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You will quickly discover that there is a world of difference between the approaches to GCSE and A Level study.

The transition to new approaches to study will not happen overnight, but occur it certainly must if you are to derive the greatest possible benefit from your lessons in the Sixth Form.

AS Level classes are smaller and more intimate than those in lower down the school, and this places a much greater emphasis on your active involvement in the lessons. You are likely to see each of your teachers for several lessons each week, and you will quickly appreciate the importance of developing a good working relationship with them. In the Sixth Form, the role of the teacher is not to spoon-feed, but rather to direct, advise, stimulate and encourage. It is highly unlikely that many lessons will be confined to ‘teacher talk’; most will be characterised by discussion and exchange of views. You must arrive for each lesson prepared to be lively, interested and involved; reading ahead is of course a precondition of active and informed contribution to classroom discussion.

You must quickly get into the habit of making your own notes in class, as new information and ideas emerge in the course of discussion. Personal and intellectual motivation is needed throughout your courses, and not simply in the weeks preceding public examinations. In most subjects, there are seldom any ‘right answers’, and so no purpose is served in passively waiting for them to be provided. Your aim should be to become an independent learner; this is the main feature of A Level work. Remember that your class work and formal assignments are only part of your AS preparation; a regular review of your notes and files, as well as additional reading is essential.

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