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    (Original post by Angry cucumber)
    Which uni are you considering to take now?
    If all goes well, I'm leaning towards Liverpool as firm choice, with Bristol as insurance purely because the offer has such low (and hopefully achievable!) grades.

    Either way, RVC and Liverpool are a gamble, as I know I can't get the 3As they want, so I'm trying not to set my hopes on any one university at this point. Anything could happen, really, and I'll just be glad for someone to take me!
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    15/02/17

    I'm FAR too excited!

    I got an A* on the January 2011 Chem 5 paper!! :woo: And it wasn't a borderline A* either; 2 marks above the required UMS, so I'm very happy with that! Feels like I'm actually making some progress. It was a nice paper too, although I completely messed up the electrochemical cells part again. So, apparently I am not as confident in that as my recent revision would have me believe. Time to go back through those questions again...

    Thoughts on JAN 11 CHEM 4:
    • I got an A on this paper - 1 mark off an A*, again. I just seem to be making a lot of silly mistakes that overall are preventing me from passing that threshold.
    • I made some mistakes on buffer solution calculations, so as I haven't gone over those this round, I think that's something I'll throw in as a thing to go over. Otherwise, my calculation questions got full marks - easy points in the bag.
    • Once more, I sort of stumbled through the question on structure determination. I just have a terrible habit of second-guessing myself and going back and changing the answer, which is something I did a few times in my Chem 5 paper as well. I really wish I could stop it, but I think I've spent so long doubting my ability at Chemistry that the confidence just isn't there, and I'm not sure I'll ever build it up. I've never liked the subject or been good at it, so it's almost second-nature to ignore my gut instinct and common sense on these papers, because I'm used to those educated guesses being wrong. Hopefully just practice, practice, practice, will help, but I honestly don't know.


    I'm finding it quite hard to not get distracted in the middle of papers at the moment, so for the next few I might try turning off wi-fi/switching on airplane mode just so my phone and laptop can't ding and I can't go on a google marathon over something or another.


    "You best put seatbelts on your ears..."

    Today mum discovered the IT Crowd and finds it hilarious - partly because Moss looks like my partner. I'm thinking I might do a bit of revision timetabling while watching a few episodes with her tonight; need a break from past papers now. Not sure if step-dad is out so we may have a Mexican night. Hoooo boy.

    Next week I'm having to take a trip to Truro to meet with a solicitor in order to get my deed poll signed so that I can get them apostilled, so that's something to factor in. I'd also like to pop out the farm at some point next week; it's been a while and I'm itching for the moors.

    Speaking of government documents, however, that reminds me I should get a new passport. I've put everything non-studying on the backburner and have neglected doing some things I really need to get done.

    Cons of working at home, I suppose: I don't switch off. Must remember....

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    20/02/17

    We've hit a bump in the road...

    After having been away for the weekend (and driving 7+ hours) I've come back more tired than when I left, and feeling more than a little lethargic. I overslept this morning (initially woke up at 8, but fell back asleep until 10). Still don't feel great, and don't particularly want to go gym, but I'm forcing myself to keep to schedule because if I don't, I'll slip and fall behind.

    I rushed through 2 papers on Friday (Jan 2012 and Jan 2013 for Chem 4) and though I achieved As in them I really didn't feel confident in my answers at all and I honestly struggled to finish the papers because a) I found myself getting distracted and b) I just couldn't think.

    Today I went through Jan 2012 Chem 5 and only managed a B in it (4 marks off an A). I dropped about 14 marks through silly mistakes that I should have caught (a calculation error, forgetting 1 of the conditions for standard hydrogen electrodes, missing 1 of the characteristics of transition metals [I put form stable ions with partially filled d orbitals, mark scheme wanted coloured complexes], and just generally not writing down the whole answer in my head). Overall, a bit of a blow to my confidence, and I don't know if it's because I'm especially tired or not. I'll see how the next week goes, but if it doesn't improve it may be that I've hit a plateau with chemistry and need to give myself a break.

    I'm sort of regretting not actually giving myself time to myself, as at the moment the only breaks I've had from working have been social - and considering any sort of social interaction exhausts my little Aspie brain, I feel like I've not had any time alone to recuperate and do something I enjoy. It's not that I don't enjoy spending time with my boyfriend or friends, but parties, social outings in town etc I find really taxing and stressful.




    Me in the future, avoiding everything and everyone.


    On the plus side, whilst absolutely hammered on Saturday night after drinking with friends, I apparently rang up my boyfriend and spent 40 minutes on the phone to him explaining the chemistry of polymers. He checked in the morning, and everything I had said was correct, so I guess it's a good sign that even inebriated I can recall that information? :lol:

    Electrochemical cells are still proving a problem for me. I think next week I'm going to sit down and go over them again - maybe go to E Rintoul's YouTube page and watch his videos on it. I don't understand why they're so difficult for me.


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    27/02/17

    I know I shouldn't make excuses...

