kerryrevie
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My AS grades -
AQA Psychology: A
AQA Biology: D
AQA History: D

My predicted A-level grades -
Psychology: A*/A
Biology: B
History: C

My personal targets for A-levels -
Psychology: A*
Biology: A
History: B

University courses I have applied to & requirements -
Bsc Biological Sciences: AAB-BBB
Bsc Microbiology: AAB-BBB

AS modules I am resitting -
Psychology: -
Biology: Unit 1 & Unit 3T
History: Unit 1 (Totalitarian Ideology)

Here's the deal, this year I am doing considerably better than the previous year. My formal assessments in psychology and biology are both A* and A and I need to keep this up and excel in my resits to achieve the grades I need. However, history is extremely bad.. My teacher is newly qualified and has poor methods such as posters and cutting and sticking sheets (CONSTANT) and the module is such a bore (The Making of Modern Britain, 1951-2007). I'm getting Ds in all of my tests in this and I need to resit the exam too and I just don't know if I'll ever get the grade I need. Revision is nearly impossible for this subject too since the materials from the teacher are pants, the topic isn't the most popular and I have zero motivation.

I have a revision timetable that incorporates my free blocks at college and apps to coordinate any homework I have. I do feel that I'm struggling to stick to the rigid routine and hopefully this blog will be the push I need to thrive in my chosen subjects.

I'm guessing I'll update this blog with examples of my revision, homework and test results so people can give me their input. My college is one of the less fortunate and comprises of BTEC courses as the majority, so the grades I'm after aren't as common as other areas.

Fingers crossed this is the motivation I'm looking for to make my grades the highest I can achieve.
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z33
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good luck
you CAN do it
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by z33)
good luck
you CAN do it
Thank you C: I've already 'acquired' all episodes of Andrew Marr's Making of Modern Britain series to watch and keep my knowledge refreshed for my poorest subject. I really appreciate the encouragement!
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maceve
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I think you can deffo do it. Just work hard and resit bio and history you'll will be fine!
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z33
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(Original post by kerryrevie)
Thank you C: I've already 'acquired' all episodes of Andrew Marr's Making of Modern Britain series to watch and keep my knowledge refreshed for my poorest subject. I really appreciate the encouragement!
np

well idk about your subjects properly so I can't offer much
but I'm doing A2 bio as well - OCR here but it's basically the same - only difference is the exam style right?
I'm resitting unit 2 :3
I got an A in unit 1 - 92% ums
the key?
this http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1296764
all i did was make notes from that girl's notes and I got an A ... (but then I went and got a D in unit 2 whoops ... just pretend it didnt happen - averaged out to a B though )
so just find some good notes/ vids - there's a LOT for biology out there!
and put each spec section on to one poster - it really helps summarise everything :3

obv and practice questions for the application bit
also having done unit 2, 4 and 5 properly will help a lot with unit 1 obv - it'll feel like doing year 10 work x'D
except for the stuff exclusive to unit 1
so don't worry bout the resit

and then for unit 4 and 5 I find that if I revise I get As and if I don't revise for like 3 weeks and sit the same paper I'd get an E x'D
so make sure you're revising consistently!
good luck again
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by maceve)
I think you can deffo do it. Just work hard and resit bio and history you'll will be fine!
I got an E on both biology units last year due to a poor teacher (subsequently she has now been moved to another department and no longer teachers A-level biology) and my current materials are all from the new specification so I have to look for overlap and I'm thinking things could go very downhill

My other history teacher actually writes the Totalitarianism exam so I think she'll be a great help to me in terms of revision and where I need to focus .

Thanks so much for the support! :bigsmile:
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maceve
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(Original post by kerryrevie)
I got an E on both biology units last year due to a poor teacher (subsequently she has now been moved to another department and no longer teachers A-level biology) and my current materials are all from the new specification so I have to look for overlap and I'm thinking things could go very downhill

My other history teacher actually writes the Totalitarianism exam so I think she'll be a great help to me in terms of revision and where I need to focus .

