Born in 2004, I found myself taking my GCSEs during 2020/21 when Covid-19 had brought the world to a halt and most countries were in lockdown. This meant that everyone had to turn to technology to help continue their jobs, studies and everyday lives. My classes switched to online and both teachers and students had to adapt quickly. In March 2021 I sat my Mock exams. We had had online assessments just two weeks before so the schedule was intense. Luckily the Mocks went my way and I managed to get good results. What I, nor did the school, knew at the time was that these Mocks were to become my final chance to show my abilities. Teacher assessed grades were awarded based on an average of the Mocks, online assessments and past tests throughout the course.

I began my A Levels in September 2021. I found the transition from GCSEs to A Levels quite comfortable. This could have partly been because I stayed on at my school’s Sixth Form along with many of my friends. I had found the GCSEs hard work, which made me more resilient for advanced studies. I chose Maths, Physics and Biology and adapted to the initial change by pacing myself for the long run. This meant staying on top of my work and understanding the topics covered in class as we went along.

Maths A Level is built upon the foundations taught at GCSE. A firm understanding of the basics is vital to feel confident with the topics introduced at A Level. As at the gym, the message is that more you practice the better you get. There are no shortcuts.

Having taken Combined Science at GCSE, I wondered how I would find the transition to Science A Levels. In my Physics class, it so happened that everyone had taken Triple Science at GCSE and initially it felt like I was out of my comfort zone. However, after a few weeks, I realised this was not an issue and I have enjoyed learning more about electricity, mechanics and forces this term.

I am finding A Level Biology more of a challenge, mainly because of the volume of material and all the new scientific terms we have to learn. Again, frequent revision of what we have covered in lessons is essential to keeping up.

A big difference in the Sixth Form is that most students have chosen the subjects they are passionate about. This means that there is a healthy competitiveness and a strong drive to succeed in every class. I am finding this atmosphere inspiring and motivates me to work to my potential. One term in, I am really enjoying life as an A Level student. If you are hoping to start your A Levels next September, remember to choose the subjects you love and play to your strengths. - By Kamran Seward