username2761666
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So, I'm sitting my National 5 exams this May and I'm very scared because I really want to pass them all with A's so I can make an easy transition to Highers as I would like to study medicine or a subdiscipline. I know it's a long shot but I would like to try and get into an Ivy League school or something like that. I know it's merely impossible but a girl from my high school went to Harvard and a boy went to MIT. I am willing to put in the hard work but I don't know how to do so. I have past paper books of English, Maths and Biology and I have done a few online. The subjects I am most worried about are English and Chemistry as I don't really understand close reading or ionic/covalent bonds or balancing chemical equations. Although, I have already written a discursive essay for my folio work snd it was surprisingly easy, I'm just worried about the exam.

The exams I'm sitting are;

Maths
English
Chemistry
Biology
History
Modern Studies
Art

How can I optimise my studying skills to achieve the maximum result?
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rebeccas23
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(Original post by rach-atl)
So, I'm sitting my National 5 exams this May and I'm very scared because I really want to pass them all with A's so I can make an easy transition to Highers as I would like to study medicine or a subdiscipline. I know it's a long shot but I would like to try and get into an Ivy League school or something like that. I know it's merely impossible but a girl from my high school went to Harvard and a boy went to MIT. I am willing to put in the hard work but I don't know how to do so. I have past paper books of English, Maths and Biology and I have done a few online. The subjects I am most worried about are English and Chemistry as I don't really understand close reading or ionic/covalent bonds or balancing chemical equations. Although, I have already written a discursive essay for my folio work snd it was surprisingly easy, I'm just worried about the exam.

The exams I'm sitting are;

Maths
English
Chemistry
Biology
History
Modern Studies
Art

How can I optimise my studying skills to achieve the maximum result?
Your enthusiasm is great! Just make sure you do lots of past papers and ask your teacher about things as soon as you have a problem. I got AAAAAAAB in my National 5's, and I made lists of deadlines/study schedules during prelim and exam time, which -if you stick to- are really good for you to balance your time between subjects. You could allocate more time to English and Chemistry when you're studying to make sure you understand all the concepts. This really helped me understand subjects I was struggling with like Maths (which I got an A1 in in the end!).

If you're thinking about next year's exams this early, I think you'll do really well as long if you keep your enthusiasm and motivation up
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Yammy
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For science/maths subjects: Plenty of youtube videos explaining the difficult concepts. And then just lots of practice questions+past papers.
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highschoolpupil
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I got AAAAAAAA in my National 5 exams this year. My advice to you would be to focus on assignments and folios etc. Your English folio should nnot really be easy as it is worth 30% so try to spend a lot of time perfecting that - honestly it will pay off. As for studying for English, learn ALL your quotes and analysis making it much easier. For CR I would say practise papers - but practice papers and help books are great for all subjects. For Chemistry its just repetition, and most importantly PAST PAPERS and constant questions. Work hard, and you will get anywhere you want!!
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MF12345
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I managed to get 7A's at national 5 and 5A's at higher. The most important thing to remember is you get what you give - the more effort and hard work, the better the results.
I worked in similar ways for both, just doing even more for highers as they are more demanding. My tips are:

- keep a diary or use your mobile to schedule school work
- ALWAYS do your homework as soon as possible and never leave it until the last minute (I used to be very guilty of this )
- Make sure your class notes and class work is very neat and you pay attention in class, even to all the boring bits
- if you don't understand something, even if it's small, always ask the teacher and don't hope that it won't come up in your exam
-study for both prelims and final exams well in advance. No matter how confident you are that you can wing it, start at least a month in advance. Study little and often, never cram as it's harder to retain what you've just learned. Make a timetable so you donate a fair amount of time to each subject and feel more organised
- as for revision, making notes is always useful however find your most effective way of doing so. Some people like proper notes, while I like to make colourful and neat mind maps of all of my notes as I find it easier to take it in and read. Some people are audio learners so like to listen to information over and over again while some like to watch videos and learn practically. Find the most suitable way for you!

