A-level Physics Blog: D at AS to an A in Year 13

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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    25/09/16



    Existential crisis...

    Okay, so I was revising Newton's three laws of motion when I suddenly saw the most beautiful cumulonimbus cloud out of my window and it made me have an epiphany: maybe I could/should study meteorology at university instead of psychology? I find psychology really interesting but I think i'll enjoy being a meteorologist more than I would being a psychologist. I'm also really starting to get into maths (and even enjoying physics more!) and I've always had an interest in the weather and its patterns.
    The only problem is that I'm not very likely to be predicted a B in physics this year and I haven't done much (any) extra reading/research on meteorology because I've wanted to be a psychologist for the past couple of years...
    I don't know wtf I want to do with my life!!

    Update: I think i'll just stick with psychology because the physics will probably overwhelm my brain lmao.
    Any ideas on which unis you'll be applying to? if it depends on your predicted grades, which ones would you go for with and without a B in physics?
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    You better not stop updating this.....or ...or..idk....

    Just don't stop or I'll PM the **** out of you.
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    (Original post by Mppcalc82)
    Any ideas on which unis you'll be applying to? if it depends on your predicted grades, which ones would you go for with and without a B in physics?
    I'm going to be applying for psychology at Loughborough, Lincoln and Bangor for definite. If I'm predicted a B in physics, my other two university choices will be Surrey and Durham/Bath. If I don't get predicted a B, my other two choices will be Nottingham Trent and wherever else has low grade requirements, so maybe Hertfordshire or London Met. Oh the difference a B can make

    (Original post by Results)
    You better not stop updating this.....or ...or..idk....

    Just don't stop or I'll PM the **** out of you.
    Don't worry, I'm still going to be updating this and aiming for the A in physics!
    I was just having second thoughts about what I wanted to do after A-levels but I've now decided that psychology is definitely the degree I'd like to do.
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    28/09/16


    I'm going to write a proper update later but I was just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to revise for end of chapter tests?
    I have one on Monday for gravitational fields and I really don't want to fail it for obvious reasons.
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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    28/09/16


    I'm going to write a proper update later but I was just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to revise for end of chapter tests?
    I have one on Monday for gravitational fields and I really don't want to fail it for obvious reasons.
    Physics and maths tutor has the past paper questions so just look for your spec and do the ones on gravitaional fields
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    29/09/16



    It's been quite a while! It's really hard to update this every day because this term has been really intense so far. The start of Year 12 was really chilled and I could practically just get home and put my feet up, but this year it's just been like BAM- work, work, work, UCAS, personal statements, work, work, work, predicted grades, work, work. The thought of everything gets me so stressed and then I feel too tired to do anything and then I get more stressed because I'm not doing anything! And this is without me having a part-time job... I keep getting rejected from places lol r.i.p. me.
    Anyway, I've had three cups of coffee today so I don't feel tired at all.

    Mechanics (M1): This morning we had an end of chapter test on kinematics and I actually think it went pretty well. I spent all of yesterday afternoon and evening doing past paper questions and although none of them were on the test today, I still felt confident. I'm going to be so annoyed if I don't get an A on this test haha. Usually when I'm optimistic about a test I end up doing sh**, so we'll see how it goes when I get the result next week!
    I got a B on the C3 transformation of graphs test and I was so annoyed because all of the marks I lost were due to silly mistakes and now my core teacher probably thinks I'm stupid lol. Not that a B is bad, but I wanted to get an A* to give a good first impression...

    Physics: I didn't go to the lesson this afternoon because we are just going over stuff that I self-taught over the summer ( free and forced vibrations and damping). I'd rather just read through my notes at home and freshen my memory on it rather than go to class and get stressed out over nothing. My teacher still marked me in as present though?! Oh well, I'm not complaining!
    The main way I get stuff to stay in my mind is by reciting it to myself over and over again. I'm going to watch some Youtube videos on damping (if there are any) so that I can picture the topic better because it seems quite abstract atm. I also need to research what resonance actually is because my revision guide doesn't say!
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    02/10/16


    I had a nice productive weekend planned out where I would write up all of my notes and read ahead of class and then...

