Shadow's Impossible Seeming Journey To A*AA Watch

Shadowdraconis
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:banana::awesome: Welcome To My Year 13 GYG Blog/Thread 2018 - 2019 :awesome::banana:





Hey, I'm Shadow and this is (hopefully :crossedf:) going to be the journey of getting the grades I need, in order to study Computer Science at a good uni that can set me up to get a good job and make my parents proud (that sounds so cheesy lol). In September I'm starting year 13 and I'm taking linear A Levels in Computer Science (OCR), Maths (Edexcel) and Biology (OCR), so I have had no AS exams.

I intend to study Computer Science integrated masters with a year in industry. Unfortunately I still haven't managed to fully narrow down my university choice (deadlines are close I know) despite making a detailed excel spreadsheet using my research and thinking about it all summer. 1 thing I have managed to decide on is an aspirational uni choice that I would really love to go to (so technically 1 down 4 to go): Warwick, who require A*AA. I'll try to update weekly if possible, possibly might turn into fortnightly, but I'm going to try and commit to something for an entire (stressful) year, in the hopes that maybe others in my position in the future can maybe get something out of it.


Predicted Grades (Not Fully Confirmed Yet)
Click here

Computer Science - A*
Very happy with that prediction and I think I will be able to get it if I work hard enough. Although the coursework is taking longer than I anticipated mostly cos of having to self teach myself java, after only having done Python before.

Maths - B
Long story short I messed up my year 12 mocks :banghead: :bricks: cos I didn't understand Statistics and Mechanics. Both of my teachers said they knew I could get higher (past exams + GCSE + HW) but as i'd done so awefully in the end of year exam, the head of maths wouldn't let my teachers predict me an A at the end of year 12. Luckily there's a retest near the start of year 13, which will be the chance to push my B predicted to an A. I'm currently revising hard so hopefully I can push it up.

Biology - B
Would have liked to be predicted an A, but am still happy with a B for now. This was the subject I struggled the most especially at the start of year 12, because the exam questions especially were so different to GCSE, it threw me and the pace we went at was unreal. But I worked really hard and was determined to get at least a B and changed my revision methods to go from C's/D's in the first term to A's/B's for the rest of the year. For my actual exams in 2019, im hoping to try and get at least an A.


The Unis I'm Debating Between
Click here

University Of St Andrews - AAA [Ruled out cos Biology predicted grade is most likely going to be B]
Manchester University - A*A*A [Ruled out cos unrealistically higher than predicted grades]
Durham University - A*AA
University of Warwick - A*AA
University Of Southampton - A*AA
Loughborough University - AAA
University of Leeds - AAA
University of Bath - AAA/A*AB
University of Sheffield - AAA
Lancaster University - AAA
University Of York - AAA/AAB
Newcastle University - AAB
Swansea University - AAA/BBB

If anyone has any tips/advice on any of these universities, in particular their computer science department, to help me to narrow my list down to 5, please let me know down below.


Other Things About Me
Click here

I'm left handed, a pro at procrastination and I like to:
- Read (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, I could list so many more)[/size]
- Watch movies (especially Marvel)[/size]
- Swim (not competitively but as a hobby)[/size]
- Play electric guitar (currently doing Grade 6)[/size]
- Paint/draw (although doing GCSE Art has somewhat ruined that for me)[/size]
- Play video games but my laptop atm isn't the most powerful so can't handle many games.[/size]


Important Dates
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3rd September 2018 - First day of year 13
6th or 20th October 2018 - Warwick Open Day
12th November 2018 - My birthday :nutcase::yay: & My school's UCAS Application deadline
15th January 2019 - Official UCAS Application Deadline
28th January to 2nd February 2019 - A Level Mock Week
(provisional) 3rd June 2019 - Computer Science Paper 1: Computer Systems
(provisional) 5th June 2019 - Maths Paper 1: Pure Maths
(provisional) 6th June 2019 - Biology Paper 1: Biological Processes
(provisional) 11th June 2019 - Computer Science Paper 2: Algorithms & Programming
(provisional) 12th June 2019 - Maths Paper 2: Pure Maths
(provisional) 13th June 2019 - Biology Paper 2: Biological Diversity
(provisional) 14th June 2019 - Maths Paper 3: Statistics & Mechanics
(provisional) 17th June 2019 - Biology Paper 3: Unified Biology


