cester
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Hi everyone, welcome to my GYG page!
In this page, I will be doing updates on my A Levels studies, my university application and more or less my daily life.
I am hoping to post short posts daily to keep track of my daily goals and what I have done. (revisions, readings and so on📖💡)
I am also trying to meditate daily and do more exercises.
🎆Let's see how it goes. 🎆


Self-introduction: Canadian girl growing up in China
My name is Emily and I live in Guangzhou, China. I was born in Canada but my parents brought me back to China after I finished kindergarten in Toronto because they wanted me to learn Chinese. Since then, I have been living and studying in China. I studied GCSEs and AS Levels in an international school and I am currently in my year 13 (it is actually year 12 in China) doing A Levels.


Education background: GCSE, AS Levels, predicted grades
GCSE:
Economics (A*)
Coordinated Science (Double)(A*A*)
Chinese (A*)
Mathematics (A)
English as First Language (A/Band 1)
History (B)
English Literature (didn’t sit in the exams)

AS Levels:
Biology (a with 87%)
Chemistry (a with 90%)
Economics (a with 93%)
Mathematics (a with 94%)

What am I studying in Year 13 and predicted grades:
Biology (A*)
Chemistry (A*)
Mathematics (A* achieved with 90%)
AS Further Mathematics (only started on 30th Jan 2018)

UCAS: University and course choices
  • University of Oxford - Biochemistry (at Teddy Hall) (received an invitation for interviews which were on 4th Dec 2017)(received a rejection email on 10th Jan 2018)
  • Imperial College London - Biological Science (offer received on 26th Nov 2017)(But I asked for transfer to Molecular Bioengineering)
  • Imperial College London - Medical Bioscience
  • UCL - Biomedical Science (offer received on 19th Dec 2017)
  • University of Edinburgh - Biological science (offer received on 16th Nov 2017)


Universities in other countries
  • University of Toronto (Canada) - Biochemistry (offer received on 5th Jan 2018)
  • McGill University (Canada) - Physiology
  • Hong Kong University (China) - Biomedical Science (received an invitation for interviews which will be on 22nd Feb 2018)
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cester
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See the attachment for what I am planning to do for preparation for interviews recently preparing for interviews
(I just found myself unable to insert an image so I attached it )

I made an excel table where I listed out the dates before my interviews and things that I attempt to do before that and I allocated the work to every single day so that I don't need to cram before the interviews come.
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cester
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some more details on UCAS track...
I submitted my UCAS application on 13 October.
I received the invitation from Oxford on 13 November.
I received an offer from Edinburgh on 16 November including A in Biology and A in Chemistry.
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November 19th & November 20th
Hi everyone, here's an update on what I have been doing today and yesterday.

November 19th, Sunday
Interview prep: MIT online courses: 2 hours & 50 mins in total
Revision of AS content: Chemistry chap. 9 & Biology chap. 3
A2 Chemistry: worksheet on biochemistry
A2 Biology: worksheet on nervous system & reading about menstrual cycle which we are learning at school currently

November 20th, Monday
Interview prep: MIT online courses: 2 hours & 50 mins in total
A2 Biology: making notes on menstrual cycle and worksheet on menstrual cycle
I also had a mock interview with my tutor today which went great.
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cester
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November 19th & November 20th continued. (MIT course & how to make notes on it )
My words
The MIT online course that I am referring to is called "Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life" produced by MIT on a website called edX. It includes topics like glycolysis, enzymes, proteins, and DNA. The course is basically separated into the different topics in each week. The course is mainly taught by videos which are recordings of the professor's lecture with the MIT student, coupled with questions, quizzes, and lab videos. The quizzes are not compulsory and everything is self-paced although it is divided into different weeks. I find this course easy to understand based on the knowledge from AS Biology and some bits of A2 Biology (the respiration part). It will be nice to watch if you want to reveal more details of what you have learned and further your knowledge of basic biology.
See the first two attachments for some screenshots of the course to see how it is liked.


A great way that I found to make notes is to use OneNote instead of keeping notes on notebooks. This is due to OneNote allows me to insert screenshots and pictures that I need and that I couldn't draw conveniently (e.g. the 3D structure of a protein).
See the last two attachments for some screenshots of my notes.

