time management

A-levels, time management

A-Level Success Tips: How To Manage Your Workload


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As a parent do you wish that there were meaningful A-level success tips that you could pass on to your child? Like many parents, you may notice that the transition from GCSEs to A-levels can be a challenging time for your child due to a number of reasons. They may have to travel to a sixth form college on their own and navigate the local public transportation system during the morning rush hour. They have a get used to a schedule where they are not micromanaged by their teachers like they were in their GCSE courses. And they have to adapt to a new learning environment where the teacher teaches the concepts in a discussion-based format and they consolidate their learning by completing packs of past paper questions as part of their homework set.

A lot of students struggle to transition to A-levels from their GCSEs during the first term of their A-level courses. The primary reason for this is that they don’t know how to handle the workload associated with being an A-level student. They are expected to learn how to handle the workload as they are learning how to navigate the local public transportation system, learning how to manage their time, learning how to study effectively and learning the course material!

As a parent, you realise that there is a lot of pressure on your child to be successful in their A-levels. After all, their place on their university course depends on the grades that they get on their A-level exams. Learning how to manage their workload is something that all sixth form students need to master if they are going to be successful in their A-levels.

This blog post contains five A-level success tips to help your child manage their workload. If you want to help them learn how to manage A-levels and how to manage their workload then keep on reading!

A-Level Success Tips: Is Your Child In A Reactive or Proactive State?

A-level success tips

When discussing how to handle their workload with your child the first step you need to take is to determine whether your child is in a reactive or a proactive state. If your child is in a reactive state then they will be experiencing negative stress which is unhealthy for them. They will feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to accomplish in their A-level courses. They will feel that they don’t have enough time to complete their homework sets. And they will feel that they don’t have time to prepare for their EOU tests.

If your child is in a proactive state then they will be feeling positive stress which is healthy for them. They will still have the same deadlines as the child who is in a reactive state but they will feel as if they can handle the workload of the A-level courses. They will feel that although they are working hard at their studies that they have enough time to complete their homework sets. And although it’s normal to feel nervous about taking exams they will feel that they are prepared for their EOU tests.

As a parent, in order to complete the first step, you need to determine whether your child is in the reactive or proactive state and explain to them that it is possible to move from the reactive to the proactive state. This can be accomplished by planning out their time more effectively.

Help your child manage their workload by completing this A-level success tip:

  • Explaining to them the difference between a reactive and proactive state.
  • Explain the difference between negative stress (unhealthy) and positive stress (healthy).
  • Determine whether they are in a reactive or a proactive state.

Long Term Planning

A-level success tips

The second step you need to take with your child is to help them plan their time more effectively. This can be accomplished by helping them with their long term planning. To start with they will need a paper planner or a calendar which they can purchase either online or from their local stationery store. Or they can print one off from the internet.

It doesn’t matter what type of planner they have or where they obtain the planner as long as they have the ability to plan three or four months into the future. The reason why they need to plan three or four months into the future is that this is the typical length of a term. School terms normally last between 12 weeks (3 months) or 16 weeks (4 months).

The first task that they are going to accomplish is to write down all of the events that they know are going to occur during the term. For example, they would record vacation days and the beginning and end of the half-term vacation. And they would record any days of school that they are missing due to school-sanctioned events. These may include medicine academy events, engineering field trips or university open days.

A quick win at this point in order to foster a positive relationship with your child’s tutor is to let them know in advance when they are planning on being absent from school. This can easily be achieved by making a note on the planner on the seventh day prior to the event happening that your child will email their tutor and let them know that they plan on being absent on that day. Teachers also plan their school term and they really appreciate knowing in advance if a student is planning on being absent so they can move EOU tests or practicals.

Help your child manage their workload:

  • Help them obtain a planner either from the internet or their local stationery store.
  • Help them record any vacation days and the start and end of the half-term vacation.
  • Help them write in their planner the dates of any events that they plan on attending during the term.
  • Help them make a note on their planner to email their teacher seven days in advance to let them know in advance of their absence from class.

Medium Term Planning

A-level success tips

The third step you need to take with your child is the medium-term planning. This involves planning out each month of the three or four-month long term plan in as much detail as possible. Have your child ask their teacher when the due dates are for the assessments in their course. This includes items such as EOU tests, practicals, quizzes and homework sets. Most teachers plan either a half-term or a term in advance so they will probably be able to tell your child when these events are occurring each month.

