How to be Successful at Sixth Form
Your time in Sixth Form should provide the bridge between school and university. By the time students leave KSA Sixth Form they need to be equipped with the skills and mind set that will allow them to be successful in a university environment.
Consistency is key to successful study at Sixth Form. With the move to linear A levels meaning nearly all courses are assessed fully at the end of two years, it is essential that students are continually building the knowledge and exam skills to be successful in final exams. This means that students should constantly be in a cycle of pre-reading, consolidating notes from lesson and revising for topic exams. In addition, university study will involve significant independent work beyond a set syllabus - this wider study is fundamental to being a highly successful student.
Being organised in Sixth Form
The step up from GCSE to Sixth form work is significant and can be daunting. In the Sixth form you have more independence and control over your learning. Careful planning of your assignments and revision is critical in meeting deadlines and reaching your target grades.
With the move to linear examinations for A levels, it is crucial that every part of your two year courses is recorded, consolidated and organised. Continual revision and reflection are the key elements to success in linear exams.
Student organisation will be checked by your subject teachers during tri-weekly assessments and will be a regular topic for discussion with your SPT. All students are expected to have the following items in order to be effectively organised in sixth form.
Academic diary – this should be taken everywhere. It is where students record prework and homework tasks and where reflection on assessments takes place. It will also contain useful information on university applications.
Day folder – this should be kept by students. This is used to take home information and tasks from lessons that needs to be worked on independently. It may include taking sections on notes home from subject folders and then returning them next lesson.
Subject folder – this is your record of your learning in your individual subjects and will form the backbone of your revision and consolidation for your subject. It goes without saying that making sure this folder is well-organised and up to date is essential for success. Subject folders stay in subject classrooms and sections can be removed for revision and consolidation when needed. Subject folders will be checked by subject teachers and SPTs. Your subject teacher will give specific direction on how the folder for their subject should be organised but all folders will include:
- Course documents – subject handbook, outlines, medium term plans, syllabus and exam advice
- Class notes and work from lessons
- Assessments and feedback on assessments
- Homework and prework
- Guidance on wider reading and study
- Textbooks – you may be loaned a textbook for your course or they may be available to borrow from your subjects. Textbooks should be available to use in lessons and be returned in the same condition they were given out in.
Organisation of your notes from lessons and your independent study is crucial to your success. Students will be following courses which examine all of the content across Year 12 and 13 at the end of two years. As a result, keeping all work well organised is vital for effective exam preparation.
Becoming an independent learner
A fundamental difference between sixth form and GCSE academic expectations is the amount of independent study needed to be completed in order to be successful. It is recommended that students spend at least 5-6 hours per week studying independently for each course they follow. Some of this independent work will be structured through homework and prework but students must also ensure they are completing their own independent work. This may include activities such as:
- Re-reading and consolidating material covered in lessons that week
- Making on-going revision notes
- Practicing exam questions
- Reading academic journals, newspapers, books and articles
- Conducting deeper research on particular areas of interest
When students are not in lesson they are expected to be in Commons where supervised independent study takes place. This gives students a focused atmosphere and time and support to complete the large amounts of independent expected of them.
Making Lessons Successful
To ensure you make the most of the time with your subject-specialist, Sixth Form students must consistently meet the following minimum expectations:
- Attend all lessons with a minimum target attendance of 96%
- Ensure that where possible teachers are notified of any absence before the lesson. When a lesson is missed it is the student’s responsibility to collect the missed work and complete it before the next lesson.
- Arrive on time
- Arrive fully equipped: necessary stationary, required textbooks, diary, course and day folder
- Arrive with pre-work and homework ready to submit or use in lesson
- Actively participate in the lesson, taking responsibility for their own learning
- Organise notes from lesson in the way directed by the subject teacher
- Record all independent tasks set in the lesson in the KSA Sixth Form diary
There will be a wide range of opportunities to extend your learning within in your subjects but also to broaden your horizons beyond the academic curriculum. Successful sixth form students are always looking to take these opportunities that will be advertised through subjects and by our Head of Universities and Careers Guidance. It is a real challenge to balance your academic study with wider pursuits and we will support you in getting this balance right during your time with us.