(I still couldn't insert photos so I attached them...)
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cester
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A Levels Chemistry revision tips

Here are some revision tips for A Levels Chemistry

  1. Do past paper questions regularly after you finished a certain topic. What I did is that I downloaded all the past papers (it takes times…) and combine them into a combined pdf which includes all the past paper question. You can only also do it for different years, like one pdf file for papers from year 04 to year 08 and another file from year 09 to year 13. Then after you finished a certain topic, open the pdf file and search for keywords that appear in this topic, e.g. intermolecular forces, ionic bonds, enthalpy change
  2. Save the papers in the last few years until the real examination. You want to save the papers from the year 15 or even earlier and onwards for the period of time right before the real examinations where you will be like doing past paper questions every day.
  3. For organic chemistry, you may be like super confused when you studying it but once you finish all the organic chemistry topics, you can start to put all the organic reactions on a piece of paper. Looking at that sheet of reactions, draw a flowchart of organic molecules and draw arrows between organic molecules that are related. For example, primary alcohol can be oxidized to form carboxylic acid then draw an arrow from alcohol to carboxylic acid. Number all the arrows and on another piece of paper write down no. 1 and write everything you need to know about this reaction such as its conditions (temperature, catalysts, etc.), the equation and the mechanism (if there is one). After doing all these, you will have 3 pieces of paper full of organic chemistry notes…Before exams, just look at the flowchart and try to recall the conditions, reagents, and mechanisms.
  4. Besides textbook, there are many online sources like Khan Academy (everyone has mentioned it Ikr…) and revision notes. The one that I linked is the Znotes for AS Chemistry. It is for the exam board CIE (Cambridge international examination) but the content is basically the same as OCR, AQA and others so check it out.
    https://znotes.org/cie-as-chemistry-9701/
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A Levels Maths revision tips
  1. Every time after you finished a chapter, do some past paper questions on this topic. Not the ones in your textbook but the real ones with marking schemes. If you get them right, perfect! If you get them wrong, write down which part of your thinking process got wrong or what mistakes you made. Besides this, you also need to conclude what types of questions you will encounter on this topic. By looking questions on the same topic from different years you can definitely see some patterns going on... Make notes on what type of question you will get and no matter you got them right or wrong on your first time approaching, write down the perfect steps that will get you all the marks according to the mark scheme and you will find it helpful when you come to revision especially for topics like vectors.
  2. Do revision notes every time you finish a chapter but not wait until the exams because your memories are still fresh and you are still aware of what mistakes you need to avoid. Personally, I got a sense of familiarity with a topic after I just finished learning it and doing all the past paper questions and I know I need to get all my revision notes for this topic before this sense of familiarity starts to fade. If not, I will need to do a lot of past paper questions before exams to pick up the familiarity with the topics again. By simply reading the notes that I made and the model answers that I wrote, I can easily find that sense of familiarity again.
  3. Read the textbook... Sometimes we have teachers that use other sources besides the textbook to teach and you find yourself able to understand the content perfectly but yet still read the textbooks... If you have a teacher who refers to the textbooks closely like uses the example from the book directly during classes to explain to you, yet still read the textbooks by yourself after class. You will understand the importance of it by the second that you start reading it trust me.
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cester
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November 21st & November 22nd
Hi everyone, here's an update on what I have been doing today and yesterday. Image

November 21st, Tuesday
Interview prep: MIT online courses: 30 mins in total
Revision of AS content: Biology chap. 4 & 5
A2 Biology: watched 2 videos assigned by my teacher on stomatal opening and guard cell structure
I had an interview preparation class today where my chemistry teacher just directly taught us (me and others who applied for Biochemistry and Chemistry) some new knowledge and tested how well we could absorb it by giving us questions on the topic. It was fun but hard.

November 22nd, Wednesday
Interview prep: MIT online courses: 3 hours in total
Revision of AS content: Biology chap. 6 & 7
A2 Biology: doing notes on stomatal closure and menstruation cycle
Uni application: My chemistry teacher started to write me another reference letter for my application to Univerisity of Hong Kong. So happy now!

My thoughts
I have been staying up quite late for the last few weeks and today at a certain moment I suddenly felt all the accumulated tiredness burst out in my body and felt like dying... I need to sleep earlier and wake up earlier!
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cester
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November 23rd, November 24th & November 25th
Hi everyone, here's an update on what I have been doing today and yesterday.

