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    It is 94 days and counting until OCR M2: my first exam of the 2016 season, and I've decided that if I want to reach my goals then I need to document and track what I do each day to get there.

    Past results: GCSE
    Spoiler:
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    Biology - A*
    Business - A*
    Chemistry - A*
    English Language - A
    English Literature - B
    Geography - A*
    German - A*
    Latin - A*
    Maths - A*
    Physics - A*
    AS:
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    AQA Economics: A
    AQA Geography: A
    OCR Maths: A
    OCR Physics: B (retaking EWAP)
    And the target for A2?

    Economics - A*
    Geography - A*
    Maths - A*
    Physics - A*
    Further Maths AS - a

    In terms of universities, I hold 4 offers for Economics from Warwick, Bristol, Surrey and Edinburgh, and an Oxford rejection-after-interview.

    Anything else: I have a terrible procrastination habit which didn't exactly help me at AS, so I'm trying to rid myself of that at the same time. With mock exams dotted all over the next half term, I need to get to this sooner rather than later.

    (I also word process in exams (except Maths), if there's anyone out there in the club)

    (longer post coming soon, wanted to get in before the deadline)

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    Good luck :woo:
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    (Original post by ex imagine)
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    Great start, good luck!
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    (thank you both ! )

    93: Pomodoro Physics

    Last year, I made lots of complicated timetables to revise but never actually managed to stick to them. What is more surprising, however, is that without any timetable at all I somehow managed to get through a lot of physics notes yesterday. It's the only subject where I'm making notes almost directly from the specification- something I didn't do last year when I relied on the CGP guide (not clear enough as the sole revision book for the exam), and had to work hard in the horrific EWAP exam just to get a B.

    The Pomodoro technique (and background music from Ellie Goulding's Delirium ) worked quite well yesterday- I've never used it before and I eventually drifted away from it out of tiredness (from other things) more than anything else, but it's good to get work done in what is arguably my duff subject.

    Physics background:
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    A* at GCSE
    AS:
    Mechanics G481: 81/90 UMS A
    Electrons Waves and Photons 109/150 UMS B
    Practical Skills 44/60 UMS B (otherwise known as organised hoop jumping)

    It's quite a good subject really, I've just only recently started really focusing on it (which may be the wrong thing to do, given I've been having a lull in Econ). We've just finished the (first!) round of retakes in the practicals, but my first marks were definitely a few above those I got last year, so I hope to get an A in this unit this year, even if the grade boundaries are still stupidly high.
    Geog today (in the brilliant Tab Notebook- one book (and colour) for each unit!) - but that's for the next post! :yy:
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    Good luck! And thanks (not) for reminding me that M2 is so close
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    92- Some days you just have to adapt

    No way I was getting any Geog done today- need to get the folders more organised, and fast! Instead I've decided to plug away at my Maths notes, where I can at least work from the spec if I have to.

    (sees prize announcement post)

    I made an exam timetable back in December when the dates were confirmed- nothing flashy, just something functional I had left over from GCSE and AS, and is far more easily understood than the school-issued one (given I had 8 exams in 3 days at GCSE, this was somewhat helpful). It's based off the ones the DfE used to issue from their site when you could get your whole timetable from there- being an iGCSE student this didn't help me at the time.

    But seeing as I have the time, I'll write some more backgrounds for this blog...

    Economics:
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    ECON1: 84/100 UMS A
    ECON2: 96/100 UMS A

    Considering this will be my university subject, I really want to do so much better this year. In ECON1 I based my choice of question on the pathetic 5 mark definition and ended up nearly crying while trying to explain equilibrium for 12 marks...and this was my first exam!

    I was going very strongly in the subject for most of the Autumn term, not least after I had the interview invite in December, but I seem to have dropped off the pace this term- this is something else I need to deal with. Fortunately one of my teachers is fantastically well-organised with every resource planned and plotted on Gantt charts.

    I need to work on my timed essay techniques also- in my own time I have been able to easily achieve L5- but in the two timed mocks I've achieved 21 and 19 marks - not good enough yet.

