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ErinMei's year 13 study blog (A*A*A*) Watch

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    Hello,
    as this is my last year in school I thought I'd have a go at making a study blog ! I had a brief thread when I was taking my GCSEs, but it wasn't very detailed at all. Halfway through year 12 I came across other GYGs forums and It inspired to do one myself. So here I am .

    About me:
    I'm a year 13 student who is taking mathematics (Edexcel), chemistry (AQA) and biology (AQA). I want to study chemistry at university. My goal university is currently Oxford, however, actually receiving an offer seems a little far-fetched. My other favourite universities are Durham and York. My goal for this year is to achieve A*A*A* ,which will secure me a place at a university to study chemistry and it will give me something to be very proud of. I go to a state school and I don't come from a very privileged background.

    GCSEs:
    In total I have 1 A^ 6 A*s 4 As :
    Further mathematics (AQA) : A^
    Mathematics (Edexcel) : A*
    Biology (AQA) : A*
    Chemistry (AQA) : A*
    Physics (AQA) : A*
    Religious studies (Edexcel) : A*
    History (AQA) : A*
    English language (CIE) : A
    English literature (WJEC) : A
    Media studies (AQA) : A
    French (Edexcel) : A

    AS results:
    Even though the new specifications for chemistry and biology mean I cannot keep my AS grade if I continue these subjects on at A2, my school still entered us for all our external AS exams. I found this very helpful as I now know how to revise and it challenged me to work under exam pressures. I think it has prepared me for year 13.

    Biology (AQA) : A
    Chemistry (AQA) : A
    Mathematics (Edexcel) : A ( C1: 95 , C2: 95, S1: 100)
    Sociology (AQA) : A ( which I have dropped so I can keep this AS grade )

    A2 predicted grades :
    Biology (AQA) : A*
    Chemistry (AQA) : A*
    Mathematics (Edexcel) : A*


    University choices :

    Oxford - chemistry (prospective firm) (A*A*A) INTERVIEW RECEIVED 29/11/17

    Durham- chemistry (prospective firm) (AAA) OFFER RECEIVED 16/11/17

    York - chemistry (AAB) (prospective firm/insurance)
    OFFER RECEIVED 10/11/17

    St Andrews - chemistry (AAB) ( the least realistic option as the uni is just so far away from me, so it's a little scary, but prospective firm) ?

    Leeds - chemistry (prospective insurance) (ABB) - OFFER RECEIVED 08/11/17

    Assessments/mocks :

    Photosynthesis and respiration assessment 74% B
    Energy transfers in ecosystems and nutrient cycles assessment 79% B
    Isomerism, carbonyls and aromatic chemistry 93% A*
    Responses and the nervous system 85% A
    C3 mock (without differentiation) 88% A
    AS biology mock 80% A
    M1 mock (without moments and harder vectors) 93% A
    A2 chemistry mock (rate equations and Kp) 88% A







    I'm planning to update this as regularly as I can so if you're interested in how the next year will unfold for me , please stick around

    Thankyou!
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    (Original post by ErinMei)
    Hello,
    as this is my last year in school I thought i'd have a go at doing a study blog ! I had a brief forum when i was doing my GCSEs, but it wasn't very detailed at all. Halfway through year 12 I came across other people's gygs forums and It inspired to do one myself. So here i am .

    About me:
    i'm a year 13 student who is taking mathematics (Edexcel), chemistry (AQA) and biology (AQA). I want to study chemistry at university. My goal university is currently Oxford, however, actually receiving an offer seems a little far-fetched. My other favourite university is Durham. My goal for this year is to achieve A*A*A* ,which will secure me a place at a university to study chemistry and it will give me something to be very proud of. Also, I go to a public school and i don't come from a very privileged background.

    GCSEs:
    In total I have 1 A^ 6 A*s 4 As :
    Further mathematics (AQA) : A^
    Mathematics (Edexcel) : A*
    Biology (AQA) : A*
    Chemistry (AQA) : A*
    Physics (AQA) : A*
    Religious studies (Edexcel) : A*
    History (AQA) : A*
    English language (CIE) : A
    English literature (WJEC) : A
    Media studies (AQA) : A
    French (Edexcel) : A

    AS results:
    Even though the new specifications for chemistry and biology mean I cannot keep my AS grade if I continue these subjects on to A2, my school still entered us for all our AS exams. I found this very helpful as I practiced how to revise and it challenged me to work under exam pressures. I think it has prepared me more for next year.

