If you’re the parent of a child in Sixth Form or College, you may have heard talk of the EPQ. But what exactly is it, and why should your child consider doing one?

In short, the EPQ is an independent project that allows students to plan and conduct research on a topic of their choice. It is generally taken in Year 12 or Year 13, alongside other A-levels, and provides students with the opportunity to develop crucial skills, applicable to university and beyond.

This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about the EPQ, so that you can best support your child if they’re considering taking one.

What is the EPQ?

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a Level 3 standalone qualification that your child can take alongside their choice of A-level, BTEC, or T-level courses. It is worth up to 28 UCAS points (half an A-level).

Students select a topic that particularly interests them and plan, conduct, and deliver an independent project.

The topic of choice can be on pretty much anything, from an investigation into the ethical issues surrounding the use of stem cells, to the design and production of bespoke kitchen cabinets! The only condition is that their chosen topic is not directly covered by their other A-level courses.

What are the main stages of the EPQ?

So, what does the EPQ actually involve? Here’s a brief outline of the key stages:

1.  Choose a topic

Students must decide on their chosen topic. Topic areas are generally selected by the end of Year 12, with the help of an assigned supervisor. This will allow them to get a head start on research over the summer, if they wish.

2.  Choose a project type

Students must decide on the form their project will take. This could be a piece of writing, such as a report or dissertation, typically around 5,000 words. Alternatively, they may opt for a practical project, with the final piece taking the form of a design, artefact or performance, alongside a short 1,000-word report.

This enables them to play to their strengths and do something they enjoy. If your child is a budding fashion designer, perhaps they may choose to design and create a sustainable handbag. If science is more their thing, they may prefer to conduct a field experiment and to analyse, write-up, and evaluate their results.

3.  Complete a production log

No matter what form your child’s project takes, they’ll need to complete a production log. This is similar to a diary that details the entirety of their EPQ journey, from their initial project ideas to their subsequent project proposal, as well as continuous self-reflection and evaluation of their project.

4.  Presentation

The final component is a short ten-minute presentation about their project to a small group of non-specialists (often a teacher and a few classmates). This is generally followed by a five- to ten-minute question and answer session.

A student giving a short presentation on their EPQ to their classmates.

Overall, your child will be expected to spend around 120 hours on their EPQ. It’s a lot of work, but they’ll receive a tonne of support and guidance along the way from their assigned supervisor.

How is the EPQ assessed?

The EPQ is marked internally by teaching staff, but is subject to external moderation by the examination board. Although marking schemes will vary across exam boards, students are typically assessed against four main objectives:

  1. Project planning and time management skills
  2. Using resources, research skills, and data analysis
  3. Developing an idea and achieving planned outcomes
  4. Self-evaluation and presentation skills

What key skills will your child develop?

Taking the EPQ will provide your child with the opportunity to develop a range of transferable skills, applicable to both higher education and the workplace. According to AQA, the EPQ enables students to:

What are the other benefits of taking an EPQ?

1.  Preparation for university

The EPQ is excellent preparation for the more self-directed learning expected of students at university. They’ll have to be highly self-motivated, organised, and good at managing their time − all skills that the EPQ helps to develop.

Taking the EPQ will give your child a real taste of what university studies might be like. Unlike a traditional A-level, the lack of a set syllabus and directed timetable will require them to become more independent and take initiative.

A male student studying in his university library.

2.  Reduced entry requirements

Universities recognise the benefits of doing the EPQ and, depending on the university and course your child is applying to, applicants who take the EPQ may be offered lower entry requirements.

For example, the standard offer for a course may be ABB, but if your child takes the EPQ, some universities may give a second offer of BBB plus an A in the EPQ.

3.  UCAS application

Top universities recognise the value of the EPQ in preparation for university-level study.

If your child is applying to a highly competitive university with low admission rates, it’s likely that many other applicants will have similar predicted grades to them. Taking the EPQ will help their application to stand out and will give them a lot to talk about in their personal statement and interview.