As for studying for your specific subjects I can only advise you on some of them as I haven't done all of the same ones.
- For chemistry, invest in the how to pass national 5 chemistry book - it is fantastic, though not for higher. Also, practise past papers and lots of them! Hodder Gibson ones are always the best in my opinion, and marking schemes are invaluable in showing you how to make the right points for maximum marks
- For maths, all I reccomend is doing lots of past papers, including some of the old credit ones from standard grade as many of those questions are still relevant. Still do national 5 ones first and try to get the Hodder Gibson book again for that. For past paper questions your stuck on, there is a YouTube channel called DLB MATHS and it's extremely helpful as he has done worked and explained solutions for every past paper.
- English is a bit harder to study for. I always bullet pointed my close reading answers and wrote more points than required eg for 4 marks write 5 different answers in bullet points. This makes a massive difference and close reading was my strongest section I would say. For set text we did poems, so it's always good to do mind maps/ notes on all the ideas for your texts and learn quotes and explanations - marking schemes for past papers are also great for learning how to get maximum marks. For essays, do not do lots of timed essays immediately. Learn and make flash cards or notes for your quotes and explanations as well as ideas. Once you do this, plan lots and lots of essays using past questions. I personally would do a mind map - plan out what is roughly say for introduction, then my points for the 3 sections and then my conclusion. Once you get used to planning, it will be easier to quickly think for writing a timed essay as to what your structure will be!
- Biology is similar to chemistry. Write quality notes and do the past papers and try to get the hodder Gibson ones. Also the how to pass book for nat 5 is brilliant.
- I only did nat 5 modern studies yet it was my strongest final result - 79/80 with 20/20 in the assignment so I can give the most valuable advice for it. Use marking schemes to structure model answers (not word for word, try to write it in your own style). My class teacher was kind enough to give us books for all the units with all the questions with full mark answers he thought could possibly show up. I studied by making a mind map of all the points for a particular question on one side and on the other the full mark model answer. Remember the structure point explain expand. Write your point eg an advantage of FPTP is x . This means that y. An example is/ furthermore z. If done correctly and in enough detail this should get 2 marks and make sure like English to write more than you need. Assignments are quite important and make sure to spend a lot of time and practise doing a quality one and your teacher will give advice on this when the time comes.

Last of all, don't stress! Make sure you have a life and still continue for the most of the year to do sports hobbies and meeting up with friends. There is such a thing as too much, and doing nothing but school work will bring you down and affect your health and performance. Good luck!
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highschoolpupil
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Can I ask about the higher chemistry book, is it not worth it? Also fantastic marks wow!!
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MF12345
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(Original post by highschoolpupil)
Can I ask about the higher chemistry book, is it not worth it? Also fantastic marks wow!!
Thank you the how to pass higher chemistry book according to my teacher would not get you anything above a C if you learnt and understood every single note. Instead, we got the bright red study guide for higher chemistry and it is amazing! Everything you need to know is in that book and the notes are fantastic and easy to understand so I would reccomend from my experience getting that one!
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Shamdog
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(Original post by MF12345)
I managed to get 7A's at national 5 and 5A's at higher. The most important thing to remember is you get what you give - the more effort and hard work, the better the results.
I worked in similar ways for both, just doing even more for highers as they are more demanding. My tips are:

- keep a diary or use your mobile to schedule school work
- ALWAYS do your homework as soon as possible and never leave it until the last minute (I used to be very guilty of this )
- Make sure your class notes and class work is very neat and you pay attention in class, even to all the boring bits
- if you don't understand something, even if it's small, always ask the teacher and don't hope that it won't come up in your exam
-study for both prelims and final exams well in advance. No matter how confident you are that you can wing it, start at least a month in advance. Study little and often, never cram as it's harder to retain what you've just learned. Make a timetable so you donate a fair amount of time to each subject and feel more organised
- as for revision, making notes is always useful however find your most effective way of doing so. Some people like proper notes, while I like to make colourful and neat mind maps of all of my notes as I find it easier to take it in and read. Some people are audio learners so like to listen to information over and over again while some like to watch videos and learn practically. Find the most suitable way for you!

