We recommend that you should be doing at least 20 hours academic work per week outside the classroom. There is always something you can be doing to ensure that you are putting enough time into your studies, and are not wasting valuable opportunities.
You should always seek assistance whenever you feel you need it, and follow all advice given to you. If you choose to stick your head in the sand and ignore problems in the initial stages of your A Level career then you are only storing up bigger problems for the future especially as most A2 courses have a module which builds directly on the AS material. No Sixth Former should be afraid to ask for extra help!
In Great Barr Sixth Form we view learning and understanding as a highly reciprocal activity between you and the teacher, and if you genuinely do not understand something the teacher will always want to help you; you will get as much help as you want or need!
In addition to your school-based academic work and acting on all advice provided to you by staff, you should be doing the following:
- Regularly visiting the relevant areas on The Learning Gateway. This facility will allow you to access lesson notes and contact your teachers outside of lessons if necessary.
- Wider reading: all departments are well resourced in terms of textbooks so that you can make extra notes and be able to bring something different to a class discussion or debate.
- Finding new sources or angles on a particular subject using up to date journals in the OLC, or the Internet.
- Making sure your notes are in order, neat and tidy and as detailed as possible.
- Revising material in preparation for the next lesson so you can understand more easily how new material links in as well as keep the work fresh in your mind, thus reducing the burden of work at examination time.
- Going back over your previous work and using the teacher’s comments to improve it, and even put it back in for a remark.
Those students who do best at A Level have the following characteristics in common:
- They are well organised, keep their files up-to-date, and devote adequate time to thinking about their subjects, preparing work and revision.
- They keep abreast of developments in their subject by watching current affairs programmes, reading quality newspapers and appropriate magazines. The OLC takes copies of the quality newspapers as well as essential magazines and journals. You can use this knowledge in discussions and written work to give extra depth and authority to your ideas.
- They actively use the OLC and Learning Gateway, and engage in all of the relevant learning activities.
- They act on all advice given by their teachers in order to master the core skills essential for success in each subject area.
- They view learning as a two way process and engage positively in class. They concentrate, take adequate notes, ask questions, test ideas etc
- They are enthusiastic about all of their subjects and will stick with them even in times of difficulty.
- They seek assistance whenever it is required.
- They have a clearly defined, realistic long-term goal and also a realistic plan of how to achieve this.
While all this may seem highly prescriptive, it has proved time and again to be a formula for success. Rarely do the least able get the worst grade; it is the least industrious or complacent who tend to be disappointed. Each year there are many examples of sixth formers with modest GCSE grades, who go on to excel at A Level.