If you're a year eleven or maybe even year ten, then by now you'll be sick of people lecturing you on how much harder sixth form is. It's true that there is a big difference between A Level and GCSE, but that's not just the difficulty level of the content.
1. You're expected to be a lot more proactive
The first thing we noticed when going into sixth form is that you are expected to be a lot more proactive. Not only does this mean more independent work at home, it also means resubmitting tests you didn't do great on, chasing up PowerPoints for lessons you missed and doing your own revision on top of the homework in class. This is all just expected of you and teachers will rarely remind you to do it as there's just not enough time for them to spend hours lecturing you about what to do.
2. The work is expected to be of a much higher standard
We also noticed that the work is also expected to be of a much higher standard. Whilst this may seem obvious, for many people it was a shock when they couldn't just hand in a few scribbled bullet points as homework because the teacher expected a paragraphed long answer style response. This may seem like a huge amount of work to do, but once you settle into things it'll become second nature like at GCSE.
3. Different exam questions
This also applies to exam questions. You'll quickly learn that you have to write a lot more than at GCSE in order to get the marks, and usually be more specific as well. Whilst it is daunting at first, doing past paper questions is a quick way to learn what the examiners want when marking your answers. To get ahead, you could even start looking at a few before sixth form or college even begins.
4. More opportunities
This may all seem pretty negative, but one positive difference is that there are more opportunities. With UCAS and other applications just around the corner, most colleges offer a tonne of extracurriculars and courses to make you look great. This is a great way to expand your interests and even find a new hobby. Courses like EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), British Sign Language and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are just a few examples of the courses offered at our school. Taking advantage of these opportunities will definitely improve your A Level experience whilst also boosting your personal statement.
And like we said, there definitely is a difference but it's not ridiculously big. A lot of the major differences between A Level and GCSE are overcome once you start settling in to the new environment. Don't worry too much, your teachers will try to ease you in as best you can so it's unlikely you'll even notice a huge jump like people keep warning you about.