As for studying for your specific subjects I can only advise you on some of them as I haven't done all of the same ones.
- For chemistry, invest in the how to pass national 5 chemistry book - it is fantastic, though not for higher. Also, practise past papers and lots of them! Hodder Gibson ones are always the best in my opinion, and marking schemes are invaluable in showing you how to make the right points for maximum marks
- For maths, all I reccomend is doing lots of past papers, including some of the old credit ones from standard grade as many of those questions are still relevant. Still do national 5 ones first and try to get the Hodder Gibson book again for that. For past paper questions your stuck on, there is a YouTube channel called DLB MATHS and it's extremely helpful as he has done worked and explained solutions for every past paper.
- English is a bit harder to study for. I always bullet pointed my close reading answers and wrote more points than required eg for 4 marks write 5 different answers in bullet points. This makes a massive difference and close reading was my strongest section I would say. For set text we did poems, so it's always good to do mind maps/ notes on all the ideas for your texts and learn quotes and explanations - marking schemes for past papers are also great for learning how to get maximum marks. For essays, do not do lots of timed essays immediately. Learn and make flash cards or notes for your quotes and explanations as well as ideas. Once you do this, plan lots and lots of essays using past questions. I personally would do a mind map - plan out what is roughly say for introduction, then my points for the 3 sections and then my conclusion. Once you get used to planning, it will be easier to quickly think for writing a timed essay as to what your structure will be!
- Biology is similar to chemistry. Write quality notes and do the past papers and try to get the hodder Gibson ones. Also the how to pass book for nat 5 is brilliant.
- I only did nat 5 modern studies yet it was my strongest final result - 79/80 with 20/20 in the assignment so I can give the most valuable advice for it. Use marking schemes to structure model answers (not word for word, try to write it in your own style). My class teacher was kind enough to give us books for all the units with all the questions with full mark answers he thought could possibly show up. I studied by making a mind map of all the points for a particular question on one side and on the other the full mark model answer. Remember the structure point explain expand. Write your point eg an advantage of FPTP is x . This means that y. An example is/ furthermore z. If done correctly and in enough detail this should get 2 marks and make sure like English to write more than you need. Assignments are quite important and make sure to spend a lot of time and practise doing a quality one and your teacher will give advice on this when the time comes.

