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16 September 2016

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Top tips for starting sixth form

The step up from GCSE to A-Level can be significant in certain subjects and, as a sixth-former, you’ll have to take responsibility for your own learning and time management. You may even be joining us from a different school or college, so will be faced with the added challenge of getting used to a new environment and new faces. But fear not. Thousands of students have been in exactly the same position as you before and have come out the other side with great A-Level results, a secured university place and actually managed to enjoy their time along the way. Here’s some advice from us at Chelsea Independent College to help you make the most of your sixth form studies:

Understand the new A-Level reforms

A-levels are changing. Although some subjects still follow the same format as previously, most have been restructured following the introduction of the reforms. Make sure you know if you’re being entered for AS exams and if they’ll count towards your final A-Level grade. If you’re not sitting the AS exams, remember that you will still be examined on first year material at the end of your second year. Keep a good, clear set of notes that you can refer back to at a later date.

Plan your free time

You’ll have a lot more free time this year than you did whilst studying GCSEs, so use it wisely. Plan your study sessions. One focused hour is a lot more productive than spending two gazing out the window wondering where to start.

Build good relationships with your teachers

Your teachers are there to help and want you to get the best exam results possible. Make sure you get off to a good start by submitting work on time, being punctual and participating in class. If you have questions, don’t be too scared to ask. And remember, we operate an open-door staff room policy so if you need help outside of lessons, you’re always welcome to knock on the door.

Applying to university

Your AS year should be the time where you start thinking about what subject you’d like to study at university and where. This will give you time to consider your options so you don’t end up making any hasty decisions. Speak to your tutors, go to university open days and make sure you attend any UCAS talks or events held at the college. Start to think about your personal statement and what you can do to make yours stand out – take up a new activity, get some work experience or do some further reading.

Join in

And to continue on from the last point, there are plenty of activities and sports to get involved with at the college. We even encourage students to start up their own societies. In previous years, students have run clubs ranging from Medical and Debating Socs to Photography and Chess meet-ups. Find out more about the activities you can get involved in at the college here.

Have fun

It’s the first time you’ll be able to study the subjects of your choice and the ones that interest you most, so enjoy it! But don’t burn out – make sure you leave time to have fun and de-stress. For day students, make the most of home comforts and seeing local friends before you head off to university and beyond. Whilst sixth form can seem intimidating at first, you’ll soon get into the swing of things and it might actually turn out to be the best years of your school life.

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