Posted on: June 18th 2021

Starting Sixth Form: Alumni Reflections

We know that starting A-Levels in a new school can be really daunting, so we asked our alumna Billie to share some of her reflections on how she found the experience. She studied Psychology, Chemistry and Maths, and is currently reading Psychology at the University of Bath.

I remember how nerve-racking it was to be going into Year 12 at LAE. All the hard work from your application, interview, and GCSEs has come to this point: A-Levels - it was extremely daunting. Those two years were definitely hard and came with many challenges, but in reflection LAE was the best place I could have been!

I just want to talk through some advice and tips about certain topics I imagine you must be quite nervous about.

The workload and getting to grips with A-Level content.

People always warned me about the jump from GCSE’s to A-Levels, and it was definitely something I could not prepare for. There’s no other way to put it: A-Levels are hard, but they are not impossible. If you want to succeed like the many students before you at LAE, then you need to put in the work. The teachers here really do care about you doing well, and so they will provide you with all the resources you could possibly need and more.

My tip would be to keep up with your work every week. Ensure you consolidate your notes after each lesson, including adding extra information to them following homework or extra work. This ensures you do not have to waste time during the exam period re-writing your notes or looking for information you missed. Similarly, getting stuck in with revision early is another tip. You will have frequent tests in lesson to check in with your knowledge. Looking back, I am so thankful for these small check-ins throughout those two years, since by the time my real exams came it felt normal to me. So the earlier to start revising, the better. Take the time during year 12 figure out what revision techniques work for you – YouTube videos can be really useful if you are unsure. One style does not fit all, and it is important that you can be as efficient as possible throughout year 13 for when things will get more stressful.

You will have some setbacks, that is completely normal and expected. Just stay resilient, keep a growth-mindset and remember the goals you set for yourself. LAE provides an amazing foundation for anyone to succeed if they put their mind to it.

Starting in a new school and making friends

When I came to LAE, I was the only person from my secondary school – I knew no one. Remember that everyone is in the same boat and is as nervous as you. During those first few weeks at LAE, the induction really does help to ease you in and make you feel comfortable. You are able to really bond with your form group. Talking to the year 13s in your form can be really helpful, they will always be friendly and willing to support you if you are nervous. You also get to meet other students in your house and your house captain. The house competition is great and it’s really fun to get into some friendly competition between your peers!

Additionally, LAE provides you with so many amazing opportunities to take part in sports, societies and clubs. I involved in the LGBTQ+ Network and it was a great break from my studies, and I made some really great friends! So, I would definitely recommend getting involved in as many different things as possible. It not only looks great on your CV and is helpful to talk about in your personal statement, it can also be a great break from worrying about work and revising. Get really stuck into these extra-curricula’s and make the most out of them!

Overall, try and enjoy these two years at LAE because they will go by so quickly! Work hard and stay resilient. Best of luck for all your future endeavours!