Thanks so much for the support! :bigsmile:
I have friends who got E's in bio last year. They've really stepped up this year, even getting As in their mocks. They're looking to get As/Bs this year while retaking last years papers
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AnkitKapoor
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Well done! Your improvement in A Level Biology is amazing

I myself have to do the full A Level this year, and need an A to meet a dream of mine for years! May I ask how you progressd to an A ? I'm using the textbook, and doing all the past paper questions, watching online videos etc.

How do you feel you improved ?
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by z33)
np

well idk about your subjects properly so I can't offer much
but I'm doing A2 bio as well - OCR here but it's basically the same - only difference is the exam style right?
I'm resitting unit 2 :3
I got an A in unit 1 - 92% ums
the key?
this http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1296764
all i did was make notes from that girl's notes and I got an A ... (but then I went and got a D in unit 2 whoops ... just pretend it didnt happen - averaged out to a B though )
so just find some good notes/ vids - there's a LOT for biology out there!
and put each spec section on to one poster - it really helps summarise everything :3

obv and practice questions for the application bit
also having done unit 2, 4 and 5 properly will help a lot with unit 1 obv - it'll feel like doing year 10 work x'D
except for the stuff exclusive to unit 1
so don't worry bout the resit

and then for unit 4 and 5 I find that if I revise I get As and if I don't revise for like 3 weeks and sit the same paper I'd get an E x'D
so make sure you're revising consistently!
good luck again
I know a girl in my class did OCR AS and is doing AQA A2 and she said there's a few things that are quite different. The blaring headlights for me is the AQA ISA (unit 3T) that nobody in my year got higher than a C. Think of the Signature Bake on Great British Bake Off, where you are given some materials and a basic vague recipe and have to produce something you have no idea about.. That is an AQA ISA and I have 4 of them to do You also do a written exam on the practical and the data so for a third of my grade it could definitely drag me down.

Biology isn't much of a problem for me now luckily because my full time teacher is Dr Richard Spencer, the man recently in the news for being in the final for the Global Teaching Award my only issue is of course the aforementioned ISAs and my resit from last year since there isn't a huge amount of overlap with this year (for example, lots on biological molecules and food tests which aren't in my A2 course at all.. :/)

Thanks so much for the detail you put in! I keep up my revision for biology and apart from the booklet which included the nitrogen cycle, it's straight A*, A and Bs
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by AnkitKapoor)
Well done! Your improvement in A Level Biology is amazing

I myself have to do the full A Level this year, and need an A to meet a dream of mine for years! May I ask how you progressd to an A ? I'm using the textbook, and doing all the past paper questions, watching online videos etc.

How do you feel you improved ?
Thank you so much aw !

Gosh now that will definitely be hard work for you but it's manageable if you put the time and effort in! For me I'd say the biggest change this year is the amount of revision I am doing. And definitely not being afraid to ask questions even if you feel like it's stupid for doing so. My teacher gives us key learning pages for the things you definitely need to know and they're great for revision in a hurry. Also a huge booklet full of past paper questions for each topic (EG respiration had a booklet of past questions to see where we were going wrong and what we were doing well at). My own attitude towards college has significantly improved and that's probably the main reason I am doing a lot better.
I'd say for you just keep checking for materials and doing questions once you have learnt a section of the specification. What exam board are you with btw? If it's AQA I'm sure I could send examples of my key learning pages to show you how they are set out.

I feel I've improved so much from last year since my mindset has become more of a growth mindset instead of my GCSE fixed mindset of *hmm do no work and I get As, yeah this is good I'll stick with it*. I'm consistently asking myself what I'm good at and what needs to be improved and that's made me feel a lot more comfortable with my subjects.
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z33
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(Original post by kerryrevie)
I know a girl in my class did OCR AS and is doing AQA A2 and she said there's a few things that are quite different. The blaring headlights for me is the AQA ISA (unit 3T) that nobody in my year got higher than a C. Think of the Signature Bake on Great British Bake Off, where you are given some materials and a basic vague recipe and have to produce something you have no idea about.. That is an AQA ISA and I have 4 of them to do You also do a written exam on the practical and the data so for a third of my grade it could definitely drag me down.

