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Grow Your Grades: A Sixth Form Story Watch

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    I realise that I'm a little late in starting my entry for Grow Your Grades, but who cares, it's here now!
    Hi, I'm John:wavey:! I'm a sixth form student at a school in Northern Ireland. In September I started my A-Levels, so I thought it would be a good idea to document my progress in blog form as the year goes on, and hopefully end in some fab results in August time!

    A bit of background:
    Spoiler:
    Show



    So who am I then? I suspect that this question will be answered bit by bit throughout the year, but here are a few things about me to keep you going
    • I'm 17 years old
    • I live on a farm
    • I really love (classical) music - and I play piano and cello at grade 8 standards (well ... I like to think I do anyway)
    • I love to read, especially classic novels, it's hard to beat a bit of Fitzgerald or Dickens (saying that, I've only really read one of each's novels, and then again I haven't finished Great Expectations yet !)
    • I'm only on season 4 of Game of Thrones - so no spoilers please !!

    Academic Info:
    Spoiler:
    Show


    The challenge ahead of me is obviously far more intense and difficult, but the subjects I'm doing are ones that I (for the most part) love, and find extremely engaging! My Subjects for AS Level are:
    • English Literature
    • Maths
    • History
    • Music

    I'm predicted As in all these subjects, but by the end of A2, I'm hoping for at least one A* #daretodream!!


    Extra-Curricular
    Spoiler:
    Show


    Outside of school, I consider myself quite busy! I play piano and cello, both at grade 8 standard (piano exam this Thursday - eek ), and I sit principal cello at my local Youth Orchestra. I'm also in charge of organising (or rather - pretending to) the local string quartet! Believe it or not, I have a life outside of music, although this is severely limited my job on the family farm - my parents are quite adamant that I have to do my part on the farm, which often means I have to sacrifice other activities. That being said, I manage to go wall climbing and horse-riding once a week.
    Inside of school, I am one of the editors of our School's first School Magazine, which sounds grander than it actually is, because at the moment it's very lacklustre!


    Uni - and all that stuff
    Spoiler:
    Show


    I hope to apply to study Law at University. I think it's an exciting and ever-changing career path, and from what I've read so far (1 book lol) it is very interesting academically too!
    I'm very ambitious in that by the end of A2, I want to have A*AA grades. That means, at the end of AS, I want top grades where possible! Ideally, this would allow me to apply to my (dream) universities like Cambridge and Edinburgh.
    As this part is very subjective to change, I'll update this list as the year (and my grades) progress, but right now, I'd love to apply to:
    • University of Cambridge
    • University of Edinburgh
    • Queen's University Belfast
    • University of Bristol
    • University of Glasgow
    • University of Nottingham

    I know that I've listed six institutions up there, but I want to keep an open mind so early on . I'd also like to apply to Trinity College Dublin, but that wouldn't be through UCAS.


    Aims for the Year
    Spoiler:
    Show


    As I've said, I really want to end this year with top grades! But I also want to have y grade 8s in piano and cello secured, and a diploma started in both, to have a work experience completed, and to go out with friends and get away from school work more! Obviously, I'll update this throughout the year too!



    Ok, so I think that's everything you may possibly need to know about me for now, but who knows' I've probably forgotten to tell you something really important about myself! Anyway, please enjoy my blog, comment away (any tips or tricks will be taken on ), and follow or watch or ask me to tag you for each update (I'm not really with the TSR lingo and etiquette lol). I'll probably post once or twice a week, but there will probably be mini updates in between times!
    Until my next post, Ciao!!
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    good luck!
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    (Original post by entertainmyfaith)
    good luck!
    Thanks
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    I'll be following you! How does it feel like living on a farm?!?! It must be so cool and cosy!
    (Also you can check out my gyg is you want!)
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    (Original post by johnatschool)
    I realise that I'm a little late in starting my entry for Grow Your Grades, but who cares, it's here now!
    Hi, I'm John:wavey:! I'm a sixth form student at a school in Northern Ireland. In September I started my A-Levels, so I thought it would be a good idea to document my progress in blog form as the year goes on, and hopefully end in some fab results in August time!

