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Jared's A-Level Journey: Making it to Manchester Watch

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    Welcome to my Grow Your Grades thread!

    I have a lot of work to do, but I am determined to get the best grades I possibly can, be the first in my family to go to university, prove my teachers and friends wrong, and get into my firm choice of university! I hope you'll all do me the honour of following me on my journey to making it to Manchester!

    GCSE Results:

    Mathematics - A* -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Computing - B
    Spanish - A* -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Music - B
    Biology - A ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Geography - B
    Physics - B ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------English Literature - B
    Chemistry - B------------------------------------------------------------------------------------English Language - B

    Total: 2xA* | 1xA | 7xB

    AS Results:

    First time: ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. Second time:
    → Mathematics - U................................ ................................ ................................ .→ Mathematics - B
    → Spanish - D ................................ ................................ ................................ .........→ Spanish - C
    → Physics - U................................ ................................ ................................ ..........→ Physics - U (RIP)
    → English Literature - E................................ ................................ ...........................→ Dropped it.

    A2/A-Level subjects:

    → Mathematics [OCR MEI] Predicted - A
    → Physics [OCR A] Predicted - B
    → Spanish [AQA] Predicted - B

    University Application Tracker:

    My application was sent off on 12th December. All courses are BEng for Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering.

    → University of Manchester | Application acknowledged: 13/12/2016 | Offer Received: 16/12/2016 | Conditions: AAB
    → University of Nottingham | Application acknowledged: 13/12/2016 | Offer Received: 05/01/2017 | Conditions: A(Maths)AB
    → University of Sheffield | Application acknowledged: 13/12/2016 | Offer Received: 09/01/2017 | Conditions: AAB
    → Loughborough University | Application acknowledged: 13/12/2016 | Offer Received: Invited to interview on 22/02/2017 |
    → University of Liverpool | Application acknowledged: N/A | Offer Received: 23/12/2016 | Conditions: ABB

    Extracurricular Activities:

    → Mathematics Summer School @ Lancaster University.
    → Member of Air Training Corps (Air Cadets)
    → Attended a Seminar by IET looking at Tribology in the Aerospace Industry
    → WEX as a Mechanical Engineer Assistant for a company designing & manufacturing aerospace seals and components
    → Entered for Junior Maths Challenge although let's leave it at that
    → Manager & Training Assistant at McDonald's (not really ECA but still...)
    → Wider reading, "The Simple Science of Flight" and "Fundamentals of Aerospace Engineering"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I like to live by the quote, "Sometimes it's the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."

    My past is a journey's end and my future is a new beginning.
    Hopefully I can be that 'no one' that does what nobody imagined.

    GCSE:
    Spoiler:
    Show


    Overall I was quite happy as I either met or exceeded my targets, although I was a bit disappointed as I had expected a few more As.

    I was the first person in the history of my school to achieve an A* in Maths, given the set that I was in during GCSE. I loved Maths but never really excelled at it so during GCSE I wanted to prove to myself as well as others that even with my target grade of C, if I worked hard enough, I could get the grade I wanted. A lot of people laughed and mocked me throughout the years telling me that it wasn't possible and that if they couldn't get an A* then I definitely couldn't, but I'm glad to say that I proved them wrong! This motivation and determination is what I currently lack and is the main reason for wanting to start my Grow Your Grades thread.


    AS Results:
    Spoiler:
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    Due to extenuating circumstances (ugh, hate that phrase), I failed.
    My attendance and motivation had dropped almost as quickly as my grades. I ended up giving up by the end of the year. The night before my AS Physics exam, I went out to celebrate a friend's birthday. I am quite competitive by nature so a friend and myself both had a bottle of wine each. Along with my competitiveness, my friends started singing " we like to drink with Jared, 'cuz Jared is our mate... and when we drink with Jared, he downs it all in 8..7.. " (you get the picture). I didn't drink it all in 8, but it was done fairly quickly. Later that night, I was passed out on the floor of the toilets in wetherspoons as I had completely lost all hope in myself and my academic future.



    A-Level Subjects/Uni choices:
    Spoiler:
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    I know that in comparison to some people these grades aren't really a challenge but for me they are, especially trying to get the U in Physics to a B.