Biology isn't much of a problem for me now luckily because my full time teacher is Dr Richard Spencer, the man recently in the news for being in the final for the Global Teaching Award my only issue is of course the aforementioned ISAs and my resit from last year since there isn't a huge amount of overlap with this year (for example, lots on biological molecules and food tests which aren't in my A2 course at all.. :/)

Thanks so much for the detail you put in! I keep up my revision for biology and apart from the booklet which included the nitrogen cycle, it's straight A*, A and Bs
Ah I see - idk how AQA coursework works
in OCR we've got 3 courseworks
and each coursework we get 3 tries on
best 3 go through
qual is out of 10 quant is out of 10 and eval is out of 20

the marks are usually awarded for stuff like drawing a table out correctly, having units in the right places, drawing the graphs right so if AQA are like that too deffo work on your practical skills! try asking your teacher to do more practicals with you guys so you can get used to writing results up and analysing your data - helps a lot :3

oh really?! awesome!!! i had **** teachers last year :/ i mean we didn't even finish the syllabus x'D
this year it's a bit better :3 - those teachers got fired me thinks xP
yeah food tests and biological molecules are exclusive to unit 1 but most stuff, like the cell structures and cell membranes and water - xylem and phloem stuff should be alright right?

np
but awesome you're basically there with the A*s and As things look good so dont panic! just address the ISA stuff and start your AS revision
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by maceve)
I have friends who got E's in bio last year. They've really stepped up this year, even getting As in their mocks. They're looking to get As/Bs this year while retaking last years papers
Yeah you'd be surprised how far a little hard work can take you, it's just making sure the hard work is kept up at a regular rate. I got an A in my biology mock and I couldn't believe it, I think with resits I can at least get a B which is enough for my required university grades. Support them and encourage hard work and I'm confident they'll get the grades they're after .
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by z33)
Ah I see - idk how AQA coursework works
in OCR we've got 3 courseworks
and each coursework we get 3 tries on
best 3 go through
qual is out of 10 quant is out of 10 and eval is out of 20

the marks are usually awarded for stuff like drawing a table out correctly, having units in the right places, drawing the graphs right so if AQA are like that too deffo work on your practical skills! try asking your teacher to do more practicals with you guys so you can get used to writing results up and analysing your data - helps a lot :3

oh really?! awesome!!! i had **** teachers last year :/ i mean we didn't even finish the syllabus x'D
this year it's a bit better :3 - those teachers got fired me thinks xP
yeah food tests and biological molecules are exclusive to unit 1 but most stuff, like the cell structures and cell membranes and water - xylem and phloem stuff should be alright right?

np
but awesome you're basically there with the A*s and As things look good so dont panic! just address the ISA stuff and start your AS revision
Yeah the AQA ISA is sort of coursework but I definitely wouldn't call it that. It's a controlled practical with no talking and if you ask questions you get marks deducted. You sort of write up the data and answer a few questions on the practical then a week later there's a formal exam with general questions on the ISA topic. The practicals are bulls**t too, things like "investigating average cell length in plants" where you had to put nail varnish onto a leek, put sellotape on the nail varnish then put it onto a microscope slide and examine it. That title is literally the only information you get though, no indication of what you should be writing about such as standard deviation, distribution curves and tables of averages etc. You're also barely marked on the practical skills but you'd never know because like I said, you aren't allowed to ask questions or have any communication with the teachers.
We get 2 of them and you just get the best grade of the two. I have 2 to do for 3T and 2 to do for 6T, however a graph isn't a requirement of unit 6T.

Put it this way.. ISAs are no longer a requirement of the new specification and nobody else has to do them anymore.. They can't be that good :/.

