The Independent Learner

Student tips on how to make a success of Year 12 and 13

In the Sixth Form it is essential that you move away from the idea that ‘homework’, set by the teacher, is the only work to be done out of lessons. Independent learning means so much more than simply doing your homework. You have four or five hours of taught lessons for each subject each week. It is important that you understand that this is insufficient time to cover and review everything in the classroom. The work you put in outside the classroom, keeping up to date with notes, reviewing and learning your work as you progress through the course, will be reflected in your final results.

Study Skills Websites

Learn from the mistakes and successful strategies of other students

Some students gave simple pieces of advice:

‘Plan your free periods wisely. Do not leave anything to the last minute, it causes immense stress and pressure. Listen to your teachers, they know what they are talking about and want to make sure that you get the best grade possible and work to the best of your ability.’


‘Make sure you are prepared for your end of year exams and stay on top of your work.’


‘Try to do most of your homework at home and then use your spare time during the day to do extra work for your subject so you have the best chance of fully understanding.’


‘Go to bed at a reasonable time so you don’t burn out.’


‘If you have a part time job put your school work first.’


‘If you prioritise your time efficiently, it is not as stressful. Do your work as soon as possible to avoid potential later stress. Get ahead, make revision resources after a topic. Engage with your subject, answer questions, do some wider reading, and just show some interest.’

Students wrote:

‘Sixth Form is harder than you think, it is a big step up from Year 11 and you have to put in the effort to receive the rewards.’


‘Your A Levels are not like your GCSEs. They are much harder and you should expect a much different work flow throughout this year.’


‘Sixth Form is a big step up for some, but for others the transition is small. It all depends on how independent you are and if you are self-motivated to do well.’


‘Overall, Sixth Form is a time where people have to grow up quickly to do well and you often learn to become an ‘independent learner’ rather quickly in order to keep on top of your work.’


‘Sixth Form, although challenging, is a great experience for university or even the world of work as you learn a lot about your motivation, ambition and time-management skills, which are key life skills that will help you whatever path you decide to take.’


‘I didn’t make the most of the year, but after the final exams I realised I needed to put in more work, and I got my work ethic up for the resits, and passed.’