As an Upper Sixth student I’ve experienced what it’s like to start college - new people, new subjects, new everything! But having been through it all, I know that adjusting to A level study can be challenging so here are some tips for those of you who are still not exactly sure how to maneuver your way around the more independent approach that is expected at sixth form.
Notes: for notes I recommend buying a notepad for each subject you take, each with a different coloured cover and a corresponding pen for titles and subtitles. You are usually given a workbook in class for notes and I recommend you make this your rough notebook (this way you can just scribble down as your teacher talks) and use your other notepad to rewrite your notes in neat after the lesson, which will become a helpful source of revision later.
Highlighters: if you’re a colourful person like me and love to highlight in every colour imaginable then buy a set of highlighters, all different colours, and give each a specific purpose. You can create any code you like, but I use different colours to indicate the: Title. Subtitle. Quote. Date. Person. Place. Keyword. This way when it comes to revising from your notebook, the simple colour code you’ve just made will help it seem a bit less daunting.
Diary: this is a simple and easy way to keep track of assignments and tasks that you have been asked to do. With three subjects going on, it becomes quite easy to lose track of what you have to do and when different pieces of work are due - especially when it comes to tests! Keeping a diary takes the pressure off having to remember everything, making life that little bit easier.
Homework: for this deadly task, it is best to try and tackle this as soon as you can. From experience, homework helps to make the work in class make more sense, and even if you think procrastination is a good idea at the time you will regret this when the work piles up. Trust me.
Questions: never be afraid to ask! Everyone is here to learn so don’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask a question. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times but there is always someone sat in that room thinking the same thing as you. There is no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question; your teachers are there to help you. No one expects you to be an expert, they want to help you get that top grade just as much as you want to achieve it. If you don’t ask, you won’t learn.
Form and PTE: Just because these timetabled sessions don't cover the same topics as your A level subjects, it doesn't mean you won't get a lot of invaluable information out of these lessons, whether it’s learning about yourself and others or helping you with UCAS. They are also really helpful in understanding what is going on at college. Also, the information contained in these sessions will give you a head start when you do eventually start looking into applying for universities or apprenticeships.
I hope these little tips help to make college a bit more manageable and get you through this year. Good luck!
This article was written by Upper Sixth student Mia Wilkinson