If they can’t tell your child the exact dates these events are occurring then have your child ask them the frequency at which they are occurring each month. For example, they may tell your child that since the class is covering a topic once every three weeks then they can expect an EOU test once every four weeks. Or that the practicals occur once every three weeks.

The idea is that your child obtains as much information as possible about the assessments occurring in their courses and writes these dates into their planners. This way they are not worried when the teacher announces these events. Rather they were expecting them to occur and they had planned ahead in their planners to be ready for these events.

Help your child manage their workload:

  • Have them ask their teacher for the due dates of any recurring events such as EOU tests, practicals, quizzes and homework sets.
  • Have your child write these events into their planner for each month of the term.

A-Level Success Tips: The Three Day Rule

A-level success tips

The fourth step you need to take with your child is to help them implement the three-day rule. The three-day rule is what allows your child to transition from the reactive state to the proactive state. Although this is a simple rule to follow it is one of the important steps out of the five steps mentioned in this blog post. It is one of the A-level success tips that you definitely want to explain to your child.

Let’s assume that your child is given homework by their teacher which is due on Friday. Your child would immediately write the due date of their assignment into their planner. They then count back three days from the due date and make a note that they will start their homework set on Tuesday.

As soon as they receive the homework from their teacher they read through the questions on the homework and make sure that they understand the questions. They also make sure that they understand the concept being tested in the homework. If they are unclear about anything in the homework they ask their teacher for clarification and help to understand the concept before they leave college for the day.

On Tuesday (3 days out) they complete their master set of notes for the topic. To help your child create a master set of notes read the blog post How To Take Notes At A-Level To Earn An A*. On Wednesday (2 days out) they complete their homework assignment. On Thursday (1 day out) they review their homework assignment to make sure that they have answered all of the questions correctly, place it into their day folder and put the folder into their book bag.

By implementing this rule your child is not working into the early hours of the morning the day before the assignment is due. They are not feeling as if they don’t have enough time to complete the assignment and understand the concepts on the homework set. They are not feeling negative stress! Rather they are completing each step of the three-day plan in a timely manner each day.

The three-day rule is a suggested amount of time that your child should be spending on their assignments. It is a flexible rule and can be adapted as your child works through their course work. For example, if they find that they need four days in order to complete their A-level chemistry homework the next time they are given homework in their A-level chemistry class they budget four days to complete the homework set rather than three days. And they update their planner accordingly.

Help your child manage their workload:

  • Help them understand the three-day rule.
  • Help them understand that the three-day rule is flexible.

Short Term Planning

The fifth step you need to take with your child is short term planning. This involves implementing the three-day rule in all of their courses and for all of their assignments. If they implement the three-day rule for all of their courses they will have a detailed plan for what they need to accomplish each day. Each of the A-level success tips mentioned in this blog post is important in their own right but your child needs to especially implement this one in order to be successful.

If they know about the assignment from their long term and medium-term planning they can easily implement the three-day rule for each assignment by counting backwards from the due date three days and completing their notes on day one, the assignment on day two and checking their work on day three.

If they don’t know the due date of the assignment from long term and medium-term planning but rather are given the assignment in class then the rule still applies. As soon as they are given the assignment they make a note of the due date in their planner and count back three days to start the process of the three-day rule.

Since they have completed this process for all of their coursework they will have populated each day of their planner with specific tasks that they need to complete for each of their courses. For example, they may have to read a given number of pages of their textbook for their A-level history class, complete a past paper for their A-level physics class and revise for an upcoming EOU test for their A-level chemistry class. To help your child create a revision plan for their EOU exams read the blog post A-Level Chemistry Revision: 5 Study Skills Used By A* Students.

Help your child manage their workload:

  • Help them implement the three-day rule for all of the assignments in all of their courses and write down what they need to complete each day in their planner.
  • Help them stick to the plan and complete each of the tasks they need to complete each day on their planner.

What Happens If Your Child Is Overwhelmed With Work?

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If your child is in a reactive state and is overwhelmed with work you can help them transition to a proactive state. You need to talk to your child and explain that it is possible to move to a proactive state in two easy steps. First, they need to put in some extra work and effort in order to get caught up with their course work. Second, they need to spend about an hour and complete their planning for the course and implement the three-day rule.