    Going to be honest with myself and everyone here: I'm struggling. Really struggling.

    My motivation has dwindled and my mood has plummeted. It's not entirely because of revision - there's a lot of things going on. I'm not going much sleep because I'm constantly waking up in the night from nightmares, so that is having a real impact on my energy levels. And because a lot of the nightmares involve falling-outs with my family, it's affecting my relationships with them when I'm awake.

    On top of that, my family have decided to redecorate the house, which means electricity is hit and miss, there's constant noise and disruption, and I don't really have anywhere quiet I can sit and do some work without the WiFi dipping out every now and then or a drill disturbing me. That and it's hard for me to keep to schedule when I'm constantly having to move everything and we aren't having dinner until very late.

    I ended up going to stay with my partner for the rest of the last week, and it helped my mood a lot. I did the odd paper and a little revision, but mostly we just chilled, watched dumb ****, and enjoyed the time together. It was really nice. Unfortunately, I lost my train ticket and ended up having to fork out a tonne to get home, so that meant all that time spent relaxing was wasted because my blood pressure went through the ruddy roof. :lol:

    Then, get home, and find out one of my good friends has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and doesn't know what to do about their future, so I've been trying to help them make a plan while trying to come to terms with it all.

    Frankly, I'm exhausted. Really, really exhausted. The only thing I want to do is curl up with my boyfriend somewhere quiet, and focus on areas in my studying which I know need targeting (but which I can't concentrate on right now).

    I feel like all the progress I made in chemistry has gone out of the window, because I suddenly can't remember anything I knew two weeks ago. It might just be because I'm over-tired, but honestly...I don't know. I want to believe I can do it, but I feel really adrift at the moment and like I'm trying to do so many things at once. My to-do list outside of work is continuously growing, and rather than others helping me get through it (or at least, leaving me alone so I can crack on) they're just adding to the pile.

    This probably sounds an awful lot like whining right now, because people have gone through worse and come out the other side far better off (including myself, in the past), but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, and I can't switch off properly at the end of each day because I constantly feel guilty that I'm wasting precious hours I should be using to revise.

    Everything just seems to be irritating at the moment, and I can't concentrate. Ughhhh.

    I love my family, but I really just want them to p*ss off right now so I can have some peace and work to my own schedule, eat what I want when I want, and not have any more interruptions. Plus I don't have to deal with the tension when they can't agree on what colour bloody doorknob they want. They won't have all the furniture to finish decorating until April, so that's at least another month of disruption.


    I don't know, guys. I'm not entirely sure why I'm writing this out, because it's basically me just making excuses for my shoddy performances in past papers recently - but the idea of this thing is to note the highs and lows of revision, I suppose, so I guess it's relevant and useful?



    The journey so far...

    At the moment I've completed the following past papers ( ▪ indicates papers completed in the past week, so new - colour is how easy I found it, based on traffic light system):


    BIOL4
    June 2014 - A*
    June 2013 - A*
    ▪ June 2011 - A*
    June 2010 - A*
    January 2010 - A*

    PHYSICS G484
    ▪ June 2015 - A
    June 2014 - A
    ▪ June 2013 - A*
    June 2012 - A
    June 2010 - A*
    January 2010 - A*

    CHEM4
    June 2015 - C
    June 2013 - A
    January 2013 - A
    January 2012 - A
    June 2011 - A
    January 2011 - A
    January 2010 - A
    June 2009 - A

    CHEM5
    ▪ January 2013 - C
    ▪ January 2012 - B
    January 2011 - A*
    January 2010 (old spec) - A
    June 2009 - B


    Chem 5 is definitely my weak spot, and I need to work on my confidence in Physics a lot. I'm tempted to just do a paper a week in Bio and Physics to keep my memory fresh, and just focus solely on Chemistry now, because I need a high C/low B in both subjects to obtain the grades I want overall in those subjects, whereas Chemistry I need about 105 UMS in both papers in order to get an A overall. And as far as trickiness goes, it's definitely where I'm least comfortable and making the most mistakes.

    I don't know. I'm tempted to temporarily move in with my partner just so I can concentrate, but I don't know how long that would last before we distract each other, and I'd also have to make trips back for clean underwear, because they have no washing machine yet.




    Building sites....building sites everywhere...

    Sorry for the wall of text. Just needed to write a bit to get things off of my chest, I suppose. I'm hoping this is just my brain having a temporary down cycle. I was due one soon anyway - I did well through January and February, so a low was bound to come at some point. I just have to remember that a high will come again, sure enough.
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    28/02/17

    Once more unto the breach!

    I had a good old woe-is-me sob late last night, got to bed early, and apparently have got that out of my system now. I've resolved that I can't let something as simple as a few bad marks get me down, nor can I feel sorry for myself because things feel a little overwhelming. I've dealt with worse many times before, so I know I can get through this. It's just my mental illness talking; I know it's irrational, it's just learning to ignore it. I still feel stressed, but I'm getting it under control, I think.




