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Ten tips for using free periods effectively in sixth form

Free periods are one of the perks of being in sixth form. But what should you do with all that free time? Here are some ideas.

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
06 Sep 2023

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One of the perks of sixth form is not having a full timetable, but all these breaks can lead to a pattern of procrastination.

Here are ten fool-proof tips to use your free periods effectively.

1. Write a to-do list

Whether you’re super organised or not at all organised, writing a to-do list can be really useful. These can be used for revision or prioritising homework and assignments, and instead of remembering things at the last minute, writing them down is much easier. These lists don’t have to be ridiculously long, but the immense feeling of joy you get from ticking something off is surprisingly rewarding.

2. Plan out your personal statement

No matter if you have only just begun year 12 and have ages to go until the application deadlines, if you plan on going to university it's never too early to think about your personal statement (it’s surprising how quickly these things sneak up on you). They tend to need a lot of adjustment and you want it to be perfect, so using your free time to start working on it is extremely useful.

3. Scribble down some moral-boosters

Sometimes sitting around leads to immense boredom and an all-time lack of motivation. A good way to combat this is to find a few sticky notes and write little positive messages on them. This way, when you're flicking through a particularly boring textbook and stumble across a little pick-me-up, your day might just get a little bit better and lead to an inspirational streak.

4. Use the teachers around you positively

Being in sixth form provides you with a good number of teachers to turn to in these free periods. Normally they encourage you to contact them if you don’t understand something, and whilst some people don’t take advantage of this, it’s a great tool. They might provide a place for you to catch up on some work in their classroom, or simply guide you through some work you’re struggling with.

5. Do uni research 

Most sixth forms allow you to have the internet within arms reach, so you can use this time to get online and do some uni research, using Whatuni of course! You can check out uni profiles, read reviews and find the perfect course all in one place.

6. Check out some prospectuses

If you’ve run out of set work to complete and are up to date with pretty much everything, you can always start planning ahead. Universities use prospectuses to sell themselves to students and provide them with information about their courses, campus and facilities. You can order prospectuses straight from Whatuni to get ahead with your uni research.

7. Create a motivational playlist

A lot of people find it hard to concentrate when surrounded by other noisy students, so if you can block this out you’re all set to go. Try and acquire some motivational tunes (Eye of the Tiger is a great one to start with), get your head down and battle through that ever-growing pile of work.

8. Prepare some revision cards

It’s shocking how quickly exam season comes around, and nipping it in the bud is the best way forward. Revision is tough in itself, but reading down a page over and over is particularly tedious. A good way to deal with this is to create quick, concise revision cards. You can get others to test you with them (and the more colourful they are, the better).

9. Nip out for some fresh air

Sitting in the same computer room for an hour isn’t going to do you much good. Taking a well-earned break halfway through is deserved, and it gives you a chance to stretch your legs and catch some rays.

10. Don’t work too hard

Free periods are called ‘free’ for a reason. Don’t use every single one as a chance to power through the entire textbook. Try your best to use them effectively, but by no means cram until you collapse from exhaustion. Sometimes you just need to chill out and have a healthy study-life balance.


- A-level problems: the ups and downs of Year 12

- Prospectuses: how useful are they really?

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