Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Advice for new Year 13s

Hello! It's me, I was wondering if....

No, don't worry, I'm not going to turn all Adele on you!

Today I thought I'd share some of my advice for those of you readers who have just finished Year 12 and are about to enter Year 13. I found Year 13 a huge step up from Year 12 so I hope this is able to help even one person!

1) Choosing which subject to drop
This is potentially the biggest decision you'll have to make so far in your college career. This was quite easy for me, because I did a lot worse in one of my subjects than the other three - and I also did not enjoy philosophy so that was an easy decision for me! But for you lucky people who have done well in all your subjects, this could be a much trickier decision. When deciding which subject to drop, I would recommend thinking of it this way:

A) The subject you did worse in - especially with your year group having much less coursework, I would be aware that it's much harder to increase your grade through an exam. (Or consider a resit as well?).
B) The subject you find hardest - If you find one of your subjects much harder than the others, consider dropping this one. Remember that everything gets much harder at A Level than AS so if you're finding a subject really hard now, this might make you enjoy it less at A Level.
C) The subject you like least - This is a pretty obvious one really I think. If you hated a subject before, you might enjoy it even less this year. However, I would consider what is you dislike about the subject before you decide to drop it. Is it the course itself? Or the contents? Or the teacher? Remember that both the second two can be very different at A Level than AS.

However, despite all that, my number one piece of advice is that it MUST be your decision. Ask as many people for advice as you like, however don't let them make the decision for you! If someone else heavily influences your decision, it may affect how much you enjoy Year 13. Also, remember that it's not going to massively change your life, so don't worry too much!

2) Personal Statement
I know that you're probably going to want to be enjoying your last few weeks of freedom before you go back to college/sixth form in September, I can't tell you enough how much I recommend getting a first draft done for when you go back to college. I didn't do this (despite college advising us to) and I wish I had. It just makes the whole UCAS/applying for jobs or apprenticeships process so much simpler and quicker for when you go back to college. Also, the sooner you have your application finished, the sooner you'll get the offers back from the universities or the requests for interviews. So even if it seems like hard work starting it now, it's going to save you a lot of stress in the long run! Also, it can take a lot of drafts to get your personal statement perfect and when your tutors have a lot of people's to check, it's good to get ahead of the game so that they can get changes back to you!
I wrote this post a while ago giving my advice for writing your personal statement, feel free to check it out again!

3) Concentrate on Coursework
Sorry, couldn't resist the alliteration!!! When I got my A Level results, I hadn't done at all how I expected in my exams - especially in my resits (I'd done worse in all but one resit) and so I was amazed at how I had managed to achieve such good grades overall. When I looked closer at the breakdown of my grades for each subject, I realised that it was my coursework that saved me. All my subjects were 40% coursework and so all the hard work I'd put into my coursework had been worthwhile! The high grades I had achieved in that had saved my grades overall!
If you'd like to hear more of my advice for coursework, I wrote this post a while ago.

4) Get the balance right
I doubt that I need to remind you that Year 13 is the year you turn 18! I'm guessing that for a lot of you (like I was) who are looking forward to finally being a legal adult and able to go out clubbing etc. There are many advantages of this, in that it can take your mind off all the stress you're probably going to be facing at college, however there are also some disadvantages of this as 'recovery' time (if you know what I mean ;) ) can take away time from your studies. The main thing is to have fun, but make sure that you're sensible. Having a good social life is really important, especially in Year 13, as it can be a welcome distraction from everything else!
Similarly, having a part time job is great for many reasons, especially in that you can save up money for uni or whatever you're doing the following year. Just make sure that your college work is always the priority because that's what will help you most in the future! My bosses at work were very understanding, especially in the build up to exams and I'm sure that yours would be too!

5) Enjoy!!
Although ridiculously hectic and often stressful, the last academic year was my best so far. I made new friends and solidified friendships I'd made in first year of college and generally enjoyed life. So make the most of this stage of life because if you're anything like me, you'll look back at the end of the year and be glad that you worked hard but also had fun. So make the most of it!

So that's my main bits of advice for new Year 13s! If you'd like advice for anything specifically, feel free to get in touch!
Thanks for reading, and for all your support, it means a lot!

If you'd like to vote for me as UCAS Blogger of the Month, you can do that here. Thank you!

Until next time,
Anna x

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