Preparing for A Levels/ Level 3 BTECs Summer Term Packs 2020
You've recently finished your work towards GCSEs and the higher academic standards demanded in sixth form can seem daunting. Why is there such a gap between GCSEs and A-levels or Level 3 BTECs? Well, A-levels are – as their name suggests – advanced qualifications, and so require much more of you, the student. The work done at GCSEs is fairly prescriptive and you can do well by memorising the material given in class. At Sixth Form, this is not the case.
GCSE courses are often highly structured with very specific requirements for homework, whereas at A-level there is a greater expectation for taking the initiative in going beyond the set reading and utilising library and online resources to read around and consolidate. Generally speaking, for GCSE exams you could learn the content, at A-level and BTEC you actually need to fully understand it and be able to apply it.
A key difference is the huge reduction in the number of subjects you have to study for A-levels. Students typically take around nine or ten GCSEs, and sometimes as many as 13; at A level and Advanced BTEC this is reduced to just three or four. This means that teachers expect you to have a genuine interest in the subjects you are studying, as you chose them over and above lots of other options. And, with the decrease in the number of subjects taken, each one has more lessons per week than at GCSE level. Combined with the reduction in class sizes, this means that you develop a stronger relationship with your teachers, as they have more time to get to know you and examine your individual progress. You will be working in a much more comfortable, open environment with people as eager to succeed as you. It will be easier to get your voice heard, and you will have more individual support from tutors.
For this reason, it’s essential that you carefully consider which subjects you want to study, and why you want to take them. If you don't engage with the subject, then it's much more difficult to do the extra reading or work you need to get a good grade.
As with most things, being organised and working hard go a long way, and there are some key things you can do to help mitigate the initial jump. The study packs you will find here are intended to assist you in making this jump. Please make sure you work steadily through the packs for the subjects you have selected. You can also use this as an opportunity to explore subjects you think you might be interested in studying.
When you arrive back at school, you should be prepared for a different kind of atmosphere and much more freedom than in previous years. For the first time, you won't have to wear school uniform, and will have the sixth form coffee bar in which to work and socialise. In addition, at A-level you have free periods for independent study. You're expected to organise your own learning, make good use of the sixth form study areas and utilise this spare time.
Overall, if you're starting A-levels or BTECs next school year, then try not to be scared by the more stringent academic requirements. For every advanced qualification you undertake, there's always going to be an initial jump in difficulty but by undertaking this preparatory work, you'll hopefully be settled in and enjoying all the benefits of being a Poynton High School sixth former in no time!
Microsoft Office can be downloaded for free using your school email address and password, for more details please use the following link https://www.phs.cheshire.sch.uk/students/office365