Last of all, don't stress! Make sure you have a life and still continue for the most of the year to do sports hobbies and meeting up with friends. There is such a thing as too much, and doing nothing but school work will bring you down and affect your health and performance. Good luck!
Dayum mate good results, and good luck on your advanced Highers, I wanted to ask if you kept the same routine for Highers?
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S_x_x
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I'm sitting N5 this year, and I was wondering how to study for English? I'm weak at this subject, and the teacher said with some improvement I can aim for an A. How do you answer the reading for UAE paper in order to have the best chance to obtain full marks?
Any help would be appreciated greatly.
Thank you
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MF12345
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(Original post by Shamdog)
Dayum mate good results, and good luck on your advanced Highers, I wanted to ask if you kept the same routine for Highers?
Yep, did the exact same, just started more in advance for studying and spent more time doing homework and assignments
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MF12345
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(Original post by S_x_x)
I'm sitting N5 this year, and I was wondering how to study for English? I'm weak at this subject, and the teacher said with some improvement I can aim for an A. How do you answer the reading for UAE paper in order to have the best chance to obtain full marks?
Any help would be appreciated greatly.
Thank you
The most important thing is putting more answers than you need. Secondly writing in bullet points makes life much more easier and your answers much more clearer for the marker. Make sure you understand the key words of the question. For example, if it asks for language techniques, this means looking for imagery, sentence structure and word choice. Language questions are always good as they are quite general so plenty of possible answers exist. Life gets a bit more difficult when its specifically asking for say sentence structure. Make sure only to do sentence structure and not do images or any word choice as it isn't relevant to the question and wastes time and time is marks. One important point is don't try and find very complicated answers, look for even the most basic techniques and that can get you easy marks. It's also really important to not only name the technique but to also say what effect it has in order to get the mark.
Close reading is always extremely difficult in the beginning but the more you practise and look over marking schemes, the more familiar it becomes to you as you know what the marker will be looking for. Also, remember English is different from science and maths that just have one correct answer , there are so many correct answers and many won't even be on the marking scheme. If you write something that isn't in the marking scheme don't be upset, it could still get you a mark! Good luck with your national 5 English and don't stress out too much, you've got plenty of time to master the techniques
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S_x_x
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(Original post by MF12345)
The most important thing is putting more answers than you need. Secondly writing in bullet points makes life much more easier and your answers much more clearer for the marker. Make sure you understand the key words of the question. For example, if it asks for language techniques, this means looking for imagery, sentence structure and word choice. Language questions are always good as they are quite general so plenty of possible answers exist. Life gets a bit more difficult when its specifically asking for say sentence structure. Make sure only to do sentence structure and not do images or any word choice as it isn't relevant to the question and wastes time and time is marks. One important point is don't try and find very complicated answers, look for even the most basic techniques and that can get you easy marks. It's also really important to not only name the technique but to also say what effect it has in order to get the mark.
Close reading is always extremely difficult in the beginning but the more you practise and look over marking schemes, the more familiar it becomes to you as you know what the marker will be looking for. Also, remember English is different from science and maths that just have one correct answer , there are so many correct answers and many won't even be on the marking scheme. If you write something that isn't in the marking scheme don't be upset, it could still get you a mark! Good luck with your national 5 English and don't stress out too much, you've got plenty of time to master the techniques
Thank you so much! @MF1234How would you answer linking questions. Is it acceptable to quote part of the sentence, say where it links back to, then quote the other part and say how it links forward?
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MF12345
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(Original post by S_x_x)
Thank you so much! @MF1234How would you answer linking questions. Is it acceptable to quote part of the sentence, say where it links back to, then quote the other part and say how it links forward?
That's exactly what I'd do! Quote the sentence then explain how it links back, then do the same except forward
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S_x_x
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(Original post by MF12345)
That's exactly what I'd do! Quote the sentence then explain how it links back, then do the same except forward
Thank you so much! See if a word choice question was, say for example 2 marks, would you quote (1) + analysis (1) OR quote 2 separate examples and analyse both?
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MF12345
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(Original post by S_x_x)
Thank you so much! See if a word choice question was, say for example 2 marks, would you quote (1) + analysis (1) OR quote 2 separate examples and analyse both?
I would personally quote 3 seperate examples and analyse all of them - if you do 2 you could have gotten full marks but you have a higher chance if you put 3 as you are compensating for the possibility of one of your first answers being incorrect
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S_x_x
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(Original post by MF12345)
I would personally quote 3 seperate examples and analyse all of them - if you do 2 you could have gotten full marks but you have a higher chance if you put 3 as you are compensating for the possibility of one of your first answers being incorrect
Thank you, I've never sat a N5 paper obviously, and I would do the same as you, but I'm concerned about the time. Is there enough time to answer each question in the same way that you just said previously? Or is there another way? Thanks for your help
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MF12345
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(Original post by S_x_x)
Thank you, I've never sat a N5 paper obviously, and I would do the same as you, but I'm concerned about the time. Is there enough time to answer each question in the same way that you just said previously? Or is there another way? Thanks for your help
I have always had time doing this method in the exam hall. While you won't half a lot of time left (I usually had about 5-10 minutes left) it's still perfectly possible. The more timed practises you do, the more you'll be able to quickly find more than enough answers and you'll spend less and less time on questions. Obviously spend more time on questions with more marks, and move on and come back if you are spending ages on one and you've ran out of ideas. Again writing in bullet points saves a hell of a lot of time in the exam and the markers love you for it.
Even in my higher prelim for English, I managed to do this exact method with some time to spare and somehow achieved 29/30 - it does work!
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leoq8
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I got 8 A's at N5 this year and most of what MF12345 said I did too. I felt I struggled with Maths throughout S4 yet I got an A, I did my utmost best to attend every revision class during school/after school, extra help from your teacher is absolute key. I also found sticking by the compulsory course content found on the SQA website and taking notes from the topics suggested useful, as exams can't come up with stuff that isn't on that document. I've done this for my highers already and printed them all of. I suggest you stick by the document for each subject strictly as you'll never feel you just simply don't know something or are missing out on vital notes. I found copying answer schemes as a part of my notes also very useful too. Best of luck in achieving your goals !!
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S_x_x
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(Original post by MF12345)
I have always had time doing this method in the exam hall. While you won't half a lot of time left (I usually had about 5-10 minutes left) it's still perfectly possible. The more timed practises you do, the more you'll be able to quickly find more than enough answers and you'll spend less and less time on questions. Obviously spend more time on questions with more marks, and move on and come back if you are spending ages on one and you've ran out of ideas. Again writing in bullet points saves a hell of a lot of time in the exam and the markers love you for it.
Even in my higher prelim for English, I managed to do this exact method with some time to spare and somehow achieved 29/30 - it does work!
Thank you! I'll take all this advice on board.
• Write in bullet points
• Write more than specified
• Work according to time limit


