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Year 11 to Year 12: what is it like? – Anna Slavikova, Wimbledon High School

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The month of January is a time of new beginnings: a new year, new resolutions, and a new school term. For Year 12s in particular, January is a time to finally get a real taste of the Sixth Form experience, having been allowed a term to adjust to the new environment. 


I spoke to Emilia Lovering, a Year 12 student, to find out about her experiences surrounding the transition between Year 11 and Sixth Form. 



When asked about her favourite difference between the two years, Emilia replied, “My favourite change has to be the choice and focus on specific subjects. As someone with a very strong preference in humanities/discursive subjects, being able to spend longer solely in those situations with people who similarly feel passionate about the subject makes the whole learning process feel much more comfortable, despite the step up in work expectancy”, emphasising the benefits of a narrower subject focus at A Level. She also highlighted the advantages of free periods, saying that as a result, the days feel “much more enjoyable”, and having breaks in between lessons “makes it much easier to focus when actually working.” 


In terms of differences in how she spends her time, Emilia tries to “get more work done at school than at home”, and “spend more time reading around subjects.” The major difference for her, it seems, is the co-curricular side of school, as she claimed, “I find that I spend more time doing things for and in the school, such as running sessions in clubs, and attending various meetings.” 

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When asked what it’s like adapting to life in Year 12, Emilia stated, “I think Sixth Form suits me far better.” However, she said that there are a few new challenges, such as “motivating yourself to manage your time more effectively; something I’m not always able to do. Having to take control and manage additional revision and consolidation when no one is telling you to do so is quite challenging.” She also went on to talk about the changes in your social life when only studying four subjects, as opposed to many GCSE subjects: “As so much of Sixth Form, clubs, lessons, and talks are informed by your subjects, I do find it harder now to spend time during the school week with other people who do not have similar interests as me, whereas the breadth of GCSEs meant this never happened before.”


Finally, I asked Emilia which she preferred: Year 11 or Year 12? Her reply, predictably, was: “Year 12, as I’m sure many would agree. Whilst there is a higher pressure on work, and there is the ever-present question of higher education bouncing around, it is far more enjoyable.” She also enjoys the opportunities open to Sixth Form, especially having “more freedom and autonomy”, with exeat and no uniform being a “real bonus”. 

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The Sixth Form experience is bound to be different for everyone, but for Emilia, as undoubtedly for many others, the transition to Sixth Form life has been overwhelmingly positive. 

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