If they undertake an EPQ relevant to their chosen course, it demonstrates commitment to their subject and shows Admission tutors that their interest goes beyond the A-level curriculum. Even if their EPQ topic isn’t directly related to the course they’re applying for, it will still provide clear evidence that they have the critical thinking and independent research skills that universities are looking for.

These benefits also extend to apprenticeship and job applications!

4.  Rewarding experience

Academic benefits aside, completing the EPQ can be a truly rewarding experience. It can provide an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a topic or project they truly enjoy. You never know, your child might just discover a real passion that they want to pursue beyond school.

A smiling teenage boy sitting at his laptop and working on his EPQ.

Can my child take the EPQ if they’re studying four A-levels?

Whether or not your child can take the EPQ alongside four other A-levels will depend on their school or college. It certainly can be done, but it’s important that your child recognises the sheer amount of work that will be involved. Sitting four A-levels is already more than enough to get into a good university, so they shouldn’t feel pressured to take on the EPQ as well.

If your child is adamant on pursuing the EPQ, it’s always worth discussing it with their school. You could also enquire as to whether any adjustments could be made, with regard to timetables and deadlines, in order to make their workload more manageable.

The EPQ is an exciting opportunity for students to explore their interests, develop transferable skills, and stand out to universities and prospective employers.

Navigating the EPQ can be a daunting, but rewarding experience. We hope that this guide has given you a better understanding of the ins and outs of the EPQ process, so that you can offer informed guidance and support to your child.

Unsure about taking an EPQ in Sixth Form or College? It can be tricky deciding whether or not an EPQ is right for you. Sure, Year 13 will likely be stressful enough, even without the additional workload hanging over your head. However, studying an EPQ comes with lots of benefits that, in my opinion (as an EPQ veteran), make it something worth considering.

In this blog post, I’ll describe what an EPQ entails, before exploring the key benefits of taking one.

What is an EPQ?

An Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a standalone qualification that you can take alongside your other A-levels. It is an independent project which allows you to plan and conduct research on a topic of your choice. EPQs are graded A* to E and are worth up to 28 UCAS points (half an A-level), with higher grades scoring more points.

How do EPQs work?

So, what do you actually need to do to complete an EPQ?

First of all, you need to decide on your chosen topic. Your EPQ can be on pretty much anything, from an investigation into the ethical issues surrounding the use of stem cells, to the design and production of bespoke kitchen cabinets. The sky’s the limit! The only condition is that your chosen topic is not directly covered by your other A-level courses.

Topic areas are generally selected by the end of Year 12, with the help of an assigned supervisor (usually a teacher). This then gives you the summer holidays to get a headstart on research.

The next step is to decide on the form your project will take. Many students opt for a written research-based report, typically around 5,000 words. Others choose to do a more practical project, with their final piece taking the form of an artefact or production, alongside a short 1,000-word report.

A teenage girl sitting at an easel and drawing for her EPQ.

In addition to the final project, you will be required to complete a production log. This is similar to a diary that details the entirety of your EPQ journey, including your initial project ideas, subsequent project proposal, and continuous self-reflection and evaluation of your project.

The final component of the project is delivering a short presentation to a small group of non-specialists.

Yes, there’s a lot of work involved − overall, you’ll be expected to spend around 120 hours on your EPQ − but don’t let this put you off. You’ll receive a tonne of support and guidance along the way from your assigned supervisor.

What are the benefits of doing an EPQ?

1. Study skills

Taking an EPQ provides you with the opportunity to develop crucial skills, applicable to both higher education and the workplace. According to AQA, the EPQ enables you to:

These transferable skills can be great to talk about in your personal statement or during interviews.

2. Preparation for university

An EPQ is excellent preparation for the more self-directed learning expected of you at university. You’ll have to be highly self-motivated, organised, and good at managing your time − arguably some of the most important skills for success in an undergraduate degree.

