That long awaited Christmas break is fast coming to an end and it’s now 2022. So, although A-Levels still seem a way off, they are becoming a reality. To help we have set out below our top new years’ tips to get you through 6th Form without needing to pull endless all-nighters or becoming a Red Bull addict:
The move from GCSEs to A-Levels is scary. In the first term, you will have been introduced to a handful of new teachers (where did they come from!), hundreds of heavy textbooks and thousands of baffling homework assignments. Everything can become overwhelming very quickly. To keep afloat, it is important to remember that it is okay for things not to instantly click. You shouldn’t expect yourself to seamlessly integrate functions or recite facts about the Weimar Republic or Wordsworth’s poetry straightaway. The key thing to keep in mind is that everything gets easier! The concepts will start to make sense and the essays will begin to write themselves (well, sort of). If you keep the pressure of the first year at bay, you’re well on your way so – Chillax!
“All the single [students], now put your hands up!”
Just like Beyoncé’s 2008 classic, one of the main differences between GCSEs and A-Levels is how ‘single’ you become. You are no longer spoon-fed essay structures, taught formulae to memorise or constantly bound to the classroom. Instead, a lot of the work you need to do is independent. To get those top grades, it is important to take advantage of this. When you have a free period – though it may be tempting to squeeze in another episode of Suits – it is probably best to focus on the essay you have due that week. Of course, there is always time for a catch-up with friends; just remember, it is not always a bad idea to go to the library and get some work done!
Time goes very slowly when you start 6th Form: assignments due in May will seem like they’re five years in the future, and coursework always seems like a problem for your future self. Procrastinating starting coursework, however, is a sure-fire way to make your A-Level journey infinitely more difficult. If you want to avoid the unnecessary stress of late-night essay writing, ask your teacher what reading you should be doing – and do it! – early on. Once you’ve done this, you can sit back, relax, and laugh at all your friends who decided to ignore your words of wisdom. Leaving time between reading about, and writing, your coursework will also let you come up with some brilliant, original ideas: every examiner’s dream!
Apocalyptic exam seasons…
When exams roll around – whether they are mocks, or the real deal – everyone is bound to be more stressed than they usually are. Flashcards will start to carpet the 6th form cafeteria floor, and everyone will begin to obsessively highlight each line of their notes. Cramming and constant revision, however, are a recipe for disaster. Instead, focus on managing your time efficiently. Set some time aside for writing a timetable and work out which topics you are struggling with and the ones that need revisiting. This will help you tackle your weaknesses, whilst not driving yourself crazy with endless amounts of work.
So, although A-Levels can seem scary, remember that they can also be lots of fun (did I really write that?!). Although exams, essays and coursework can get stressful, you are being given an opportunity to explore the subjects you love in-depth – so, enjoy it! And if you don’t take our advice, start stocking up on Red Bull and Monster – you’re going to need it! Good luck.
Oh of course, if you need any additional help don’t forget that Peppo has hand-picked tutors who specialise in A-Levelsand who would be more than happy to help. To find a tutor go to Peppo (www.peppo.org).