    Predicted ABB
    I think I'll get ABB/ABC
    I want AAB or A*BB


    Thinking of firming Manchester or Nottingham and having Liverpool as my insurance.

    Shaky academic history so I was extremely surprised to have received any offers/interview(s) at all Pretty much all of my university choices are a massive risk considering my predictions and past performance so I may have set myself up for failure, but hopefully if nothing else then it's motivation to do well.

    Should note that I have not firmed Manchester yet ( I can't until I receive a reply from Loughborough after the interview), but at the moment I am pretty certain I will firm Manchester if the applicant days don't change my mind. Needed a catchy title so I thought Making it to Manchester would do! : )

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    Productivity:

    Trying to be more productive this year and use my time more effectively as this was definitely something I lacked previously.
    To address this issue, I have created a revision timetable.

    This is the timetable I use during the half-term breaks:

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    →Each subject has a list of links that I find useful (although you can only see a fraction of the document in the picture)
    →I have made a checklist for some of my resources.

    Once I have completed all the questions from one of my resources, I then add the colour coded circle to the corresponding topic to help me keep track of my progress, telling me what questions I have done and what questions I am yet to complete. Once I have completed all the questions from some of my resources, I will then add a tick to tell me that I am confident with that topic. The X symbolises that pretty much nothing has been done for that topic (sorry spanish and physics!!! :eek:)

    This is the timetable I use during term-time:

    It's much simpler and just lists what topic I need to go over that day, not hardcore ace it like the half-term timetable:
    Any topics I'm not confident with I will list at the bottom of the document so that I can put aside some time to consolidate them.

    Attachment 616206

    Unfortunately I didn't get much done in January because my sister came with her 10month old daughter to stay for 3 weeks (unplanned) , which meant most of my time and attention was drawn to them as opposed to my school work (oops) and my niece made damn sure that I didn't get to sleep almost every night till she did, which was around 4-5am.
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    February Revision Plan:

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    This revision plan is only for the first 2 weeks as I will be creating a separate, more detailed revision plan for the half-term.
    I haven't been able to fill in the last week of February because when I go back to school we will be starting new topics/modules, e.g. C4 for Maths.

    I have an M1 Mock on Monday 6th. I aim to get a C/D (I know, not very asspirational but need to be realistic).
    My revision plan has crammed going over the M1 Module in the space of 3 days :shock: so we'll see how that goes.

    I will be re-taking C1 and C2 modules to bring my AS grade up to an A from a B, so I have allocated some time to getting past papers done for those modules as well as C3 which we have completed in class.

    What I have done today:

    →Created part of my February Revision Plan
    →Completed the End of Chapter questions for Gravitational Fields. I need to consolidate this chapter because I drew a blank on some of the questions so it will be beneficial for me to re-read this to gain a better understanding of why I made mistakes. Graphs are still my greatest downfall
    →Made notes on the Radioactivity of 4 types of radiation (α, ß+, ß-, Γ)
    →Made a presentation linking Gravitational Fields with Potential and Kinetic energy from AS to teach a small group of Year 12s tomorrow
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    End of week summary(30/01 - 05/02):

    Maths:

    I managed to revise 3 chapters of M1, but that didn't really put me in the best position for the M1 mock. Reason: Procrastination i.e. Netflix
    I am trying to revise the M1 chapters as thoroughly as possible because this will also help with my AS physics. I did a C3 paper just to keep my memory refreshed and I did very well in that (A), but there are still some areas for improvement. Did a C1 paper to make sure I don't lose touch with it and I pretty much smashed it. Attempted a C2 paper but that didn't go too well There are some stand-alone topics in C2 which I need to go over again such as sequences and arc lengths/areas etc. because I tend to forget them if I'm not constantly using them.

    Physics:

    We have covered more on radioactivity in class and have also finished the topic of gravitational fields. We did an in-class test on gravitational fields although I only managed to get 49/82, so clearly I need to identify what went wrong so that I am in a better position to answer similar questions. I was away for a few lessons so I had to catch up by making some notes and I also need to finish the write up for three of my PAGs (writing the evaluations, observations, uncertainties) but the actual experiment and collection of results has been completed.