    Biology (AQA) : A
    Chemistry (AQA) : A
    Mathematics (Edexcel) : A ( C1: 95 , C2: 95, S1: 100)
    Sociology (AQA) : A ( which i have dropped so i can keep this AS level )

    A2 predicted grades :
    Biology (AQA) : ?
    Chemistry (AQA) : ?
    Mathematics (Edexcel) : ?

    ( I am also taking the EPQ this year)

    University choices :

    Oxford - chemistry (prospective firm) (A*A*A)

    Durham- chemistry (prospective firm) (A*AA)

    Leeds - chemistry and mathematics (prospective insurance) (AAB)

    I am not totally sure about my last two choices , I am considering Glasgow, York and St Andrews ? ( sticking with the northern unis )

    I'm planning to update this as regularly as I can so if you're interested in how the next year will unfold for me , please stick around

    Thankyou!
    Good luck! How are you feeling about starting year 13? Do you feel ready?
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    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Good luck! How are you feeling about starting year 13? Do you feel ready?
    Thankyou ! I think i am ready to get back into a routine of doing lots of work. I'm ready to put in a lot of effort i think. I'm starting on Monday

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    09/09/17
    We started our year 13 content at the end of year 12, so today i revisted all of the year 13 chemistry we had learned, in order to prepare for starting year 13 on monday !
    I didn't realize how much work we had actually done before summer, so i ended up doing loads today and now i'm exhausted
    I started by watching videos by my favourite chemistry youtuber called E Rintoul to refresh the topics. Then after making notes while watching the video i started making neat notes using the notes i had just made and my notes from my folder. I had the specification right infront of me so i could tick off each point when i had covered it in my notes.
    I managed to get notes done for Born-Haber cycles & entropy / gibbs free energy for physical chemistry. I also did notes on period 3 oxides for inorganic chemistry.
    Although, E Rintoul doesn't yet have a video for period 3 oxides so i had to watch another chemistry youtuber who i prefer less.
    I definitely enjoy the physical chemistry a lot more. I really enjoyed being productive and revisiting the work , i felt like i really understood it. I don't like inorganic chemistry as much. The trends are simple enough, but also mundane. I had a little trouble with some of the equations when the oxides act as acids/bases. Some of them are really complex so maybe i just need to memorize them instead of trying to figure them out when i get an exam question?
    I normally make flashcards after i've done my notes on a phone app called Cram. It helps for putting everything i need to know in one place, so when an exam is approaching i can simply revise using the flashcards on my phone. You can select whether you know the card or not so you can only practice the ones you don't know. It's pretty helpful. I didn't have time to start making them for my year 13 chemistry though. I will have to do that at some point...
    I also printed out 3 copies of the first draft of my personal statement so i can give it to a few of my teachers when i go back to school.
    Tomorrow i want to go over my year 13 biology work but i have feeling it's going to be a task as i really dislike biology in comparison to chemistry. I didn't enjoy the respiration topic but i did like photosynthesis topic more. I also need to tidy my room and try get an early night for monday !

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    10/09/17
    This morning i looked at some revision notes on period 3 oxides i revised yesterday after having been confused by the acid-base equations. I noticed that an acid-base reaction between two solids will not produce any water and i also tightened up my knowledge of ionic equations. I think the reaction that involves aluminium oxide acting as an acid and silicon dioxide reacting with sodium oxide i will simply have to remember.
    I revisted the year 13 biology we learnt at the end of year 12. I planned to go over both photosynthesis and respiration, but it was way too much, so i only did photosynthesis. I started by watching videos on the light dependent and light independent reactions by Mr Pollock on youtube. I made some notes along the way and referred to the long explanation i had written in my folder. Then i looked at photosynthesis in the textbook we use for biology at school and made more notes. I then wrote up my neat notes ticking off each specification point at a time. I quite enjoyed photosynthesis and i felt like i understood the calvin cycle a lot more than i did before. I want to make some flashcards for this topic at some point.
    Later on i got round to tidying my room a little and then i went to see my boyfriend.
    School starts tomorrow and i'm feeling a little nervous, but it should be okay. I have chemistry first lesson , maths second lesson , two frees and then double biology after lunch (hoping we're learning about photosynthesis or a topic i haven't covered yet- I don't like respiration and i haven't revised it )
    I'm not worried about maths because i've already been able to do a few C3 papers and i've had a look at all the chapters of C4
    I feel ready for chemistry after revising everything yesterday.


