If you are just starting your A-levels then you will probably be going through some changes from your GCSEs. Having spent the last few years working up to your GCSE exams you are now set to move to the next stage of your education, but there are a few things that you need to know first. We took advice from a few people who have been through their A-levels already to find out five things that they wish they’d known when they started…
Sorry, but there is no way to sugar-coat this one – the jump up from GCSE to A-levels is BIG. While you may think that focusing on fewer subjects would be easier, the workload will increase dramatically compared to GCSEs. Not only will the workload increase from what you were used to, but the difficulty of what you are studying will go up too. Just because your studies appear to get harder though does not mean they are impossible, you can still achieve the grades you want if you work for them and ask for help when you need it. Don’t sit in silence being confused when you have access to resources and a teacher who can help you, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
While things will get tougher with the workload, it is important that you keep up with your studies. There is a lot to learn, and if you are not careful work can start to pile up. You will need to stick to your deadlines and get your work done. The best way to do this is to be organised – keep a diary telling you what you need to get done and when, make a study planner, or do whatever else works for you – just make sure you know what you need to do and when. Being organised will take away a lot of the stress of the early weeks of adjusting to A-levels. Also outside of school don’t get involved in too many time consuming activities as potentially your studies could suffer, start of with focusing on your studies and then start doing things outside of school such as having a part-time job or joining a sports club.
On the plus side, you will definitely notice that you have more freedom at college/sixth form than you ever did at in the lower years. Being that bit older you should find that you are treated in a more adult manner. However, with this more mature treatment comes a need for you to be more responsible too. Your tutors won’t constantly get on at you to get your work done, they won’t be checking up on you all the time, and they will certainly expect you to look after meeting your own deadlines for work. Some people find this freedom and independence helps them stay motivated to work while others find it hard to adjust to this new way of working. However, the sooner you get used to it and start taking control of your own study, the better.
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