In many ways, taking an EPQ gives you a real taste of what university studies might be like. Unlike a traditional A-level, the lack of a set syllabus and directed timetable will require you to become more independent and take your own initiative.

A student giving a short presentation on their EPQ to their classmates.

3. Reduced entry requirements

Universities recognise the benefits of doing an EPQ and, depending on the university and course you’re applying to, applicants who take an EPQ may be offered lower entry requirements.

For example, Queen Mary University of London states “If a course requires ABB from three A-Levels, we may provide the following offer to applicants taking an EPQ: GCE Advanced A-Levels Grades BBB and A in Extended Project.”

4. Stand out on your UCAS application

Even if your top university choices don’t make dual EPQ offers, they will still certainly recognise the value of an EPQ in preparation for university-level study.

The University of Oxford “recognises that the EPQ will provide an applicant with the opportunity to develop research and academic skills relevant for study at Oxford” and encourages applicants to “draw upon their experience of undertaking the project when writing their personal statement.”

If you’re applying to a highly competitive university with low admission rates, it’s likely that many other applicants will have similar predicted grades to you. Taking an EPQ will help your application to stand out.

Admission tutors are looking for students who have a genuine interest in the course they’re applying for. Undertaking an EPQ relevant to your chosen course demonstrates commitment to your subject and shows that your interest goes beyond the A-level curriculum.

The UCAS logo on their official website.

If your EPQ topic isn’t directly related to the course you’re applying for, don’t worry. It still provides clear evidence that you have the critical thinking and independent research skills that universities are looking for.

It will also give you a great opportunity to demonstrate your wider interests and show that you’re a well-rounded individual when it comes to writing your personal statement.

5. Discover your passion

There are very few occasions, if any, in your secondary education when you can explore an interest or topic of your choosing.

What are you enthusiastic about? Are there particular areas of a subject that spark your interest? Do you strive to create something new and unique? Take this opportunity and have fun with it! You never know, you might discover a real passion that you want to pursue beyond school.

There’s no denying it − an EPQ requires a lot of work and time commitment, on top of the regular demands of Sixth Form or College. In addition to bagging some extra UCAS points, taking an EPQ has many benefits and can be a truly rewarding experience. If you still aren’t sure whether an EPQ is right for you, get some advice from a member of staff who you feel comfortable talking to and who knows you well.

Your child may have just started their first term of Year 11, but it will soon be time to begin thinking about the next step in their education. They can apply to as many sixth forms or colleges as they like; the possibilities are endless. But how can you and your child narrow down the options? And how can you best support your child with one of their biggest decisions yet?

Your role as a parent is to help your child gather all the information they can about the options available to them, so that they can make an informed decision. It’s important to offer support, but equally important that your child feels in charge of the decision-making process.

This article will help you to navigate the maze of options available to your child. You can use it to determine which factors are most important to consider when making your decision together, and to help you weigh up the pros and cons of any sixth form or college you’re considering.

Your child wants to stay at their current school

Your child may have already set their heart on staying at their current school and, for some students, this is a good option.

Sixth form is a mere two years and some students may take a while to settle into a new environment. The anxiety of a new place, teachers they don’t know, and the stress of making new friends could detract from their studies. For some, familiarity is preferable, allowing them to focus on their studies from the very start.

However, it’s important that your child doesn’t make this decision solely because it’s the easiest or because their best friend is staying. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

It’s also a good idea to look at a few other alternatives, even if it’s only to consolidate their decision. You and your child can do this by looking at other sixth form’s prospectuses or heading to an open day.

A group of school students walking across the school yard.

Factors to consider when picking a sixth form or college

Maybe their current school doesn’t have a sixth form, or perhaps they think a fresh start in a new environment is preferable. Here are some possible aspects to consider while searching for the perfect place for your child.

