Look to the future. Start thinking about leaving from the moment you walk through the door in Year 12. Strange though it sounds, time will fly by and it is essential that you start well academically.
1. For most students, their AS examinations are only 2.5 terms away! Universities will make their offer based upon what your results are like at the end of Year 12.Similarly, employers will want to see what you achieve then as well, as it is usually a good reflection of your ability and work ethic.
2. Get organised with the little things. By its very definition, Sixth Form life is about independence and taking responsibility for your own development and progress. Get organised from the start; it should be a given that you have pens, folders, and any other specialist equipment that you need for your subjects. Make sure you know your Target and Predicted grades and that your teacher has given you the mark scheme for any relevant unit, so you know what you have to do to achieve a pleasing grade. If there are financial difficulties purchasing anything, then see Mr Bilton immediately. The academy has a Bursary Fund which can assist you.
3. Get organised with the big things. It is no use leaving preparation for your classes, coursework, or examinations until the very last moment. That is a formula for disaster. Utilise all your free time wisely during the school day- resist the urge to just sit around with friends and chat. Lunchtime and breaks are for socialising. Instead, organise a plan which means that you are reviewing your learning as you do it, unit by unit. An hour a night – day in and day out – will pay dividends in the long run in terms of deepening your knowledge. Even ten minutes on the bus each morning practising fractions, or learning that difficult chemical formula is an investment in your future! Keep your Independent Study Log up to date as well – it will play a crucial part in your success.
4. Get your coursework done to a high standard and on time. No excuses. In many subjects, coursework plays such a big part; it can literally mean the difference between success and failure. And you know which side you want to be on.
5. Find a space that stimulates your mind, a corner of the library, or a quiet classroom. If it is the weekend, and home life is too mad, then go to Café Nero, or head for a space in the park. Sometimes a change of scenery is just the thing you need to get your brain working. If sitting at a desk isn’t working for you, find a space that does.
6. Study with friends. There is no need to handle all your coursework or revision alone. Get together with a group of friends to work on some of your assignments. Find a study buddy. Organise an evening lesson review session each week, get the pizzas in, and help each other learn the stuff that you found hard this week! You’ll find the support incredibly useful and it’s a lot more fun than working solo. If you can convince Mr Bilton that this is not only happening, but the pizzas are necessary, he might just buy you the odd one.
7. Don’t just read. You need to be using active learning strategies: mind maps, colour coding, time lines, visual imagery – the list of techniques to embed your knowledge and develop core subject skills is literally massive! See your subject teacher for specific tips. Find out what works best for you. And do it.
8. Do read though a lot. We have a fabulous resource in the academy. It’s called a library. Use it. If they haven’t got what you want, let us know, and we will get it for you.
9. Did I mention looking to the future? Start your Personal Statement, or employment CV, by Christmas of Year 12. That way, you will immediately see where your gaps are and you can start planning to address them whilst you have the time. It’s a competitive world out there and things like work experience can make all the difference but need time to arrange.
10. Keep your perspective. Sixth Form life is challenging, but it should be fun. Not only do you get to do subjects of your choice, but you have more freedom, and some excellent opportunities for extra-curricular enrichment. Take advantage of this. But keep a balance: you need rest, good food, and some relaxation each week. If things become too hard, seek advice early and tell someone, or me. You will always be helped.