I am in Year 11, and I am hoping for at least 10 A*s. I already have one for Mathematics in Year 10, and I am taking the following this exam season:
Classical Greek (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Latin (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Religious Studies (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
English Language (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
English Literature (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
French (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Biology (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Chemistry (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
Physics (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
iGCSE Further Mathematics (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A^
Geography (Edexcel)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Music (Edexcel)- predicted A, aiming for A*
I shall update this post in due course to document my progress.
Units already taken (warning: includes a lot of boasting):
Thursday, 5th March 2015
Mathematics (Edexcel)- achieved A*, 183/200
- considering that loads of people got above 190/200.
I hope Oxford or Cambridge don't ask for GCSE raw marks!
- fortunately, they don't!
[Controlled Assessments: all marks are provisional until moderation]
French Writing part 1- 27/30
French Writing part 2- ?/30
French Speaking part 1- 29/30
Music Performance part 1- 30/30
Music Composition part 1- 30/30
English Language Unit 3- 67/80 to 77/80 (I don't know where the remaining 10 marks come from, but my English teacher is rather generous to me).
English Literature Unit 3- 40/40
Geography Unit 4- ?/50 (shall find out in due course)
Biology Unit 4- 40/50
Chemistry Unit 4- 41/50 (first try). second try ?/50
Physics Unit 4- 47/50 (first try), second try ?/50
I apologize for not having done anything to keep up this blog for the past three weeks. However, I have been either incredibly busy, or (what's more likely in the past week) lazy. I have finished my Physics, Chemistry, and Biology notes, although parts of my Physics notes are incredibly messy!
The strategy I have used to make my Sciences notes is called the 'annotated specification' strategy; that is, copy off from the specification directly (I tend to revise better from my own handwriting) where it gives simple facts or definition, but research the parts it does not expand upon (especially the evaluation questions). I admit that this was more 'learning' than 'revision'; my Physics teacher in Year 9 was awful and didn't teach a lot of the content in the specification (so it's no surprise that I got 24/45 in my Year 9 end of year exam), and people disrupted my learning in Year 10 ). Fortunately, I managed to finish making notes for Physics by February 11th.
As for my Chemistry notes, I already had notes for Units 1 and 2 from Year 10, but those required heavy editing, as not all the content from the specification was present. Since my class is somewhat behind, I decided to do some research in advance, so that I could finish Unit 3 before my classmates.
And finally, Biology didn't take that long; the specification was quite detailed regarding many of the processes and functions that would be tested in the exam. My textbook helped to fill the remainder!
I'm currently making notes for Geography (although my progress has been hindered by an approaching French Writing Controlled Assessment tomorrow). I've finished Coasts (largely helped by notes I found online) and I've almost finished Extreme Climates, and I have notes from last year for Water World, Development Dilemmas, Consuming Resources, and Population Dynamics.
As for my French Writing Controlled Assessment, it is on the topic of School, and involves writing to a French correspondent. I admit that my work has not been well connected, and seems like a jumble of four paragraphs (that is something I definitely
need to sort out today)! On the plus side, I do have a variety of complex structures (qui, où, après avoir, bien que, le mien, although not avant de or the present participle) and opinions and justifications.
The subject I am currently struggling with is Music. I got full marks for my first performance and composition, but the listening... Well, it's more due to a lack of effort, since I do not remember revising it, despite the fact that my teacher has generously provided a nice revision booklet for the class.
I hope to post most frequently from now on!
Friday, 6th March 2015
It's 5:55 am at the time of typing. Yesterday, I managed to finish my notes for Water World in Geography (there were a couple of features missing from my Year 10 notes, which I foolishly thought weren't going to be asked in the exam). Population Dynamics only needs a tiny bit of editing. Unfortunately, I did absolutely no work writing up my French Controlled Assessment yesterday... do you have this moment when you can't be bothered to do any work and leave it last minute?...
It's now 5:15 pm. My French controlled assessment went really well- I don't remember having that regret which I had last time (when you find out you wrote a sentence incorrectly or missed out an accent). One thing to note is that I kept changing my work and adding , replacing, and taking away words. Given that I only wrote my draft once at home, it's quite a surprise that I pulled this one off. My draft, which was essentially a jumble of paragraphs which were largely unconnected, was somehow turned into a nice, flowing piece of work (the task was on the topic of school, essentially what writing about you think about your school to a French correspondent) in the actual controlled assessment.
