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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Learning to Fly

Outstanding students of Politics develop the following skills and habits. Do as many of these as possible to become completely independent in the subject and to develop the skills and knowledge needed to attain A/A* at A Level. Remember that just doing what your teacher tells you - in your lessons and beyond - is not enough to develop your full potential in the subject.

In your lessons

  • Ask specific questions and for help
  • Think critically about your own work and find ways to improve it
  • Listen to other students and the teacher and be ready to challenge their ideas and argue with them!
  • Think about ways in which new knowledge you encounter in the lesson fits in with what you already know

Between your lessons

  • Look back over your notes and activities after each lesson
  • Review the work - make sure you know what you have or haven’t understood
  • Read ahead or around the topic, using books or websites
  • Make notes of any questions to ask your teachers or look up
  • Contact your teacher, in person or by email, to ask for clarification and guidance.

Beyond your lessons

  • Watch relevant, high-quality documentaries, read political/historical novels or nonfiction and keep a brief record in your folder of what you’ve seen/read and how it relates to what you’ve been studying
  • Talk to your friends and family about what you have seen/read
  • Listen to podcasts like ‘In Our Time’ on BBC Radio 4 (available on Iplayer) which discuss specific political themes like consent or sovereignty
  • Listen to/read the news
  • Develop a sense of the big picture - the history of Britain and the wider world. How does what you’ve learned in Politics fit into this and where are the gaps in your knowledge?
  • Think critically about how politicians and journalists support their arguments (especially in a ‘post-truth’ world!)

We recognise that you have busy lives and that this level of engagement is not always possible all the time - but this is what you should aim for if you want to reach the highest level in the subject. You don’t need to do ALL of these things to improve in Politics - just doing one or two of them will have an impact. Decide on two or three to focus on to improve your skills.