The wider learning resources listed below are updated regularly. There are also links to other wider learning resources available on The GSAL Journal. The wider learning resources listed below are updated regularly. Please report any missing or broken hyperlinks.
The Widening Participation programme seeks to increase both the number and proportion of people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups accessing higher education. Students from lower income households, people with disabilities and some ethnic minority groups may be eligible.
If you think that you might be eligible for consideration through the Widening Participation programme, please speak in confidence to a member of the Higher Education (HE) team in school.
The Academic Extension area on GSAL World aims to help students develop their own interests and think beyond the confines of classroom subjects.
A full Calendar of Academic Extension Events is regularly updated with opportunities throughout the year.
Wider Reading & Listening
Periodicals – In addition to the popular A-level Subject Magazines (Hodder Education), there are a wide range of periodicals available in the school library and online. A full list of recommended periodicals is available on The GSAL Journal.
Podcasts – Regularly updated and often free to subscribe, podcasts are an excellent way to broaden your horizons and develop critical thinking on the go. A full list of recommended podcasts is available on The GSAL Journal.
Subject-specific Reading Lists – The following links provide access to subject-specific reading lists and resources recommended by Oxford and Cambridge, but suitable for all universities:
Recommended Reading Lists (Oxford University)
Recommended Reading Lists (King’s College, Cambridge)
Click here for more subject-specific reading lists available on The GSAL Journal.
Isaac Physics – Physics insight and understanding comes through doing physics, in particular solving problems. Isaac Physics is an Open Platform for Active Learning (OPAL) designed to offer support and activities in physics problem solving to teachers and to students transitioning from GCSE (Y11), through to Sixth Form (Y12 & 13), to university. It combines an online study tool with face-to-face events at partner schools and institutions across the UK.
NRICH – The NRICH project is an innovative collaboration between the Faculties of Mathematics and Education at the University of Cambridge, part of the University’s Millennium Mathematics Project. NRICH provides thousands of free online mathematics resources for ages 3 to 18, covering all stages of early years, primary and secondary school education – completely free and available to all. The focus is on developing problem solving skills.
I Want To Study Engineering – The excellent I Want To Study Engineering website is designed to help you compete for engineering places at top universities. School mathematics and physics provide the tools we need, so we offer around 300 questions adapted from OCR A-level papers. Building on the A-level material, you can work on our 211 more difficult problems. These are designed to reflect some of the challenges in university engineering admissions interviews. There is support in the form of video tutorials and the “confused” button for when you get stuck.
Critical Thinking – A wide range of resources are available to help you develop your critical thinking skills. GSAL Sixth Form students can undertake a Critical Thinking course as part of the Aspire programme. The book ‘Critical Thinking‘ by Tom Chatfield (2017) is a great place to start, whilst the Future Learn online course ‘Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction‘ is also highly recommended.
Art, Architecture and Design – Keep an eye out for enrichment events advertised through year group bulletins, or speak to Mrs Young (art).
The BMJ – The BMJ is a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal. It is one of the world’s oldest general medical journals. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988, and then changed to The BMJ in 2014. The BMJ is defined by its mission: to work towards a healthier world for all. They share that global endeavour with millions of readers working in clinical practice, research, education, government, and with patients and the public too.
The Bookshelf – Organised by Worcester College, Oxford, the The Worcester Bookshelf project is all about sharing books that their tutors and academics love about their subjects. Every term they release a new list of six books that their tutors and academics would like to share.
CORE – CORE is a portal for searching open-access scientific publications. CORE’s mission is to aggregate all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide and make them available to the public. In this way CORE facilitates free unrestricted access to research for all.
The Economist – Student subscriptions to The Economist are available through school for around £30 per year—a significant reduction on the normal student rate. Speak to Mr Law (Economics) for more information.
EdX (MOOC) – EdX is a leader in its field, offering hundreds of online courses, many of which are free, from some of the leading universities in the world, including Oxford, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley.
Encyclopedia Britannica’s Demystified Stories – Never stop questioning! Encyclopedia Britannica’s Demystified stories give insight into some of life’s big mysteries; uncover the answers to fascinating questions and more.
The Financial Times (Economics, Finance, Politics) – Free access to online resources—visit FT.com from within the GSAL network. You will need to log in using your school email address as your username in order to re-authenticate your account and reinstate your complimentary access. If you have forgotten your password, you can reset it here. New students can also sign up for complimentary access using this link: https://join.ft.com/0e3f93e4-d09e-4fa1-aa1e-a110061286fe. You must sign up while connected to the school’s computer network and should use your school email address as your username.
