The Jump from A Levels to University: English and Theatre – OurWarwick
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The Jump from A Levels to University: English and Theatre

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Hannah Filer | English and Theatre Studies (Warwick Scholar) Contact Hannah
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Find out more about me Contact Hannah

Around this time two years ago, I was more stressed about not getting into university than what it would actually be like once I arrived. I’m currently on the ‘Waiting For Results’ rollercoaster again, as I anticipate my final grade for second year, and I am beginning to worry about what the next academic year might look like. If you’re currently in a position where you’re concerned about what the jump from A Level work to university work is like, let this post explain how the step actually feels.

The crux of it is: I found the jump much easier than I expected. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the jump was easy, and is probably more a testament to my excessive worrying. One particular concern that I had was that I’d only studied 50% of my degree topics at A Level! When I arrived on the course, pretty much everyone had taken A Level Drama, whereas I hadn’t. Although it was something I was stressed about at the beginning of the year, I quickly learned that this really did not place me at a disadvantage. Perhaps I was (and still am) more keen to analyse a text than stage a script in a classroom. However, these preferences often fit well with other students who might take a different approach to their learning.

The biggest difference I found was the quantity of the workload, rather than the actual content. As I’m sure you’re aware, most humanities university courses require you to read a high number of texts per week. Generally, I’ve found modules housed in the English department required me to read more fiction, and Theatre modules required me to read more theory. I would also say that English modules also tend to allocate higher quantities of text each week than Theatre – although all this can vary from module to module.

My tip for tackling the different types and amounts of reading is to vary how and where you read them. If you can watch a play instead of reading it, your workload might feel reduced. Furthermore, establishing a routine for when you’ll work through each module’s reading for that week can be helpful. Have two hours free on campus before a seminar? Allocate that time to bash through the reading, and you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week!

I was surprised to hear from most of my friends that they found the jump harder than I did. Honestly, I think how difficult you find moving from A Levels to university depends on lots of different factors, like your learning style, your uni course, your previous educational experience, and how quick you can adapt. Personally, I found the step from GCSE English Literature to A Level quite tough, which perhaps meant I did my biggest ‘step up’ then, rather than at the university stage. I also had an A Level Lit teacher who marked quite harshly, so I was by no means surprised by tough gradings at uni! But please do not stress out about the step. It is more than manageable – and remember, everyone else is going through exactly the same change!

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Hannah Filer | English and Theatre Studies (Warwick Scholar) Contact Hannah
Anything at all! I'd love to hear from you if…
Find out more about me Contact Hannah

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