Hopefully, you have found the A-level success tips mentioned in this blog post to be beneficial and will explain them to your child. The workload at A-levels can be daunting for your child as they transition from GCSE to A-level. However, with careful planning of their time and sticking to a schedule they can have a successful A-level experience.

A-levels, time management

Sixth Form Essentials: How To Help Your Child Get Organised For Their A-Levels


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As a parent are you thinking about how you can help your child get off to a great start in their A-level courses? You want to stress the importance of education but don’t want to micro-manage them. You want to give them independence in how they approach their school work but you want to see them be successful. You can achieve this by helping them with one of their sixth form essentials which is getting organised for their A-level courses.

You can show them how to organise their workspace and folders so that they can easily find the resources that their teacher gives them. You can help them organise their time so that they are completing their homework assignments, lab reports and studying for topic tests with a structured approach. And you can show them how to have a school-life balance so that they don’t get burned out with their studies.

So, if helping your child get organised for their A-level studies is something which interests you then keep on reading this blog post.

Sixth Form Essentials: Help Them Organise The Resources Their Teacher Gives Them

sixth form essentials

One of the main differences between GCSE’s and A-levels is the volume of information that your child will receive from their teacher. In A-level courses, isn’t the case of a slow and steady teaching pace using a few worksheets that have to be completed by the end of the week. Rather, it is the case of a fast-paced approach where your child is receiving handouts, sample questions to complete in class, homework sets, past paper questions, old practice exams and lab assignments on a daily basis. If your child doesn’t have an organizational strategy in place at the beginning of the course they can quickly become overwhelmed with paperwork which could impact their final grade.

The best practice to organise all of the resources they receive from their teacher is to use one A4 lever arch file for each section of your child’s course. For example, because there are three sections in A-level chemistry, they would have three lever arch folders. One for Organic, one for Inorganic and one for Physical chemistry along with the necessary divider tabs and sheet protectors. As soon as they receive a resource from their teacher they place it in their day folder. And as soon as they get home they hole punch it and file it in the appropriate A4 folder.

Although organizing their resources using lever arch folders is an excellent organization system, students today are also organizing their resources digitally using a scanner app on their smartphone which is connected to an air drive. Once they receive a resource from their teacher and before they submit their completed homework assignments they scan them using an app on their smartphone and save the file to the appropriate folder on their air drive. Most schools offer a free subscription to Microsoft Office 365 which includes a 1 TB air drive, the Microsoft Office suite and a scanner app called Office Lens.

If your child’s school doesn’t offer a free subscription to Microsoft Office 365 then it’s worthwhile purchasing a subscription and installing the app on your child’s smartphone. Or if their school uses Google classroom then purchasing a scanner app for their phone and using Google drive as an air drive. There are many different scanning apps and air drives available for your child’s smartphone. The advantage of using the Microsoft Office suite is that one Office Lens scans a document directly from your child’s smartphone and saves it to their OneDrive.

Once you have established an organizational system for your child the next step is to help them make filing and scanning their paperwork part of their daily routine. Filing and scanning resources should take about 15 minutes per day for your child to complete and should be the first task they complete when they come home from school and before they start their homework. This is because the paperwork quickly mounts up by the end of the week and a well organised set of folders is crucial when they start to revise for their topic tests, UCAS prediction exam and final exam in the course.

One of the major differences between a student who earns a C in A-level chemistry and one that earns an A* is that the student who earns an A* is organised which is one of the sixth form essentials that have to be mastered. They don’t spend their time looking for notes that were scribbled on a piece of loose-leaf paper and then placed in their textbook. They don’t spend time looking for homework sets or sample questions that were tossed somewhere in their book bag. Rather they have a well organised set of folders so that they can easily find the resource that they are looking for and spend their time learning the course material.

How to help your child organize their A-level work:

  • Buy one lever arch folder per topic in your child’s A-level course.
  • Purchase a subscription to Office 365 or a scanner app and an air drive.
  • Help your child scan and file their resources as soon as they receive them.
  • Help them scan their completed assignments before they submit them.
  • Help your child maintain their filing system by spending 15 minutes each day filing and scanning their resources.

Sixth Form Essentials: Help Them Optimise Their Daily Commute

sixth form essentials

A lot of students commute anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half each way to school especially if they live in a large city. This adds up to between one or three hours each day or five or fifteen hours each week. That’s the equivalent of almost either one or two school days each week that they spend commuting to and from school!

