By The Class of 2018
Congrats on getting into 6th form! Chances are you’re here because of your excellent CSEC grades (or whatever exams you do in your country). You’ve got a huge year ahead of you, so be prepared to really give it your all. We, the class of 2018, having experienced 6B already, present to you our ultimate 6B survival guide, where we’ll guide you through everything from friendships to college apps. Enjoy!
Survival Tip 1: Be productive with your breaks
A double session break can seem like a lot of free time but keep in mind, this time can go a lot faster than you’d imagine and it’s also not really free. Your breaks are for you to breathe between classes yes, but don’t use the whole break as a chill session. A lot can be accomplished in a double session and you probably have a lot to do. So use your time wisely. If you have two double session breaks use one to eat and the other to catch up on homework, study for a test or complete any errands you may need to do.
Survival Tip 2: Eat Smart
Some sixth forms let you leave campus to get food after your classes are done for the day. It is at this moment you realize that $500 for the day may not be enough. To make your money stretch, eat at places that offer large portions of food for a small price. Save expensive food for special occasions because while it’s good to treat yoself sometimes, doing it everyday can make you bankrupt. Or, bring lunch most days and only eat out once a week if you can. This also often ends up healthier in the long run.
Survival Tip 3: Choose your subjects wisely
When selecting your subjects, pick things that you’re good at or really enjoy doing. This makes studying and staying motivated so much easier during the term. Sometimes you may need a particular subject for your intended career path that you don’t enjoy but try not to do more than 2 that fall into this category. I know from experience that doing what you love doesn’t even feel like work because you’re having fun most of the time and usually doing well. Also, if you experience challenges in a particular subject, loving it and having genuine interest in it will make it easier to overcome them.
Survival Tip 4: Be open to new friendships and your squad changing
6B is an interesting year because you realize that you start talking to people you never would have expected to talk to. Plus the cliques and separations between groups become less distinct as you get older. Part of coping during this year is understanding that friendship dynamics will change and being open to making new friends. Don’t be afraid of change and don’t waste time forcing friendships that don’t build you as a person.
Survival Tip 5: Don’t get complacent
This is very important. Lower sixth is the most crucial year in terms of applying to college as the grades from this year are what colleges look at. Plus, sixth form teachers are the ones writing your recommendations so be sure to make a positive impression. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or take advantage of consultation dates if you’re having difficulties. It’s important to attack weaknesses early in the term so you don’t get bogged down later on. Also, if you feel like you are not suited to a subject, make sure you go about switching early to avoid complications later on.
Survival Tip 6: Get a head start on college prep
This is very important, and will save you a lot of stress in 6A. Start your college research from the summer after fifth form and start narrowing that list in 6B. Make sure you’re aware of the cost and subject/testing requirements of each school. If you’re planning to go to the US for college, make sure you register early for the SATs. Do them in the January of the year you plan to apply. That way, you can use them to apply if they’re good but you also have time to redo them in October or November if you need to. Start practicing from September and attend a prep class if you can or if you need to. Doing this early saves you a lot of stress and also gives you the option to apply with early action, which often has a higher acceptance rate.
Survival Tip 7: Use your summer wisely
I know summer is meant to be relaxing but you also want to be productive, especially with the summer between 6B and 6A. Get a job, start a blog, do a summer program, volunteer. Do something you’re interested in and really want to do. Also, get a head start on all the essays you’ll have to write for college applications. Common App usually releases their prompts at the end of July/beginning of August and colleges will have their own specific release dates for the prompts. Take advantage of this and save yourself from freaking out come September by at least picking a prompt and starting to plan your essay.
Survival Tip 8: Take unit 1 CAPE very seriously
CAPE. IS. NOT. LIKE. CSEC. In CSEC, you could probably get away with not knowing a particular topic well but CAPE does not work that way. To have a chance of doing well you need to be fully invested in your study process and be very meticulous about revision. Again, take advantage of consultation times with your teachers. Also, it helps to revise every topic as soon as you finish doing it so the final revision process is a lot more streamlined. Procrastination is your enemy in the long run so try to avoid it where possible.
Survival Tip 9: Be proactive about IAs
IAs are a significant part of your CAPE grade so you should treat them accordingly. Stick to the deadlines prescribed by your teacher as much as humanly possible, they’re there for the benefit of everyone. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for specific help or to arrange a meeting with the teacher to discuss any queries you may have. This helps you improve your overall grade and also shows that you’re a committed and disciplined student (bonus points for college recommendations)
Survival Tip 10: Your health is important
Both your mental and physical health are important and should be a priority over anything else. If you’re getting stressed from work take a break and work out, drink water, have a snack. Also don’t stop any hobbies you used to enjoy if possible. These provide an outlet for stress relief and can really help to keep you sane. Avoiding depression is hard, I know, but it’s important to have people you can talk to about your problems. This doesn’t even have to be an adult; sometimes talking over an issue with a friend can work wonders. Definitely do not get so caught up in work that you forget to eat and sleep regularly. Doing this too often can cause you to burn out and means you’re often functioning below peak. Success goes hand in hand with balance.
Survival Tip 11: Take leadership roles
Even if you’re not a prefect, run for leadership positions in clubs and teams. This helps you balance school with outside responsibilities and helps you develop your leadership skills.
We hope you found these tips useful. Stick to them as much as you can and you will almost be guaranteed success in 6B. Most of all, enjoy the last years of highschool and participate in school activities because you’ll miss them later on. Work hard, have fun and have a fantastic year!! 🙂