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Specialist Subject Choices

Cardiff Sixth Form College wants to create well-rounded students. This isn’t just about A-Level subjects. We want to give our students all the study skills necessary for them to excel. We arrange a series of courses and diplomas to prepare students for university and further study:

Critical Thinking 

Being an independent learner is an indicator of a real passion for knowledge and gives students’ university applications an edge. Independent learning is incorporated into our curriculum and encourages students to look beyond simple answers and facts, to be curious and creative.

Critical Thinking examines the effectiveness of an argument and how to detect flaws. It is a course focused on important analytical skills, applicable to all walks of life. We do not examine Critical Thinking, however the courses provide invaluable preparation for the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) and the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) tests, necessary for university entry requirements.

At these sessions students will be encouraged to explore questions from multiple perspectives in order to understand how different disciplines construct and convey knowledge. They will challenge and examine beliefs, assumptions and opinions against facts, learn to understand logic and logical argumentation.

Here are three of our students demonstrating Critical Thinking qualities in presentations that they have created on a topic of interest to them.

Extended Project Qualification 

There is an option to write a 5,000-word academic dissertation over the course of a year, focusing on an evaluative topic of your choice. It is accompanied by a series of forms which evidence your process of writing the EPQ, with a strong focus on self-reflection, achievements and how you have overcome challenge.

We would recommend that you choose an evaluative, debatable topic that is directly linked to your university subject choice, and goes beyond your current syllabus. This clearly demonstrates your passion for your subject without needing to use clichéd expressions like ‘passion’ on your personal statement. So, think super-curricular when it comes to creating an appropriate EPQ dissertation question. Topics that have come up this year have been
exciting, diverse and at a high challenge level, which we would expect and hope for. Examples include themes around anti-corruption legislations, terrorism vs extremism, the possibility of cryonics, viable forms of jet engines, too-big-to-fail banks, organ donations, global warming, Alzheimers and end-of-life care, experimental cures, the economics of migration, funding scientific research.

You will have an hourly lesson of input timetabled each week, and there will also be regular tutorials focussed on your own EPQ journey regarding research and development of your analysis and evaluation. The teacher acts as a facilitator, promoting your autonomy, respecting your choices, and guiding your ability to think for yourselves both creatively and critically

University Preparation

The College works hard to support students with their university applications. Interviews are often a key part of entrance to higher education. We offer interview practice both in-house and with specialist guest admissions tutors. Our students have the opportunity to attend a mock university interview with an external company in London, giving them a chance to experience travelling to, and dressing appropriately for, the all-important interview. 

We also provide time-tabled lessons to help with university entrance tests such as BMAT, TSA, LNAT, Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP), in addition to guidance on the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT).

In addition, International English Language Test System (IELTS) language exams often feature as part of UK university entrance requirements. Cardiff Sixth Form College hires exam specialists, as well as experienced English teachers, to ensure students are properly prepared. Understanding the precise requirements for each component of the IELTS test is critical to success. Study Skills and Academic English courses are provided to guarantee that students obtain the necessary skills for university study including effective reading, note-taking, expressing ideas and structuring essays. 

Preparation for Oxbridge entry

Students of exceptional academic ability may consider applying to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge. These institutions are amongst the most competitive in the world. To give our students the best chance of entry, we provide the following specialist preparation:

• Regular formal discussions about current affairs, news and events to develop cultural awareness and communication skills

• Continuous assessment of work progress in homework, tests and examinations to maintain required standard

• Involvement in competitions such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology Olympiads

• Regular work observation placements arranged by the college both locally and abroad; please see our Work Observation page for further details

• Preparation for university face-to-face interviews, including the opportunity to discuss interview techniques and meet former college students now at Oxford or Cambridge

• Additional classes in Maths, Economics and Physics for students applying to relevant subjects and will take the STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) or the AEA (Advanced Extension Award) examinations, as well as other aptitude tests related to the above degrees, including Oxford and Cambridge entrance exams

• Additional Classes/Course for Oxford and Cambridge admissions tests, in addition to university aptitude exams including UKCAT, BMAT, LNAT, TSA, English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)

• Guidance with the UCAS form and personal statement, in order to help students showcase their experience and passions effectively. Help with making informed choices on which universities to apply to. We also offer advice on overseas universities.

• We provide students with references that are tailored to the universities that they wish to apply to. Our references are written by five contributors. The reference contains comments from teachers, progress tutors and careers advisors. This allows us to offer an accurate account of the students’ progress in all aspects of college life.

• One to one careers meetings with careers advisors. We advise students on their degree and career choices. We also monitor progress with wider reading, work experience and super-curricular activities.

Preparation for Medicine and Healthcare Degrees

For students planning to apply to a medical/dental/veterinary science school, Cardiff Sixth Form College provides a range of specialist preparation including:

• All the benefits of the Oxbridge preparation (see above)

• Visits by medical school staff and current medical students, together with work experience and mock interviews

• Regular work experience and voluntary work placements arranged by the college; please see our Work Observation page for further details

• For students applying to read Healthcare, weekly meetings with talks on topical issues in Healthcare and discuss university interviews

• On-going support from former students of Cardiff Sixth Form College studying Healthcare at universities