Tag List
Thanks for reading! If you don't want to be tagged/want to be tagged just say. I'm also happy to follow anyone else's GYG's.
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clouddbubbles
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good luck will definitely be following!
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Rolls_Reus_0wner
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Gd luck!
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by clouddbubbles)
good luck will definitely be following!
(Original post by Rolls_Reus_0wner)
Gd luck!
Thanks guys!
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Rolls_Reus_0wner
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Oh can I please have some tips on how to revise for computer science. I got an E in my mocks and I want to get an A/A* by the end of year 13. Also, for my project I am creating chess. Is it ok if I do a single player game against the computer or it has to be 2 player local multiplayer? Also, what is the best programming language for creating chess???

Thanks in advance
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username3989988
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Shadowdraconis Good luck! I'm so glad you've made a GYG. Btw, I'm going to pm you in a later/tommorow about some stuff... secrets... :ninja: I'm sure you'll be able to get those A's in maths and bio (congrats on improving so much in bio! :woo:) We have such similar hobbies: swimming, art (GCSE art though.. :shakecane:) and videogames! (what kind do you play - I tend to play open world fantasy/medieval stuff ) Tag me ofc!
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by Rolls_Reus_0wner)
Oh can I please have some tips on how to revise for computer science. I got an E in my mocks and I want to get an A/A* by the end of year 13. Also, for my project I am creating chess. Is it ok if I do a single player game against the computer or it has to be 2 player local multiplayer? Also, what is the best programming language for creating chess???

Thanks in advance
Sure, i'll try and give some helpful tips! I think the main thing is just learning the content. I do this by making notes and watching videos on youtube, because there's not any past papers yet to practice with. What exam board are you doing? I also did it at GCSE which was really helpful cos I remembered quite a lot from GCSE. Did you do GCSE in it too?
Your project idea sounds great! From what my teachers have said doing a single player against the computer would actually be better because that's a basic form of AI, which increases the complexity of the program and so increases marks. The only thing is it might be tricky to program the computer to do that. I researched programming languages when I started mine, and most people recommend java. My teachers always emphasised staying away from python tho.
Hope that was helpful!
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username2424985
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(Original post by Shadowdraconis)
The Unis I'm Debating Between
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University Of St Andrews - AAA
University of Warwick - A*AA
University Of Southampton - A*AA
Loughborough University - AAA
University of Leeds - AAA
University of Bath - AAA/A*AB
University of Sheffield - AAA
Lancaster University - AAA
University Of York - AAA/AAB
Newcastle University - AAB
I've visited Loughborough, Leeds and Bath's CS departments! I liked all 3 - Leeds was my insurance, and Bath would've probably been my firm had Durham not existed. Loughborough was slightly less impressive than the other two, but nice nevertheless. To your list, I would add Edinburgh & Nottingham for consideration - two respected CompSci departments there. I would also shamelessly plug Durham, as a second/replacement aspirational choice, but I know it's not to everyone's tastes Finally, make sure you include at least one university that might give you an AAB offer - for me, those were Leeds and Bristol, both due to their "contextual offers." You can check eligibility criteria for those on their websites.