    Ain't got time for moping, fam.


    Priorities, priorities, how the heck do you do the do...?

    Ran through the Chem 4 January 2008 paper today after getting back from donating blood (they still don't want my O+ platelets, boo). Found it a really nice paper! The longer questions at the end I fluffed up on a bit, and I dropped a mark here and there because I didn't RTFQ (I can hear my old Chem teacher groaning in exasperation...), but overall I hit 80% and bagged a comfortable A, so nothing of too much concern there.

    I feel like what I need to do now is work on learning and recalling the stuff that's letting me down on the Chem 5 papers, because that is the real problem here. Chem 4 the mistakes are mainly stupid things, but I know I have gaps in my knowledge where unit 5 is concerned. So:


    ↓ ↓ ↓ Learn the table of aqueous ions in solution that I did up, like so ↓ ↓ ↓



    ↓ ↓ ↓ Learn the colours of transition metal ions ↓ ↓ ↓


    !!! Learn the structures & bonding of Period 3 oxides !!!
    !!! Learn how to draw electrochemical cell salt-bridge setups !!!
    !!! Learn how to write out conventional cell representations !!!


    I'm going to try different methods to try and cement it in my brain: playing back recordings of me reading my notes on structures & bonding; writing out the colours over and over again in line with the code I've come up with; practising E-nought and cell questions every other day; try to come up with mnemonics to remember the aqueous solution colours. I'll review how well each one is working and see if any have made any difference.

    On the plus side, my folks are going away to France on Thursday, so I'll have just under a week of peace and quiet to do my own thing. The sound of mother snoring, yelling at candy-crush, and then the both of them home bickering over decorating on off-days is beginning to drive me crazy. Home alone time will be very, very much appreciated.


    EDIT:: The TSR post coding hates me. Give me HTML any day. :facepalm:
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    You'll be just fine

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    02/03/17

    Some regrets...

    I had a very bad dip on the 28th after what seemed like an okay start to the day. By the time evening rolled around, my mood had plummeted, and I ended up doing something I now regret, and am not proud of, but at the time helped. I'm trying to put that behind me and move on, and try not to let my family see that things are getting me, as they all have enough on their plates for the time being. Not sure if my partner is having a rough time as well, or my sudden change in mood has freaked him out, or he's just over-exhausted himself gardening, but he hasn't been talking to me, so don't really know what's going on there. I'm trying not to read too much into it. I'm meeting with a friend next Weds night for some stress-relief, anyway. Hoping that this dip is just one of my temporary low swings, and not my depression creeping back in again. Especially because things have been going so well. I know I can do well at these exams if my body would just give me a chance! :mad:




    GPOY.


    Fortunately, a friend taught me how to engage the mammalian dive reflex as a method of calming myself down when I can feel an episode coming on. Things haven't got as bad as Tuesday night to merit me needing to do it, but the science behind it makes sense, and I'll remember now that if I'm stressing out, I need only use that trick to give myself some time to breathe and think about things properly. A handy skill to have, I think, especially in the working world when things are likely to be even more stressful.

    I think the kicker for me at the moment is just not feeling like I'm in control. I hate not being able to keep tabs on my health and fitness, being unable to help people, and so much uncertainty with the home being redecorated and trying to get paperwork sorted for Slovakia.


    I've got running on my mind...!

    12th of March my dad is running the Bath half marathon in aid of Diabetes UK.

    I haven't been to cheer him on in a while, so I'm going up to support him. That'll be nice. Boyfriend may or may not come with, but either way a day out in Bath while dad runs himself ragged sounds good to me. I can go hit up stationery stores and look at all the things I can't buy.

    As for myself...I was a bit of a dolt and tried to do HIT yesterday, without taking into account that my body is still dealing with recovering from a pint of blood being sucked out of it, so unsurprisingly after quarter of an hour of running my legs started to scream they were dying and I stopped to focus on strength training instead. I feel like I'm making progress: I can definitely lift more than I used to be able to, and I'm finding it a great way to burn off exam anxiety and switch off for an hour or two and just focus on getting back into my body.

    I was considering making recordings of notes to listen to at the gym but I feel like maybe that might be counter-intuitive, as then I won't be giving either activity my full attention, and it doesn't give me a chance to switch off and focus on myself for a bit. We'll see. Honestly, I can't think of which notes would be worth listening to; the majority of stuff I need to learn off by heart is things that require formulas and visual cues, so that perhaps wouldn't work anyway.


    Work, work, work...

    I sat and did the A-Level Chemistry unit 5.5 test today, and got a B. Quite pleased with that, as the marks I lost mainly were due to over-complicating equations (I tried to react with a specific hydroxide rather than just generic OH- ions etc.) and over-complicating tests (XS NaOH is just fine for determining between Fe and Cr - no need to go overboard and throw in H2O2 as well!). Now to just learn the table off by heart, and I should be set for aqueous ions. What I may do for the exam is look at the table right up to the point of entering the room, then the second the exam starts writing it down at the back for me to reference as I go through the paper.

