_gcx's GCSE Journey :D

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    About Me:

    I'm currently 15, from a grammar school, having just left Year 10 on Friday, and will be sitting my exams next year, being kind of a guinea pig for the new 9-1 spec in Maths and English. I'm going to keep this as a log of my progress, and to keep me motivated to chase these targets

    I have the aspiration to do CompSci at an RG Uni, or even Oxbridge, if I can get the A-Level grades I aim for. As such, I'm aiming for 7-8A*s at GCSE. I just did my mocks, with medium effort.

    At A-Level I'm taking: Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science (if it's available at my school, if not I'll look around for a bit. If I can't find a place to do it, I'll probably go with Chemistry or Electronics), and Physics (I spoke with my IT teacher, and apparently IT is no longer a subject at A-level XD, wouldn't have been a very good choice anyway), my aspiration would be A*AA (+), but I would be happy with an AAA. I bet if I told my teachers that at the beginning of the year they'd have laughed

    My story of progression has been slow but sure:

    My first Year 10 report:
    Spoiler:
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    • [AQA] English Literature: B
    • [AQA] English Language: C
    • [Edexcel] Maths: C [lol what.] :unimpressed:
    • [Edexcel] Biology: B
    • [Edexcel] Chemistry: C
    • [Edexcel] Physics: A
    • [AQA] French: D
    • [OCR] Religious Studies: B
    • [OCR CamNat] IT: A
    • [OCR] History: B

    I don't remember being particularly disappointed either, which baffles me.

    I pulled everything around and started giving a **** mid-Year 10, apparently coming in the top 10% of my year, but I couldn't care less, it's personal achievement that matters!


    Already achieved
    Spoiler:
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    • (Full GCSE) Citizenship: A*
    • (CW) IT R002: *2 [58/60]
    • (CW) IT R005: d2 [49/60] -- got marked down in moderation, so it might be getting resubmitted.
    • (Exam) IT R001: d2 [52/60]
    • (CW) IT R004: Being submitted in November, so should have the results by January? Hopefully *2 to get a *2 overall!

    What I got in my mocks (self-set targets. Got targeted all As, and I decided to push myself a bit more)
    Spoiler:
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    • [AQA] English Literature: 7 [Target: 8/9]
    • [AQA] English Language: 6 [Target: 7/8/9]
    • [Edexcel] Maths: 9 [Target: 9]
    • [Edexcel] Biology: A [Target: A*]
    • [Edexcel] Chemistry: A [Target: A*]
    • [Edexcel] Physics: B [Target: A*]
    • [AQA] French: C [Target: A/B] (*1)
    • [OCR] Religious Studies: A [Target: A*] (*2)
    • [OCR CamNat] IT: A* [Target: A*]
    • [OCR] History: A* [Target: A*]

    (*1: 1 UMS off a B, our teacher converted our mock grades into UMS for correct scaling)

    (*2: Should have really been an A*, our teacher used ridiculously high grade boundaries [90% being an A*, 80% being an A] o.o)

    Colour coding is self-explanatory (green: on track to achieve target, orange: slightly under target, some work needed, red: severely under target)

    A Bit of Commentary:

    I already regret taking French. It's the only subject I am in no way capable of getting an A*, or probably even an A, in. Considering I was **** in Year 9, I think I got like a D or a C at the end of the year, I have no idea what I was thinking :/ Looking back, I should've taken Further Maths/Stats too, but I wasn't so interested in Maths back in Year 9. Anyways, I'm going to be (kind of) self-teaching it alongside my other GCSEs (just so I'm not at a disadvantage for A-Level [Further] Maths). My target grades set by my school are all As, even in Maths D:, so I've just disregarded them.

    What I'm seeking to improve:

    I'm going to mainly be working on the subjects marked with an[*], French, especially. I ****ed up my French speaking, while getting a high B/low A in my writing. Anxiety got the best of me, and I amassed a C, dragging everything down. In my mock reading and listening, I believe I got around B/C in both, while most people I know got Us ^_^

    Over the summer, I'm going to be looking at French vocab, hopefully to retake my Writing and Speaking to get the average up to a B or an A. Physics it was a matter of P1, getting a pretty poor mark, for me, (considering I got a B in Year 9), C, in P1 (meanwhile getting an A* in P2). With some revision, I'm hoping to get it up to an A* by my Year 11 mocks early next year. English it's really just exam technique. English is overall one of the hardest GCSEs, due to how harshly marked the questions are.