    I woke up on Saturday with my annual 'back to school cold' fml. I'm hardly ever ill so when I do get something like a cold, it's a massive shock to my system...
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    I revised for the gravitational fields test yesterday by answering some past paper questions from the PhysicsandMathsTutor website- hopefully some of the ones I've done will be on the test!
    And then there was a massive thunderstorm in the afternoon so I couldn't do anything then because the thunder kept making me jump.
    I'm going to answer some more today even though all I want to do is watch movies in bed because of this annoying cold. Hmmm maybe i'll just do that actually...
    I mean if I rest today and then miraculously I feel better tomorrow, I'll be able to catch up with everything in my frees.
    I really hate being unproductive though... lol I'm so indecisive.
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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    02/10/16


    I had a nice productive weekend planned out where I would write up all of my notes and read ahead of class and then...

    I woke up on Saturday with my annual 'back to school cold' fml. I'm hardly ever ill so when I do get something like a cold, it's a massive shock to my system...
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    I revised for the gravitational fields test yesterday by answering some past paper questions from the PhysicsandMathsTutor website- hopefully some of the ones I've done will be on the test!
    And then there was a massive thunderstorm in the afternoon so I couldn't do anything then because the thunder kept making me jump.
    I'm going to answer some more today even though all I want to do is watch movies in bed because of this annoying cold. Hmmm maybe i'll just do that actually...
    I mean if I rest today and then miraculously I feel better tomorrow, I'll be able to catch up with everything in my frees.
    I really hate being unproductive though... lol I'm so indecisive.
    Pretty much been my weekend, wanted to start electric fields in physics and finish trigonometry in c3 and work on my personal statement. Just one of those weekends where I literally just took notes on gravitational potential and read through ideal gas laws again, think this weekend is some kind of plague. Gws and hopefully ill be sorted out by next week, the keyword being hopefully.
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    05/10/16


    Physics: Lol so on Monday, we didn't even do the Gravitational Fields test because my teacher said that he's now realised it's more important for him to prepare us for the new spec exams rather than making us answer questions from the old spec as assessments! He gave us a booklet of multiple choice questions and then another booklet of new spec style questions on gravitational fields. I think doing things like this will be much more productive than doing assessments from the old spec which is what we did last year!

    I haven't been productive at all this week. I've had a cold since Saturday which has made me feel like crap and although I feel much better now, I have a job interview tomorrow which I've been mentally preparing for because I've never been to an interview before in my life.
    Tomorrow in physics, we have a test on circular motion and simple harmonic motion apparently - but - we are having our 'Year 13 photos' done in the afternoon which coincides with when we have our lesson so I'm not sure if the test will still be taking place. Hopefully not.
    I was going to revise for it this evening, but something very dramatic happened in a house across from where I live which involved the police kicking someone's door down (the guy has vanished so people are concerned about him)... so needless to say, I got distracted XD

    Lol this blog is such a flop at the moment because I haven't been doing much at all, which is BAD. After my interview tomorrow though, I'll have no reason to not revise/do work so pester me if I'm still being unproductive! I hope I get the job so I don't have to waste time searching and applying for more...

    One last thing- I'm reaaallllyyy worried about what grade my physics teachers are going to predict me... I'm pretty sure they're going to predict me a C BUT the lowest entry requirements that any of my potential universities have is ABB... and my UCAS prediction will be AAC if they predict me a C. Ugghhhh @ physics teachers, ignore the D pls it's an anomaly thanks x
    I need a B prediction but they're not going to predict me a B
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    Don't worry I'm sure you will be fine I got a mid b in the as exam and teacher predicted me a b at the start whereas others got c and were predicted a's. Not really too sure why but I had a meeting with our teacher and I may or may not have a chance on a predicted a depending on my average test scores so I'm hoping my next test on nuclear physics (radioactivity) will be ok
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    07/10/16


    I now have my UCAS predictions which are as follows:
    Psychology: A
    Maths: A
    Physics: C