    I haven't worked off of a timetable this week, which isn't ideal as I'd made a good habit of scheduling work and ticking things off as I go, but I think the break has done me some good, and I can collect myself and go charging forth again next week. As I said before, my folks are away for a long weekend, so I will have some peace and quiet to get the week off to the best start.

    Everyday is a new beginning, after all!


    What's in a name...?

    As I said I would before, I've come up with a silly mnemonic to remember the colours of transition ions, in rainbow order.

    Cold Crabs Feel Nice and FerretsCan't Make Money

    Although I tried to have it that every word started with the symbol of the element, I couldn't think of anything good for the latter half of the group. I also split it up into two chunks, because I find it much easier to remember things in groups of four or less than I do a massive lump (in fact, I think it's a scientific fact that people remember smaller, related groups more efficiently).

    I need have mnemonics set up for remembering the aqueous ions table as well. I used to have some, but I think I've expanded the table since then to include H2O2 and HCl reactions and, honestly, they couldn't have been that good if I can't remember them!

    EDIT: Good lord, I can't English today...

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    05/03/17

    First of all—what a surprise to be a mentioned GYG blog! I'm so pleased! Hopefully it means my experiences are helping someone who happens to read, or gives others motivation. I honestly never thought I would stick to it, but I've found it really useful to write out what I've done/am going to do; it holds me accountable for my plans, and gives me an extra place to reflect on my work and track my progress.

    So thank you to everyone who's read and/or rep'd!


    Let's talk about organising!

    I did a bit of spring cleaning today (read: I hoovered and dusted my room, which I've been putting off for a month now...) and figured I would use this time to get myself geared up for next week (last week of past papers for a while), as well as tidy up my studying stuff. I've chucked out some old paperwork, gone through and organised my work, and - SURPRISE! - added some journal pics to my post here.

    I thought I would use this quick update not just to thank people who've been following so far, but also to reflect on how well I think self-teaching has been going so far, and some things I wish I'd done sooner. (And also show off my unusually organised work folders which I use for keeping stuff together on my laptop.)

    How I'm finding studying from home:
    PROS
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    I can work to my own schedule; if there's something I'm stuck on, I can review it immediately, rather than class already pushing on ahead.

    I can spend as much time on each individual subject as a like. Subjects where I don't need a high grade (Bio & Physics) I don't need to do as much.

    I have more time in the day to do things. With 2 hours of travelling no longer eaten up each day I have time to have a decent breakfast and dinner, have more time to spend if I need an extra quarter of an hour on a task, and can also sneak to the gym when I feel like it. I like the freedom; it allows for things to go wrong, which they certainly have, on more than one occasion!

    It's also saving me money: I'm not buying food, I'm not paying for bus fare, and I'm not wasting loads of money on printing everything out.



    CONS
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    I miss the social element of college. I find I don't go out as often now. If it wasn't for going gym, I wouldn't leave the house some weeks. At least having to travel to college meant I always got some fresh air, and also saw my friends.

    No support. I don't have any tutors or friends working alongside me. If I'm stuck on something, I have to figure it out for myself. If I'm having a bad time and need a break, I can schedule in catch-up with a teacher. It's taking an enormous amount of discipline to keep on track - although surprisingly less than I imagined.

    It's easier to get distracted. Because I'm home all the time, I'm finding myself agreeing to run errands and favours for people, or agreeing to go on visits. I normally make sure all my planned work is done before an excursions, but still. I feel guilty not having my mind focused on studying 24/7, which also isn't good, as it means I can no longer shut off when I'm at home and I need to, like before bed.

    I'm clashing with my family. A lot. I don't have somewhere dedicated to study (I did, but they turned it into their dumping ground), so it means I'm constantly in the way of someone, and have to move all of my stuff around at the end of the day. I hate having to move stuff when I've got myself into a nice setup and routine - more so when it means I can't just come back to things the next day and pick up where I left off. But, I couldn't do that at college either.

    Work wise, I've managed to find enough to do to keep myself busy, which was my other worry. I think it helped that back in September I sat down and collated all of the notes and worksheets I would need to pull myself through the year. When I'm bored, or stuck for something to do, I can just load up a question paper on my computer and work through it. Courtesy of this fella:



    Inside I have folders for each subject, like so:


    Then inside the unit's folder I will have all the past papers I need, plus folders for additional work such as site resources and question packs, as well as a folder for completed papers.


    Past papers are organised as dated, and by when they were done (i.e. winter [untimed] or summer [timed]). E.g:


    Honestly, I could do with spring-cleaning some of these folders too, but for what I use them for they're structured enough.