Future Learn (MOOC) – Future Learn allows you to choose from hundreds of online courses from top universities and specialist organisations. You could start with Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction, provided by the University of Leeds.
HE Plus – Thinking about applying to University and looking for ways to explore your subject beyond the curriculum? Then this website is for you. Each topic is produced by Cambridge postgraduate students and academics at the cutting edge of research in their field. The topics provide guided activities, questions to think about and suggestions for further reading. The main subject pages also give you a quick guide to what it would be like to study the subject at university level and suggest some further resources to check out. Click on a subject icon or search all topics to get started.
JSTOR – JSTOR is a digital library containing digitized back issues of academic journals, books and other primary sources, and current issues of journals. It provides full-text searches of almost 2,000 journals. GSAL has a school subscription accessible through the online Research Zone of the Lawson Library.
Medical Schools’ Council – Studying medicine at any university is extremely challenging but highly rewarding. The competition for paces on medical degree courses is fierce so it definitely helps to be prepared early. The MSC provides a wealth of information about applying to study medicine at university.
Newsbank Newspapers – GSAL subscribes to Newsbank Newspapers, a database of over 250 local, regional and national newspapers to research and track issues and events. Newsbank allows us to have access to: Customisable, map-based interface to enhance selection and search of key titles or regions; Multiple search options to help users find relevant information quickly and easily. The access is via IP address authentication in school—follow InfoWeb Newsbank—and via a password for access from outside school.
Oxford Sparks – Oxford Sparks is a portal for engaging with a wealth of exciting science taking place across Oxford University. Oxford Sparks brings together resources and information from across the University so you can explore and discover our research. We also produce our own videos and podcasts that showcase cutting edge and exciting research taking place at the University by working with the researchers themselves. Each video we create is accompanied by a set of high-quality, teacher-approved teaching resources that provides different angles to teach the topic, for secondary school students.
Oxplore – Oxplore is an innovative digital outreach portal from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest research undertaken at Oxford. Oxplore aims to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity.
Royal Geographical Society & Geographical Association – Both the RGS and GA offer student memberships. The RGS has a lot of information on their website about courses, employment and wider geography issues which would be useful for those considering geography-related opportunities.
Serious About Law? – You should be considering how you might use the opportunity of the EPQ to demonstrate interest in, and engagement with, the academic study of law. I would strongly encourage you to get in the habit of listening to BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action programme and to explore their archived material. This will flag up a wide variety of topical issues involving the theory and the practice of law. It may well help you identify a suitably interesting and engaging topic that could be explored further for an EPQ. It will also help you feel more confident in writing a personal statement for a law application, steering you along the way to some worthwhile deeper reading. Speak to Mr Yates (history) for more information.
Staircase 12 – Staircase 12 is an online hub of resources and information for students thinking about applying to top universities. You’ll find plenty of ideas for stretching yourself beyond the school syllabus. If you want to learn a bit more about why exploring your subject beyond school is important, and see some top tips for going about it, take a look at the Explore Your Subject page.
STEP Maths – The online STEP Maths empowers students to confidently sit Admissions Tests when applying to read STEM subjects at the best and most competitive universities in the UK.
STEP Support – Developed by the Cambridge Faculty of Mathematics and NRICH, a new online STEP Support Programme has been designed to help potential university applicants develop their advanced problem-solving skills and prepare for sitting STEP.
Student Hut – This is a useful student review website designed to help prospective university students explore and compare rankings and reviews on multiple aspects of university life.
The Kids Should See This – The Kid Should See This connects you to a growing library of smart, short, and super-cool, “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them” videos that can start conversations, spark questions, & inspire offline exploration for all ages.
Think Cambridge Law – Thinking about Law at University? We explore admissions, student experiences, events, career possibilities, and opportunities for future Law students at the Cambridge University Faculty of Law. Click here to find out more.
Underground Mathematics – These resources from Cambridge help students build firm foundations for mathematical understanding by connecting ideas and developing techniques. https://undergroundmathematics.org/
University of Leicester Essay Writing Guide – This Study Guide addresses the topic of essay writing. The essay is used as a form of assessment in many academic disciplines, and is used in both coursework and exams. It is the most common focus for study consultations among students using Learning Development.