Independent study is a massive part of learning at The Sixth Form at Southmoor. A-levels are the most demanding academic qualifications you can pick. You need to be consistently working in your own time. On the occasions when no homework is set, you need to be going back over your notes, reading to prepare you for next lesson, or practising the skills you’ve learned. Teachers will set work for all students to complete during their study periods and this is monitored by the pastoral team.
For each subject students should be working more than the recommended minimum of 4 hours per week per subject for independent work beyond what is set in lesson time.
Being able to make informed choices and taking responsibility for your own learning activities are two facets of learning independently. Two other important elements, vital for the success of learning independently, are motivation and feeling confident enough to take decisions and act on them. You also need to appreciate the value of reflecting on your learning and deciding whether it has been effective or whether you need to try another approach.
How can independent learning help you?
Being able to work independently is a skill highly valued by employers so it may ultimately help you in securing a job. In the short term, it may help you to feel more “in control” of what you are doing. Some elements of independent learning are: setting your own goals and deadlines; organising yourself, your work and your time; evaluating your use of time and your work. These can have immediate benefits in enabling you to become more efficient and effective.
Tips for Independent Study
- Turn lesson notes into revision materials e.g. flashcards, mind maps, etc.
- Write yourself a quiz on a lesson you’ve just had – then use it later in the year to test yourself
- Complete a free online course on www.futurelearn.com
- Read about interesting current affairs issues on www.oxbridgeapplications.com/resources/keeping-you-current/
- Make yourself a study plan, set minor goals or targets that you know you will be able to achieve.
- Keep a record of what you’ve done, this can help with further planning and also give a sense of achievement.
Tailor your Independent Study
Your independent learning can be tailored towards your preferred personal pathway for career routes that you may wish to pursue beyond your Sixth Form subjects. This is an excellent way to pick up extra knowledge and shows universities and potential employers commitment and higher aspirations in your careers goals.
Below you will find useful suggestions for what you could do to help you with this for a collection of topics linked to our curriculum you might like to go on to study. Remember, every single one of these subjects will enhance the learning of your broader A-Level subjects!