How to prepare for Sixth Form?

Dear students of year 12

Last year when you were preparing for your GCSEs, one of the most annoying phrases that you repeatedly heard was, “This is the most important year of your life.” Now that you have finished you GCSEs and went on to prove your potential by achieving those grades that helped you to enrol in sixth form, you probably are hearing the same phrase again. This could be very frustrating and may leave many you with a feeling that you are stuck in a time loop. After completing your GCSEs you probably thought that now everything is about to change, no interventions, no tuitions, no parent evenings and no more restrictions. And I am writing to tell you that you were absolutely correct to imagine that. Well at least the most of it!

Arthur Ashe once said that, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than outcome.” You may find the answer to your frustration in this quote. No matter how satisfying your GCSE results were, your handwork and your conscientious approach towards each subject has made you a deserving candidate for sixth form. The truth is that both GCSEs and A levels are milestones that direct you towards your next destination. Think of it as different levels of Mario Bros. where at the end of each level Mario faces villains such as Bowser or Wario to get to the higher level and after defeating each villain you became more skilful and gained more points.

Sixth form is going to offer new level of challenges. You must have already heard about ‘the big jump’, which sounds like a scary pulp novel but hopefully this article will give solace to your distressed mind.

Laborious but achievable

The experience is new but some of the methods are going to be similar to last year. It is all about being aware of your strengths and distractions. Having said that I must mention one principle of sixth form which is, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” Sixth form experience is not about attending interventions but taking the ownership and working independently. It is not about catching up with your work in lunch times or break times but work consistently towards your daily targets that you set for yourself. A lot of it depends how you will plan to use your free time. I have seen students who use their free lessons to complete their assignments or course work and when they go home they use that extra time for any hobbies or get social and still find time to do some research and pre-read for next lessons. You would never see these students under stress at anytime. They are vibrant personalities who would light up any negative atmosphere with their positive vibe. However, if you are using your free time to catch up with the latest season of your favourite tv show on a dodgy website which keeps shutting down your mobile phone every now and then, chances are you will be in tears after one term as it would all seem impossible as escaping a black hole.

Your subjects, your passion

In your A levels you are studying three subjects which is substantially less than GCSEs but every subject that you study is a force that is going to push you towards your dream career. You chose it for a reason and let that reason give you enough drive to go beyond  45 or 90 minute lesson. Your bookshelf should describe your passion. A Historian would have Hume, Chomsky, Durant and a Philosopher would have  Plato, Aquinas, Darwin in their rooms. You are not just a student, you are now a scholar and like a good scholar you need to be aware of your predecessors and their views on your subjects topics

Life has no snooze button!

Don’t focus on your daily challenges, keep your focus on your goals and your dreams because they would remind you of why you chose to be here. Some athletes put up images of themselves after winning a race or a match in their rooms. This is called Visual Motivation. Procrastination is one of the biggest barrier you would find in your way in A Levels. Students fight procrastination by surrounding themselves with winners. If you are spending time with those who have no motivation or no drive for success in their lives, there is not much you can get done in your day.

You are the author of your own story and there is no reason why you can’t be a hero of your own book. Like every hero you will be facing challenges and struggles before you become a legend.

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