    I would highly, highly recommend for anyone self-teaching A Levels, or someone who works a lot from a computer, that you get yourself a neat and orderly system to file your work. It makes things so much easier. You can find resources when you want, and you don't have to go hunting for stuff to work on if there is a specific topic you're stuck on. 100% would suggest you do it. And for the record, the rest of my computer files are a mess. I pulled my finger out of my butt and actually bothered sorting this, and it's made my life so much easier. :lol:

    So, yes - organisation! Get on it. And thank you, past-self, for having the forethought to actual lay everything out for me. Makes everything so much simpler and more convenient.

    My partner is up to stay the night tomorrow evening, and folks are back Tuesday morning, so I plan to get as much work down tomorrow morning as I possibly can. I've tidied up everything now though, so there's not much else for me to worry about tomorrow beyond just cracking on with work.
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    08/03/17


    Update on work

    Did 2 more Chemistry papers on Monday, and received As on both (Chem5 and Chem4). Did two more today, but honestly couldn't concentrate too well (see next segment) and the papers were pre-2008 so the questions were pretty different, hence I mainly used it to just practice basic answers, rather than use them as full papers for marking and grading. Fortunately, things went okay. Seem to have got a grip on Chem again. :yy:


    Just this side of heaven...

    ...there's a place called Rainbow Bridge. Came as a complete shock this morning to hear that my partner's dog had joined the numbers running around up there. It's hit him particularly hard, as Charlie boy was the last connection he had to one of his late relatives he was particularly close to. We spent a while on the phone talking about memories of him as a pup, and his love for peanut butter. I can imagine how lonely and empty the bungalow must feel without him in it.

    The one consolation is that, with it being such a sudden passing overnight, he didn't have a chance for age to catch up with him and cause him to suffer. He died in his sleep, warm and comfy, which is all we can ever ask for. :sad:


    RIP Charlie, 2005-2017.


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    09/03/17

    Still feeling a little stunned from yesterday's news. I sent all the videos and pictures I'd taken of Charlie to my SO, so that he had some memories and such to look at. I can't wait to see him again so I can give him a hug; I hate seeing him upset. Just have to be strong for him while he goes through the grieving process, and help him in whatever way I can. First time I've actually had a pet (other than a fish, or frog) die, so it's a strange experience. It'll be really weird going to stay with him and not having us all congregate around his basket and fuss over him. Bless his furry socks!

    Progress...

    Sat down to do June 2012 Chem 5 and June 2011 Phys4 and got an A and A* respectively. I'm doing my last past paper tomorrow until April, so I think now would be a good time to set some goals for March before I start my timed papers in April, and also reflect on the progress I've made since starting.

    PROGRESS IN BIOLOGY
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    Honestly, I didn't have much to improve on in Biology. What cost me my grade in the exam last year was not looking at units the answers must be given in (I lost over 4 marks because of that one page). But, overall, since beginning revision I:
    • Feel more confident in the Krebs Cycle
    • Feel more confident in the Light-Dependent reactions
    • Improved responses for 6-mark questions
    • Got quicker at answering papers


    PROGRESS IN PHYSICS
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    I haven't spent too much time on Physics up til now, due to me focusing mainly on Chemistry, but I definitely feel more comfortable and confident in the following:
    • SHM theory
    • Thermal physics theory
    • Momentum questions (how I ever found them difficult, I'll never know!)

    And I've also found I've become quicker and more accurate in my calculations: I can remember the majority of formulas and constants off of the top of my head, which saves me time, and also makes me more certain when rearranging things. My standard form has gotten better as well, which is also something I used to struggle to wrap my head around purely because I found it hard to visualise it. Overall, I'm generally not losing any marks on maths any more, which is good, and mistakes I'm making on theory are mainly due to me rushing or not paying enough attention, which hopefully will be rectified by practising against the clock next month.


    PROGRESS IN CHEMISTRY
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    I feel like I've really come on in leaps and bounds in Chem. I started out not really understanding anything of what I was doing, and feeling like it was just too much to remember, but my confidence has skyrocketed with it. I'm no longer putting question marks around every answer I give, and I think that alone has improved the marks I get, just because I'm not constantly changing and editing my answers. Overall, I think I've improved the most in the following areas:
    • Aqueous Ions In Solution: My god, considering last year I was contemplating methods of cheating to pass this part of this exam, and this year knowing it all off by heart, I can honestly say I'm really pleased with myself for having nailed this. The mnemonics I made up last week have also helped a load. I'm rarely dropping marks on these sections in Chem 5, and if I am it's normally a case of simple confusion (e.g. misreading the reaction diagram as having a ppt product, rather than a solution, and therefore putting the wrong species). I'm so, so proud of having conquered this, as I felt it was the most difficult (and most irrelevant) part of chemistry - but now, it's my favourite part of Chem 5!
    • Redox: Redox is another thing that really messed me up in exams. No matter how many teachers explained it to me, I never managed to get it to click. Now, my slip-ups are few and far between. Electrochemistry has improved a lot as well, maybe because of or alongside this. I understand cells a lot better, and even if I'm not 100% on the subject yet, I can normally get at least half marks on questions for it (which is a damn sight better than dropping the full 12+ mks on each paper!).
    • Period 3: Structures, bonding, and reactions roll off me with ease now. It seemed like a lot to remember at the start - and it is - but that's because I was going off of memory, not tuition. I definitely understand the theory behind structures and bonding better than I did at the start. It's a small breakthrough, but it's made a difference nonetheless.
    • Mechanisms: I never actually ended up dedicating time to go over mechanisms like I planned to at the start of my revision, and you know what? I don't think I needed it. Just by coming to understand the subject better over the past few months, mechanisms just make sense to me now. Occasionally I'll flump on naming the reaction (sometimes mixing up electro- and nucleophiles, or addition-elimination and substitution) but otherwise I generally get full marks on mechanisms now.


