Year 12: an honest review

Hello again! As the academic year draws to a close, I’d like to do a bit of a recap/review of how this year has gone. Because friends, it has been a WILD ride. I genuinely feel like this academic year I have experienced some of the most dramatic changes of my life — not just at school but also personally, although today I’m going to focus on the school aspects.

Overall, I enjoyed Year 12. It was a pleasant feeling following Year 11 and GCSEs, which really took it out of me and kind of made me hate the subjects I was studying. Although I’ve always been kind of a nerd and liked school, this year has really allowed me to pursue my own academic interests. I’ve felt so excited and privileged to be able to learn things! I’m so glad that I get to do this! I’ve sort of decided on university and I’m hyped to learn even more! There’s certainly been some ups and downs but in general it’s been a good one.

sixth form life

Okay, I’ll start with sixth form life. I continued at the same school, so it’s still a school environment rather than college — I have to be there every day for lessons. However, I still had more independence. I was able to wear my own clothing, which although it does pose its own problems, has made me feel a lot more comfortable in my own body and gender expression. Free periods were the most new thing coming into Year 12 and I’ll be honest, they’re not that exciting. I have fewer than most people since I have an extra Spanish lesson, and generally I just do my homework since I prefer to do it at school than at home.

Probably the nicest thing has been the change in attitude of the teachers. I now have smaller classes and it’s a slightly less school-y environment, if that makes sense? My lessons are generally more based around discussion, and like if you forget your pencil case one time it’s your own problem, you’re not going to get a detention for it or whatever anymore.

This year we also had several people join school in sixth form which was nice. I still don’t know everyone in my year, especially if they’re not in any of my classes, but I’ve made some new friends across new and existing students.

subjects

This year I was taking Spanish, History, Maths, and Latin. I’ve ha a bit of an…Experience, shall we say, with my subjects this year. I started off thinking that Spanish and History would be my favourites, and that I’d drop Latin at the end of this year. However, I have struggled a lot more with those first two and now I think I might be applying for Classics so, oops?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Spanish as a language and I definitely want to continue learning it. I’ve also found the study of a film fascinating. At the start of the year it felt like the biggest step up from GCSE but I think I’ve made it. BUT. I’m a bit scared to say this in case, like, someone finds this and uses it against me (I don’t know how lol) but I really don’t like one of my teachers. They can’t speak Spanish very well, I don’t think they’re a good teacher, and I just don’t really get on well with their teaching methods or classes. I was intending to drop it next year but then I did really well in the mock exam so…yeah, I don’t know. My issue is that Spanish is a far less stressful subject for me than History, but if I continue I’ll hate half the lessons.

ANYWAY. Let’s discuss History. History A-Level is DIFFICULT, y’all. I spend the most time and effort doing History. This year was a bit of a shock because I’m used to doing well in the subject, and then I got a couple of bad marks for essays which really made me doubt myself. However, I managed to pick myself back up and improve to get a predicted grade I’m happy with, so. I do think History is in many ways my most useful and intellectually stimulating subject — I’ve learnt some VERY useful essay-writing and analysis skills. I just find revision and writing essays in the exam incredibly stressful, unfortunately. At the moment, I feel like I’ll continue with History over Spanish, but I’ve still got a bit of time to decide. (I got the same predicted grade for both so it’s more about workload and how I’ll find the lessons for each subject.)

Maths has been really fun! Like any other subject, it’s challenging at times but I enjoy it as a break from my other essay-based subjects; I find it very satisfying. I don’t have that much to say about it except that I’ve liked the first year and I’m really proud of my mock result. I was a little concerned before the exam because practice papers had been very mixed, but thankfully my revision paid off which was lovely. I just hope that Year 13 Maths isn’t super difficult and makes me regret taking it *sweats*

Finally, I’ve also very much enjoyed Latin. I’m extremely grateful that I am able to study this since it’s not offered at many schools. It was a bit of a rogue choice coming into Year 12 (I almost took Chemistry and I’m pretty glad I didn’t) but I’ve found myself looking forward to all of the lessons, including the literature which I was a bit unsure on previously.

I’ve gotten quite into the ancient world in general so I’m thinking I’ll apply for Classics at uni now? I mean, it’s kind of terrifying because whilst I’ve always been into languages and books, it’s only a subject I’ve come to really love this year. But, you know, if I’m not going to study the thing that I’m super enthusiastic about, I don’t know what else I’d do that would be equally useful? *sighs* Life decisions are so difficult.

learning outside lessons

One of the major changes to my education has been an increase in independent learning. Here I’m referring not as much to completing homework independently (though there has been more of that) but the extra work that I choose to do for my lessons. Basically, I’ve been consuming a lot more non-fiction books and podcasts — and I’ve been loving them! It’s so fun when I go to the library and I get super excited by the history section. There are also a lot of great podcasts and lectures out there which I hadn’t much listened to previously, although unfortunately not all of them provide transcripts. It’s just EXCITING to be able to LEARN NEW THINGS! And now I know more about how to find them! If society is going to be destroyed by climate change I want to learn as much as possible, you know?

To conclude: I feel that Year 12 has been in general positive academically. It’s definitely been a step up that has come with many challenges, but I’ve made it through and I’ve learnt a lot from the experience. I can’t believe that next year will be my final year of school! It’s so weird! In many ways, I don’t feel at all ready, but in others I do feel like life is moving appropriately onward with me as I mature. One year left, everyone!

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4 thoughts on “Year 12: an honest review

  1. Oh wow I know so little about the UK school system but sixth form seems so interesting!! It’s like a little break before college/university, it seems? Like, you’re still learning but not as intensive. That sounds so very nice and I’m glad you mostly had a great year!! And high five for one year left!

    1. Haha yeah the school system is a bit weird! I feel like I overemphasised the ‘fun’ part of sixth form in the post since it’s definitely the hardest I’ve worked in school so far, sadly not a ‘break’ exactly but it’s less restrictive! In sixth form people usually study 3 subjects in much more detail for public exams which we take at the end of the second year, and those grades determine university/future jobs and stuff. And thanks so much! High five for last year of school! I’m finding it so strange aah

  2. This was so useful, thanks for this! I’m starting y12 in September (and hopefully at the Sixth Form college I want but that’s all down to the events of August 22nd🙃) and your insight as got to be the clearest and most useful one I’ve read. Im excited for the change, as I’m going to a college which focuses entirely on a levels so we’re the complete focus and it’ll be such a new environment from my secondary school, but I still haven’t officially decided on my a level choices so that’s making me a tad anxious. I just don’t want to make the wrong decision! And I’d rather not swap during the first two weeks as I know that situ will make me so anxious….I’d rather be 100% sure now you know? But anyway, congrats on finishing year 12! And good luck in advance for year 13😊

    1. I’m so glad this could be useful 🙂 Good luck for results day, I hope you can go to the sixth form college you want. As for A level options, once Year 12 started quite a lot of people I know changed their minds about a subject and it wasn’t a big deal – it might be different in other sixth forms but usually it’s possible. I do understand wanting to be certain about options though, I spent a very long time agonising over them so I’m not the best person to offer advice haha. I do think there are many different options that can all work well though, there isn’t just one perfect mix! Thank you, and again I wish you all the best with Year 12.

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