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    I'm currently in Year 13 and working towards my final A Level exams at the end of this school year. Having achieved BCC in my AS Levels, I want to improve my grades for this year. My target, set by my school, is BBB, and that is the highest entry requirement out of the unis I'm applying to. I have already got a B in Media Studies, but I am aiming to improve my English Literature and Music grades this year.
    I'm gonna try and update this thread at the end of every week with what I have achieved that week, and any progress with grades and marks.


    Media Studies
    I only found out at the start of this year, after taking the exam, that my AS grade makes up 50% of my overall A Level. If I had known this previously, I probably would have worked harder to get an A last year, to take the pressure off Year 13 slightly. But I didn't, and so I need to work hard this year to keep up my grade in media. Luckily I already got a B, so I need to get the same this year to achieve my target.
    At the moment I am in the middle of my coursework for Media. This year we make a music video, poster, and album cover, all while documenting the research, planning and production on a blog. I am working with a close friend for this, however there have been some tensions as she isn't getting her part of the work done and I am having to do most of the work as I don't want to do badly. My teacher has set us a lot of internal deadlines for the different parts of our coursework, and threatened to take marks off if we miss them. While this seems very strict, I've been finding it helpful to have smaller deadline to work to rather than one deadline for all the work somewhere in the future.
    My main aim for this year in Media is to overall improve my theory skills. I can do the practical side of it well, but evaluating and justifying my work is where I often fall short. That's the main focus of the written exam this year, so I need to improve my skills in that area. Fortunately, the questions are already set and would be on 1/5 possible topics, so I am able to prepare well for the exam. Therefore I will focus on the writing side of my coursework for the first half of the year, and then prepare for the written exam with a lot of practice questions.


    English Literature
    English Literature is definitely my most challenging subject. I love reading, and learning about social and historical context of books, and the meaning of the texts. However, I'm bad at working independently on this. I find it difficult to interpret texts myself, usually relying on my teacher's ideas or information online. This is okay for class work and my research project, but in the actual exam I'm unable to do this. Therefore I really need to work on my interpretation and analysis skills for this year.
    I achieved a C in my AS, which was actually higher than I was expecting. The exams this year are a lot harder though. One is 3 hours long, the other 2 1/2, and they both cover a lot of different elements. I have 6 texts to learn, as well as unseen extracts. These exams will need a lot of work, I intend to start revision for them as soon as my coursework is over.
    Speaking of coursework, the English non-exam assessment is the bane of my life at the moment. It's a 2500 word essay, with a bibliography, and my first draft is due is 4 days. Because of having to do extra Media work, I've fallen behind on this massively. I've only written 700 words so far, and struggled with that anyway. Therefore this needs to be my priority over the next week, and probably over half term too.


    Music
    Music is my favourite A Level. At my school it's hard to get into, as you need to have Grade 6 in an instrument and got a B at GCSE (I'm working towards Grade 8 on the oboe). This means the class is tiny, I'm actually the only student from my school in the class. The other two people in my class are part of consortium from the boy's school in my town. Having this small class means I get a lot of one-to-one help and support with everything, including things unrelated to the course.
    I achieved a C in my AS Level, and I want to get that up to a B this year. At AS you can't get an A*, but if you could I would have gotten one in my written exam. The exam consists of writing an essay and answering questions about set pieces. There were 12 pieces we had to learn last year, but this goes up to 18 this year. And this isn't just being familiar with the music. It's memorising 5-6 facts from 8 categories (context, structure, melody, harmony, tonality, texture, dynamics & sonority), in detail, for 18 pieces. The essay could be on, for example, melody in Danny Elfman's 'Batman Returns', and I need to be able to write an entire essay on just this. Last year I got 54/80 in the exam, higher than all my mocks, and 17/20 in the main essay. I spent a lot of time revising for this, and am really happy with how I did the exam. With more pieces to lean this year, I need to do a massive amount of memorising and revision. I'm planning to start intense revision on these pieces in January.
    However, coursework is 60%. That might seem good for some people, but my coursework didn't go well. I don't want to blame something else, but I did have a really bad oboe reed on the day of my performance, and this contributed to me playing badly for the recording. I've got the examiner's notes back from this performance, and all the things wrong from it come from bad tone and tuning (the reed), and cutting phrases short or playing too fast (running out of breath). I know that I don't do enough practice and I get tired quickly, meaning I'm unable to play for a long time. I just managed my 6 minute recital last year, but this year it's 8 minutes so I need to really work on being able to play for longer. I'm also taking my Grade 8 in December, which is a very long exam, and I really need to be able to play for longer. I've been trying to do five 45 minute practices a week, but I end up procrastinating doing it, or saying I have too much work. There's no way around it though, I just need to do the practice or I will fail both performances.
    The other half of coursework is composition. My compositions aren't terrible, but they of course could be improved. This year we have one free composition, and then have to write two Bach chorales. These are very difficult and have a lot of rules; we also only have 2 weeks to write them in. My teacher has a Bach money jar, where we have to put 10p in for every mistake we make when writing; consecutives, wrong inversions, out of range notes etc. I'm proud to say I've only paid about 30p this term, and even that was a few weeks ago. We've only been doing cadences at the moment though, so I don't know what will happen when I have to do a whole piece.
    For the other composition I'm planning to write an oboe solo with string accompaniment, in ritornello form. My teacher wants me to perform this at my school leaver's concert in the spring, so I need to finish it by then. As I'll be writing for myself, I don't think I'll have any major issues with this work, apart from finishing it in time.
    My main aim this year for Music is to memorise all the information about pieces for the written exam, and try to get an A* in the paper. I also need to do more oboe practice and improve my playing for the recording in March, and practice Bach chorales so I'm able to write a full one in the short time we have to do it.


