It’s the end of summer and back to school!
Whoop whoop! 🎉
And I’m in my last year of secondary school/sixth form, which a lot of people would be happy about, but I am sad about because I really do love my school and friends and my subjects. I enjoyed year 12, which is equivalent to 11th grade/junior year in America (and not sure about other countries). Therefore, having gone through the experience of year 12, I want to share little tips on what you should do to minimise stress and regret later in the academic year!
Consolidate Your Notes
After every single topic you’ve finished in your subject, go over your notes and textbook for that topic and write up revision notes/flashcards/whatever method you prefer to revise from. Do that after every topic!
I know it sounds like a lot and a faff but honestly, if you write up your notes after the topics, you will understand it more, which will be helpful because those topics will also be applicable to other topics, most likely. It also means that you would have finished writing your revision notes so come the summer term, you won’t have to make those revision notes. You can just start learning off them. Writing up and understanding notes in your own way and method will also make it easier for you to remember.
Trust me! You won’t regret doing this.
Organise Yourself, Child
This is something I really wish I did. It’s filing away your notes after each topic.
For example, after your subject teacher has officially finished going over a topic and has moved onto the next, write up your consolidation notes and then file away the notes you made in class into your subject folder. The mistake I made was leaving all my notes in my refill pad and slipping in loose sheets in the front until the whole notebook was full and hard to look at and I couldn’t use it. It’s horrible. It actually stresses me out, right now, thinking about it. It takes hours to sort through and organising it and filing it away.
Just start from day one and organise your damn self! Also, it might be a good idea to get a different notebook for each subject so you don’t get confused or things don’t get messy. And it will get messy. I’ve learnt the hard way.
Make A Revision Schedule
At GCSEs, I didn’t have a revision schedule. I just went with the flow and did whatever I wanted or thought I needed to revise that day. And truth is, it worked out because I got decent grades, which I’m happy with. That isn’t going to work for year 12. Nope. I tried to make it work but it didn’t.
You need to make sure you focus on each topic and make sure you learn every detail you need. I know this may not be helpful for all people but I made a calendar of each month and wrote in each day a chapter or topic I would read over and do questions on, taking into account days I couldn’t revise due to other commitments. You can even throw in a chill day but so long as you stick to the schedule and it has every chapter and topic you need to learn fit in, you’ll be absolutely fine.
I was getting really bad grades in the big psychology tests we did, like Es and Ds. I ended up getting the highest grades, like As and Bs, by the end because I stuck to a schedule and learnt and revised all the topics and evaluations. And that was only in about a month, which I can’t guarantee will happen for you but it shows that your grade can really go up!
Past Papers Are A Student’s Best Friend
Everyone had their own revision style and method and you should experiment at the beginning of the year to find which one works best for you. If you want me to make a post on all the quirky and classic methods I found, comment so!
However, every student should do past papers, no matter what revision method you do. Always do past papers on top of your chosen personalised method! Do as many as you can and look at the mark schemes and just keep doing them over and over again. Do the same ones a month later and see if you do better. Past paper will help you! I wish I did more!
Don’t Be Cocky
I found a lot of people thought that just because they got As at GCSEs, they were going to be fine at A Levels. That’s very wrong! A Levels are way harder and some people say that it’s the hardest stage of your education, even more than University. So sorry to scare you but it’s going to get hard. You can’t just sit back and relax and hope that your A*s and As at GCSEs will help you.
And don’t boast or be arrogant. No one will like you and it’s annoying. 😂
Talk To And Make Friends
Year 12 is one of your last years in secondary school/sixth form/college/high school. I’m not sure how it is in other countries but for all I know, in year 13, it’s mainly work and spending your free periods revising. That means year 12 is the year to have a bit of fun, while still maintaining or reaching for good grades. Make a balance of fun and work. I made a lot of friends in year 12 and it was also one of my best years at school and I made a lot of good memories, which you should do too! It’s one of your last years so try and pluck up the courage and confidence to do things your wouldn’t normally do, that are legal and not stupid, of course!
And try to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way! Don’t be scared.
If you do work hard, you need to reward yourself every week or so. Go out with your friends, go see a film, go to a party on the weekend, do something fun! We’re like dogs. We need to be rewarded for a behaviour to be done frequently so if you want to feel motivated more, you need to reward yourself every now and again.
Mental Health Is More Important
Despite what I said, at the end of the day, your mental health is the most important thing. I understand that year 12 is pressurising, especially with students who are aiming really high e.g. applying for medicine, etc. If you find that your mental health and even physical health is suffering, stop for a sec and try to get help or find ways to calm yourself down, etc.
I got really stressed at one point because I was overthinking and the school was putting a lot of pressure on us. I ended up feeling really depressed and experiencing symptoms, which I hadn’t experienced in ages. My eye kept twitching at certain points and I even started struggling to breath – it was really weird, don’t ask. I ended up spending a day writing a list of all the things I was worried about and making me stressed and wrote solutions next to them. I also talked to people about it to get it off my chest.
I know you might not agree with this but your mental health should come first, for several reasons like stress can actually affect your memory badly, and doing badly in year 12 really isn’t the end of the world. Don’t try and put yourself in the position to end up doing badly but if you do, there are always ways to fix that in year 13.
Basically, make sure you’re a happy bean! 🙂
Hopefully you actually take my tips into account. They will be really helpful if you take action on them. A lot of students told me the same advice at the beginning of year 12, which I ignored, because I’m stupid and stubborn. You’ll probably end up telling the next year 12’s the same advice.
Apart from that, enjoy year 12 and good luck for all your exams!
I’d love to know what subjects you’re doing or any advice that has helped you before, no matter what year you’re in.
P.S One last tip that you should really use even if you decide to ignore the rest, above. Don’t give your pens or pencils to anyone. They may say “I’ll give it back” but that just mean “I’m gonna keep this and hope you forget about it or are too nice to ask for it back.” TRUST NO ONE! (Apart from me and my advice, of course. 😀 )