    So in other news, I am predicted AAC - which I'm not very happy with tbh. It's not even the fact that I'm predicted a C in physics that's bothering me because I can see why my teachers are predicting me that. I just regret choosing to do A-level physics so much. I want to get an A but at the moment, getting a C seems like it would be a massive achievement for me.
    We did a test today on simple harmonic motion and the questions were from the new spec and I didn't understand ANY of the questions, with the exception of two parts of one question. There were eight questions in the test. So basically, I have got a U in my first physics assessment of the year! Literally no one in my class understood the test. That doesn't make me feel any better though.
    I just feel so defeated because I can answer the questions from my revision guide and the textbook, but not the new spec exam questions. My teachers are saying that we need to get used to the new spec questions but they aren't even helping us to do this. And then they don't even go through them with us afterwards...they just give us a copy of the mark scheme which doesn't make any sense or explain how to get the answer.
    I might have to take a gap year and do a whole A-level in a year such as French, so then i'll have three good A-level grades.
    Physics just seems impossible right now. I'm going to fail it and I feel like no amount of revision will get me a good enough grade because the new spec questions will just bite me in the ass.
    I'm not going to give up, but I don't think that any effort I put into revising this subject will be of any use.
    Sorry for the negativity.
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    09/10/16


    I forgot to mention before that we got our M1 kinematics tests back last Thursday in maths and I got an A. :badger:

    I'm still p***** off about the simple harmonic motion test we did in physics on Friday because I don't feel as though the majority of the questions reflected anything we had covered in class, or anything from the textbook or revision guide.

    Also, I did some homework on Gravitational Fields this morning which was to answer a booklet of new spec questions. The mathsy questions were okay but I didn't really appreciate having to scan through various online lecture notes for university level physics to find answers for the more wordy questions... This is just ridiculous haha... I may as well start doing a physics degree with The Open University if I want to have any chance of succeeding this year...
    My teacher even said last week that some of the things being asked in the new spec questions aren't even on the spec... For example, Maskelyne's experiment involving the pendulum and the symmetrical mountain in Scotland.
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    14/10/16 - Weekly Update



    I haven't posted all week so I'll just do a quick(?) overview of what I've done for physics since Monday.

    Monday: In double physics, we continued answering questions in the gravitational fields booklet. I didn't end up getting much done since I find my class really distracting because they're so noisy and are constantly making jokes. The motto of my class is "we'll just do the work when we get home" which is fine I guess, but then what's the point in even turning up to lesson? Maybe I'll just put my headphones in next week, which is what a girl on my table does and she always gets really good grades.
    I also had a face-palm moment with my teacher- I asked him for help on a question and he then asked me prompting questions to try and help me figure out what to do, but I had no clue what was going on and then he started laughing because my mind went blank and I said that the time period of one rotation of the Earth is 365 years omfg...

    Tuesday: I started making some notes on momentum from AS mechanics. It's surprising how much I didn't know last year, wow.

    Wednesday: I don't think I did anything tbh.

    Thursday: We got our simple harmonic motion tests back in class and I got 12/47, which is a solid A. Jk it's a U. To be fair though, the majority of the questions in this test were about momentum, and since I was expecting them to be about simple harmonic motion, that's why I didn't know what to do for most questions. We then got given a book on new spec momentum questions.
    Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how weird it is that we are randomly covering momentum in class now whilst I've also started revising it at home!

    Friday: We continued doing the momentum questions but my class were being SO loud so I only managed to do one question for the entire two hours. I was also feeling really exhausted so I kind of just slept with my eyes open. Then we went through the answers for the simple harmonic motion test and things make more sense now.


    I have quite a lot of work to do over the weekend. I'll do an update at the end of each day but the most important thing to do is revise for the gravitational fields assessment on Monday.
    .
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    16/10/16 - Weekend update



    I like today's date because it is symmetrical (if you don't split 10 in half).
    Anyway, this weekend has been quite productive overall.

    Saturday: I marked the booklet of new spec exam questions on gravitational fields and got 68% overall which I'm quite pleased with. I bet my teacher will put it down as a C even though the grade boundaries for the new spec are significantly lower than your typical grade boundaries. You only needed 65% for an A in this year's AS exams for physics. I may have to point this out to my teacher lol.
    In addition, I answered some more questions from the gravitational fields multiple choice booklet. These are actually quite fun ngl.

    Sunday:I have finished the multiple choice booklet (47 questions overall wtf). There was a question about 'weightlessness' which confused me but I understand it better now. The objects at the equator (when the time period for one rotation of the Earth is 1.4 hours ) aren't actually weightless but they feel weightless.
    I also marked the booklet of old spec gravitational field questions and got exactly 80%. My teachers like giving us booklets in case you haven't noticed.
    In the afternoon, I made notes from my revision guide on 'Work and Power' and 'Conservation Of Energy And Efficiency' and also answered the exam questions provided. I have now finished going over AS mechanics, yay!
    Hopefully by the end of next week, I'll have finished going over materials and then I can start electricity over half term.
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    19/10/16



    Monday: We did our assessment on Gravitational Fields which went okay, but not as good as I'd have hoped. I think I'll probably get a C or a D on it. It's not that I didn't know how to answer the questions, but I got stressed out and ended up skipping quite a few questions. I need to start meditating or something because I get way too emotional when I can't answer a question loool (pity I'm not actually laughing out loud though).