Best of luck with the year ahead
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by MaizieAmyr)
Shadowdraconis Good luck! I'm so glad you've made a GYG. Btw, I'm going to pm you in a later/tommorow about some stuff... secrets... :ninja: I'm sure you'll be able to get those A's in maths and bio (congrats on improving so much in bio! :woo:) We have such similar hobbies: swimming, art (GCSE art though.. :shakecane:) and videogames! (what kind do you play - I tend to play open world fantasy/medieval stuff ) Tag me ofc!
Thanks Maisie!! Ooh im intrigued about the PM :eek4:!
Cool! IKR GCSE art was hell! I usually play first person shooter games, but I don't play that much anymore. Atm im playing the one of the only games my laptop can handle: tanki online which is a browser based tank shooting game. I've never tried any open world fantasy games tbh.
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by plklupu)
I've visited Loughborough, Leeds and Bath's CS departments! I liked all 3 - Leeds was my insurance, and Bath would've probably been my firm had Durham not existed. Loughborough was slightly less impressive than the other two, but nice nevertheless. To your list, I would add Edinburgh & Nottingham for consideration - two respected CompSci departments there. I would also shamelessly plug Durham, as a second/replacement aspirational choice, but I know it's not to everyone's tastes Finally, make sure you include at least one university that might give you an AAB offer - for me, those were Leeds and Bristol, both due to their "contextual offers." You can check eligibility criteria for those on their websites.

Best of luck with the year ahead
Thanks! I did consider Durham, Edinburgh and Nottingham (I visited Nottingham as a school trip in June, and I did like the campus...) but none of those universities offered an integrated masters course with a year in industry. That seems really picky lol but financially, integrated masters seems better for me and my teachers/universities all recommended a year in industry for widening graduate job prospects.
Most of the integrated masters courses are higher than the bachelors course, and I thought i'd apply to the integrated masters one and if I don't have the grades, change to the bachelors course. Do you recommend applying to some AAB offer bachelors courses instead of the integrated masters?

Thank you! And best of luck to you too, starting Durham Uni this year! :grin:
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username2424985
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(Original post by Shadowdraconis)
Thanks! I did consider Durham, Edinburgh and Nottingham (I visited Nottingham as a school trip in June, and I did like the campus...) but none of those universities offered an integrated masters course with a year in industry. That seems really picky lol but financially, integrated masters seems better for me and my teachers/universities all recommended a year in industry for widening graduate job prospects.
Most of the integrated masters courses are higher than the bachelors course, and I thought i'd apply to the integrated masters one and if I don't have the grades, change to the bachelors course. Do you recommend applying to some AAB offer bachelors courses instead of the integrated masters?

And best of luck to you too, starting Durham Uni this year! :grin:
That's fair enough! Gotta say though, Durham does have a MEng CS course with placement, code G410 (it's not listed on the website but info can be found in the course PDF for G406, you can transfer into it (https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/facu...works/g406.pdf))... I'll say no more I understand the preference for the integrated masters, it is my preference too! Though my aim is hopefully to secure one or two summer research internships, then go straight to a PhD, I can't stand the thought of working in the private sector haha!

I'm not sure whether I would recommend applying to BSc courses, because I think that negatively impacts your funding for a separate masters course (though I could be wrong). I applied only to 4YM courses, though Leeds was CompSci w/ Maths and Bristol was Maths+CS. Though, the lower offers were due to contextual circumstances I think.

Thanks
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by plklupu)
That's fair enough! Gotta say though, Durham does have a MEng CS course with placement, code G410 (it's not listed on the website but info can be found in the course PDF for G406, you can transfer into it (https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/facu...works/g406.pdf))... I'll say no more I understand the preference for the integrated masters, it is my preference too! Though my aim is hopefully to secure one or two summer research internships, then go straight to a PhD, I can't stand the thought of working in the private sector haha!

I'm not sure whether I would recommend applying to BSc courses, because I think that negatively impacts your funding for a separate masters course (though I could be wrong). I applied only to 4YM courses, though Leeds was CompSci w/ Maths and Bristol was Maths+CS. Though, the lower offers were due to contextual circumstances I think.

Thanks
Wait what?!?! You're actually a goddamn ninja, how did you manage to find that, I literally scoured the internet for hours? Maybe Durham is in the game after all! Thank you so much for finding that wow! That's a good idea, haha fair enough about working in the private sector.