November 23rd, Thursday
Interview prep: Khan Academy videos on gene regulation
Revision of AS content: Biology chap. 7

November 24th, Friday
A2 Biology: finished all the notes on menstruation cycle
I had another interview preparation class today and I thought I literally screwed it up… It didn’t go well and I struggled with some many questions that I had no clue how to answer. They were about cell organelles, ATP, energy and organic chemistry. But the thing was that I got the chance to see which part that I had trouble with and improved on that. I planned to review all the organic chemistry mechanisms that we have learned so far to be more prepared.

November 25th, Saturday
Interview prep: reading page from 374 - 375 from the biology textbook
Revision of AS content: Biology chap. 8 & Chemistry chap. 10, 11, 12
I am going to have another mock interview preparation class today and I will write about it in the next post.

My thoughts
I procrastinated a lot for the last three days…
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cester
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Meditation app recommendation
This is the app that I have been using for the last month on my phone. It is called Stop, Breathe and Think.
I believe you can use it on both iOS and Andriod phones.

When you open it, you can check in both saying how do you feel mentally and physically then you can choose from a series of emotions to describe how you feel in specific.
Attachment 706094
The app will then automatically recommend meditations for you according to your conditions.

You can also browse through the list of meditations and choose from it directly. (See the attachment for the screenshot for the meditations... I just found that I couldn't upload pictures again.)

When you click on a meditation, it will ask you to choose the time and the voice for this mediation. It usually spans from 3 minutes to 7 minutes. Some last for 10 minutes but you have to go premium for that. It basically has two voices for you to choose, the man or the woman.

It is more like guided meditations where there is a voice in the background asking you to close your eyes, sit in a comfortable position, focus on your breath and so on.

After meditations, you can keep track of how much time you have meditated in total. This app also has some stickers representing achievements you have accomplished such as listening to meditations for 30 mins in total and meditating for 3 days in a streak. See the second attachment.

Overall, this is a nice app to use for meditations because the design is pretty and everything is easily followed.
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(attachments for the last post)
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SoIjust
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Great tips! Good luck with your interviews!
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cester
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(Original post by SoIjust)
Great tips! Good luck with your interviews!

Thank you so much! Good luck with A Levels!
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eliza154
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that flow chart idea for organic chemistry is amazing I'm definitely doing that! good luck with your interview I'm sure you'll do great 😄
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username3460126
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Your gyg is amazing! You'll smash your A-Levels!
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cester
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(Original post by eliza154)
that flow chart idea for organic chemistry is amazing I'm definitely doing that! good luck with your interview I'm sure you'll do great 😄
Thank you so much! 😆 Good luck with your A Levels and everything!
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cester
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(Original post by A.N123)
Your gyg is amazing! You'll smash your A-Levels!

Thank you so much! 😆 Good luck with your A Levels and everything!
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cester
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November 26th, November 27th & November 28th
Hi everyone, here's an update on what I have been doing for the last three days.

November 26th, Sunday
Interview prep: read some pages from the biology textbook about inherited changes
A2 Biology: finished doing readings, videos, and notes on stomata closure and germination
Revision of AS content: Chem chap. 12
Revision of Chemistry topic test tomorrow

November 27th, Monday
A2 Chemistry: finished class exercise worksheet 1
Revision of AS content: Chemistry chap. 14
Interview prep: read some pages from the biology textbook
I had two interview preparation class today and arranged all the notes that I had from mock interviews.

November 28th, Tuesday
A2 Chemistry: finished some questions from the workbook
Interview prep: Revised notes that I made for interview prep
Revision of AS content: Chemistry chap. 15

My thoughts
The mock interview that I had on November 25th went quite well. (I said I would update how it went from the last update haha)
I just discovered that I had so much to do to prepare for interviews...
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(Original post by cester)
Thank you so much! 😆 Good luck with your A Levels and everything!
Thank You! Im in yr 10 but i love a level gygs!
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cester
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Here's an update on UCAS track...
Received an offer from Imperial College London on Nov 26th... I literally forgot to put it up!
It was an offer on Biological Science and the conditions are AAA in Maths, Biology, and Chemistry.
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