St Philomena's Sixth Form - Wider Reading


What will I find in this booklet?

The following booklet contains a selection of different texts to read and enjoy in a range of different subjects. This is not a comprehensive list, nor do we suggest that you should read all of them, however, you should experiment and try some to see what grabs you. Your wider reading should be in an area you enjoy and wish to pursue – but until you start reading you might not know what that is! This section also suggests various ‘super-curricular’ activities which will be really appealing to admissions tutors.

Why should I be doing wider reading and research?

Recently, the Russell Group Universities published a list of skills that they wanted to see in students and potential applicants. They were looking for evidence of :

  • being an independent learner
  • an ability to do research
  • an ability to write a clear and coherent essay
  • an ability to think critically and solve problems
  • an ability to contribute ideas to a discussion or debate

By doing this independent reading and pursuing wider opportunities, you will meet a range of these skills AND be able to demonstrate these skills to Universities in your application. Above all, your reading will show YOU whether your interest in a particular subject is great enough to want to study it to a much higher level.

Where else can I look for ideas of wider reading?

  • Talk to your teachers
  • Talk to students who are doing your subject at a higher level (year 13, University)
  • Talk to Ms Slark who has contacts at Pixl6 who will be able to help you with a range of subjects
  • Look on University websites for first year reading (this will really impress admissions tutors!)

General Advice

  • Go to public lectures at local Universities and colleges
  • Go to Open Days  - the colleges of London University put on taster days and courses each June and July which are usually free and give you really useful insights into what studying certain subjects at University might be like.
  • Do The Extended Project Qualification – it is brilliant evidence of being an independent learner
  • Do some research in to the Sutton Trust summer camps which are run at a number of Universities
  • Get the best results you can in your courses and in addition to this, do three extra things each month that are specific towards reading around and researching what you think you might want to apply for.

Good Luck!


Books to read:

  1. The Third Chimpanzee (Diamond)
  2. Tribe (Bruce Parry)
  3. A Beginner’s Guide to Anthropology (Hendy)
  4. The book of Peoples (National Geographic)
  5. The Innocent Anthropologist (Nigel Barley)
  6. The Naked Ape (Morris)



Top Tips:

  • Build up your own portfolio – consider what buildings and architects have influenced your own designs and then read around their history and who designed them.
  • Find work experience with  a couple of different architects – you could contact your local council