    Spanish:

    We have finished the book 'El coronel no tiene le escriba' and have started to watch the film 'todo sobre mi madre' so that we can begin to cross-examine them and attempt writing essays. We've started the topic on 'La pobreza' (poverty) so there's a lot more vocab to be learnt! I'm finding some of the tenses particular hard to apply or identify in texts - mainly the many forms of subjunctives. I tend to steer clear of them because I'm not confident on using them but if I do that then I restrict myself on doing well and getting good grades so I'm gonna have to get to grips with it at some point!
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    Why don't you learn Spanish in your free time?

    It's like people who study English at university. I knew English by the time I was 5 years old. They must be really ****ing stupid if they're still learning it when they're 18-21 years old.
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    (Original post by littlesnowflake)
    Why don't you learn Spanish in your free time?

    It's like people who study English at university. I knew English by the time I was 5 years old. They must be really ****ing stupid if they're still learning it when they're 18-21 years old.
    I genuinely enjoy learning the language.
    When I picked my A-levels, I picked them based on the requirements for my future aspirations but also based on what I enjoy studying, which is where Spanish comes into it.

    Spanish is one of the most spoken languages around the world, more so than English so it's not at all bad to want to be proficient at using it, and taking it at A-level most definitely helps with that aspect.

    Good for you that you knew English by the time you were 5. I only started learning Spanish in school from Year 8, or at 12/13 years old, and as you'd only have 2-3 lessons a week then it really limits the possibility of being taught a lot in a short time, especially when having to cater for all 30 pupils with the depth and amount of content that is covered.
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    Hi there! Just wanted to say I stumbled across this and found this quite encouraging 😊 I'm hoping to get into Manchester as well with my Australian equivalent of ABB (my predicted grades were way higher but I kinda started to slip during first semester exams due to health issues). Hope you do get AAB, and keep up the good work! Fingers crossed for you 😁
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    (Original post by mayling99)
    Hi there! Just wanted to say I stumbled across this and found this quite encouraging 😊 I'm hoping to get into Manchester as well with my Australian equivalent of ABB (my predicted grades were way higher but I kinda started to slip during first semester exams due to health issues). Hope you do get AAB, and keep up the good work! Fingers crossed for you 😁
    Many thanks, mayling! : )
    I noticed that you were in the Aerospace Engineering thread as well! This is what I am hoping to study at Manchester, so perhaps I may see you on the course ; )

    Sorry to hear about your health I hope it improves soon so that you can focus on your exams! I hope you do well and achieve the grades you need!
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    (Original post by JaredzzC)
    Many thanks, mayling! : )
    I noticed that you were in the Aerospace Engineering thread as well! This is what I am hoping to study at Manchester, so perhaps I may see you on the course ; )

    Sorry to hear about your health I hope it improves soon so that you can focus on your exams! I hope you do well and achieve the grades you need!
    These are my actual grades since we've done exams in Australia (( but my teacher mentioned the health thing in the reference so I think it could be up for some consideration by the admissions board
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    (Original post by mayling99)
    These are my actual grades since we've done exams in Australia (( but my teacher mentioned the health thing in the reference so I think it could be up for some consideration by the admissions board
    Oh, I see :/ Yea, it's definitely a positive that it was mentioned as they will take this into consideration! If you've finished your exams then I'm assuming you're on a gap-year? Could you take this opportunity to maybe improve one of your subject grades? It may be a bit late now though, not sure. I've replied in further detail in the engineering thread.
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    End of Half-Term Summary (February):

    Maths:

    I managed to complete some C3 and C1 Past Papers. It has helped me to identify what I need to revise again in C1 (mainly the factor and remainder theorem). Thankfully, I am improving in C3 but I still have a lot to do to be consistently getting As in my papers, which is what I'm aiming for.

    C1:
    • January 2005: Section A: 36/36 Section B: 30/36 Total: 66/72 Grade: A UMS: 91
    • May 2005: Section A: 33/36 Section B: 31/36 Total: 64/72 Grade: A UMS: 89
    • January 2006: Section A: 34/36 Section B: 29/36 Total: 63/72 Grade: A UMS: 88


    C3:
    • June 2005: Section A: 27/36 Section B: 23/36 Total: 50/72 Grade: B UMS: 71
    • January 2006: Section A: 31/36 Section B: 22/36 Total: 53/72 Grade: B UMS: 79
    • June 2006: Section A: 26/36 Section B: 10/36 Total: 36/72 Grade: D UMS: 57

    The June 2006 was a tragic paper for me. It seems to have been the hardest out of all of the past papers from MEI, as an A was only 51/72!!!