Sixth form vs college

A sixth form is connected to a school, while a college is an institution solely specialising in further education. Although the services they offer are broadly the same, they often have different approaches to the way in which they support students, both academically and pastorally. Which one is most suitable depends entirely on your child and what kind of environment they feel they will do best in at this stage of their life.

Colleges are usually bigger than sixth forms and have a more hands-off approach to learning. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own education and there is often less supervision.

A college environment would best suit students who enjoy working independently and relish their freedom. Moreover, the hands-off approach that colleges take may better prepare students for university, where contact hours are minimal, and success depends on a student’s ability to organise and motivate themselves, and on their capacity for independent study.

Not all students suit this approach so early in their academic journey. If your child requires closer supervision in their studies and does better with a more fixed support structure around them, then a sixth form may be a more appropriate option. Sixth forms are often smaller than colleges and some students do better in this more intimate setting.

The social environment is something that should be taken into account when choosing a sixth form or college. If your child is a social butterfly and enjoys an ever-changing set of faces, then a college environment will likely be ideal. If, on the other hand, your child is more introverted, the smaller, more intimate environment of a sixth form may be preferable.

Is one type of institution ultimately better than the other? Not really − it all depends on your child’s character and on what conditions suit them the most.

A group of students sitting on the grass outside their college campus.


Does the sixth form or college offer all the A-levels your child wants to study and can they timetable their subjects in?

This sounds like an obvious one, but what happens if your child is set on a place that doesn’t offer one of the subjects they have picked for their A-levels? Or maybe the centre’s timetabling decisions mean two of their subjects will clash.

In this instance, your child is faced with a tricky decision. Should they substitute their dream subject for one they are less passionate about, so that they can attend their first-choice institution? Or is it better to pursue their academic interests at a sixth form or college that caters to their needs, even if the place doesn’t feel as good a fit for them?


How far away is the college or sixth form from your home and how will your child get there?

The journey time may look achievable on Google Maps, however, it’s always a good idea to have your child try out the journey there and back themselves to determine whether or not it will be feasible on a daily basis. It’s especially useful to do this at the times they’re most likely to be travelling so that they can get an idea of traffic, frequency of public transport, and overall busyness; if they’re unlikely to get a seat on the bus or train, the journey will feel a lot longer!

Travelling is tiring and can be stressful, so this is an important factor to take into consideration.


The weighting you put on the importance of the centre’s results may depend entirely upon your child’s ambitions beyond sixth form. If your child’s academic future relies upon high A-level results, then you may consider a centre’s results table to be one of the most important factors when narrowing down your choices. Here are some ways in which you can assess a centre’s results.

Average A-level results

The quickest way of determining which sixth forms or colleges should be shortlisted is by comparing their average A-level results to what your child is aiming for. If they need all As, then it’s not advisable for them to go to a centre where the average A-level results are a C. Hoping your child will outperform the average is a high-risk strategy.

The government provides a tool allowing individuals to access A-level results data for different institutions. You can, for example, find out the mean grade achieved by A-level students in a particular year.

Students sitting their A-levels in an exam hall.

How do they compare to the national average?

Many centres publish their results on their website; these are usually found in either the prospectus or a results section. If they are difficult to find or non-existent, this could be a red flag.

Results will usually be in the form of a table. You will often find that a centre’s performance is broken down into the percentage of students who have achieved certain grades. Typical examples are the percentage of pupils who have achieved an A*/A, A*−B, and a grade C or above. The centre will have an overall percentage which can be compared to the national average (see the bottom of the table below).

Results by subject

Some centres may also give a more detailed breakdown of their results, showing results by subject. This will enable you to get a better idea of the performance of certain departments. If you can’t find this breakdown on a centre’s website, you can email and ask for one.

Below is the Joint Council for Qualifications results table for A-levels, published by Ofqual in 2020, which shows the percentage of students who achieved each grade or above, broken down by subject. You can compare this table to that of the sixth forms or colleges you are considering.

Ofqual results table.

Ofqual August 2020: Results table for GCSEs and A-levels in 2019.