    Tuesday: Let's pretend this week doesn't have a Tuesday

    Wednesday: I've made notes on 'Properties of Materials' from AS and Hooke's Law finally makes sense now!
    I have a test on Simple Harmonic Motion tomorrow so I'm going to revise for that later by answering the question on 'physicsandmathstutor' and maybe answering some questions out of the textbook. And also making some flashcards on the key definitions/things I don't understand.

    I'm thinking about buying the CGP textbook soon because it has more practice questions in and, considering there are barely any past papers, I need as much practice as I can get lmao because let's face it- the new spec questions are still like a different language to me. Other people are starting to understand but I'm still clueless. Je ne comprends pas. No entiendo. Ich verstehe nicht. Non capisco. لم أفهم. Ik begrijp het niet. Я не понимаю. Dwi ddim yn deall. Okay, you probably get the message.
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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    Background Information


    Hey guys, I've decided to make a blog especially for A-level physics because I am currently majorly under-performing in it.
    I will be starting year 13 in just under two weeks and have been doing some preparation notes for A2 physics over the summer (not too much, just the further mechanics topic).

    Why did I pick A-level physics?
    Spoiler:
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    I picked this subject for the worst possible reason; because I did really well for GCSE. I got an A* for physics and this led me to believe that I would easily be able to excel in it for A-level. I was wrong.
    Fun fact: I also picked A-level chemistry for the same reason, ended up hating it and dropped it after Christmas last year, so I only ended up doing three AS-level subjects.
    As a result, I am now stuck with physics. I have considered dropping it and doing all of A-level biology (the science I enjoy the most but didn't pick because I did the worst in it at GCSE (still got an A though)) in one year but there's absolutely no way my sixth form would allow me to do that.
    Why did I get a D?
    Spoiler:
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    I'm not going to lie and say that I was constantly getting straight As in physics throughout year 12, but I was working at a B grade towards the end of the year. My teachers even predicted me a B. Therefore, it was quite a surprise when I saw that I had got a D in this year's AS exams. Luckily for me though, I am doing the new linear specification which means that my AS grade won't count towards my A-level grade.
    My main revision strategy was doing past papers from the old spec, and not even spending much time trying to understand the content. This is probably why I didn't do so well. The fact that my revision guide was for the wrong specification probably didn't help either. I also skipped a lot of the lessons. Okay, I'm really not helping my case here.
    How do I plan to get an A next year?
    Spoiler:
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    I'm going to be spending much more time understanding the content using my CGP 'Complete Revision & Practice' guide, which I'd 100% recommend to anyone. In addition, I'll also be answering all of the practice exam questions from this book which are actually relevant to the new spec.
    Also, I'll be making flashcards, which I have always found to be a useful revision tool since I was in year 9.
    I'll be dedicating 2-3 free periods a week reviewing AS topics that I found difficult last year.
    I want my attendance for physics lessons to be 100% this year.
    And this is where this blog comes in...
    On this blog, I'll be updating any physics revision that I have done, grades that I get in end of topic tests and also mock exam grades.
    In addition, I'll be including my progress with the M1 module that I'm doing as part of A-level maths, because it is technically physics, right?

    GRADE TRACKER:

    Physics open-book assessments (basically a test we do out of class)
    Spoiler:
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    Circular Motion:
    Gravitational Fields:
    Physics formal assessments (done in class under exam conditions)
    Spoiler:
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    Further Mechanics:
    Gravitational Fields:
    Maths M1 assessments (done in class under exam conditions)
    Spoiler:
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    Chapter 2 Kinematics: A
    Last but not least, if there are any fellow A-level physics students out there who are reading this, feel free to comment with any tips on how to get a high grade in physics. Alternatively, we can offer each other moral support. I would offer to give you advice, but I doubt you'd want to trust someone who got a D in AS
    I got D in AS physics, but re-sat the exams and got an A. I'm currently on a gap year now before studying physics at uni. Need help, I'll give it to ya
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    (Original post by Kyx)
    I got D in AS physics, but re-sat the exams and got an A. I'm currently on a gap year now before studying physics at uni. Need help, I'll give it to ya
    Wow, well done!! That is really motivating to read. Hopefully I'll be able to say the same thing this time next year!
    I'll be sure to tag you in future posts when I need help haha
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    22/10/16 - Beginning of half term!