    Physics:

    We were given a booklet of worksheets for all the topics we've covered so far on the mechanics side of Year 13. I completed all these questions but unfortunately didn't manage to get any work done for the other non-mechanics side of physics.

    The worksheets were split into three sections, Intermediate Level, Higher Level, and Extension Level.

    Year 13 Mechanics:
    • Thermal Physics: 40/52, 77% Questions Answered: I & H
    • Ideal Gases: 37/58, 64% Questions Answered: I & H
    • Circular Motion: 28/57, 49% Questions Answered: I & H & E
    • Oscillations: 37/51, 73% Questions Answered: I & H
    • Gravitational Fields: 47/57, 72% Questions Answered: I & H & E

    AS Mechanics Paper (Previously G481):
    • January 2009: 42/60 Grade: A UMS: 72

    After having gone over all the mechanics topics from Year 12 and completing practice questions, I thought it was time to start doing past papers. I was incredibly pleased with myself for managing to get an A in this paper, especially considering that I got a U last year, but It was borderline an A! It did seem a little odd that the threshold for an A was so low, so it is a little displeasing at the same time. I know it will be hard to keep this grade up, but hopefully this shows that I am making progress.


    Spanish:

    I wrote a 4-page essay about the book 'El coronel no tiene quien le escriba', answering the questions:

    ¿Cuáles son las características de los personajes
    en la novela que has estudiado?
    ¿Qué reacción provocan en tí estos personajes?

    Translates more or less to: What are the characteristics of the characters in the novel that you have studied?
    What reaction do these characters provoke in you?

    My plan was to spend each day analyzing one character in detail so that I'd have all the information available for me to write the essay, but that never happened :/ I also never got around to revising any vocab whatsoever for the course, so that was quite disappointing. All-in-all Spanish took a backseat and was less of a priority than anything else so it suffered quite a lot.
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    Aerospace Engineering Applicant Day at The University of Manchester!!

    Saturday, 25th February was the date I attended the Applicant day. It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the course and provided me with an invaluable experience of talking to the students. I was quite disappointed though that they didn't dedicate much time to talking about the possible careers or the possible opportunities this degree can lead you to, if you were wanting to stay in Manchester specifically. I'm aware Manchester isn't necessarily an Aerospace Engineering hub so due to the limited jobs available perhaps that's why they never mentioned it :/

    • The day started with a presentation on the overview of Aerospace Engineering. I didn't really learn anything new, it was everything I had pretty much read on their website, the prospectus, or other information that was made available during the open day.
    • The second part of the day consisted of being split off into groups. Half would take a tour of the facilities and the other half would participate in an activity. I first started off by doing the activity.

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    There were piles of cans for each group placed in the middle of the room. Some facing upwards, others facing downwards. The brief was that, given a box of random pieces of materials and equipment, we had to build a device that could attach to the drone that would then allow us to pick up the cans using the drone and our device and bring them back to us in order to score a point. The team with the most points wins.

    We had 15 minutes to 'engineer' some ideas and test them to find out what worked best. I genuinely loved this activity. It brought out the creativity and the engineer in me, trying to solve the problems. I kept asking so many questions, "wouldn't this affect the weight distribution?, how about if we did this ... to help improve the stability. Perhaps we could knock the cans over with our device, allowing us to hook them, as oppose to developing two different methods for picking up the cans, wasting time and resources" Not that I needed it, but it reassured me that this was the right career path for me

    • The last part of the day involved getting a tour of the facilities and even the opportunity to take a ride in their flight simulator!




    I managed to have a go in their simulator. I attempted to land a plane. May or may not have injured everyone on board, but at least it wasn't real life :laugh: I guess I better leave the flying to someone else and I will just stick to designing these things

    Edit: I've attached some pictures but I can't seem to get them to show up.
 
 
 
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Updated: March 1, 2017
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