did biology, geography and textiles) and am now hoping to do environmental geography at york!
my top advice would be do your revison notes as you go along. Don't wait till a topic test or mocks, try and complete you prefered revision material for each subtopic as you do it - this will save you so much time as you get towards the end of a levels and you will then be able to focus on past papers more.
Do as many extracurriculars as you want to do. I did 3 a week and didn't find it too much! It depends on what subjects you take and how much work you do a week.
My one final thing is a levels you enjoy and if you can do a creative subject!! I did and it was such a good choice - once it came to exam season i only have 2 a-levels left and it was so much less stressful!
Start writing personal statement in june/july of year12, then edit and choose uni courses during summer holidays and apply to uni when you return to collage in spetember. I applied really early (20somthing of spetember) which meant i already have 4/5 offers by christmas and it makes life alot less stressful having one thing of your plate (more focus on alevel revison then!!!!)
I hope that makes sence and is helpful - feel free to ask more questions about anything!
Original post by Buddy_1912
Hey, I’ve also just finished my A Levels so perhaps I could also help? So I took Law, Psychology and sociology incase you want to know. When it comes to study times, everyone is different. I knew some people who did an hour or so 3 times a week and then others who did a couple of hours a day. It’s purely based on how much time you personally have to study and the motivation to do so. For me, I started off only really revising when I had a test coming up which would mean a couple of hours a day until the test and then stop. Coming up to the actual exams I was doing wayyyy more but you’ll find what personally suits you best. I don’t regret not pushing myself to do more as I learnt my brain limit, and when I reached this limit I stopped as if I carried on learning in that state, nothing would have gone in and I would have just gotten really frustrated with myself. I wish that at the beginning of year 12 I didn’t worry so much about the little tests. At the end of the day, they don’t mean much they are purely to track progress, they don’t count towards your end grade. Obviously give it your best go, but don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped. If you want to hang out with your friends rather than study, do it! It’s only year 12, just set aside some time to study, don’t let it take over your whole life. Advice and hacks to make life easier is don’t leave homework till that last minute. Tell yourself the deadline is earlier and try to do it the day or day after it’s set so you don’t have to worry about it. If you struggle, don’t give up. Have a break and come back to it, and if this doesn’t work after 2 tries, ask family and friends and then go to a teacher. Study techniques I swear by are putting the lesson notes into your own notes, whether that’s flash cards or mindmaps e.t.c and then LEARN IT!!! I find for short term memory, learning it off by heart so you can recite it word for word the best. Focus more on the things you don’t understand, and try to understand the meaning of what your learning as this helps send it to the long term memory. In terms of extracurriculars, this depends on you. I did none and turned out okay, but they definitely help with job and uni applications so they won’t hurt, they’ll only benefit you. I think for writing your personal statement, you can start a draft version at any point and just amend it as time goes on. I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck starting year 12!!!


I completly agree with all this - also regards homework, if it's a complex homework you think you'll struggle with, do it as soon as you can after the lesson as you'll remeber the lesson better and it allows time to get help if nessicary!
Original post by axyxn980
what if i cant make any new friends bc im going to a different sixth form


don't stress about this! Everyone is in the same situation and you'll meet people dooing extracuriculars, lessons or even just getting lunch!! You just have to be patient and don't expect to have made loads of best friends after day 1!
Original post by _Robyn_
What a levels did you take?


I currently take Biology, Chemistry and Geography
I take OCR A Bio, OCR A chem, and AQA Psych if anyone wants any advice (I'm in year 12 at a sixth form, and hoping to do medicine)
word of the wise:
by christmas at the latest make sure you're using at least some of your frees to revise. it's so easy to get into the habit of waking up late or socialising when you really should use that time to get some work done. please please please decide how to split your free time early on
I do OCR A for both bio and chem. I recommend organisation throughout the year so you can stay on top of it. Use revision guides AND textbooks and keep a copy of the spec with you. Using a folder is ideal for revision. I recommend anki because it’s a great flashcards app for active recall (free if downloaded on laptop/computers - not sure about ipads and phones). A lot of people use Seneca Learning for revision so feel free to use that too. It’s free!

Use your frees to organise or make your revision material. This will allow for you to use your time at home for something you love. Teachers recommend an hour each day per subject of revision but I do more of my revision with flashcards throughout the topic then past papers at the end of the topic to really get it down. But it may be something different with you but if repetition is your best revision strategy then flashcards and past paper questions all the way!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Infinxty09
I take OCR A Bio, OCR A chem, and AQA Psych if anyone wants any advice (I'm in year 12 at a sixth form, and hoping to do medicine)

Nice! Be sure to revise for your UCAT/BMAT this summer for september.
My notes from lessons are physical but my revision material is digital. I make my anki cards myself and I add past paper questions on there. Be sure to separate the revision material by topic and make them after every lesson so you know you got everything. It also makes sure you don’t make doubles of your flashcards to save time!

There are Oxford OCR revision guides that are sooo good! I would recommend getting the textbooks for OCR A Biology and Chemistry then get the Oxford Revise revision guides. My teacher uses them and says they’re really good! They contain summaries, quickfire questions and past paper questions so you can test yourself!

For past paper questions, I use studymind but a lot of people do use physicsandmathstutor so either works!
This probably sounds really annoying but honestly the best way to organise is to stay organised in a way that works for you. Personally I have a divider in my folder for each module, and then one for PAGS, one for revision, one for tests and one for EBAs (so that if I need official practice questions I have them all in one place).

Textbooks I'll think you'll get given by the school, but I bought a chemistry CGP revision bundle at a discount through school that includes a revision guide and an exam practice book. I got given a bio CGP maths skills book.

My notes I write in lessons as well as annotating powerpoints given and just try to keep them as legible and neat as possible. And then I revise bio by making quizlet flashcards and chem by making summarised notes (each topic on a side of A4). Then for both I do as many practice questions (and go over them) as I have time for. Try and keep ahead on revision though, or it'll suddenly start overloading you.

In regards to the spec I make my revision materials following it so that I know I have everything I need and that I'm not wasting my time on stuff that I don't need.

Hope this helps :smile:
The attached photos show the Oxford Revise revision guides I’m talking about.

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