After sitting my GCSE exams in May this year, I thought I had overcome one of the biggest challenges in my secondary school career – but I was completely wrong! A-levels is a massive jump from GCSEs, and although I am staying at the same school for sixth form, life is so different than what it used to be.
In previous forms, the first lessons of the term usually involved organising files and books, getting to know the teacher, and sorting out the seating plan. But this year things have changed. For example, chemistry class, we had already started our first topic less than five minutes into the first lesson.
The workload is another aspect of sixth form that I found hard to adapt to at first. Reducing from around 11 subjects at GCSE, to only three or four at A-level definitely has its advantages, but it does mean that we get a lot more homework and reading tasks per subject.
Whether it's a new high school or the London School of Economics, no matter how overwhelmed you are, keep calm and carry on
However, I should make it clear that sixth form life is not all doom and gloom. In fact, it has been my favourite year at school so far. First of all, the curfews are much more relaxed and trust-based. Previously at my boarding school, we had “lights out” at 10pm. By this time, we had to be showered and ready for bed. In sixth form, this curfew no longer applies. In the first week, we all found this a big adjustment, however, we soon established our own routines, trying our best to keep our work, hobbies, and rest separate from one another.
In addition, teachers in sixth form are a lot more understanding when it comes to deadlines, and they build a more personal relationship with students. If there is something that we don’t understand, they are very willing to spend extra time and effort after class to make sure we don’t feel overwhelmed. This is so important, because now we cover material a lot quicker, and in much more depth.
Despite the great increase in workload, this first term has been very fulfilling for me, and I can’t believe that it is already drawing to an end. To all YP-readers who will start sixth form in the near future, I have one piece of advice: when it comes to choosing subjects for A-levels, don’t just choose certain subjects because they are popular or because your parents want you to (and believe me, I know how that feels).
It is essential that you choose subjects you are genuinely interested in. My favourite subjects are biology and chemistry, and choosing these subjects has certainly made Form Six a lot more enjoyable.