In addition to the above, Ofqual have also published a more detailed breakdown of A*/A achievement.

Extracurricular and pastoral considerations

While academic results are important, your child’s wellbeing should be a major factor in the decision-making process.

Sixth form or college isn’t just a place for further education; it’s also a place where your child will develop psychologically, socially, and emotionally, and as such should be a supportive, accepting environment.

Extracurricular activities

The sixth form or college should provide opportunities for students to develop and explore their passions.

Extracurricular activities may also play a leading role in your child’s personal statement if they choose to go into Higher Education. Universities accept students not only on the basis of their academic abilities, but also on the assumption that they will contribute to university life. The personal statement is a space where students can provide evidence of their engagement with hobbies, sports, or their community, and show that they are a well-rounded individual.

Thus, it is important that a sixth form or college offers a wide range of extracurricular activities for your child to explore − not only for their fulfilment and development, but also for university admission success.

Extracurricular activities a sixth form or college may offer:


A-level timetables are dramatically different from KS3 or KS4 timetables. Sixth form students have free periods and this time should (for the most part) be used for independent study.

Your child will be more motivated to study during these periods if there is a well-equipped environment to support their learning.

It’s a good idea to find out what facilities the centre provides for independent study. Is there a library? How well stocked is it? Is there a sixth form study area? Will your child have access to computers? If not, it’s likely they will need their own laptop.

A dated sixth form library.

Pastoral support

For some centres, pastoral support may be seen as separate from academic support, whereas other centres see them as combined.

Either way, good pastoral care relies on information sharing between staff. It will identify any problems students are having straight away, with support strategies put in place to assist them. Equally, the system will also ensure that students who are on track and settled are still supervised.

Assessing the effectiveness of a centre’s pastoral support system can be difficult. Some places will advertise themselves as supportive environments with watertight pastoral support structures, but current students may tell you otherwise.

The amount of contact your child will have with staff members is a good indicator of the effectiveness of a centre’s support system. Your child’s primary form of contact will be their form tutor and teachers. Small tutor groups and class sizes allow tutors and teachers to get to know their students better, and as a result, students may feel safer sharing any problems. Additional staff add to this support network and may include counsellors or learning support staff.

Other signs of good pastoral support may include mentoring from older students and teacher-student meetings to track and assess progress. If the latter is in place, it is more likely that any academic difficulties a student may encounter will be identified and dealt with promptly.

Support with university admissions

It may feel early to begin thinking about university when your child is only just choosing their sixth form. However, if your child knows that the next step in their academic journey is going to be Higher Education, then it’s important to consider how they will be supported throughout the admissions process. This is especially important if your child has aspirations of getting into Oxbridge or a course requiring specialist preparation for an entry exam.

You can ask a sixth form or college how they support students in the following areas:

Past performance, in terms of students receiving university offers, is a good indicator of how well a centre is able to support students with their applications. If getting into Oxbridge or a Russell Group university, or onto a selective course such as medicine or engineering is something your child is aiming for, then finding out how many past students have achieved this is useful.

If the information isn’t on the centre’s website, don’t be afraid to email and ask.

A female student preparing for a university interview with the help of her career advisor.


If your child has a special educational need or disability (SEND), then it’s important to find out exactly how a centre will support them, both academically and pastorally.

Some centres are far more geared up towards supporting SEND students than others. They may have specialist staff to provide additional academic support, specialist equipment for students to access, or the capacity to carry out assessments.

You may also want to find out how your child’s needs will be accommodated in lessons.

If your child has a physical disability, you may want to consider the size of the campus and the ease at which your child will be able to move around. Once you and your child have narrowed down a shortlist, you may be able to contact a centre and get special dispensation to look around and see how accessible the facilities are and if they are suitable for your child.


If you’ve got to this stage and can’t decide between two places, then the following could help sway your decision towards one or the other.

Exam boards

Your child has picked the subjects they want to study, but do you know which exam board is taught for each subject, and does it really matter?