Yeah I think that's how it works. But I think it's possible to transfer onto the integrated masters stream from the bachelors stream, after first/second year. At least Southampton definitely said that, not sure about the others. Ohh ok, i'm pretty sure I'm not applicable for any of the contextual circumstances, especially as I go to a grammar school and live in an ok area.
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Rolls_Reus_0wner
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(Original post by Shadowdraconis)
Sure, i'll try and give some helpful tips! I think the main thing is just learning the content. I do this by making notes and watching videos on youtube, because there's not any past papers yet to practice with. What exam board are you doing? I also did it at GCSE which was really helpful cos I remembered quite a lot from GCSE. Did you do GCSE in it too?
Your project idea sounds great! From what my teachers have said doing a single player against the computer would actually be better because that's a basic form of AI, which increases the complexity of the program and so increases marks. The only thing is it might be tricky to program the computer to do that. I researched programming languages when I started mine, and most people recommend java. My teachers always emphasised staying away from python tho.
Hope that was helpful!
I do the OCR course. For my project, I was going to go with pygame and python but I am still unsure. There are things called chess engines which help with predicting moves etc. also there must be libraries in javascript for example to help create chess.

in terms of theory, some of the topics get really confusing. for example normalisation where there are so many ways to manipulate numbers and the methods are so similar you get confused.

Do u think I could produce a new set of notes and revise from them and be ready for the exam to hopefully get an A or A*?

thanks again
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SomMC1
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(Original post by Shadowdraconis)



:banana::awesome: Welcome To My Year 13 GYG Blog/Thread 2018 - 2019 :awesome::banana:


Hey, I'm Shadow and this is (hopefully :crossedf:) going to be the journey of getting the grades I need, in order to study Computer Science at a good uni that can set me up to get a good job and make my parents proud (that sounds so cheesy lol). In September I'm starting year 13 and I'm taking linear A Levels in Computer Science (OCR), Maths (Edexcel) and Biology (OCR), so I have had no AS exams.

I intend to study Computer Science integrated masters with a year in industry. Unfortunately I still haven't managed to fully narrow down my university choice (deadlines are close I know) despite making a detailed excel spreadsheet using my research and thinking about it all summer. 1 thing I have managed to decide on is an aspirational uni choice that I would really love to go to (so technically 1 down 4 to go): Warwick, who require A*AA. I'll try to update weekly if possible, possibly might turn into fortnightly, but I'm going to try and commit to something for an entire (stressful) year, in the hopes that maybe others in my position in the future can maybe get something out of it.

Predicted Grades (Not Fully Confirmed Yet)
Spoiler:
Show


Computer Science - A*
Very happy with that prediction and I think I will be able to get it if I work hard enough. Although the coursework is taking longer than I anticipated mostly cos of having to self teach myself java, after only having done Python before.

Maths - B
Long story short I messed up my year 12 mocks :banghead: :bricks: cos I didn't understand Statistics and Mechanics. Both of my teachers said they knew I could get higher (past exams + GCSE + HW) but as i'd done so awefully in the end of year exam, the head of maths wouldn't let my teachers predict me an A at the end of year 12. Luckily there's a retest near the start of year 13, which will be the chance to push my B predicted to an A. I'm currently revising hard so hopefully I can push it up.

Biology - B
Would have liked to be predicted an A, but am still happy with a B for now. This was the subject I struggled the most especially at the start of year 12, because the exam questions especially were so different to GCSE, it threw me and the pace we went at was unreal. But I worked really hard and was determined to get at least a B and changed my revision methods to go from C's/D's in the first term to A's/B's for the rest of the year. For my actual exams in 2019, im hoping to try and get at least an A.



The Unis I'm Debating Between
Spoiler:
Show


University Of St Andrews - AAA
University of Warwick - A*AA
University Of Southampton - A*AA
Loughborough University - AAA
University of Leeds - AAA
University of Bath - AAA/A*AB
University of Sheffield - AAA
Lancaster University - AAA
University Of York - AAA/AAB
Newcastle University - AAB

If anyone has any tips/advice on any of these universities, in particular their computer science department, to help me to narrow my list down to 5, please let me know down below.