    Planning for the future...

    Over the next month I have the following I need to do:
    • Reply to offers
    • Start making decisions on accommodation
    • Get a new passport (ohmygod, Scott, get it together!)
    • Print out past papers to complete in April, in order

    I'm going to set some goals to give me something to work towards between now and April. I'll see if I meet them by then, and if I do it might be worth setting new ones for April.

    1. Completely learn the aqueous ions in solution table. (CHEM)
    2. Get out of the house for at least half an hour every day (at recommendation of partner).
    3. Learn glycolysis and the link reaction off by heart. (BIO)
    4. Manage 2L of water every day (+more on gym days!)
    5. Manage to lift 50kg on arms at gym (currently ~40-45kg, depending on exercise).
    6. Finish every day in as good a mood as possible.
    7. Read for a minimum of 10 minutes before bed, every night. No phone after reading is finished.
    8. Learn the shapes and bond angles of molecules. (CHEM)


    Here's to progress, and seeing more of it over the next few weeks! :cheers:
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    Hey there! Sorry I have nothing valuable to contribute, but I have been following your thread with great interest and find your story truly inspirational. So great to see that your hard work is paying off and that your plan is falling into place. Massively massively hope you achieve your goals!
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    (Original post by TheOFactor)
    Hey there! Sorry I have nothing valuable to contribute, but I have been following your thread with great interest and find your story truly inspirational. So great to see that your hard work is paying off and that your plan is falling into place. Massively massively hope you achieve your goals!
    I couldn't agree more, the things you have had to overcome and your perseverance is a goal to live by. I'm really proud of you and I hope you achieve your goal. No one deserves it more!
    • Thread Starter
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    (Original post by TheOFactor)
    Hey there! Sorry I have nothing valuable to contribute, but I have been following your thread with great interest and find your story truly inspirational. So great to see that your hard work is paying off and that your plan is falling into place. Massively massively hope you achieve your goals!
    (Original post by Lula')
    I couldn't agree more, the things you have had to overcome and your perseverance is a goal to live by. I'm really proud of you and I hope you achieve your goal. No one deserves it more!
    Ahhhh. :blush: Thank you both so much, your comments mean the world to me, truly. It's so nice hearing from people; feels a little less like shouting into the wind! Haha.

    Totally not getting a little choked up…
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    Hi Scitty,

    What would your advice be for a mature person who is self-teaching A level Biology (and Maths)?
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    (Original post by Scitty)
    Ahhhh. :blush: Thank you both so much, your comments mean the world to me, truly. It's so nice hearing from people; feels a little less like shouting into the wind! Haha.

    Totally not getting a little choked up…
    :hugs:
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    (Original post by Philip-flop)
    Hi Scitty,

    What would your advice be for a mature person who is self-teaching A level Biology (and Maths)?
    I wrote out a reply to this, pressed submit, and TSR ate it. :mad: Second time lucky?

    Firstly, I have some tips here which may help, but they're mainly generic revision tips.

    When it comes to self-teaching I think the most important advice I can give you is to work on good time management. Not sure if you have a job or not, being a little older than the usual A-Level student, but 100% would recommend that you set aside a set number of hours per week per subject dedicated to revising, and stick to them. It takes discipline, but when you don't have classes scheduled in it's easy to push revision aside in order to do non-academic stuff, and before you know it exams are upon us!
    One thing I would say when it comes to making any timetable/schedule/etc is that it certainly helps me (results for you will depend on how you work!) to assign revision by task, rather than time-slot. By that I mean, setting tasks to do in a day, and working on them until they're done before moving onto the next thing, rather than delegating an hour to this, an hour to that. If you find you drag things out and procrastinate when studying then this may not work for you, but certainly I think it's useful doing it this way because a) if there's something I really struggle with an I'm just coming to grasps with it, I can work on it for a little longer and not screw up my plan, and b) I don't spend as much time clock-watching, or rushing my work. It helps to build your timetable around a set goal for your revision each day: i.e. what you want to get out of this study session, a past paper you wish to finish, resources you want to create etc.

    That being said, you must remember to take breaks. Again, without class orientating your day, it's easy to just power on through without stopping for a rest (something I'm super guilty of). Each time you finish a task, take the time to make yourself a drink, have a snack, go for a walk, watch something on YouTube - whatever. Just reward yourself for the hard work and get yourself ready for the next chunk. It's better to take lots of little breaks and do one thing really well, than try to cram multiple tasks in to one day and end up doing them half-arsed and burning yourself out at the end of it.

