What I Wish I Knew in Sixth Form

I had my final A Level exam just over a year ago. It’s strange; I feel like the year’s gone quick, but it also feels like so long ago! While it was only two years of my life, I learnt a lot (and not just syllabus content). I feel my reflection on my experiences might be beneficial, so in this blog I’m going to discuss what I wish I knew in Sixth Form (besides the final exams answers!)

Recognising Burnout

I always assumed burnout feel like fatigue. This wasn’t the case. I went into my Year 13 practicing for two admissions test (UKCAT and BMAT), preparing for interviews, and studying three subjects. I did all my work and I had time to enjoy myself, so I didn’t understand how I could burnout. My mock results shown that I had, however. Meeting deadlines doesn’t mean that you’re learning effectively! I should’ve left time to process information, not just to ‘de-stress’.

It’s Okay to Not be the ‘Best’

Getting into University is competitive, but it’s okay to not be the best. There will always be someone who gets higher grades than you (and someone who will get higher grades than them) and that’s okay! Just be kind to yourself, because doing your best is what’s important. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. All my teachers expected my best, not my predicted grades.

Results Day is Not the End

I was expecting to not get my predicted grades on Results Day for numerous reasons. I didn’t, but was actually okay with it on the day. You’ll realise there’s a lot of opportunities: re-marks, Clearing, and sitting exams again. Some opportunities may mean you start your next career path later, but that’s okay! We have a lifetime to ‘sort out’ our lives, it’s okay to have a hurdle in the way. It is discouraging, but it’s important to persevere.

Closing Words

Sixth form was a formative experience for me and many others. The ‘take home’ message from this is to look after yourself. It’s already a stressful time, and taking small steps like this would have certainly helped me. Hopefully being aware of lessons I learnt the hard way will help you!

-Tony

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