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Want to get a head-start on your prep for uni? Here's how to use your time wisely.

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There’s a lot going on in year 12. Assignments and deadlines are looming. There’s pressure to start thinking about future options. Your UCAS application may be the last thing on your mind.

But we’re here to help you find your groove. Learn how to take control of your time, brush up on study techniques, get organised – and make sure you get the most out of year 12.

How to make the most of year 12

Finding your groove

There's plenty of time to start building up your knowledge ready for university, all while you enjoy your time at sixth form. Here's how.

Key takeaways

Going to sixth form or college is quite a big change from school. You’ve chosen subjects, gained independence and a new work-life balance. You now have more control of when to study. There’s more free time between lessons, half-term breaks and summer holidays.

Here’s where you can find renewed comfort. Prepare well today, then sail through future challenges.

Use this time to develop essential skills such as independent learning and critical thinking, expand your knowledge around your subject, or get a part-time job – all things that will feed into your UCAS application, studying at uni and your future career.

Getting the most out of your time at college

Start shortlisting uni courses

What you study at A-level and/or BTEC will influence what you study at uni, especially for courses that have specific subject requirements such as medicine needing A-levels in Biology or Chemistry. Have a think about what makes you tick in terms of studying and career pathways. Browse our courses if you need a little inspiration.

Practice skills you’ll use at uni

Now’s the perfect time for you to practice life as a university student. See if you can manage your time between work and leisure. Use lists and planners and try to stick to them. Allocate enough time to study and relax. Practice reading skills and techniques such as scanning, close reading, reading for gist.

Find your ultimate work setup

Use year 12 as a test run to explore how you learn best – whether it's in a quiet space or somewhere with background noise. Perhaps it's in the same place each time or you like to mix things up. See what you like, then get ready to breeze into studying at uni.

Try new relevant experiences

Your uni application is your chance to show off. Not just about the great things you’ve done at sixth form or college. But also by all the ways you’re willing to try new and exciting things.

Join a local club or society, sit on the college council, do an independent research project. This is your chance to show the tutors reading your application why you’re an all-rounder.

Practice skills ready for university like allocating time to study, finding your ultimate work setup and seeing friends.

Get a part-time job

Got some spare time? Think about part-time work. Not just to earn some extra money, but to develop skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership and problem-solving. These look great on your UCAS application, and will also help you at university and when you graduate.

Build your subject knowledge

Think you’ve found a subject you're passionate about? Do some extracurricular reading, watching or listening around the area. Look at relevant academic journals, visit the library, watch TED talks, tune into podcasts – all things you can talk about in your application and in an interview, if needed.

Attend Open Days and taster days

Get ready for the future by really exploring a university or subject through Open Days or taster days. You’ll see facilities, tour campuses, meet current students, get insights into courses and talk to academics.

Book your place on a Portsmouth Open Day – if you’ve got a question about the student experience, here’s where you’ll get the answer.

Take time to enjoy it

Enjoy your time at college or sixth form. It does go quickly and you’ve got lots of important deadlines, but there’s plenty of time in between to build up your skills. The more you do, the more you’ll have to talk about in your UCAS application. And the easier it will be to transition to life as a student.

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