    I cannot believe how fast the past few weeks have gone and now it is half term already! Studying every day just makes me lose all sense of time.

    Thursday: In double mechanics (for maths), we answered questions on forces on inclined slopes which I think I'm okay at? I wasn't as productive as usual because I felt really tired and lightheaded.
    My physics teacher wasn't here so we didn't do the simple harmonic motion test resit. Instead, our other physics teacher did a revision session on simple harmonic motion which I found really helpful.
    I should probably come up with names for my two teachers because you have no idea who I'm talking about each time haha.
    So, to make things simple, teacher M (our male teacher) is the one who covered our lesson. Teacher F (our female teacher) is the one who we'd usually have today but she wasn't here.
    In the night, I made some AS Materials notes on Stress And Strain. People on Instagram and Tumblr make studying late at night look so cute and fun but it's actually not in my opinion lol. I will not be planning any more late night revision sessions any time soon!


    Friday: Today was an inset day, so technically it is the beginning of half term! I made some AS Material notes on the Young Modulus which is something that I actually understand! When I say I understand, I mean it is something that I understood back in year 12. I'm so glad that I started revising the AS content back in September because I'm starting feel more optimistic and in control now.

    Saturday: I haven't done anything physics related today BUT I am feeling quite annoyed at myself because I waste SO much time. The only things I had planned to do today was make notes on a textbook spread for psychology and answer a few C3 maths questions. I was hoping that I would finish this by lunch time so I'd have the rest of the day to relax.
    It is now nearly 8pm and I still haven't finished the maths questions. I didn't finish psychology until 3pm. WHY DO I WASTE SO MUCH TIME? I haven't even had any "study breaks" wtf?
    I'm going to use a timer tomorrow and see if that helps.
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    23/10/16



    Today I made some notes on Stress-Strain graphs and Force-Extension graphs. I remember there being a massive question on this in the AS exam and I just wrote down random crap because I hadn't revised materials properly
    Here is a picture of part of the notes I made today. I was going to post a picture of the whole two pages but the camera quality on my phone is terrible.
    I am essentially making my own Physics For Dummies book haha.


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    Open to read about my university dilemma:
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    Low key feeling quite stressed because I still haven't finished my personal statement... The only paragraph I have left to write is the wider reading paragraph. And sixth form haven't wrote my reference yet.
    Also, I'm going to be applying for Warwick (for psychology) as my aspirational university choice and I'm worried they'll reject me straight away because of my predicted grade for physics. Their standard offer is AAB and I'm only predicted AAC. So I can't really apply to many 'top' universities.
    My predicted grades are so awkward because they don't "fit" any entry requirements.
    Even "average" places like Coventry and Lincoln want ABB but that is too aspirational. But then the universities that have BBC requirements for psychology are terrible and there is no way that I'll go to places like that.
    The places I'm thinking of applying to are:

    Warwick: AAB
    Lincoln: ABB
    Bangor: 112-136 UCAS points (I'll probably have a lower offer since I study three sciences)
    Derby: 120 UCAS points (= AAD)

    Idk if my fifth choice should be an aspirational choice such as Loughborough (AAB) / East Anglia (ABB), or somewhere REALLY safe such as Anglia Ruskin which only requires you to have 2 A-levels.
    If you've read this far, please give me some advice lol

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    Stress strain graphs can be tricky, I always has difficulty because it was never made clear which one is the independent/dependent variable. Do you vary the stress and measure the strain or vice versa? It feels like the first option, but the fact that one stress corresponds to two different strains (around E/Y in your graph) is strange. How can one input give two different outputs?!

    That's because the graph isn't constructed from independent measurements, it's depicting the path of an object through stress-strain space. So you pull on it, it deforms, pull on it more, it deforms more, then you pull the same amount as before and now the same amount of pulling gives a different strain. That's hysteresis, ie the state of the object now depends on what you've been doing to it in there past. Very interesting idea that doesn't come up much before uni.
 
 
 
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