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    Good luck!! I've just started year 12 and we're doing the same subjects!
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    11/09/17 - school begins !
    My attempt at a decent sleep last night didn't go so well... i felt like i was tossing and turning for hours before i finally drifted off.
    However , i woke up okay for my first day of school ( probably all the rest from the six week holidays helping me out). My first lesson today was chemistry with a teacher who hasn't taught me before , we only have him for one lesson a week. I have 3 chemistry teachers this year ! ( 2 of them are my teachers from last year). We started organic chemistry and began by looking at the benzene ring. It's structure , the old model , proof of the new model and some simple naming of arenes.
    Second lesson i had maths and i met my new maths teacher who will be teaching me my core modules this year. She seems nice and we started the further trigonometry chapter as we had done the basic C3 trigonometry at the end of year 12. Our teacher started by showing us the derivation of the addition identity using a unit square , triangle and all sorts. It's not needed for the exam but it was quite interesting ! We derived the addition rule for Tan using the sin and cos addition identity and then we started some very basic applications of the addition identity before running out of time .
    I had two frees after break so i helped my boyfriend sort out a problem he was having at school ( new head of sixth form who has no idea what she is doing and who is also very rude )
    I gave copies of my personal statement to two of my chemistry teachers for them to read and give me feedback. I also managed to sort out what days i will be working in the dinner hall ( tuesday and thursday !) . I went to go ask for a chemistry textbook but apparently we can't have them yet as there isn't enough so i will have to wait awhile :no:
    After lunch i had my first biology lesson with my new teacher ( he was my GCSE chemistry teacher so i know him ). We started a completely new topic to do with stimuli and responses. We looked at tropisms and IAA in plants. We also looked at taxes and kinesis. I felt myself zoning out a little in lesson but i cant tell if i was tired or if i didnt like the topic or it was a little complex. Anyhow i will revisit this topic again. I need a biology textbook too ! We were also given some exam questions as homework.
    After school i watched a video on benzene and made some more notes. I then wrote my notes up neatly and ticked off points on the spec. I also finally made some flashcards !!! :top:
    I made flashcards for benzene and all of the physical chemistry i revised the other day (still need to do inorganic)
    Tomorrow i have double maths with my other teacher who will me teaching us mechanics ( dreading that module). I have no other lessons so i think i'll go home after working in the dinner hall and finish the chemistry flashcards and maybe do some biology / maths (if i get homework tomorrow). I'm going to go to the gym in the afternoon too


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    good luck girl also doing the same subjects
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    12/09/17
    Today hasn't been a very productive day... i had two frees this morning so i slept in until break time. I came in and went to my lesson which was double mechanics with my maths teacher from last year. We started chapter 2 and simply did some basic SUVAT questions and went through a few of the concepts and terminology. I had already covered chapter 2 in the summer holidays so this lesson was a breeze for me. For homework we had to do 5 questions from exercise 2B.
    After the lesson i was working in the dinner hall for an hour so i was simply cleaning tables and putting rubbish in bins as younger students seem to not know how to clean up after themselves !
    I gave my sixth form mentor a list of all my free periods i wanted to have at home and then i went home.
    At home i did those 5 questions from exercise 2B before getting ready to go to the gym. I didn't get home until pretty late as i have to walk to and from the gym which is pretty far and me and my friends all chilled out in Macdonalds after ( ironic right ) .
    Very unproductive and i hope to get a lot more done tomorrow !!
    Tomorrow i have biology with my teacher from last year.