    I'm also trying to find the time for a Young Economist of the Year essay entry, along with resuscitating my economics blog that totally wasn't just to persuade an Oxford interviewer to give me a place...
    Maths (with AS Further)
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    C1: 93/100 UMS A
    C2: 98/100 UMS A
    S1: 95/100 UMS A
    M1: 83/100 UMS A

    Ah yes. That A* component of my Bristol offer (and, if I get one, a Warwick offer) should, if all goes well, come from here. We did past papers (and Solomon too) to death last year, and I'm expecting more of the same to start soon as well. I'm slightly concerned that we haven't started FP1 yet, and that M2 has far more AS Physics than is healthy for me...

    In terms of revision- I'll likely make a dedicated set of notes this year as opposed to revising from class notebooks and specifications, though my handwriting is likely to have made certain parts illegible (but that's for another spoiler box).
    Geography
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    GEOG1: 126/140 UMS A
    GEOG2: 54/60 UMS A

    Meh.

    Geography is very much about writing essays and being familiar with concepts and case studies- yet in GEOG1 my top essay score was 10/15, on a topic we hadn't been taught as the teacher was ill for a whole half term. :confused:

    I managed to get 90% scores in both units which was a surprising coincidence, and ideally I'd like to achieve the same or better this year.
    Word processing in exams: Why do you do it?
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    The answer to this question lies in my GCSEs, I was predicted 9A*1A- the A in German- yet in English Language and Literature I only achieved an A and B respectively. Not only that, it was a low B, at only 48%. No one in the English department really noticed- my teacher put it down to 'oh you just got unlucky'- only the head of department submitted a clerical check since my papers varied from a low C to a mid-A. It returned unsuccessful, and the risk of a C from a remark was too high. I knew something wasn't right until my Econ teacher suggested typing- I'd written an essay that was about half-legible at the time. I was approved for it, though without extra time (not complaining- perks include smaller exam rooms, friendlier and approachable invigilators and air conditioning!)

    My handwriting is...not the best, let's put it that way. The result in English I now knew was a result of having to write large amounts within the confines of an exam- at that speed my writing quality deteriorated significantly, and it was bad to begin with! I don't have any specific techniques for typing as such apart from submitting work typed as often as possible- I can't touch type.
    My revision materials
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    • Each subject has its own 200 page Pukka Pad as a base revision guide (probably going to be little blank paper in there by the end)
    • Apart from Geography which has unit notebooks from The Tab Notebook- cheap Tesco deal got me that
    • I'm using Uniball Eye Micro pens for the entire revision and exam period, though for more colourful revision I'm also using some triplus fineliners and a set of slightly wider stabilos (in a very nice rolled packet)
    • A box of the Oxford stationery materials- £5 from tesco, most often available in Oct/Nov when all the UGs have departed
    • Some multicoloured flash cards I'll probably use with Geography case studies, Physics laws/points of explanation, Econ contextual info
    • (any more materials I use)
    • (sorry trees)
    and, since this blog should probably give something back to the TSR study community, I'll post a revision tip or two from my experience at the end of each post.

    Never underestimate the importance of colour in revision, even if you can't colour-code your notes. I often find a page of colour far more appealing than a page full of black (barely-legible) handwriting.
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    91- It's okay to let other things get in the way

    Fair enough- I didn't get anything done today. But I've got family events in the background, so today looked even more like a planning day. I also managed to fill in some of the questions for my yearbook which is due in on Monday, so that's a bonus.

    I've already talked about the problems I have with planning though. I will structure, plan everything to the hour, make complex spreadsheets, but never actually follow the plan through to the end, be it through procrastination or otherwise. I've often had 3 large notebooks on my desk all sitting closed.

    I've tried lots of things- Cold Turkey works for blocking websites and distractions, but they transferred lots of the useful features (eg scheduling) over to the pro version and I don't really want to pay ~£14 for it. Then there are other apps like Peer Pressure which let friends verify that you've completed a task, but I don't really have anyone I would want to do that. I just need a simple way to keep to my plans- anyone have any ideas?