    A bit of background:
    Spoiler:
    Show




    So who am I then? I suspect that this question will be answered bit by bit throughout the year, but here are a few things about me to keep you going
    • I'm 17 years old
    • I live on a farm
    • I really love (classical) music - and I play piano and cello at grade 8 standards (well ... I like to think I do anyway)
    • I love to read, especially classic novels, it's hard to beat a bit of Fitzgerald or Dickens (saying that, I've only really read one of each's novels, and then again I haven't finished Great Expectations yet !)
    • I'm only on season 4 of Game of Thrones - so no spoilers please !!


    Academic Info:
    Spoiler:
    Show



    The challenge ahead of me is obviously far more intense and difficult, but the subjects I'm doing are ones that I (for the most part) love, and find extremely engaging! My Subjects for AS Level are:
    • English Literature
    • Maths
    • History
    • Music


    I'm predicted As in all these subjects, but by the end of A2, I'm hoping for at least one A* #daretodream!!




    Extra-Curricular
    Spoiler:
    Show



    Outside of school, I consider myself quite busy! I play piano and cello, both at grade 8 standard (piano exam this Thursday - eek ), and I sit principal cello at my local Youth Orchestra. I'm also in charge of organising (or rather - pretending to) the local string quartet! Believe it or not, I have a life outside of music, although this is severely limited my job on the family farm - my parents are quite adamant that I have to do my part on the farm, which often means I have to sacrifice other activities. That being said, I manage to go wall climbing and horse-riding once a week.
    Inside of school, I am one of the editors of our School's first School Magazine, which sounds grander than it actually is, because at the moment it's very lacklustre!




    Uni - and all that stuff
    Spoiler:
    Show



    I hope to apply to study Law at University. I think it's an exciting and ever-changing career path, and from what I've read so far (1 book lol) it is very interesting academically too!
    I'm very ambitious in that by the end of A2, I want to have A*AA grades. That means, at the end of AS, I want top grades where possible! Ideally, this would allow me to apply to my (dream) universities like Cambridge and Edinburgh.
    As this part is very subjective to change, I'll update this list as the year (and my grades) progress, but right now, I'd love to apply to:
    • University of Cambridge
    • University of Edinburgh
    • Queen's University Belfast
    • University of Bristol
    • University of Glasgow
    • University of Nottingham


    I know that I've listed six institutions up there, but I want to keep an open mind so early on . I'd also like to apply to Trinity College Dublin, but that wouldn't be through UCAS.




    Aims for the Year
    Spoiler:
    Show



    As I've said, I really want to end this year with top grades! But I also want to have y grade 8s in piano and cello secured, and a diploma started in both, to have a work experience completed, and to go out with friends and get away from school work more! Obviously, I'll update this throughout the year too!





    Ok, so I think that's everything you may possibly need to know about me for now, but who knows' I've probably forgotten to tell you something really important about myself! Anyway, please enjoy my blog, comment away (any tips or tricks will be taken on ), and follow or watch or ask me to tag you for each update (I'm not really with the TSR lingo and etiquette lol). I'll probably post once or twice a week, but there will probably be mini updates in between times!
    Until my next post, Ciao!!
    Omg you’re back!! :woo: really looking forward to following this as I loved your other ones :thumbsup: Good luck with this year!