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    13/09/17
    Today i started off the day with a double lesson of biology with my teacher from last year. In the first lesson we reviewed some facts about ATP as it will aid our learning of photosynthesis and respiration. The teacher then gave out some resources that will help us revise required practicals and he gave out some summary booklets on respiration and photosynthesis to complete for homework. In the second lesson we started a new topic on energy transfers in ecosystems and we covered the basic idea of food chains and some of the terminology. We looked at how energy is lost at each stage of the food chain etc. We completed a simple sheet on food chains and i also made some notes. He let us know that next week on Friday we have a photosynthesis and respiration test ! Last year he said some year 13s had to resit it 5 times before they got a decent grade because the questions can be challenging . I want to do well so i will make sure to revise lots.
    At the end of the lesson i asked my teacher if he could log into AQA and let me know my AS raw marks. The website wasn't working so he told me he'd email me them later on.
    After break i wanted to go home and do work as i had no lessons but i remembered i had a meeting with my form tutor in form time so i had to hang around until then. I completed the photosynthesis homework booklet as i'd revised photosynthesis on sunday so it was still pretty fresh in my mind
    I never got round to respiration before school so i couldn't start the respiration booklet. Me and my friend talked about uni and hung around before getting lunch and then going to form.
    Annoyingly my form tutor decided last minute to change our meeting to monday , so i waited around for nothing !
    I went home after that but im worried the school aren't putting my home study periods on the system so my attendance is going down. I will have to see what my attendance is on monday and try sort it out...
    At home i made flashcards for inorganic chemistry so now im up to date on all my chemistry notes and flashcards ( which won't last long as i have chemistry tomorrow hehe)
    I then finally started revising respiration ! I watched videos by Mr Pollock on glycolysis , the link reaction and the krebs cycle to refresh my brain. I also made notes from reading the textbook and then i started making my neat notes. I didn't finish though , i covered everything apart from a little bit about anaerobic respiration and lipids/ amino acids entering krebs cycle as i got too tired. I feel a lot more confident with respiration now though and i understand the purpose of everything more. So hopefully i will be ready for that test !
    I got an email from my biology teacher letting me know my AS marks. I was so shocked i had done so well !! I thought i may have just scraped past the A grade boundary , but i got :
    142/160 in chemistry ( 103 was an A)
    114/150 in biology ( i think 78 was an A )
    106/120 in sociology ( no idea about boundary as i dropped the subject and didn't care about it )

    Needless to say im very happy and feeling a lot more confident in my abilities to do well this year.

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    14/09/17
    Today i slept in as i didn't have a lesson until after break. It was chemistry with my teacher from last year who is such a good teacher , she's the best ! We started a new physical chemistry topic on rates where we found rate equations , defined second first and zero order reactions and worked out units for the constant k. We looked at a few questions too , i really enjoyed the lesson.
    I worked for the first half hour of lunch in the dinner hall but then i had to leave to get my school photo taken ( i put some eyeliner on this morning for it )
    After that i went home and about an hour after i got home i noticed i left my chemistry folder in my locker so i went back to school ( i only live 5 minutes away). When i came home the second time i finished off my notes on respiration from yesterday and then i went to the gym. It wasn't a great gym sesh as i was pretty tired.
    I have so many lessons tomorrow so i think after school i will get a lot of work done. Roll on end of the week !

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    15/09/17
    Wow today has been a handful !
    I had biology first lesson so we carried on from the food chain stuff and started talking more about biomass and exact reasons for energy being lost. We also looked at a two equations which accounted for losses of energy. I had a free lesson 2 so i checked my attendance and it is 100% ! No need to worry
    After break i had core 3 maths and we carried on with further trig. We started exercise 7A and our teacher wanted us to do every single question even though it is 25 questions long ( not including sub parts). She said it will be good for our trig practice . I managed to get up to question 5 and then the bell went for lunch.
    In assembly i got my school photo back and i actually like it ( suprisingly) so i think we'll be buying it this year . The sixth form mentor also let us know that that oxbridge and medicine students need a meeting with her next week so i'll have to redraft my personal statement this weekend. I forgot to mention that yesteday my chemistry teacher gave me feedback on my personal statement so using that feedback i'll redraft. My other chemistry teacher still hasn't gotten back to me yet hmm.
    After lunch i had double chemistry with my other teacher from last year. I thought we would be carrying on with inorganic chemistry but we started another topic in organic chemistry looking at naming some compounds we haven't come across and optical isomerism. I enjoyed this lesson as it's chemistry ofcourse haha ! My teacher gave me a CGP chemistry revision guide to try out and i can let him know if i like it and the school will buy us all one.
    There was an after school session on anaerobic respiration but i felt quite confident with it after revising and making notes on respiration.
    At home i decided to get the maths homework 7A out of the way. It took me all night , not because it was hard , but because the questions were so long and there were so many !!! I managed to finish it and now im exhausted.
    I wish i could stay in all weekend and work but im going out with my mum tomorrow and my dad on sunday so i'm going to have to fit in important work around this agh. Maybe i'll get up early tomorrow to get some work done before i go out