Other Things About Me
Spoiler:
Show


I'm left handed, a pro at procrastination and I like to:
- Read (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, I could list so many more)
- Watch movies (especially Marvel)
- Swim (not competitively but as a hobby)
- Play electric guitar (currently doing Grade 6)
- Paint/draw (although doing GCSE Art has somewhat ruined that for me)
- Play video games but my laptop atm isn't the most powerful so can't handle many games.



Tags
Thanks for reading! If you don't want to be tagged/want to be tagged just say. I'm also happy to follow anyone else's GYG's.
Good luck on your Y13 journey; im there too! tag me up. I got a maths resit in week 2 of september and if I get it right, im promised anA* prediction so the pressure is on good luck!!
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GeorgiaMont
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Best of luck!

I recently got an A in biology, so if you ever want to ask any questions, I can try and be of help! Also, I'm going to St Andrews in september, and I've been up a few times for interviews/open days-so I may be able to help in that respect too
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username2424985
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(Original post by Shadowdraconis)
Wait what?!?! You're actually a goddamn ninja, how did you manage to find that, I literally scoured the internet for hours? Maybe Durham is in the game after all! Thank you so much for finding that wow! That's a good idea, haha fair enough about working in the private sector.

Yeah I think that's how it works. But I think it's possible to transfer onto the integrated masters stream from the bachelors stream, after first/second year. At least Southampton definitely said that, not sure about the others. Ohh ok, i'm pretty sure I'm not applicable for any of the contextual circumstances, especially as I go to a grammar school and live in an ok area.
Haha, I think it's just luck! I too did not consider Durham until Lelanor prompted me to discover they do Maths+CS through NatSci, though now I do want to switch into straight CS.

Quite a few bachelors courses to include the option to transfer up, you're right! It's usually not a problem.
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Realitysreflexx
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Definitely add nottingham, our computer science departments setting on jubilee is georgous (study business at notts). We share alot of the campus with computer science.
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username3989988
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(Original post by Shadowdraconis)
Thanks Maisie!! Ooh im intrigued about the PM :eek4:!
Cool! IKR GCSE art was hell! I usually play first person shooter games, but I don't play that much anymore. Atm im playing the one of the only games my laptop can handle: tanki online which is a browser based tank shooting game. I've never tried any open world fantasy games tbh.
Yeah, I'll pm now. :ninja: Ah, not my kind of game but fair enough. My favourite game is skyrim, it's relatively cheap I think, you should try it!
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by Rolls_Reus_0wner)
I do the OCR course. For my project, I was going to go with pygame and python but I am still unsure. There are things called chess engines which help with predicting moves etc. also there must be libraries in javascript for example to help create chess.

in terms of theory, some of the topics get really confusing. for example normalisation where there are so many ways to manipulate numbers and the methods are so similar you get confused.

Do u think I could produce a new set of notes and revise from them and be ready for the exam to hopefully get an A or A*?

thanks again
Ohh ok, I've never used pygame but I've heard of it. Yeah using libraries is definitely a good idea, and i'm sure there will be loads of help on the internet too .

Oh god normalisation! :O It took me like the entirety of year 12 to even begin to understand it. I watched YouTube videos and followed along with their example and I tried to not look at too many videos cos sometimes the many different methods start to become confusing.

I think its definitely possible if you work hard! With the notes what I find also helps is to limit yourself in some way so that you arent copying out the textbook and not taking anything in. I have the rule to make my notes in bullet points only and make each bullet point only take up 1 line (which for me also makes me feel less overwhelmed because i find paragraphs of writing really overwhelming especially when revising. Good luck and I believe in you!
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Shadowdraconis
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(Original post by SomMC1)
Good luck on your Y13 journey; im there too! tag me up. I got a maths resit in week 2 of september and if I get it right, im promised anA* prediction so the pressure is on good luck!!
Thanks, will do! Good luck to you too! I guess we are both going to be drowning in maths the next few weeks before school. :P
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