Broadly speaking, no. All exam boards should have the same standards as they are all overseen by Ofqual, the regulatory body for examinations. However, there are subtle differences.

Some focus more heavily on learning content, whereas others focus more on application of theory. You can research different exam boards and see which would better suit your child’s learning style. For example, this article compares Biology exam boards.

Additionally, some exam boards are less popular than others. This can make finding suitable resources to support your child’s learning more challenging. There may be fewer online resources, fewer textbooks, and if you’re thinking about supplementing your child’s learning with private tutors or revision courses, these can be harder to find.

Choosing a sixth form or college can often feel like an impossible feat as there are so many factors to consider and places to choose from.

However, we hope this has helped you get some idea of the sorts of things you can compare when looking at centres and how to weigh up your options.

Everyone is different and what suits one child may not suit another. It’s important to consider your child’s character, their aspirations, and the environment which will best suit them.

One final bit of advice: always trust your gut.

The transition from GCSEs to A-levels is an exciting time that will present both new opportunities and challenges.

Life in sixth form/college is very different from school. You will grow intellectually and emotionally, develop new ways of thinking and learning, cultivate novel and existing interests, and gain a new sense of independence. It may initially feel quite daunting and overwhelming, and it can be difficult to navigate this new chapter of your life.

As a student who has successfully survived sixth form, here’s 10 things I wish I’d known before starting.

1.  You may initially receive lower grades

The transition from GCSEs to A-levels can be challenging. Courses generally have a settling-in period, so you won’t be thrown in at the deep end. However, the shift in course difficulty, workload, and responsibility is significant, nonetheless.

You might therefore find that at first you aren’t achieving your usual grades − but don’t worry! You won’t be the only one and your teachers will understand that A-levels can take some adjusting to. Trust me, although initially challenging, your hard work will be rewarded, and you will soon settle into the new regime.

2.  Be prepared for more independent study

A-levels place a much greater emphasis on independent study. In KS4, you typically spend around 25 hours per week in lessons. In comparison, if you take three A-levels, you’ll have around 13.5 hours of contact time with your teachers each week. You’re then expected to spend roughly the same amount of time studying independently.

Your learning during this time will be mostly self-directed. You won’t be restricted to specific activities and can take control of your own learning; for example, focusing on the topics you find most challenging.

Independent study should take place continuously throughout your two years at sixth form/college and shouldn’t be restricted to the run up to exams. You’ll be responsible for managing your time and establishing your priorities. You won’t be able to rely on your teacher’s nagging or reminders!

Independent study might include:

A male sixth form student independently studying at home.

Even in your independent study, remember to ask your teacher for help if you’re struggling.

Learning how to study independently is very important, particularly if you’re planning to attend university, where students are expected to undertake significantly more self-directed learning. Figuring out what works best for you now will certainly ease the transition to higher education.

3. Make the most of your free periods

One of the best parts of sixth form/college is not having a jam-packed timetable. You will generally have ‘free periods’ between some of your lessons each day. Your free periods are the perfect time to catch up on some homework, do some extra reading, get help from your teachers, or even begin researching your options for after sixth form/college.

A few hours a week may not seem like much, but over time, they add up. Try not to fall into the trap of wasting free periods by chatting and messing around with your friends in the common room. Yes, it can be good to take a short break, but free periods should (for the most part) be classed as ‘independent study time’ rather than time for socialising with friends.

If you’re easily distracted, be proactive and find yourself a quiet and secluded study spot − perhaps your sixth form/college library or an empty classroom − where you won’t be disturbed.

4. Start as you mean to go on

The start of sixth form/college is the perfect time to establish good study habits and routines. It’s very easy for work to pile up rapidly, so ensure that you keep on top of class notes and deadlines from the very beginning − Future You will thank you later!

