Top Tips to Set Yourself Up for Sixth Form Success

Date Posted: 26th October

Categories: Sixth Form

As the end of GCSEs is in sight, the beginning of a new and exciting chapter is looming. Starting Sixth Form can incur a fresh set of challenges, but ensuring you are fully prepared is the key to success.

Discover our top tips for starting Sixth Form, so you can hit the ground running from day one!

Research Your Sixth Form Subject Options

As you approach the end of formal schooling and are given the option to progress in a multitude of different directions, it can feel undeniably overwhelming. However, knowing your post-16 education options will help you revaluate what is important to you as an individual, and help you make an informed decision.


A-Levels are one of the most common routes students go down after leaving school. An A-Level is a traditional, subject-based qualification however, unlike in school, there are no compulsory subjects. Instead, you can choose 3 – 4 specialist subjects that you’re most interested in or, even choose a subject you’ve not studied before. A-Levels are the most traditional route to university, providing recognised qualifications for entrance into higher education.


A BTEC is a practical-based, vocational qualification that is typically industry or job role specific. Qualifications of this kind are popular as they provide you with real life, industry experience. They offer an alternative route into university, or as an appealing qualification to prospective employers.

Choosing the right subjects

Whether you are looking to study a vocational or subject-based qualification, there is a diverse range of subjects to choose from, designed to give pupil’s the ultimate opportunity to succeed.  Identify which subjects you have a passion for or where you can excel, and the best progression for you long-term, by asking yourself just a few simple questions:

  • Do I want to go to university?
  • Does my chosen career path have particular entry requirements?
  • What are my strong points academically?
  • What are my passions and interests?
  • What do I enjoy both in and outside the classroom?

Dive into the curriculum and explore the wide range of Sixth Form subject options available to you at Wycliffe.

Essential Items to Pack

Despite just finishing your GCSE’s, you are likely to find you need additional stationery and equipment during your time at Sixth Form, and with this new and exciting step in your academia, it can be easy to forget the essentials.

Maximise your Sixth Form experience, enhance your learning and ensure you have all you need from the get-go with our essentials list:

  • Pens – including a black ballpoint / biro, and other colours for notes
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Lined notepads
  • Calculator – if you’re studying any maths/science subjects
  • A USB
  • A4 Ring Binders
  • Dividers
  • A bag – large enough to transport binders / notebooks

If you are boarding at an Independent school, you may need to bring additional items which we have compiled into our boarding school packing list.

Wycliffe girl studying

What to Expect on Your First Day of Sixth Form

The leap from school to Sixth Form can seem immense, but when you know what to expect, it can make your first day that little bit easier.

The transition from school, and subsequently your first day, will vary depending on whether you are going to Sixth Form college or private Sixth Form. An independent, private Sixth Form is often attached to an independent school which offers post-16 education in a private setting, differentiating it from state Sixth Form colleges.

Private Sixth Form

Opting for an independent Sixth Form allows for continuation in the same school setting, allowing you to continue to thrive in comfortable, familiar surroundings. Despite being part of the same school establishment, students’ maturity is recognised, and they are given additional privileges and freedom – such as free study periods.

The level of learning and academic expectations at this level is a significant step from the final GCSE years at school, so you should plan to go into your first day with an open mind and maximise your potential. Get to know your teachers and any new surroundings you may not be as familiar with. A private Sixth Form will work with you to achieve your dreams in terms of academic success, career readiness and preparation for university, providing you put in the necessary effort and commitment to achieve these goals.

Public Sixth Form

Starting out at a new Sixth Form college can be scary, particularly when you are in a brand-new environment with people you may not know. Your first day will be focused on helping you to feel at ease and getting to grips with your surroundings. Several colleges also enlist older students as mentors who will help you find your way to class, so you don’t need to worry about wandering around unfamiliar territory. During your first day you are likely to have the opportunity to get to know your tutor, who will also be a friendly face you can rely on going forward.

Regardless of the Sixth Form you choose to enrol with, the key to success is beginning this new chapter with a positive mindset, and ensuring you go into your first day prepared. 

Get to Know Your Peers

During Sixth Form, you’re likely to experience new faces and spend your time with people doing the same subjects as you. It’s important to spend some time getting to know your peers. Building relationships with your peers will make your time at Sixth Form more enjoyable and could also enhance your academic studies through teamwork and collaboration.

Remember, everyone in your class has chosen to study this subject, meaning you already have a common interest, and something to talk about. Striking new conversations isn’t always easy, but more often than not, it will bring you closer to your peers.

Organisation & Study Tips for Sixth Form

With boundless new opportunities and independence, it is important to find ways of controlling your time and planning in space for that all-important revision. If you’re at a private Sixth Form, you are likely to be participating in extra-curricular activities in addition to day-to-day study, so it is about balancing your priorities and getting organised.

Investing in a planner is a great way of keeping track of your time and mapping out your daily tasks. Sixth Form education is a step up from GCSEs, and therefore free periods should be used wisely for study and revision, particularly as workload begins to increase.

With this newfound independence, you should prioritise turning up to lessons on time and taking control of your personal learning. Ultimately, it is the best way of to prepare yourself for what happens after you leave Sixth Form, whether you take the route of university or enter the workplace straightaway.!

Finally, utilise your ring-binders. Organising sheets upon sheets of paper may seem mundane but will save you ample amounts of time when it comes to studying and will ensure you maximise your available resources for months to come.

Get Involved in Extra-Curricular Activities

Your Sixth Form experience will fly by but is a time you will look back on for years to come. Make the most out of the opportunities that are presented to you.

Participating in clubs and societies is a fond way of not only building friendships, but also enriching yourself as a person.  Whether you are a fan of music and drama or sport is your thing, Sixth Form is an excellent opportunity to dive into a diverse programme of extra-curricular activities. Set yourself up for later life through new-found skills, increased confidence, and your own array of personal interests.

Explore our guide to studying at a private Sixth Form in the UK, and discover how you can make the most of your natural skills and talent.

football on astroturf at wycliffe

Wycliffe Sixth Form in Gloucestershire

In the heart of the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside, Wycliffe private Sixth Form offers post-16 schooling to talented pupils from around the world.

If you’re interested to know more about what Wycliffe can offer, explore our Sixth Form and request a prospectus.

Related Articles

Visit Us

to find out what makes Wycliffe College unmistakably unique!

Whole Prep Open Morning - Friday 10th May

Senior Open Morning - Saturday 11th May

Book Here