Hey hey, time for a Q&A! This time round my Q&A is themed and I have chosen the theme of ‘college’ as I thought that it’d be very fitting for current Year 11s about to sit their exams and wondering what the next step will be like! I didn’t get an awfullllllll lot of questions (because I’m unpopular) so I added in a few that I thought would would be helpful. If you have any more college related questions, feel free to DM on my study instagram @jess_studies_, my studyblr on Tumblr @BeyondTheBooks or comment on my Telloym (@jessstudies) or Sarahah (studywithjess.sarahah.com). Anyway, here are my answers to the questions I received:
Question One: What subjects do you study and how many do you have to do?
At my Sixth Form College, and most other colleges in the UK, the standard program includes 3 A Levels or equivalent (BTEC etc. etc.). If you’re an extremely high achieving student (8s/9s, all that!) you may have the option of doing four, but this might vary from college to college. When I first started, I was on a standard three A Level Program doing A Level Combined English Language & Literature, A Level Photography (a ‘branch’ of Art & Design) and BTEC L3 (A Level Standard) Health and Social Care. However, I have since switched from English to A Level Psychology and due to circumstances was forced to drop Health and Social Care. Thus, now only doing 2 full A Levels, which is called a reduced program. Luckily, I have been allowed to take up AS Level Biology and an Extended Project Qualification as additional subjects starting from September. This means I will still leave college in 2019 which the equivalent of 3 A Levels which I need to get into University.
Question Two: What Exam Boards does your college use?
Psychology use AQA, Photography use WJEC (Eduqas in England), Biology will use OCR A and I believe EPQ is awarded by AQA (though it’s also offered by Edexcel, OCR and WJEC).
Question Three: How do you keep up with your social life as well as all your work?
I don’t have that much of a social life, to be totally honest. I see my friends occasionally, I do gymnastics 2 or 3 days (3-4.5hrs) a week and I volunteer at my gymnastics club 3 days (4 or 5 hours) a week. That’s a maximum of probably 10 hours a week! However, if I were to give advice I’d say plan exactly when you are going to do your work and what you’re going to do in each ‘session’, ensuring of course that you meet all your deadlines. I would also, as sad as it sounds, perhaps turn down your friends if you have too much work to do and arrange to see them when the load is more manageable. It’s a case of some nifty planning really!
Question Four: How do you stay motivated?
I wrote a post HERE on a similar concept. I’m not that good at staying completely motivated. I tend to try and think about my end goal and what I am going to get out of doing my revision/homework/classwork. I know that I need good grades in order to go to university. I also love a good piece of stationery, me!! That occasionally sparks motivation!
Question Five: What are your best revision tactics?
I wrote a post on this HERE a while back! I’m going to try and write an updated version of it at some point and some related posts including: Preparing for college, Writing CVs, All About GCSEs, other tips & tricks and of course my study with me posts! What other ones would you like to see? My best top tip would definitely be revise as you go I think. Don’t leave it alllllllll to the last minute. I’ve been ill and I’m soooooooo thankful I’ve already made so many revision resources because otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. I’d be dying a very slow and painful death!
Question Six: Do you have to stay at college all day and do you get free periods?
At my college, no. We have what is known as an open campus. We’re free to come and leave as we please from about 8am to 6pm most days. We have to be in lessons though as they are registered and our attendance is tracked by staff. The college prefer us to be on site most of the school day, but we don’t have to be as long as we’re not in lessons. Most students at my college congregate into the park or into town as they’re only 10 minutes down the road, though now it’s exam season everyone LIVES in the library. Not all colleges are like this. My friend for instance must be at college from about 9 to 3 every day unless she is told otherwise. Her college is attached to a secondary school and so there’s not as much free movement. I really depends on the college!
Regarding free periods, yes you will get at least some free sessions whatever college you go to I imagine. My timetable looks as followed: I have 29 gaps on my timetable, 19/29 are free (but remember I’m on a reduced timetable), 9 of 10 remaining blocks are registered lessons and the remaining one is a weekly one-to-one session I have with a member of the support team. 4 of my ‘free’ blocks are timetabled study periods but you don’t HAVE to study then, you can study in any free block you like. You can do whatever you like in your free blocks. My friend at the other college can also do what she likes but she can’t always leave the school grounds. Does that make sense?
Question Seven: Do you get a form/tutor group?
At my college and I imagine at most colleges, yes! I have an assigned tutor who I see with the rest of my tutorial group (there’s about 15 of us) every Monday. We also have a Head of House (the college is divided into six houses and each HOH gets a few tutorial groups each) who is a bit like a Head/Director of Year in secondary school. My friend at the other college also has a tutor and tutorial group but I don’t know how often she sees them.
Question Eight: How much work do you get in a week?
This year, I received less work than the ~average~ student at my college due to timetabling. But to give you an idea, every Monday I get set Psychology homework and it’s due for the following Monday. It usually consists of making notes on one or two double pages in the textbook and occasionally doing some extra research, watching a video or filling out a page of a booklet we were given. Due to the obscene amount of free periods I get, I can usually get it done by the next day or so but I think it’s quite realistic for anyone on an ordinary timetable too. For photography as it was 100% coursework we weren’t set ‘homework’ as such but they’d give us a shoot to do or a piece of research to do that was due in for a specific deadline, usually the following Wednesday. It really depends on the subject/teacher though!
Question Nine: How often do you have tests/assessments?
In Psychology, throughout the whole year, I had 10 in-class assessments and one mock exam. I had the in-class tests every two weeks, usually when we completed part of a topic. I was never tested in Photography as it’s 100% coursework. Again, I think it depends on the subject.
Question Ten: What are you doing after college?
I don’t want to say too much as I want to do a separate post on it, but I’m hoping to go to university! I’m currently looking at three universities, Sussex, East London and St Mary’s (Twickenham). I’ll keep you updated on my progress nearer the time.
I hope you enjoyed my College Q&A! I enjoyed writing it! If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask and perhaps I’ll answer them in another post! I should probably stop now, this post is now very long (just over 1360 words)!
Thanks for reading!