how to survive year 13

The day this post goes live would have been the day I would have finished my A-Level exams, which to me feels very weird considering I haven’t covered any A-Level content in just under 3 months! Obviously without the exams, I can’t give a full review of the year, but of the 6 months I was in year 13 for, I am going to write a ‘survival guide’ as such. Year 13 has been a tough year and I can share my advice for those currently in year 12. Year 13 for UK students is the equivalent to 12th grade in America (senior year).

The first tip I have is to GET YOUR UCAS DONE. If you are wanting to apply to university, UCAS applications are crucial, and will be what most teachers will talk about for the first part of the year. I started my application in September, but put off writing my personal statement until the end of November, meaning my application was sent off in December which is fairly late in comparison to others. If you are wanting to pursue medicine/dentistry or are applying to Oxbridge, your application has to be sent off in mid-October, so it is crucial to start it as soon as possible, even in the summer holidays if need be. It is great to get it done as it frees up a lot of free periods/time at night, which is crucial to preparing for exams. I am planning to write a post on personal statements at the end of summer for those who are hoping to go to university next year, sharing some of my tips!

The next bit of advice I have is an easy one and one that is key, but not many people do it: STAY ON TOP OF ALL ASSIGNMENTS. It is definitely easier said than done and it doesn’t mean you can’t rush things the night before, because I have definitely done it, but it is a lot easier to stay on track when you start assignments/homework the day you get it! Use your free periods to do this, especially if you have a free after a lesson: your brain will be in that state of mind, and the information will be fresh from the lesson before, so hopefully the tasks won’t take too long.

Relating to the last point, I believe that you should USE ALL YOUR FREES. This again is easier said than done again, but using the time given to you to do work is a more efficient use of the time rather than sitting on your phone for an hour or so. I think every now and then the odd free taken off from work is good, as it allows a break, but maybe do this at the end of a day, where you might feel more demotivated and need some time off. Another thing with using your free periods, I would recommend DISTANCING YOURSELF FROM DISTRACTIONS. This can be people, noise, food (vending machines can be very distracting!), basically anything. Keeping focused during a free is key, as you are a lot more productive: I know this very well. I used to have 2 frees on a Monday morning, the 1st one, by myself, and the second with a friend, and it’s fair to say I got pretty distracted, even if it was a lot of fun!

ASK FOR HELP. I really didn’t do this enough in year 12, so in year 13, I decided that I would ask for help and speak to teachers if I didn’t understand, and it really has helped. I was left in year 12 quite confused after some lessons, but just decided ‘nah I’ll just work it out myself’. I regretted this a fair bit, so I started talking to more teachers as I started year 13 content. You may think teachers will think you’re being annoying, but they really are there to help you, and are willing to give up their time for you.

Despite me saying all this above, without contradicting myself, IT’S OKAY TO HAVE OFF DAYS. You can’t be expected to be productive all day every day, a break is needed. This is why I recommend having a free period off at the end of a day if possible! It allows for a reset and time to calm down. Watch shows on your phone, get a snack, chat with your friends, listen to music, whatever you do to take a break, just do it!

Finally, one bit of advice I have really stuck to and am so happy for it, is to AVOID DRAMA. There is no need to be friends with everyone, and as long as you stay happy, the year will honestly be a lot better! Having a supportive friendship group makes surviving year 13 a lot easier! As well as this, drama at this age starts to be a bit immature in my opinion, so avoiding it really does help to grow up personally.

really decided to expose myself in this post lol

So, I hope all of these tips help in the next year, I really loved writing this post! If you are going into year 13 next year, or the equivalent of, a massive good luck! My messages are always open if you need any help!

by mills x


  1. Great tips!! I definitely agree with asking for help - it may seem like you are admitting your failures but you are ultimately going to improve from it! :)

    Keeley xx

    1. thank you! I really have found that asking for help is better than sitting in silence! xx


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