On the downside, I received somewhat negative news regarding my Geography controlled assessment. While my teacher thought my analysis, conclusion, and evaluation were fine (I thought I had messed up the conclusion!), he said that my introduction and methods of data collection clearly needed to be sorted out. I found this rather surprising; I thought I had done well in the introduction and not so well in the high-level control parts- it turns out that it's the other way round. Fortunately, the parts I need to improve are 'low level control', which means (if I'm correct) that I can work on it at home and put it on a USB stick. I'll have to appear on Monday and Tuesday after school to finish it off!.
By the end of Sunday, I aim to complete the following:
-Finish Geography notes
-Start solving past papers for all the sciences, and actually revise off my notes.
-Start to revise for Music.
-Finish Religion and Philosophy Unit 2 (Science and Islam).
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Sunday, 2nd May 2015
It's been a while since I last posted here. Guess what?
It's because of revision.
Let's update this for each subject:
I believe had I got one mark lower than I did in my ISA (40/50- 80 UMS- scraped A*), my biology teacher would have allowed me to retake my ISA. However, that was not the case, so I have to get 93.33 UMS overall to get my A*. My notes (well, they're not really mine), are not always clear, and in some cases, contained outright errors (for example, the equation for respiration was wrong and I had to balance it myself) and missed out the last topic of Unit 3 (human impacts on the environment). Nor did it help that my laziness has meant that I got Cs and Bs in my last end of topic tests.
Fortunately, my mum hired a tutor (the first time for over five years), who is a biochemistry graduate and is applying for a PhD in neuroscience as he wants to enter research. My first session was on Friday, and he helped a lot to clear areas which I wasn't sure about. For example, he quickly cleared up the path blood flows from the heart by saying that anything which is described as 'pulmonary' is to do with the lungs. That helped to ease the confusion of artery was where. I am planning three further sessions with him, to clear any remaining points of confusion. Other topics covered were the differences between mitosis and meiosis, the lungs, and inheritance.
However, given my poor ISA result, and the annoying style of the AQA Science GCSE papers, I predict myself an A
at this point. My two greatest enemies are the graph questions ('what conclusions can you draw from this graph?') and the 'suggest' questions. It'd be a shame if the reason why I fail to get an A* is due to questions which tests on things not included in the specification. It doesn't help that my Biology teacher said that Unit 3 is a 'synoptic unit' which can also test material from Units 1 and 2.
Chemistry is the only science which I am currently intending to take to A Level, so this is the most important science in terms of the effects of the grade on my academic record. The processes in Chemistry, in my opinion, are easier to describe than the processes in Biology, and Chemistry is generally a more logical subject (and more interesting as well).
Throughout the GCSE course, I have consistently received results in the mid-high 70s to the low 80s, which is between a high A and a low A*. There are exceptions to this of course: my abysmal Crude Oil end of topic test in Year 9 (I believe I got around 55%), a decent Year 10 End of Year exam result (92%- that was a fluke)
and a good Year 11 mock GCSE result
- obtained by looking up all the past papers online for Unit 2 like the rest of the year did (a.k.a. cheating), hence I got 95% in the second paper (but 88% overall). Since I started solving past papers, my results have gone up to 51-53/60 (85-88%), but again, I could be too generous when marking my own tests.
There are two pieces of good news: firstly, unlike Biology, everyone does two ISAs for Chemistry and Physics, one in Year 10 and the other in Year 11. As shown above, I received 41/50 (83 UMS) in my Year 10 ISA. However, my Year 11 teacher gave me initially 45/50 (93 UMS) in my second ISA, which she then increased to 47/50 (98 UMS) because she was being nice. Secondly, my mum is planning to persuade my Biology tutor if he can go through some topics in Chemistry as well the day before my exam.
My method of revision for all sciences is the same- read the notes and review past papers, and identify common trends or words that are found in the past paper.
Therefore, I predict myself a cautious A* in Chemistry, as Unit 1, which I had taken for granted, had slipped, as I had focused too much on Units 2 and 3. However, Unit 1 is another month away,
Physics has long been my weakest science (although its claim to this dishonourable title may soon be supplanted by Biology). Paradoxically,