Your A-levels certainly are a step up from your GCSEs, but that does not mean there are not things you learnt at GCSE level that will apply to your A-levels. There are plenty of takeaways and lessons you can use once you start Year 12, and here are some of them that you should remember.
1. Keep your GCSE revision materials
If you have already decided on what you are studying, then our advice is to keep up the things that you used from GCSE. For languages, this is especially relevant because ignoring it for six weeks means you are only going to forget vocab, which you might not have time to relearn once you are doing A-levels. A lot of GCSE science comes up at A-level, though your teachers will not go through it in detail so you must not forget the basics. Watching a few revision videos or flicking through your notes now and again should be enough to keep it in your mind until you head back to school.
2. A-levels require a lot more proactive study
The first thing we noticed when going into Sixth Form is that you have to be a lot more proactive. Not only does this mean more independent work at home, but it also means resubmitting tests you did not do great on, chasing up PowerPoints for lessons you missed and doing your revision on top of the homework in class. Teachers will rarely remind you to do it as there is not enough time for them to spend hours lecturing you about what to do.
3. The work needs to be of a much higher standard
Whilst this may seem obvious, for many a step-up will as a shock when they cannot hand in a few scribbled bullet points as homework because the teacher expected a paragraphed long answer style response. Higher work standards may seem like a lot of work, but once you settle, it will become second nature like at GCSE.
4. Different exam questions
You will quickly learn that you have to write a lot more than at GCSE 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.
5. Having free periods
For many students you will have free periods to help with this, which can be anything from an hour a week to ten hours, depending on how many courses you’re taking and how your school timetables lessons. Not only do they allow you to catch up on work, but they can also be used to have one-to-one time with your teacher if you need it. You mustn’t waste these as they are useful for going over the content you didn’t understand in class or just catching up on homework so that you don’t find yourself falling behind in lessons.
6. More independent learning
The amount of independent learning you need to do does take a little getting used to at first, but once you get used to it, it shouldn’t become easy - especially if you developed good revision skills at GCSE. Your teachers can give you a lot more support due to smaller class sizes, so if you’re struggling with independent study, then they will be able to help you out with it. It also helps you to develop study skills so that when you sit your exam, you are already in the habit of studying on your own.