Would you use the "just as... So too" formula for imagery questions? Thank you
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Tayls102
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right, first thing is no matter what you are studying the best way to revise is past papers. lots of em'. for national 5, many of the old intermediate past papers are very useful and the new cfe past/ model paper books are very good. your exams are in May, don't stress about them. do all your homework on time, if you don't get something, ask. For english close reading my best advice is don't ramble on and dodge the question. for analysis, Quote + comment = 2 marks at N5 (1 mark at higher). Quote[1] + comment[1], if its a 2 mark question, put 2 quote and comments down just to secure those marks, always put an extra if you have enough time, put a third if you want. don't introduce your quote (like, this word is used to...) just quote the damn word and describe its effect/ what it means. i.e. "word" suggests that... suggests is a good word to use in word choice questions. anyway, there are plenty of close reading practice out there, ask your teacher for texts if you need. you cant really prepare for close reading because you never know what you're gonna get and what words you're going to have to know the meaning of, just prepare to paraphrase (put into your own words, theres lots of them at N5, not so much at higher) and analyse(word choice, imagery, sentence structure...), the understanding part is what you get on the day and is normally accessible. For critical essay's, Technique, Technique and Technique. The more the better. Structure your paragraphs and make sure they link between each. Technique (word choice and all that) needs to be there, you need to have a clear understanding of this in your studied text if you want a good mark, at the start of each new paragraph link it to the last paragraph (linkage), the technique the author has used and its effect. make sure that you stay focused on the task and link back to the question. Don't just put a sentence at the end of a paragraph about how it is linked, have a flow of 'linkage,' use the key words in the question in your paragraphs. Conclusions, link back to most of your paragraphs and the ideas that you have explained. Scottish text is just like a close reading, except you know the text before hand, easy. also, don't work too much, i know people who work well into the night before and leading up to exams, panic and mind blank and forget their quotes. you don't want that, sleep well, revise in PLENTY OF TIME, start now the sooner the better. i left revising for exams until about March this year, and i regret that so much, never learned from N5's and hopefully I've learnt from my Higher this year, start revising now or at least before January. once January has past, exam will come round then corner fast. Very fast. but don't let that put you off. There is no need for you to be worrying about exams at this time, thats for later. Just now, focus on you subjects and learn them, i find teaching people that don't get it helps a lot. if you can teach it, then you understand it and will be able to explain it very well in an exam and get those marks, and also help a friend in the meantime. past papers are your best bet, they are amazing and will get you those A's. How to pass guides can also useful if you don't get it and your teacher hasn't explained it well.
I only studied Math and English out of your subjects, for maths past papers are the best way, and also teaching people.
Thats a lot, and a lot from other people, you don't need to absorb it all at once, don't put pressure on yourself. I got 7 A's at Nat 5 and 5 A's at Higher, i did not once put an ounce of pressure on myself, because that allows stress to creep in. yeh i was stressed, but if i was pressured, id have been even more stressed. you don't want lots of stress before an exam. go into the exam well prepared, well rested and well, ready, and you'll get an A. All the best though.
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