    Everything Else
    I'm doing the EPQ this year, on the relationship between film and music. This will need a lot of research, and I want to make a documentary on my findings, which will take up a lot of my time. I've started the research process for this, but we're not having much guidance from the teacher for this, so I'm not sure on deadlines, how much work to do etc.
    I work part time at my school as a cleaner. It's until 5:45 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so it does leave me time to do schoolwork afterwards, however I'm finding that I'm always tired when I get home and don't want to work. It's a good job and pays really well (£9.52/hr), but I will probably do less hours when it gets close to exam season.
    I've been spending all my weekends recently at university open days, and I've decided on Bath Spa, Arts University Bournemouth, Winchester, Brighton and Nottingham Trent (might look at UWE too). I am looking at Film Production or Filmmaking at all these universities, which I've wanted to do basically my whole life. A lot of them are saying that if you apply now, you could get an offer within 48 hours, so I want to get my application in as early as possible. My personal statement is done, and I'm just waiting on my teacher reference now before I send it off probably mid-November.
    For the courses I'm applying for, a portfolio is an an important part of my application. I have a few things in my portfolio at the moment, mostly work from my A Level, but I need to add more. I have a short film written at the moment I'm hoping to film in the next month, and a couple of other small ideas. I'm also going to submit scripts and planning work, and I'm in the process of creating a film scrapbook to show my research into film history and context.

    This is the timetable I made to make sure I keep on top of work. Each subject has a different colour, capitals are lessons and lowercase is study periods. I have scheduled 5 hours of each subject a week, 5 hours of EPQ work and 5 hours on my portfolio. The 9 hours I work each week are also on there. The timetable doesn't include the weekends, which I use for catching up on anything I missed in the week.



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    (Original post by amyeluned)
    I'm currently in Year 13 and working towards my final A Level exams at the end of this school year. Having achieved BCC in my AS Levels, I want to improve my grades for this year. My target, set by my school, is BBB, and that is the highest entry requirement out of the unis I'm applying to. I have already got a B in Media Studies, but I am aiming to improve my English Literature and Music grades this year.
    I'm gonna try and update this thread at the end of every week with what I have achieved that week, and any progress with grades and marks.



    Media Studies

    I only found out at the start of this year, after taking the exam, that my AS grade makes up 50% of my overall A Level. If I had known this previously, I probably would have worked harder to get an A last year, to take the pressure off Year 13 slightly. But I didn't, and so I need to work hard this year to keep up my grade in media. Luckily I already got a B, so I need to get the same this year to achieve my target.
    At the moment I am in the middle of my coursework for Media. This year we make a music video, poster, and album cover, all while documenting the research, planning and production on a blog. I am working with a close friend for this, however there have been some tensions as she isn't getting her part of the work done and I am having to do most of the work as I don't want to do badly. My teacher has set us a lot of internal deadlines for the different parts of our coursework, and threatened to take marks off if we miss them. While this seems very strict, I've been finding it helpful to have smaller deadline to work to rather than one deadline for all the work somewhere in the future.
    My main aim for this year in Media is to overall improve my theory skills. I can do the practical side of it well, but evaluating and justifying my work is where I often fall short. That's the main focus of the written exam this year, so I need to improve my skills in that area. Fortunately, the questions are already set and would be on 1/5 possible topics, so I am able to prepare well for the exam. Therefore I will focus on the writing side of my coursework for the first half of the year, and then prepare for the written exam with a lot of practice questions.