    What I aimed to do over the summer [2016]:
    Spoiler:
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    • Familiarise myself with my English exam technique, and to read questions thoroughly. I think I lost ~30 marks in my English exam, dragging me down several grades, from misreading the questions. [Not done]
    • Physics - Revise P1 thoroughly, doing past papers on the way, identifying my weaknesses within P1, and P2. This is especially important if I decide to do Physics instead of CompSci at A-Level, if it's not available at my school. [Done]
    • French - This is a hard subject to improve in. MFLs are probably the only GCSEs you can't cram for, unfortunately, so I'm going to look into French vocab a bit over the holidays. [Partially done]
    • Maths - To learn the important Further Maths concepts (although I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, practicing with C1/S1 work XD). [Done somewhat]

    Problems I'll likely encounter:

    I have dyspraxia, and I have difficulties with accidentally procrastinating, doing it without intention. This is only usually a problem when I'm not engaged in the subjects. Which is fine for pretty much everything except from French. I will have to work hard to actually achieve my goals in French, otherwise it'll continue to stand out like a sore thumb. If anyone has any advice of dealing with this, I'd be happy to hear it

    Also, as a consequence, my handwriting is incomprehensible, much of the time. I have exam concessions to use a laptop during exams, which allows me to finish exams relatively quicker, although many say that gives me an unfair advantage.
    (sorry for the poor formatting )
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    Wow, this plan sounds really thorough! Seeing how far you've come from your first mock results I can tell you're going to progress a lot in Year 11. It must be quite annoying that you're the first year group on the new 1-9 spec - I'm very lucky that I was in the last year group to sit the current GCSEs >.<

    Good luck, you sound really motivated and I hope you achieve your goal of studying Computer Science at uni
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    Wow. I hope you do well. I'm doing a motivational thread to help with revision if you want to check it out.
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    (Original post by peppercherry)
    Wow, this plan sounds really thorough! Seeing how far you've come from your first mock results I can tell you're going to progress a lot in Year 11. It must be quite annoying that you're the first year group on the new 1-9 spec - I'm very lucky that I was in the last year group to sit the current GCSEs >.<

    Good luck, you sound really motivated and I hope you achieve your goal of studying Computer Science at uni
    Thanks I hope you did well in your exams, and go on to follow your dreams

    (Original post by chemistrynerd13)
    Wow. I hope you do well. I'm doing a motivational thread to help with revision if you want to check it out.
    Thanks Great to see that you're putting a lot of work into your subjects, an exemplary amount. (I shall try to follow in your footsteps ) Full UMS on any exam is a massive achievement, and you got it in two exams! Keep it up, and you'll do great!
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    Hey _gcx. I also have a thread about my GCSE journey as I enter Year 11!
    I wish you all the best with growing your grades. You have a very clear plan for the future which is excellent!
    Spoiler:
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    Psst! Be sure to check out my thread umar39's GCSE Journey!
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    What do you use to revise for Maths? Please dont say past papers cause thats all I ever hear haha
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    (Original post by Daydreamer3)
    What do you use to revise for Maths? Please dont say past papers cause thats all I ever hear haha
    LOL!
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    (Original post by Daydreamer3)
    What do you use to revise for Maths? Please dont say past papers cause thats all I ever hear haha
    I typically use Bitesize, or sometimes ForDummies. I use ForDummies as the wording of concepts is typically accessible, and the examples it provides are pretty effective, and the same goes for Bitesize. As you said, past papers are always excellent to go through, but I often use OnMaths to practice specific topics, and even whole past papers. The owner also uploads solutions to the "topic busters", or mocks that he posts to YouTube, and the explanations are quite accessible. (link) As with all subjects, general rules apply such as identifying weaknesses, and practicing the hell out of them. Don't emphasize on the stuff that you're good at, although there is a temptation to.
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    wait..... you're telling me that you got a c in your first mock exam and then managed to ge a level 9 in maths??? how did you do it? im only in year 9 but i managed to get b (old spec).however when my teacher gave us som qustions form the new spec i could barely do any questions.
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    (Original post by forre)
    wait..... you're telling me that you got a c in your first mock exam and then managed to ge a level 9 in maths??? how did you do it? im only in year 9 but i managed to get b (old spec).however when my teacher gave us som qustions form the new spec i could barely do any questions.
    It's not impossible but yes the content has got harder, I'm not going to lie. He worked hard to achieve that which is good, I've only managed to scrap Grade 5/Low Grade B and trying to master the new spec. Feel free to tag me in anything and I'll try to help.
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    Update 1:

    I've mostly been relaxing today, being the first day of the holiday for me, with some more concentrated revision over the week-end. With that said, I have:
    • Done a mix of Further Maths and C1 (mostly integrals and differentials) questions, learning how to calculate normals and tangents of an equation, and a bit of cubics. Did a practice paper on Physics and Maths Tutor, and actually managed to get a low C, after a few days of work
    I did some evaluation of my Science exams:
    • Biology B1: Of no concern, I know most of the concepts pretty well, and most of my dropped marks were silly errors, like forgetting to include a detail or a conclusion (blah and the consequences of this are blah)
    • Biology B2: My weakness was question 6 on this paper. Up until then, the paper was pretty good, but then this question came like a punch in the face. I hadn't prepared for it at all. Therefore, I am planning on, tommorrow, creating a mind-map potentially with a flow-chart of substance movement throughout a plant. I shall also prepare model answers, along with that.
    • Chemistry C1: Not so much knowledge problems here, mainly being too vague in my answers and, similar to B1, forgetting to draw conclusions after making statements.
    • Chemistry C2: Did pretty well, but there was a specific 6 marker that I answered quite poorly. It was discussing the structure of Sodium Chloride and Water, and relating the structure to electricial conductance. In hindsight, I should have gone to the absolute basics, and discussed the structure of a simple covalent compound, relating that to an ionic compound, and drawing conclusions thusly. Tomorrow, I am therefore planning to analyse my answer, identify what I left out, and write a model answer.
    • Physics P1: I got a C in this test, and it was the worst I felt after leaving an exam, ever. Even worse than my French Listening, astoundingly. There are too many questions that I got wrong to list here, having got exactly half marks. I will, however, concentrate on: red shift, and why it occurs; How P and S Waves travel through the Earth, and what that tells us about the structure of the Earth and how transformers help the national grid to become more efficient. I'll probably end up just redoing the paper, which was the Ad. SAM. :P
    • Physics P2: Of no concern, as B1.

    Overall, I've made a good foundation for a weekend of decent study. This probably seems like rambling, but I will definitely upload the work I do tommorrow to the resources section of this site, so that I may help others
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    (Original post by forre)
    wait..... you're telling me that you got a c in your first mock exam and then managed to ge a level 9 in maths??? how did you do it? im only in year 9 but i managed to get b (old spec).however when my teacher gave us som qustions form the new spec i could barely do any questions.
    I honestly cannot remember how I got a C. In my next report I jumped to an A. My only thought is that I flunked one of the End of Module tests, of which I don't have on hand. I did a ton of practice on the leadup to the exam. I also started to actually gain a personal interest in Maths on the runup to the exams, which helped motivate me to revise. I use onmaths.com a ton, and notes from Bitesize, as I mentioned earlier. But, yes, I worked pretty hard. Maths is one of the core subjects I will need for Computer Science, oddly even more important than Computer Science haha.

    (Edit: Accidentally posted before I finished writing, d'oh)

    What specific questions were you struggling with? Maybe I can be of some help explaining the concepts and methods behind them?
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    (Original post by _gcx)
    I honestly cannot remember how I got a C. In my next report I jumped to an A. My only thought is that I flunked one of the End of Module tests, of which I don't have on hand. I did a ton of practice on the leadup to the exam. I also started to actually gain a personal interest in Maths on the runup to the exams, which helped motivate me to revise. I use onmaths.com a ton, and notes from Bitesize, as I mentioned earlier. But, yes, I worked pretty hard. Maths is one of the core subjects I will need for Computer Science, oddly even more important than Computer Science haha.

    (Edit: Accidentally posted before I finished writing, d'oh)

    What specific questions were you struggling with? Maybe I can be of some help explaining the concepts and methods behind them?
    the main problem is that i have barerly covered any of the level 6 to 9 stuff. but I do think that if I got taught the topics I would be able to do them. my teacher is absolutely pathetic so I need a place to learn
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    (Original post by _gcx)
    I honestly cannot remember how I got a C. In my next report I jumped to an A. My only thought is that I flunked one of the End of Module tests, of which I don't have on hand. I did a ton of practice on the leadup to the exam. I also started to actually gain a personal interest in Maths on the runup to the exams, which helped motivate me to revise. I use onmaths.com a ton, and notes from Bitesize, as I mentioned earlier. But, yes, I worked pretty hard. Maths is one of the core subjects I will need for Computer Science, oddly even more important than Computer Science haha.