Hahaha we didn't do anything on water other than osmosis and the new spec has things like water and ions. Cell structures was in unit 2 so that won't be on the resit :/ It's called biology and disease and there's like biological basis of heart disease, cholera, infectious diseases, immunity, digestion etc. Most of it isn't brought into A2 at all which I find quite annoying .

Yeah haha he is so lovely and intelligent I really get on with him, I've been staying back recently helping him do biology sessions with groups of primary school children, teaching them about DNA and genetics.

I'm definitely hopeful so that's pushing me to keep going .
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Beanybean
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I went from BDDU at AS which don't even look like A level grades to a respectable AAB. The only thing I changed was that I began to understand the content in the syllabus instead of reading it and regurgitating. Thus it enabled me to apply my knowledge in different scenarios...Not just the way it is displayed in the text book.
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AnkitKapoor
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(Original post by kerryrevie)
Thank you so much aw !

Gosh now that will definitely be hard work for you but it's manageable if you put the time and effort in! For me I'd say the biggest change this year is the amount of revision I am doing. And definitely not being afraid to ask questions even if you feel like it's stupid for doing so. My teacher gives us key learning pages for the things you definitely need to know and they're great for revision in a hurry. Also a huge booklet full of past paper questions for each topic (EG respiration had a booklet of past questions to see where we were going wrong and what we were doing well at). My own attitude towards college has significantly improved and that's probably the main reason I am doing a lot better.
I'd say for you just keep checking for materials and doing questions once you have learnt a section of the specification. What exam board are you with btw? If it's AQA I'm sure I could send examples of my key learning pages to show you how they are set out.

I feel I've improved so much from last year since my mindset has become more of a growth mindset instead of my GCSE fixed mindset of *hmm do no work and I get As, yeah this is good I'll stick with it*. I'm consistently asking myself what I'm good at and what needs to be improved and that's made me feel a lot more comfortable with my subjects.

It's hard work, but A2 makes me realise how much easier AS is!

Yes AQA BIOLOGY, with its rigged ISAs and stupendous mark schemes...
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by AnkitKapoor)
It's hard work, but A2 makes me realise how much easier AS is!

Yes AQA BIOLOGY, with its rigged ISAs and stupendous mark schemes...
Yeah that's true for definite haha!
I'll PM you then and see if I can help you with anything the textbooks aren't
ISAs are absolute boll**ks and I can't believe they didn't remove them sooner
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username1539513
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(Original post by maceve)
I have friends who got E's in bio last year. They've really stepped up this year, even getting As in their mocks. They're looking to get As/Bs this year while retaking last years papers
Hey, do you think I could get to an A*AB like OP from BCC?
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AnkitKapoor
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(Original post by kerryrevie)
Yeah that's true for definite haha!
I'll PM you then and see if I can help you with anything the textbooks aren't
ISAs are absolute boll**ks and I can't believe they didn't remove them sooner
I know! I'm going to have to aim for 90% UMS in my exams because I know ISAs will drag me down,..

Thanks AQA. ( no not really, I detest you and your mark schemes)
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Beanybean
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Aaaah OCR Biology I remember them days... One topic I never understood was genetics and how to draw them crosses and punnet squares etc.

Oh well still boxed off an A in biology .
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kerryrevie
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(Original post by Beanybean)
I went from BDDU at AS which don't even look like A level grades to a respectable AAB. The only thing I changed was that I began to understand the content in the syllabus instead of reading it and regurgitating. Thus it enabled me to apply my knowledge in different scenarios...Not just the way it is displayed in the text book.
Oh wow congrats to you! All my teachers would say that couldn't be done -.-
Yeah I'm asking questions to find out more about it like even if we only have to learn how mutations cause cancer.. I'll ask what else it involves and how mutagenics cause the problems etc. I really want to know what's on the spec now and how I can get my head around it completely. I don't even use text books actually, we have access to them but the materials provided by my teacher are so good I've never needed to.
Thank you for the support
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