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    Hey, been following your thread
    Also aiming for the same grades but I want to study pharmacy
    Just wanted to know if you had revision tips/advice for a level chemistry?
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    (Original post by AbiLab)
    Hey, been following your thread
    Also aiming for the same grades but I want to study pharmacy
    Just wanted to know if you had revision tips/advice for a level chemistry?
    I think the most important thing with chemistry is to fully understand the content and the concepts. Get a print out of the specification and make sure you know all of points and can explain them. Having a full understanding of all the basic topics from AS is really important too, as A2 simply builds on that prior knowledge. In lessons i work everything through in my head in great detail and make sure i understand absolutely everything , if you don't ask straight away.
    Another imporant factor is memory , aswell as understanding you need to remember everything you understand. Personally i have a good memory but i find using flashcards very helpful.
    Lastly i would say exam questions. Doing many questions will test your memory and understanding !
    i know people doing chemistry who lack understanding of basic concepts, which can be applied to multiple chemical situations.
    An example would be mechanisms , don't simply remember the mechanism , try to understand why each step occurs as well as remembering the process. With Born-Haber cycles don't simply remember each step , learn why the steps happen in that order. e.g. ionisation energies occur only in gas state so we know atomisation must occur first. Naming organic compounds should also be second nature , aswell as deriving chemical formulas by considering ions/oxidation states , also make sure you can easily form ionic equations and balance

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    I'm about to start at Durham for natsci (maths, chemistry & physics) so if you've got any questions about applying or the chemistry department, I'll be happy to help!! Which college are you hoping to apply to?? :-)
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    (Original post by baznoy)
    I'm about to start at Durham for natsci (maths, chemistry & physics) so if you've got any questions about applying or the chemistry department, I'll be happy to help!! Which college are you hoping to apply to?? :-)
    That's amazing congrats! Thankyou , i will let you know if i do. I didn't really have a preference but i was thinking cuths as i heard it is close to the science building?

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    (Original post by ErinMei)
    I think the most important thing with chemistry is to fully understand the content and the concepts. Get a print out of the specification and make sure you know all of points and can explain them. Having a full understanding of all the basic topics from AS is really important too, as A2 simply builds on that prior knowledge. In lessons i work everything through in my head in great detail and make sure i understand absolutely everything , if you don't ask straight away.
    Another imporant factor is memory , aswell as understanding you need to remember everything you understand. Personally i have a good memory but i find using flashcards very helpful.
    Lastly i would say exam questions. Doing many questions will test your memory and understanding !
    i know people doing chemistry who lack understanding of basic concepts, which can be applied to multiple chemical situations.
    An example would be mechanisms , don't simply remember the mechanism , try to understand why each step occurs as well as remembering the process. With Born-Haber cycles don't simply remember each step , learn why the steps happen in that order. e.g. ionisation energies occur only in gas state so we know atomisation must occur first. Naming organic compounds should also be second nature , aswell as deriving chemical formulas by considering ions/oxidation states , also make sure you can easily form ionic equations and balance

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    Thank you
    What textbook do you use & what exam board are you for chem?
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    (Original post by AbiLab)
    Thank you
    What textbook do you use & what exam board are you for chem?
    The Oxford ones by Ted Lister and Janet ( can't remember her last name) and i also have a CGP one. Im on AQA.

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    (Original post by ErinMei)
    That's amazing congrats! Thankyou , i will let you know if i do. I didn't really have a preference but i was thinking cuths as i heard it is close to the science building?

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    If you were to choose one closest to the science site, I'd choose a hill college. Grey is the closest, probably a 2 minute walk! I'm at Trevelyan which is about 8 mins away. Bailey colleges like cuths are slightly longer!
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    (Original post by baznoy)
    If you were to choose one closest to the science site, I'd choose a hill college. Grey is the closest, probably a 2 minute walk! I'm at Trevelyan which is about 8 mins away. Bailey colleges like cuths are slightly longer!
    Agh i see , thanks for the advice !

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Updated: December 11, 2017
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