    (Edit: Accidentally posted before I finished writing, d'oh)

    What specific questions were you struggling with? Maybe I can be of some help explaining the concepts and methods behind them?
    Would you consider Edexcel for the sciences easy? I just went through that paper and found it rather easier than the OCR 21st Century.
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    (Original post by Daydreamer3)
    Would you consider Edexcel for the sciences easy? I just went through that paper and found it rather easier than the OCR 21st Century.
    Not really. You still have to learn the theory, of course. Can't really say for sure, I haven't tried any AQA/OCR past papers. The thing is with Edexcel, compared to AQA and OCR, is that the grade boundaries are higher, to varying degrees. It's not rare, for Edexcel, to see papers that require 54/60 for an A*. In the June 2013 test, you would've needed 52 for an A*, and 44 for an A, a fair bit higher than other exam boards. I can't really compare it to other exam boards in terms of difficulty though, since I have only ever sat Edexcel exams.
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    (Original post by forre)
    the main problem is that i have barerly covered any of the level 6 to 9 stuff. but I do think that if I got taught the topics I would be able to do them. my teacher is absolutely pathetic so I need a place to learn
    I would talk to your teacher. Failing that, talk to your head of department, to possibly get out-of-lesson teaching for the more complex topics. It may be that the teacher doesn't see the class as capable, or simply hasn't got around to it yet. I grabbed this revision book by Edexcel. Although I haven't needed it much, it would come in handy if I were ever to struggle with a topic. I believe I looked at it when I was struggling with trigonometry, now I know to use SOHCAHTOA I think the best thing to do is to look through the specification, and determine what you can and can't do. The stuff you can do, practice every now and then to maintain that knowledge, but push the emphasis onto what you *don't* know. Once you've narrowed down a topic you struggle with, or haven't learnt, I might be able to make some revision/practice material and post it here. (I say might, because there's some harder stuff that we haven't covered yet, mostly vectors, circle theorems and tangents, although I'm probably going to learn them over the holiday) Just note that the teacher may have plans to teach you them in Year 11, but it's never too early to learn them.
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    (Original post by _gcx)
    Not really. You still have to learn the theory, of course. Can't really say for sure, I haven't tried any AQA/OCR past papers. The thing is with Edexcel, compared to AQA and OCR, is that the grade boundaries are higher, to varying degrees. It's not rare, for Edexcel, to see papers that require 54/60 for an A*. In the June 2013 test, you would've needed 52 for an A*, and 44 for an A, a fair bit higher than other exam boards. I can't really compare it to other exam boards in terms of difficulty though, since I have only ever sat Edexcel exams.
    I'm with AQA and it's not as bad compared to OCR who are very vigorous with the questions from what I've heard. AQA's grade boundaries are much lower then Edexcel I think on average its about 45 for an A* or somewhere around that region.
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    (Original post by JTran38)
    I'm with AQA and it's not as bad compared to OCR who are very vigorous with the questions from what I've heard. AQA's grade boundaries are much lower then Edexcel I think on average its about 45 for an A* or somewhere around that region.
    Wish I was on AQA now, lol :P Then again, I did hear quite a few complaints about P1 and B1 this year, but I haven't seen the papers so I'm unsure whether that is justified.
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    (Original post by _gcx)
    Wish I was on AQA now, lol :P Then again, I did hear quite a few complaints about P1 and B1 this year, but I haven't seen the papers so I'm unsure whether that is justified.
    Yeah the B1 paper had some weird Q about a 15-year-old drinking alcohol which is odd and I can't remember what happen with P1.
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    Day 2:
    • English - scanned through a Macbeth revision guide, and looked over my Anthology notes so far
    • Further Maths - did some work on tangents and normals, as well as more calculus. Have a notepad full of questions and solutions, which I am planning to annotate.
    • Maths - Practiced some trig, probably my weakest topic, but I'm pretty confident with it now.
    • Science - Compiled some notes on this Google Doc, with some notes on where I fell down on C2, P1 and B2. Haven't got around to do C1 yet, although I do plan on doing that. I am now in the process of looking over the notes, and maybe subsequently testing myself. I'm unlikely to start Further Additional until I get Core and Additional down to the detail that I wish to achieve.
    • French - No progress, today.
 
 
 
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