22 Aug 2018

Bridging the gap

By: TutorMate | Wednesday

So, you have finished your GCSES. You may have even received your results. But, what next? For many of you, GCSES are just the first stage in your academic career before moving onto A levels or the IB. For some, this can be an exciting transition but, for others, it can feel daunting. No matter how you feel about the change, this article will help to give you advice that will make the start of sixth form or college that little bit easier.

One of the most important, if not the MOST important, piece of advice to remember is that what you got in your GCSE results will not determine how you perform in A levels or IB and will not determine how people view you. Once the excitement of results day disappears, GCSEs are a thing of the past. Most people in sixth form and college will never ask you what you got and even if they do, they almost never mention it again. On the academic side, the skills needed are very different and much of the knowledge, even for the same subjects, is different. It is still important to have some basic knowledge of the subject if you are required to have studied it before, but more advanced principles will be taught again, often in better detail. Where GCSE simplifies and misses out important details, A level and IB brings them back in and explains them in such a way that gives you a better understanding of the topic. This can change the way you learn and revise A level/IB and the tips in the following paragraphs will help you to get a head start on this.

First of all, one of the best things you can do in the summer between GCSES and A levels/IB is to rest. It sounds obvious but there are too many people who spend the summer feeling a continual stress, which is a combination of worrying about GCSE results and worrying about the future. It is important to get rid of the stress and try to relax otherwise you are unlikely to feel sufficiently rested and recharged when going back to school. Of course, this is easier said than done, but knowing why you shouldn’t be stressed can help. As was mentioned previously, GCSEs are important but will not decide your life and do not define you as a person. There are always other options and solutions that can resolve a performance that you are unhappy with. As well as this, there is no need to worry about A level and IB as you will always be able to find support with anything you struggle with. Do not be afraid to change your mind about your subjects and your career plans, and do not worry if you do not have any particular plans at the moment. Everything will work itself out if you give it time and thought. If you are truly worried about the workload and the work being difficult then the next piece of advice will be of use.

Keep your mind ACTIVE. As much as it is important to rest, it is also important to keep your mind healthy and active. This does not mean cram yourself with things to do, but it does mean do something every now and again that will exercise your mind. This does not have to be written work, but it could involve getting a small job, playing a musical instrument or making art. Even doing physical exercise can be very beneficial for your mind. The holiday is a very long one, and keeping your mind active will help you not to feel groggy and tired when you do go back to school. For those who are worried about not understanding the work, a good piece of advice would be to glance over the textbooks or the syllabus during summer. This is completely optional and how much you choose to do is up to you, but it can be a very rewarding as it allows you to have a basic understanding of topics before the lessons. This means that the lessons will serve to consolidate your knowledge even further and you can ask your teacher about anything you still do not understand. You can even write things down which did not make sense in your reading that you want to ask about. It will also help to keep your mind busy and will give you a sense of confidence and motivation, which is a very good way to start sixth form or college.

Only you can truly know what’s best for yourself, and most of this advice is generalised. However, feeling relaxed while keeping your mind healthy is a key principle that will not only help the transition to A level/IB but will also be beneficial to academic life as a whole. So, with that, have a relaxing but enjoyable and active summer.