    I should pick up again tomorrow though- having work that I will have to hand in is obviously more motivating.

    Don't be afraid to try out lots of types of pens before you decide on the one you're happy to use in exams. In the exam your mind needs to be focused on the questions, not stopping your pen from flying out of your grasp. Stationers have sample pens for a reason!
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    90- C3 and the planning cracks appear

    I'd planned to do 3 maths papers today. Yet I have only completed one. That's a typical example of my planning problems, be it through allowing too much procrastination or badly scheduling the papers (no, I'd given myself 2h for each 1h30 paper). I NEED to buck it up tomorrow, or face the same problems that bogged me down last year.

    Refreshing Track looking for a Warwick offer doesn't help.

    Undoubtedly the best way to revise vocab for languages is, IMO, getting someone to test you. It works even better if you're a more competitive person, since each wrong answer has you frustrated and motivated to succeed the next time and stop the person asking you catching you out.
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    89- The unsustainable motivation returns

    The pace is picking up. I finished a C4 and two geog case studies today. Should increase exponentially (well, 1/2 e^1/2x ?) as I go into the weekend, but this has never been a sustainable model of keeping me motivated, as evidenced by earlier in the week. But speaking of the next few weeks...
    Spoiler:
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    I need to find time in my 4 A2 timetable to revise more. I have a ~40m train journey each way to school, which should prove useful if my friends could just leave me alone, along with only 5x35m individual study periods- good for a (modified) pomodoro but not much else. Not only that, but there'll still be work for the modules we still need to do such as the entirety of FP1....
    If you have the space to write in a notebook, you have space to revise. (yes this one is terrible but it could help with the motivation)
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    88- Getting it together

    Another two M2 papers today (these are horrible and annoying), and I've also been using TSR's study planner, which is really good for plotting lots of study sessions in places where you didn't really think you had the time. It plots around my classes in sessions of 1 hour, not pomodoro-compatible but it'll do. Adding commitments that don't repeat is also tricky, while I've also found a couple of errors while trying to add my holidays in. It'd also be nice if there was a way of exporting the data to other calendar applications, or (dream) an app that could remind you to start each study session. Nevertheless, it works well, and I'm planning on using this to structure my revision (allowing for classwork before that).

    Also I've had a look at the 'How to smash your A-levels' guide by Dylann- not only is it concise but I'm also spotting my revision faults as I read it and practical solutions- I'll confess to not memorising any acronyms in Econ above SPICED and WEESTEPS last year- and if anything reading something like this just gives me enough motivation to start revising. With my study planner starting on Monday, that's something I can't have too much of.

    (study tip cop-out) Use the TSR study planner!
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    87- Sooner rather than later

    ...is why I'm making this post now and not later this evening

    As per usual, it's time for the Sunday rush to finish all the work in time for tomorrow. I planned for an econ essay+reading, medical physics summary sheet + last M2 paper, but now with added C4 for thursday and yearbook questions.

    Lovely.

    Every past paper matters. Try to get as many as possible done at least a couple of days before the exam.
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    Looks like you have it all planned out. I should take a leaf out of your book! Good luck!
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    (Original post by DeclanC97)
    Looks like you have it all planned out. I should take a leaf out of your book! Good luck!
    Aha! If only my planning everything equated to me actually following it all up! Thank you though!

    ****

    86- (absolutely not) FUNdamental Physics

    To be fair we've only just started this topic- but what a lot of content to take in at once! Quarks, hadrons, positrons, etc. We leapt onto this section before half term, but the strange nature of half term meant I didn't get time to read through the booklet we have on it. Trying to make notes on it had its ups and downs, but I confined myself to finishing it before I had run out of time.

    (try and count the references.... )

    Otherwise, I've been reminding myself of the various C3/4 differentiation and integration rules, and trying to embed the procedures for items like cos^2 x and tanx. I didn't take my massive A4 revision books in with me today, but I do have a series of lectures tomorrow I might get away with some surreptitious revision in...