    Don't just limit yourself to exam board resources (so past papers, examiners' reports, textbooks etc); read around the subject in more depth. The number one thing I find I miss through self-teaching is the commentary that comes from being in a class; there was always someone who would ask a question about something, and we'd end up side-tracking a little to discuss that particular element in more detail, and overall it benefited us all and gave us a rounder view of the subject as a whole. Being at home on your own, you don't have that. So definitely read science articles, listen to podcasts, watch videos and whatnot on the subject you're studying to supplement your knowledge. Ask questions about the content and look up the answer for yourself. Read TSR threads from other students studying the subject at uni level (or look up questions from people doing A Level). Try to get yourself as interested in the subject matter as possible and pad out your revision sessions with social and media input.

    Linking to that, try to relate your learning back to your everyday life. If you can, find a partner to study with - either face to face, or online. Just someone to chat to about the topic, work on your weak spots with, etc (I'm always happy to talk Bio! ). Find links to the subject in your normal life. If you can, try doing some of the science experiments at home; a lot of the biology practicals, especially plant-orientated ones, can be easily done at home, and sometimes seeing and doing a practical helps solidify the theory in your head.

    The other thing I would say is that if you have the money set aside for it and feel it's something you need, there's no shame in getting a tutor, even if for a few sessions. £50 spent on someone explaining a concept to you in a different light can really make a difference - but I'd say if you're going to get tuition, do it sooner rather than later. Last minute tuition isn't going to be done early enough to give you a good learning foundation, and many tutors become very busy around exam time. You can also flip this on its head, and try tutoring someone else - if you can teach someone the correct information well enough for them to retain it, then you definitely know the content well yourself.

    Lastly, my biggest advice for this sort of thing is to track your progress. Set goals, tick them off, reflect on your work. Look at where you've improved, and areas that still have a way to go. Candidates in classes have the advantage that their teachers will normally be checking in on them and setting mocks, end of unit tests etc. We don't have that option, so do it yourself. It'll help keep you on track.

    Aaaand I think that's about it! Obviously everyone works differently - I find these things work for me, but they may not all be useful to you. But, it's always worth trying new methods and new ideas, because if nothing else you've switched things up for your brain: at best, you may have found a better way of working! I can't tell you how to get an A grade in maths and biology because different things will work for different people, but I think if you stick to a schedule and revise in a way you find helpful, you should be able to achieve what you want.

    If you ever have any questions or get stuck on something in Bio I'm always glad to chat, so feel free to shoot me a PM. I'll try to answer ASAP! Other than that, good luck!!

    What exam board(s) are you on, by the way?
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    This is the best study blog I've seen, the level of planning and detail you've gone into is mad.

    Definitely going to follow your progress, hopefully i can pick up some tips so i don't miss my own grades
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    12/03/17

    Partner is beginning to perk up, slowly. I'm heading up there next weekend; will probably pick up some flowers for the family and some much needed chocolate on the way. It hurts seeing him upset, but I know all I can is be there for him while he works through things in his own time. Heaven help me when my Ginger goes. This stung - but the thought of losing her hit home hard again with this all, and I dread the day when I have to say goodbye to her. If it wasn't for the shoddy weather and me being overtired and worried about Jon, I would've gone to dad's as planned this weekend and given her a big ol' snuggle.

    Healthy mind, healthy body...

    So I went nuts at the gym yesterday, and other than the hot shower afterwards making my blood pressure plummet and giving me a woozy hour (which I napped off), it felt pretty good. I downloaded some podcasts to listen to while on the exercise bikes and found that worked really well; I have a few more from the RVC I want to listen to. These were the ones I got through as it was: one | two | three.


    I might try incorporating the bikes into my gym routine a bit more: I was still working up a sweat, but I was able to concentrate on the podcasts more than I would've when doing strength or running. It could present a good opportunity to do some extra revision while still working on that bod. :dumbells:

    Completely unrelated - but have been watching Crufts on and off. Really glad they did a feature on older dogs for adoption: I do love my seniors, and they are often overlooked in kennels.
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    (Original post by Scitty)
    I wrote out a reply to this, pressed submit, and TSR ate it. :mad: Second time lucky?

    Firstly, I have some tips here which may help, but they're mainly generic revision tips.