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    Show
    hoping you remember me can’t remember if we spoke post my username change or not! :eek:
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    (Original post by A.N123)
    I'll be following you! How does it feel like living on a farm?!?! It must be so cool and cosy!
    (Also you can check out my gyg is you want!)
    Thanks!! I can tell you're probably a townie by the fact you think a farm is cosy, it's very mucky and cold and wet - but at the same time very cool and brilliant and great!
    I'll definitely go and check out your GYG thread once I come back in (from the farm lol) 😀
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    (Original post by johnatschool)
    Thanks!! I can tell you're probably a townie by the fact you think a farm is cosy, it's very mucky and cold and wet - but at the same time very cool and brilliant and great!
    I'll definitely go and check out your GYG thread once I come back in (from the farm lol) 😀
    Np! Yes i live in a village haha! I would love to look after the animals but i get your point about it getting mucky! Reason i dont like gardening! 😂😂😂
    Thank You for considering my gyg!
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    (Original post by Protostar)
    Omg you’re back!! :woo: really looking forward to following this as I loved your other ones :thumbsup: Good luck with this year!

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    Show
    hoping you remember me can’t remember if we spoke post my username change or not! :eek:
    ofcourse i remember you, niamh!! (oh god is that how you spell your name)?
    yeah sorry for the hiatus, i was trying to spend less time on the computer lol. You really are too kind, hopefully this years blog merts and exceeds expectations!! 😁
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    (Original post by A.N123)
    Np! Yes i live in a village haha! I would love to look after the animals but i get your point about it getting mucky! Reason i dont like gardening! 😂😂😂
    Thank You for considering my gyg!
    I have a love/hate relationship to the farm lol, yes its mucky and some animals can be right asses (not the donkey kind lol), but when you see a little newborn calf, you fall in love with it and farming again!
    Eww. Gardening.
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    Jokes lol, please don't hate me gardeners!!
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    I was thinking how I could suck you all in to my blog and I just thought ... Name:  20161224_204222-compressed.jpg.jpeg
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    (Original post by johnatschool)
    ofcourse i remember you, niamh!! (oh god is that how you spell your name)?
    yeah sorry for the hiatus, i was trying to spend less time on the computer lol. You really are too kind, hopefully this years blog merts and exceeds expectations!! 😁
    :awesome: you do! (yes it is )
    that's okay! i'm sure it will do :yep:
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    (Original post by Protostar)
    :awesome: you do! (yes it is )
    that's okay! i'm sure it will do :yep:
    gosh no pressure then! 🤣
    I'll do my best, I'm looking forward to it lol
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    (Original post by johnatschool)
    I was thinking how I could suck you all in to my blog and I just thought ... Name:  20161224_204222-compressed.jpg.jpeg
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    OMG THEY ARE THE CUTEST THINGS I'VE SEEN!!!!!! I JUST WANT TO JUMP THROUGH MY SCREEN ANS HUG THEM!!!!!!! THE LITTLE ANGLES BLESS! Now i reallly want to live on a farm haha. There's a duck pond where i live so i guess i'll just have to stick with them!:clap2::clap2::cute::cute::grin::grin::hugs::littleangel::lol::thumbsup:💗💗💗
    Thats how to advertise a gyg!
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    Chapter 1:

    The Report Card


    Seeing as I titled my blog "A Sixth Form Story", I may as well continue the analogy As you probably guessed from the title, this post is about my termly report card. I think this would also be a good time to discuss what I did during my first term of A-Levels. My school uses a "traffic light" system for grades, and I'll try to copy that throughout this post (although I really don't like this system - see the end of the post).

    English:
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Coming into A-Levels, English was the subject I was least looking forward to. It was one of my most difficult GCSEs exam technique-wise, through a fair bit of graft though, I managed to get full marks in my prose module - but it was poetry and drama that pulled me down from an A* to a very average A (I got a low B in that module).That being said, English A-Level has re-kindled my lost love for literature! It is so much more interesting, so much more engaging, but also so much more difficult; yet, I love it! We spent our first term on drama: studying Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire". The play, for those of you who don't know, is essentially about how being out of place in society can drive you insane (if other Streetcar Scholars want to offer up a different viewpoint, go ahead - I'm all ears ). We studied themes and aspects of the play, and naturally wrote an essay or two.Our tracking assessment was meant to be two-fold: give a presentation to the class on assigned themes in Streetcar (mines was the Old South and Southern Belle), and write an essay on whether we though Blanche (the protagonist) was a victim of her own femininity. However, because our teacher forgot to give everyone a mark on their presentation, only our essay was assessed. This worked to my disadvantage: my presentation was better than my essay. However, I still got 78% and best in my class in my essay, so I suppose I can't complain too much !