    English Literature

    English Literature is definitely my most challenging subject. I love reading, and learning about social and historical context of books, and the meaning of the texts. However, I'm bad at working independently on this. I find it difficult to interpret texts myself, usually relying on my teacher's ideas or information online. This is okay for class work and my research project, but in the actual exam I'm unable to do this. Therefore I really need to work on my interpretation and analysis skills for this year.
    I achieved a C in my AS, which was actually higher than I was expecting. The exams this year are a lot harder though. One is 3 hours long, the other 2 1/2, and they both cover a lot of different elements. I have 6 texts to learn, as well as unseen extracts. These exams will need a lot of work, I intend to start revision for them as soon as my coursework is over.
    Speaking of coursework, the English non-exam assessment is the bane of my life at the moment. It's a 2500 word essay, with a bibliography, and my first draft is due is 4 days. Because of having to do extra Media work, I've fallen behind on this massively. I've only written 700 words so far, and struggled with that anyway. Therefore this needs to be my priority over the next week, and probably over half term too.



    Music

    Music is my favourite A Level. At my school it's hard to get into, as you need to have Grade 6 in an instrument and got a B at GCSE (I'm working towards Grade 8 on the oboe). This means the class is tiny, I'm actually the only student from my school in the class. The other two people in my class are part of consortium from the boy's school in my town. Having this small class means I get a lot of one-to-one help and support with everything, including things unrelated to the course.
    I achieved a C in my AS Level, and I want to get that up to a B this year. At AS you can't get an A*, but if you could I would have gotten one in my written exam. The exam consists of writing an essay and answering questions about set pieces. There were 12 pieces we had to learn last year, but this goes up to 18 this year. And this isn't just being familiar with the music. It's memorising 5-6 facts from 8 categories (context, structure, melody, harmony, tonality, texture, dynamics & sonority), in detail, for 18 pieces. The essay could be on, for example, melody in Danny Elfman's 'Batman Returns', and I need to be able to write an entire essay on just this. Last year I got 54/80 in the exam, higher than all my mocks, and 17/20 in the main essay. I spent a lot of time revising for this, and am really happy with how I did the exam. With more pieces to lean this year, I need to do a massive amount of memorising and revision. I'm planning to start intense revision on these pieces in January.
    However, coursework is 60%. That might seem good for some people, but my coursework didn't go well. I don't want to blame something else, but I did have a really bad oboe reed on the day of my performance, and this contributed to me playing badly for the recording. I've got the examiner's notes back from this performance, and all the things wrong from it come from bad tone and tuning (the reed), and cutting phrases short or playing too fast (running out of breath). I know that I don't do enough practice and I get tired quickly, meaning I'm unable to play for a long time. I just managed my 6 minute recital last year, but this year it's 8 minutes so I need to really work on being able to play for longer. I'm also taking my Grade 8 in December, which is a very long exam, and I really need to be able to play for longer. I've been trying to do five 45 minute practices a week, but I end up procrastinating doing it, or saying I have too much work. There's no way around it though, I just need to do the practice or I will fail both performances.
    The other half of coursework is composition. My compositions aren't terrible, but they of course could be improved. This year we have one free composition, and then have to write two Bach chorales. These are very difficult and have a lot of rules; we also only have 2 weeks to write them in. My teacher has a Bach money jar, where we have to put 10p in for every mistake we make when writing; consecutives, wrong inversions, out of range notes etc. I'm proud to say I've only paid about 30p this term, and even that was a few weeks ago. We've only been doing cadences at the moment though, so I don't know what will happen when I have to do a whole piece.
    For the other composition I'm planning to write an oboe solo with string accompaniment, in ritornello form. My teacher wants me to perform this at my school leaver's concert in the spring, so I need to finish it by then. As I'll be writing for myself, I don't think I'll have any major issues with this work, apart from finishing it in time.
    My main aim this year for Music is to memorise all the information about pieces for the written exam, and try to get an A* in the paper. I also need to do more oboe practice and improve my playing for the recording in March, and practice Bach chorales so I'm able to write a full one in the short time we have to do it.