    When it comes to self-teaching I think the most important advice I can give you is to work on good time management. Not sure if you have a job or not, being a little older than the usual A-Level student, but 100% would recommend that you set aside a set number of hours per week per subject dedicated to revising, and stick to them. It takes discipline, but when you don't have classes scheduled in it's easy to push revision aside in order to do non-academic stuff, and before you know it exams are upon us!
    One thing I would say when it comes to making any timetable/schedule/etc is that it certainly helps me (results for you will depend on how you work!) to assign revision by task, rather than time-slot. By that I mean, setting tasks to do in a day, and working on them until they're done before moving onto the next thing, rather than delegating an hour to this, an hour to that. If you find you drag things out and procrastinate when studying then this may not work for you, but certainly I think it's useful doing it this way because a) if there's something I really struggle with an I'm just coming to grasps with it, I can work on it for a little longer and not screw up my plan, and b) I don't spend as much time clock-watching, or rushing my work. It helps to build your timetable around a set goal for your revision each day: i.e. what you want to get out of this study session, a past paper you wish to finish, resources you want to create etc.

    That being said, you must remember to take breaks. Again, without class orientating your day, it's easy to just power on through without stopping for a rest (something I'm super guilty of). Each time you finish a task, take the time to make yourself a drink, have a snack, go for a walk, watch something on YouTube - whatever. Just reward yourself for the hard work and get yourself ready for the next chunk. It's better to take lots of little breaks and do one thing really well, than try to cram multiple tasks in to one day and end up doing them half-arsed and burning yourself out at the end of it.

    Don't just limit yourself to exam board resources (so past papers, examiners' reports, textbooks etc); read around the subject in more depth. The number one thing I find I miss through self-teaching is the commentary that comes from being in a class; there was always someone who would ask a question about something, and we'd end up side-tracking a little to discuss that particular element in more detail, and overall it benefited us all and gave us a rounder view of the subject as a whole. Being at home on your own, you don't have that. So definitely read science articles, listen to podcasts, watch videos and whatnot on the subject you're studying to supplement your knowledge. Ask questions about the content and look up the answer for yourself. Read TSR threads from other students studying the subject at uni level (or look up questions from people doing A Level). Try to get yourself as interested in the subject matter as possible and pad out your revision sessions with social and media input.

    Linking to that, try to relate your learning back to your everyday life. If you can, find a partner to study with - either face to face, or online. Just someone to chat to about the topic, work on your weak spots with, etc (I'm always happy to talk Bio! ). Find links to the subject in your normal life. If you can, try doing some of the science experiments at home; a lot of the biology practicals, especially plant-orientated ones, can be easily done at home, and sometimes seeing and doing a practical helps solidify the theory in your head.

    The other thing I would say is that if you have the money set aside for it and feel it's something you need, there's no shame in getting a tutor, even if for a few sessions. £50 spent on someone explaining a concept to you in a different light can really make a difference - but I'd say if you're going to get tuition, do it sooner rather than later. Last minute tuition isn't going to be done early enough to give you a good learning foundation, and many tutors become very busy around exam time. You can also flip this on its head, and try tutoring someone else - if you can teach someone the correct information well enough for them to retain it, then you definitely know the content well yourself.

    Lastly, my biggest advice for this sort of thing is to track your progress. Set goals, tick them off, reflect on your work. Look at where you've improved, and areas that still have a way to go. Candidates in classes have the advantage that their teachers will normally be checking in on them and setting mocks, end of unit tests etc. We don't have that option, so do it yourself. It'll help keep you on track.

    Aaaand I think that's about it! Obviously everyone works differently - I find these things work for me, but they may not all be useful to you. But, it's always worth trying new methods and new ideas, because if nothing else you've switched things up for your brain: at best, you may have found a better way of working! I can't tell you how to get an A grade in maths and biology because different things will work for different people, but I think if you stick to a schedule and revise in a way you find helpful, you should be able to achieve what you want.

    If you ever have any questions or get stuck on something in Bio I'm always glad to chat, so feel free to shoot me a PM. I'll try to answer ASAP! Other than that, good luck!!

    What exam board(s) are you on, by the way?
    Thanks Scitty! Some very useful tips that I will definitely try to incorporate into my own studies!!

    I'm doing Edexcel specs for Maths and Biology (new reformed 2015 spec)
    • Thread Starter
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    (Original post by HopelessMedic)
    This is the best study blog I've seen, the level of planning and detail you've gone into is mad.

    Definitely going to follow your progress, hopefully i can pick up some tips so i don't miss my own grades
    Hi - sorry I missed this! Must have snuck in between my posts haha. But thank you! Good luck with your own studying, I'm sure you'll do fantastic.


    Brief update 19/03/17

    Attempted to print off past papers, got through six and the printer broke, so currently I'm trying to fix that. Otherwise, haven't actually done much work recently. Mood has been swinging between normal and depressed, but hoping I'm pulling through the other side now.
    Currently helping to plaster & paint partner's house, just for some time away. I'm a bit of a disorganised mess at the moment, I will admit. My schedule's been throw off a bit by not being able to do what I had planned, either because of stuff breaking on me or my mental health plummeting for no decent reason. Kind of ready for March to be over now: it's been a crap month and I want to hit April so I can get stuck into exam practice and feel like I'm on the home stretch.

    Will update this properly when I'm back at my computer: just a little post to confirm I'm not dead and still scuttling about.
 
 
 
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