    TLDR; Love English, we spent the first term on drama (A Streetcar Named Desire) and we were assessed on an essay that we wrote.
    Grade: B

    History:
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Where I was anxious about started English, I was super excited to start History. I became more encouraged when I sat down at my table: I was surrounded by people who were interested in the subject, something that makes you even more excited to learn. Whilst I knew that we would be covering the same content as we did in GCSE (something that I'm still not completely happy about ), I was pleased when we got into so much more detail - and depth - on the history of Weimar Germany.Our assessment would be based on an essay entitled (something like): Explain how the effects of the Wall Street Crash were detrimental to the Weimar Republic. I was really pleased when the essay came back multiple times - our teacher had photocopied it to hand out to the rest of class!

    TLDR; Even though we're studying the same stuff as GCSE, I'm still loving history, and I got full marks on my essay .
    Grade: A*

    Maths:
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Maths was my "fall-back" A-Level, I chose it so that wasn't only doing Arts, so I wasn't holding out much hope for enjoying the subject. What I didn't factor in (if you would pardon the pun ), was that the A-Level maths teacher has such a passion for maths that he makes us enjoy the subject. That being said, Maths is definitely my worst subject, and I'll have to work much harder at it to keep it up to the standard of my other subjects. We've covered what I feel like is so much already, but our test was based on Co-ordinate Geometry, Indices & Surds and Quadratic Equations. Had I not messed up the equation for the area of a triangle (the simplest formula in our test ffs ), I would have gained 5 marks and breached the 80% mark needed for an A. Alas, I got the formula wrong and secured myself (an albeit respectable) B.

    TLDR; My Maths teacher is brill, puns (you're going to have to read it now ) and I hate the equation for the area of a triangle.
    Grade: B

    Music:
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Even though I was gutted that my school didn't offer my preferred German A-Level, music, as an alternative, was probably the subject I looked forward to the most. How disappointed I was when the subject (which is taught at the neighbouring secondary school due to numbers) became boring!Even though it's now my least favourite subject, I still aim to do well, something which is reflected in my first tracking: I got 100% on my first set of past paper questions!

    TLDR; I was so disappointed when music became boring, but I'm still doing alright at it - 100%!
    Grade: A*

    For reference, my target grades are all As.
    I thought I might finish up by explaining why I don't really like our "traffic light" approach to grades. Whilst they do give parents a nice visual as to how us pupils are doing, it doesn't give them a full picture. Even if you're 1% below your target grade, you are flagged up as underachieving - and that is then referred to our Year Head. And when you are achieving your target grade, you are awarded an orange - even if your target grade is an A*! What I think would be much better (and fairer) would be to introduce a system where our percentage attained is sent out (instead of a very broad grade), and the colours could be revised so that if you're within, say 3-5% of your target percentage band (of maybe class width 5%), you receive an orange, and if you get above this (or above 90%) you automatically are given the "green light".


    What do you guys think:
    Is using a "traffic light" system a good way to give out reports?

    That's me for this evening! This week has been very busy, so I'm planning on posting two more (maybe mini) updates tomorrow. Also, should I start a tag-list? You are more than welcome to join in the conversation, and I look forward to reading through any comments!
    Ciao!!
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    (Original post by johnatschool)




    Chapter 1:

    The Report Card





    Seeing as I titled my blog "A Sixth Form Story", I may as well continue the analogy As you probably guessed from the title, this post is about my termly report card. I think this would also be a good time to discuss what I did during my first term of A-Levels. My school uses a "traffic light" system for grades, and I'll try to copy that throughout this post (although I really don't like this system - see the end of the post).