Another good piece of advice is to revise as you go along. Rather than leaving revision until the end of the term or a few weeks before mock exams, make revision resources, such as notes and flashcards, after each lesson or topic. Test your knowledge and recall frequently. Doing small chunks of revision regularly will help to consolidate your learning, and will significantly reduce your revision workload by the time exams come around.

Three female sixth form students working during their free period.

5. Organisation is key

Organisation of your class notes, revision resources, and assessments is crucial to your success in sixth form/college and essential for effective exam preparation. At the end of Year 13, all of the content covered over the last two years will be examinable. Just before exams, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours searching for notes you made in the first term of Year 12.

Organisation may come easily to some students more than others, but it’s a skill that is vital for all students to master, especially those considering higher education.

There are plenty of small things you can do to stay organised and ensure that work doesn’t get misplaced:

6. It’s okay to switch or drop subjects

In the first few weeks of sixth form, don’t be afraid to request a change of subject if you know an A-level is not right for you.

Likewise, if you’re taking more than three A-levels and feel that you have bitten off more than you can chew, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with a member of staff. Universities only require three A-levels when making offers, and it’s better to do extremely well in three A-levels than average in four.

A-levels are studied across two years so it’s best to identify problems early on, rather than struggle and potentially end up with lower grades overall as a result.

Of course, whether or not you are allowed to switch or drop subjects will be at the discretion of your sixth form/college, so be sure to enquire before selecting your subjects.

A stack of multi-coloured folders. Organisation is key to success in Sixth Form.

7. Teachers are resources to be used

Although independent learning is a crucial part of A-levels, remember that teachers are still there for you.

Most teachers will be available for additional support before or after school, or during your free periods. They will be happy to answer any questions, talk you through difficult concepts, provide feedback on work, or recommend additional reading or resources.

Many teachers are experts in their field and know the syllabus inside out, so it would be silly not to take advantage of them!

8. Don’t underestimate the power of past papers

If you haven’t already figured this out from GCSEs, past papers are your best friend! Not only are they a useful way of gauging your understanding of a topic, but they prepare you for the type of questions that regularly come up in exams.

Don’t be tempted to leave past papers until you have completed the entire syllabus. Start practising exam questions early on, for example at the end of each topic. Check out our Questions by Topic to assess your understanding of a particular topic and identify where you need to improve.

It can also be helpful to keep a record of the marks you achieve in each paper, so that you can return to them in a few weeks or months time and see if you’ve improved.

Be sure to practise under time pressure, especially for long answer questions and essays.

9. Becoming an ‘all-round’ student

Yes, academic performance is hugely important when applying to university, but it’s not the only factor universities take into account when considering your application.

Universities want to know that you’re a well-rounded student who will positively contribute to university life.

Year 12 is a good time to begin thinking of ways to strengthen your university application:

Developing a diverse skill set early on will certainly pay off when writing your personal statement.

Extracurricular activities, including sports, are great to include in your personal statement.

10. Take care of your mental health

A-levels are a marathon, not a sprint! Taking time out of revision to relax and socialise with friends and family is imperative for your mental wellbeing. Eat well, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep − yes, Mum knows best!

Your time is valuable − don’t let your studies claim too much of it. If you’re expected to spend two hours on an assignment but after four you still haven’t finished, then it’s totally fine to put it to one side. You’ve put the time and effort in. Similarly, if it’s 9 pm and you’re still working, you can call it a day. Your work will still be there in the morning, whereas your mental capacity will quickly diminish without sleep. Think of your A-levels as a new partner − personal boundaries are important!

I know it’s easier said than done, but keep things in perspective and try not to let the pressure get to you.

And finally, don’t compare yourself to others. You can only do your best, and nothing positive will be gained by comparing your grades or the amount of time you have spent studying to other students in your class.

Yes, navigating sixth form/college will be a challenge, but having made it through your GCSEs, there’s no reason why A-levels should be any different.

I hope these tips go some way to easing your sixth form anxieties! Remember, if you do find the transition between KS4 and sixth form particularly difficult, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.