    Everything Else

    I'm doing the EPQ this year, on the relationship between film and music. This will need a lot of research, and I want to make a documentary on my findings, which will take up a lot of my time. I've started the research process for this, but we're not having much guidance from the teacher for this, so I'm not sure on deadlines, how much work to do etc.
    I work part time at my school as a cleaner. It's until 5:45 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so it does leave me time to do schoolwork afterwards, however I'm finding that I'm always tired when I get home and don't want to work. It's a good job and pays really well (£9.52/hr), but I will probably do less hours when it gets close to exam season.
    I've been spending all my weekends recently at university open days, and I've decided on Bath Spa, Arts University Bournemouth, Winchester, Brighton and Nottingham Trent (might look at UWE too). I am looking at Film Production or Filmmaking at all these universities, which I've wanted to do basically my whole life. A lot of them are saying that if you apply now, you could get an offer within 48 hours, so I want to get my application in as early as possible. My personal statement is done, and I'm just waiting on my teacher reference now before I send it off probably mid-November.
    For the courses I'm applying for, a portfolio is an an important part of my application. I have a few things in my portfolio at the moment, mostly work from my A Level, but I need to add more. I have a short film written at the moment I'm hoping to film in the next month, and a couple of other small ideas. I'm also going to submit scripts and planning work, and I'm in the process of creating a film scrapbook to show my research into film history and context.

    This is the timetable I made to make sure I keep on top of work. Each subject has a different colour, capitals are lessons and lowercase is study periods. I have scheduled 5 hours of each subject a week, 5 hours of EPQ work and 5 hours on my portfolio. The 9 hours I work each week are also on there. The timetable doesn't include the weekends, which I use for catching up on anything I missed in the week.




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Views: 29
Size:  92.4 KB




    Looking good! I'll be following this How're you finding Y13 so far? A step up from last year?
    Strangely enough I'm jealous of your job - working at school would be so convenient and that pay is amazing! :shock:
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    (Original post by Protostar)
    Looking good! I'll be following this How're you finding Y13 so far? A step up from last year?
    Strangely enough I'm jealous of your job - working at school would be so convenient and that pay is amazing! :shock:
    Definitely! It feels like I've been thrown in at the deep end, so much work to do and still only in the first term. It's all coursework though, so hopefully once that's done I can focus on revision which I find a lot easier to organise!
    And yes, surprisingly I really like my job! Tend to get odd reactions from people when I say I'm a cleaner, but the hours are so convenient and it's only a 5 minute walk home afterwards! Getting £300 a month is pretty good too
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    20.10.17

    First update! I'm just gonna give a quick overview of what I've done this week because I don't have enough time to write as much as I did for the first post.
    Been a very busy week, especially with stuff outside of school. I'm just about managing to keep on top of work but I could fall behind very easily so I need to keep up this level of working. It's half term next week so I should be able to use that to get ahead again.
    The main work this week has been my English coursework. I went to see my teacher on Wednesday and she has talked me through the structure of it and given a few suggestions so that's helped. She also said that although she would like to see a full draft today, the actual deadline isn't till the end of November. She wants to give us feedback over half term so as long as I can get the first draft done for next Monday I will be fine. That means I have the whole weekend to write it, as I don't have any other plans.
    I would be doing it today but I'm writing this while waiting for actors to arrive for auditions for my Media Studies coursework. Filming those will take up the afternoon, and then I'm going to a friend's 18th in the evening.
    Media coursework is going well at the moment, we're not behind or anything. We've had some issues with getting all the actors to be free at the same time to film, and with the booked days we will be cutting it very close to the deadline. It only leaves us two weeks to edit which hopefully should be enough.
    Music coursework has been going well recently, I'm improving at writing Bach chorales, and yesterday I rehearsed my recital with the pianist and it sounded really good. Still need to work on improving my playing stamina, but I'm actually able to play the piece now which helps. After half term I need to really focus on my composition, the other two people in my class are just adding onto their ones from last year, but as neither of mine got good marks I'm going to do a completely new one. This means I'm a bit behind on that already, so I need to prioritise that next term.
    I haven't really had much homework this term because it's all been focused on coursework, but I've been set a lot for over half term. 2 wider listenings, an elements table, an analysis map (these are what my teacher calls them but its basically just accumulating information about different pieces together as revision materials), and revision for an essay on the first lesson back for Music. Finishing my coursework, and then a few different research and analysis exercises on The Handmaid's Tale for English. And then finishing all the planning for our music video shoot for Media. Also I need to work on my EPQ, as we've been sent more information about that now from the head of year, and I need to do more portfolio work.

    Looks like I'm gonna be busy next week!
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    28.10.17

    End of half term. It's been a very busy week. I haven't got as much work done as I would have liked to, but I do still have the rest of this weekend. I finished the first draft of my english coursework and I'm waiting for that back from my teacher so I can carry on with it. Other than that, haven't really done much work. Been busy with seeing family, me and my boyfriend's anniversary, and seeing friends. I've also managed to plan some films I'm going to make for my uni portfolio. But yeah, probably need to do a bit more work.
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    Deffo gonna give this a follow! Really interesting hearing what it’s like learning completely different subjects to myself!!
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