    English:
    Spoiler:
    Show



    Coming into A-Levels, English was the subject I was least looking forward to. It was one of my most difficult GCSEs exam technique-wise, through a fair bit of graft though, I managed to get full marks in my prose module - but it was poetry and drama that pulled me down from an A* to a very average A (I got a low B in that module).That being said, English A-Level has re-kindled my lost love for literature! It is so much more interesting, so much more engaging, but also so much more difficult; yet, I love it! We spent our first term on drama: studying Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire". The play, for those of you who don't know, is essentially about how being out of place in society can drive you insane (if other Streetcar Scholars want to offer up a different viewpoint, go ahead - I'm all ears ). We studied themes and aspects of the play, and naturally wrote an essay or two.Our tracking assessment was meant to be two-fold: give a presentation to the class on assigned themes in Streetcar (mines was the Old South and Southern Belle), and write an essay on whether we though Blanche (the protagonist) was a victim of her own femininity. However, because our teacher forgot to give everyone a mark on their presentation, only our essay was assessed. This worked to my disadvantage: my presentation was better than my essay. However, I still got 78% and best in my class in my essay, so I suppose I can't complain too much !




    TLDR; Love English, we spent the first term on drama (A Streetcar Named Desire) and we were assessed on an essay that we wrote.
    Grade: B

    History:
    Spoiler:
    Show



    Where I was anxious about started English, I was super excited to start History. I became more encouraged when I sat down at my table: I was surrounded by people who were interested in the subject, something that makes you even more excited to learn. Whilst I knew that we would be covering the same content as we did in GCSE (something that I'm still not completely happy about ), I was pleased when we got into so much more detail - and depth - on the history of Weimar Germany.Our assessment would be based on an essay entitled (something like): Explain how the effects of the Wall Street Crash were detrimental to the Weimar Republic. I was really pleased when the essay came back multiple times - our teacher had photocopied it to hand out to the rest of class!




    TLDR; Even though we're studying the same stuff as GCSE, I'm still loving history, and I got full marks on my essay .
    Grade: A*

    Maths:
    Spoiler:
    Show



    Maths was my "fall-back" A-Level, I chose it so that wasn't only doing Arts, so I wasn't holding out much hope for enjoying the subject. What I didn't factor in (if you would pardon the pun ), was that the A-Level maths teacher has such a passion for maths that he makes us enjoy the subject. That being said, Maths is definitely my worst subject, and I'll have to work much harder at it to keep it up to the standard of my other subjects. We've covered what I feel like is so much already, but our test was based on Co-ordinate Geometry, Indices & Surds and Quadratic Equations. Had I not messed up the equation for the area of a triangle (the simplest formula in our test ffs ), I would have gained 5 marks and breached the 80% mark needed for an A. Alas, I got the formula wrong and secured myself (an albeit respectable) B.




    TLDR; My Maths teacher is brill, puns (you're going to have to read it now ) and I hate the equation for the area of a triangle.
    Grade: B

    Music:
    Spoiler:
    Show



    Even though I was gutted that my school didn't offer my preferred German A-Level, music, as an alternative, was probably the subject I looked forward to the most. How disappointed I was when the subject (which is taught at the neighbouring secondary school due to numbers) became boring!Even though it's now my least favourite subject, I still aim to do well, something which is reflected in my first tracking: I got 100% on my first set of past paper questions!




    TLDR; I was so disappointed when music became boring, but I'm still doing alright at it - 100%!
    Grade: A*

    For reference, my target grades are all As.
    I thought I might finish up by explaining why I don't really like our "traffic light" approach to grades. Whilst they do give parents a nice visual as to how us pupils are doing, it doesn't give them a full picture. Even if you're 1% below your target grade, you are flagged up as underachieving - and that is then referred to our Year Head. And when you are achieving your target grade, you are awarded an orange - even if your target grade is an A*! What I think would be much better (and fairer) would be to introduce a system where our percentage attained is sent out (instead of a very broad grade), and the colours could be revised so that if you're within, say 3-5% of your target percentage band (of maybe class width 5%), you receive an orange, and if you get above this (or above 90%) you automatically are given the "green light".