    Keep growing those grades people.

    Maths student? Don't just trust past papers- the specification may contain topics never before examined but could come up in your paper- pick through it and find them!
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    [QUOTE=ex imagine;62941149]Aha! If only my planning everything equated to me actually following it all up! Thank you though!

    Ah yes, procrastinating is also my worst habit. You're welcome!
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    85 - This train is bound for glory

    I began counting the days to March 31st today, the day Warwick Econ promises to make decisions by. I wrote each day out in neat little rows so I could cross each day off until the day IT happened. Offer, or rejection.

    I needn't have wasted the paper...
    Spoiler:
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    "The University of Warwick W20
    Economics L100
    Start date: 1 Oct 2016
    Start from: Year One
    The university or college has offered you a place subject to conditions."

    YAAAAAASSSSS! :banana::bigsmile:
    Anyway, back to the revision. I lost today's study periods to a lecture day from the IEA, but hopefully I should fix that tonight with some work on CRVs from S2 and Chi Squared in GEOG4a.

    Don't over-commit yourself too much. For example, don't promise you'll be able to come up with 92 revision tips in 92 days.
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    Congrats on the Warwick offer! Got rejected sadly. Ah well, Bath is good enough
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    84-When it rains, it pours

    Between a lack of study periods and delayed trains, today was not actually scheduled to have too large a workload. Nevertheless it became all about preparing for tomorrow- an econ4 mini mock, physics not-really-a-test-but-we'll-say-it-is, and a C4 paper to be handed in (OCR Jan 12, some tough questions there- double integration by parts?!). Not only that, but I also have rehearsals for a presentation I'm giving next week which takes another hour away tomorrow. 3 study periods may well make up for it, if I don't find anything else to do...

    I've become accustomed to carrying my TSR planner around with me, so I'm trying to stay aware of what I'm planned to do, even if other events are taking time from me.

    I went to Tesco today and found the Pukka pad stationery boxes on offer again- similar to the oxford one but without the 300 page refill pad for a fiver.

    (I will get back to proper revision tips eventually...)
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    83- Time is bunk

    I detailed most of today's events yesterday, but in order to fill some in-

    Maths- we finally started FP1! Matrices seem simple enough, but I wasn't expecting to be starting past papers instantly

    Econ- a mock of last year's ECON4 national context data response. Seemed almost too simple, but I won't spoil the content for anyone yet to have a mock in it...

    Phys- we wrote answers on whiteboards (told you it was a fake test), but I actually did quite well.

    I'm still trying to keep to it, I really am. In the midst of all the work still to do this term I need to find time to revise- but it just doesn't happen. I know I have the time- I just need to allocate it even more efficiently.

    The Medical part of OCR Physics A is really just about remembering the facts on each technique and a few equations. Synopticity from EWAP can strike though, so be prepared (with the data booklet).
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    82- The Matrix Reloaded (for some)

    I take back what I said about matrices (83). They're horrible. One mistake and you end up having a lot of recalculations to do. It doesn't help that the class I'm in has a lot of people who did Additional Maths FSMQ in year 11, for who matrices seem to be second nature. Alas we must keep racing through FP1...

    In other news, I really liked some of the ideas Manisha had in this week's TSR video- especially the idea of a whiteboard, so simple yet I think it'd be so good at keeping me accountable for revision- the idea that your work is staring at you from the board seems like it would motivate me more.

    Are you choosing to mark any past papers yourself (because of incompetent marking or otherwise)? That's fine if so, but remember not to be too easy on yourself- that's how you'll learn! Perhaps you could ask a friend to mark it, and/or swap papers afterward to exchange ideas?
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    81- getting ready for a busy Sunday

    Nothing too much today- I've been out for most of it, though I managed to top up my stationery stash, as seen below:

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    All the post-it notes I need for my revision books from the works for £2, then some new pencils because drawing diagrams with 3cm long pieces of pure graphite isn't too enjoyable, on top of the fineliners and point 88s in the little pouch.

    But now I need to go and plan for all the work tomorrow...
 
 
 
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