Everyone needs some downtime to decompress after school and make a few phone calls to their friends, listen to music, watch a movie or stream a YouTube video. However, A* students know that this is valuable time they can use to study for their course. Because they are organised they don’t waste any time looking for handouts or homework sets tossed in their book bag because they can easily find them in their day folder. Rather, they use their commute time to revise key definitions and concepts using index cards or a flashcard app on their smartphone. They complete their weekly reading from their textbook or a digital copy of their textbook. Or they complete homework questions using the paper copy in their day folder or a digital copy on their smartphone.

A* students also choose their mode of transportation wisely so they can leverage their study time. If they live in a large city they may have a variety of modes of public transportation. For example, bus, tube, train or combination of these modes of transportation. Rather than take the bus which may be standing room only during their commute time they may choose to take the tube or the train so that they can get a seat and get some work done during their commute home.

A* students understand that they need to leverage their time wisely so that they can earn the grade that they want in the course. Its another one of the sixth form essentials that make an impact on whether your child earns an A* or a C in the course. As a parent, you can help your child reclaim this lost time each week by helping them choose a mode of transportation for their daily commute which allows them to get work done during this time rather than being the shortest commute time to and from school. Being able to study between an extra one to three hours each day which is between five and fifteen hours per week can make a large difference in the grade your child earns in their A-levels exams.

Help your child optimise their daily commute by:

  • Choosing a mode of transportation that allows them to study during this time.
  • Plan what they are going to study during this time i.e. revise key definitions and concepts using index cards or complete their homework assignment.

Help Them Organize Their WorkSpace

Besides organising their folders A* students also know that they need to organise their workspace. It doesn’t matter where they study at a desk in the corner of their bedroom, at the dining room table or at the public library. Wherever they study, their workspace is organised.

As a parent, you can help your child with their A-levels by helping them organise their workspace. If they are working at a desk make sure that they have a good light source such as a desk lamp, a bookcase to store their books and folders and a comfortable chair. They will also need a pencil case to store pens, pencils, different coloured highlighters, ruler and a calculator. And they will need an adequate supply of college-ruled paper, a hole punch and index cards.

If they are working at the dining room table or a public library then they will need a sturdy book bag and a day folder in order to transport their work. Although this may seem one of the sixth form essentials which is easy to complete it is an important one because having an organised workspace means that your child will be more productive when they start completing their course work.

Ways you can help your child organise their workspace:

  • Make sure they have a desk in their room with a good light source, a bookshelf and a chair.
  • Make sure they have all of the stationary that they need for the course.
  • Make sure they have a sturdy book bag and a day folder.

Sixth Form Essentials: Help Them Organise Their Time

One aspect of their lives that A* students have mastered is time management. It’s another major difference between students that earn a C on their A-level courses and an A*. It may just appear that A* students are always studying during their spare time between lessons during the day and in the evening time. And they always seem to have their homework set and lab practicals completed and ready to be handed in by the due date.

As a parent, you can help your child be successful by helping them organise their time using a time management system. It doesn’t matter if its a school planner, a day planner or a time management app on their smartphone. What is important is that they have a system that accomplishes two things. First, it captures all of the due dates for homework assignments, lab reports, end of topic tests and exams. Second, it allows them to plan how they are going to complete all of the assignments by their due dates and what they are going to study each day.

The first aspect of your child’s time management system is easy to achieve. Your child gets into the habit of writing all of the assignment due dates that their teacher gives them into the time management system. And avoids jotting important due dates in the corner of their notes during their lessons. The second aspect is a little more complicated as it involves them structuring their time wisely during their study sessions. If you need help showing your child how to do this read the blog post Revision Plan: How A* Students Plan To Revise For A-Level Chemistry for more details.

Ways You Can Help Your Child Organise Their Time:

  • Find a time management system that works for them.
  • Help them get into the routine of writing all of their due dates in their time management system.
  • Help them plan their week so that they can complete all of their assignments.

Helping your child get organised for their A-levels is crucial for their academic success and is something that they may not have been required to do when studying for their GCSEs. A-level courses are taught at a faster pace than GCSEs and your child is required to learn and retain a larger volume of information. Helping your child model the strategies used by A* students such as how they organise the resources given to them by their teacher is one way you can help them improve their grade in the course. Helping them complete this list of sixth form essentials will get them off to a great start in their A-level courses.