    What do you guys think:
    Is using a "traffic light" system a good way to give out reports?




    That's me for this evening! This week has been very busy, so I'm planning on posting two more (maybe mini) updates tomorrow. Also, should I start a tag-list? You are more than welcome to join in the conversation, and I look forward to reading through any comments!
    Ciao!!
    Wow!! Great grades, well done! :thumbsup: I always found it so interesting how subject preferences change between GCSE and A Level - I absolutely loved Physics GCSE and now choosing it for A Level has to be my biggest regret :getmecoat: really glad you're loving English and History though! You'll learn to love maths Shame about Music though :sad: although you're still doing ridiculously well - 100% already! :headfire: well done!

    EDIT: Traffic Light systems are crap and shouldn't be used I like your method much better, but I also think hitting your target should be given much more praise than it is - they're targets for a reason and so to hit them is a huge achievement!

    Tag list! Tag list! Tag list!
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    (Original post by Protostar)
    Wow!! Great grades, well done! :thumbsup: I always found it so interesting how subject preferences change between GCSE and A Level - I absolutely loved Physics GCSE and now choosing it for A Level has to be my biggest regret :getmecoat: really glad you're loving English and History though! You'll learn to love maths Shame about Music though :sad: although you're still doing ridiculously well - 100% already! :headfire: well done!

    Tag list! Tag list! Tag list!
    It definitely is interesting how quickly we change our opinions of something when we approach it from a different angle. I could never have loved Physics as a subject, the banter in class was great but I barely understood the subject - definitely no regrets there 😁!
    Tbh, I probably hyped myself up a bit too much for music, but it really is quite tedious this year! That 100% was a complete fluke and will in no way be repeated again, although the subject is generally easy. But maybe I'm not being challenged enough in it? Who knows!

    I shall set up a tag list then!!!
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    (Original post by johnatschool)
    It definitely is interesting how quickly we change our opinions of something when we approach it from a different angle. I could never have loved Physics as a subject, the banter in class was great but I barely understood the subject - definitely no regrets there 😁!
    Tbh, I probably hyped myself up a bit too much for music, but it really is quite tedious this year! That 100% was a complete fluke and will in no way be repeated again, although the subject is generally easy. But maybe I'm not being challenged enough in it? Who knows!

    I shall set up a tag list then!!!
    Glad it's not just me who thought that! And no pls GCSE Physics was the best :cry2: so much Astronomy :heart: A Level is just boring stuff I don't care about :lol:
    Ahhh yeah that can be a bit of a curse too! Even if you don't particularly enjoy it, at least you're good at it I suppose? Although I am the biggest hypocrite in saying that as I hate everything that doesn't interest me no matter how easy it is :emo: Wait and see as the year goes on, it may well get much harder and they could just be easing you in! :afraid:

    :woo:
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    (Original post by Protostar)
    Glad it's not just me who thought that! And no pls GCSE Physics was the best :cry2: so much Astronomy :heart: A Level is just boring stuff I don't care about :lol:
    Ahhh yeah that can be a bit of a curse too! Even if you don't particularly enjoy it, at least you're good at it I suppose? Although I am the biggest hypocrite in saying that as I hate everything that doesn't interest me no matter how easy it is :emo: Wait and see as the year goes on, it may well get much harder and they could just be easing you in! :afraid:

    :woo:
    We only did a tiny sub-section on astronomy - did I miss out?
    Interest certainly helps massively when it comes to enjoying a subject. I'll remain hopeful that music will get better later on in the year!!
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    (Original post by johnatschool)
    We only did a tiny sub-section on astronomy - did I miss out?
    Interest certainly helps massively when it comes to enjoying a subject. I'll remain hopeful that music will get better later on in the year!!
    We were blessed - 2 whole units on the stuff :daydreaming: living that OCR life :lol:
    It really does :yep: fingers crossed for you! :crossedf:
 
 
 
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