Tolgarda's Summer 'n' Scholastic GYG! Watch

Tolgarda
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(Original post by laurawatt)
:hugs: 53/60 was pretty unfair - 88% and only been given a B is crazy! Suppose they're preparing you for the worst, but in doing so are really making the students feel bad about their results
Sure!
I think I scored the highest out of both classes. I'm sure they know what they're doing. It just hurts my predictions a little.

Thank for joining the adventure. I'm not the most consistent person to have graced the planet, so apologies in advance if this isn't exactly updated regularly.
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euphrosynay
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nice to see your gyg! as mez said, your writing is amazing, and even more importantly it's clear you love the english language and have a mastery of it yourself. you're clearly determined and smart and i think you're going to be fine; i would say it's a good idea to bring up what you're having trouble with in chemistry though, it helps a lot.
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(Original post by euphrosynay)
nice to see your gyg! as mez said, your writing is amazing, and even more importantly it's clear you love the english language and have a mastery of it yourself. you're clearly determined and smart and i think you're going to be fine; i would say it's a good idea to bring up what you're having trouble with in chemistry though, it helps a lot.
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Hey, so nice of you to drop by!

Yeah, I'm definitely trying to improve. If I must be so sanguine, I should mention that the raw mark actually increased quite a bit (so from a weak D to a borderline C, although a D is a D nevertheless, I think it evinces improvement). I also feel that this was slightly misrepresentative because the grade was completely weighted on a physical and inorganic paper only. In year 12, my organic chemistry was really dragging me down. It was shocking how little I seemed to comprehend. I mostly trained for the organic resit, a poor move on my part, but I'm sure I would have attained the C at least had there been an organic component involved because my performance on organic AS papers substantially improved.

I do feel that in the resit paper, quite a bulk of the marks lost were from lapses of concentration in the moment. I feel that if I had trained a little more for physical and inorganic papers, I would have been less susceptible to this. In the organic papers, I went from 21 to a bit below ten between two practice papers.

So, I sort of set myself up, but I did hone my physical and inorganic skills over the summer (or so I thought), but I spent inordinately more time on the other side of the course.

I plan to update this a little more so we can all keep a little track of what's going on.
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First week after my great depression.

So, it’s been a while since I had my confidence absolutely obliterated. Well, it’s been a week, but you know, time is relative, so it definitely FEELS like a while. I don’t need a Ben Shapiro truism to know why that sounds like bull****, but the world has moved one, and I have had to adapt (just as I thought I would).

I have decided to start with my lowest predicted subject and end with my highest predicted subject, to symbolise the fact that I can’t run or hide away from my problems. It’s been an eventful week for me, so let’s commence.

Let’s go at this subject by subject:

Chemistry

Summary:
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• I looked at my paper in depth.
• I was introduced to enthalpy of solution and the Arrhenius equation.
• I was introduced to a new mathematical concept: logarithms


One of the things I did this week was look at my chemistry paper in a little more detail to see just what went wrong. Since I was so close to the C, it was interesting to see just how easy it would have been to attain it. I was kicking myself after a few of the errors. For one of the questions on percentage abundance, I had literally started the correct solution to obtain the answer, but ran away from it (for reasons that I do not know). A TOF spectroscopy question that merely required me to reread the question and deduce that I had to compute the velocity value cost me a whopping three –four marks. It may look small, but it's what separated me from a C grade. I had to re-teach myself redox reactions, but some of the marks I also lost were quite asinine (e.g. forgetting to put the charge on an ion). It’s really disappointing because this is only the first half of the paper, with the other half’s analysis scheduled for next drop-in session on Thursday. Oh, sorry, did I not tell you? We have drop-in sessions now. Fantastic. I go there for these things, and it can really help.

My next endeavour was the comprehension of a concept known as enthalpy of solution (ΔHsol) – the enthalpy change in which one mole of an ionic substance dissolves in water to give a solution of infinite dilution. Its cycle was slightly easier than any Hess’s cycle I’ve done in the past, with it being the sum of the enthalpy of lattice dissociation and enthalpy of hydration. Beautiful stuff, and a little more uplifting than when the Born–Haber cycle threw me off a little. It doesn’t seem as daunting now, but it was a real pain in the beginning. I still have to practise with them though, because complacency just won’t cut it this year, especially for chemistry.

Finally, the most challenging part, the Arrhenius equation. I was quite tired in this lesson and I don’t know why, which must have exacerbated my problems. First of all, this question looks ridiculous, and I need to wrap my head around it; second of all, logarithms. Wow. I had a crash course in the first properly new maths concept since GCSE, and while these things seemed genius in the right hands, they were little more than a calculator function only for the purpose of making the buttons look a little sophisticated for someone with no knowledge of maths. To top it all off, this uses natural logarithms, which are slightly more complex. I have to learn to use this equation properly, set out my data in graphical form (which requires some quick thinking with regard to the scale), and extrapolate it. This is all relatively new to me, so I’ll keep you covered on my progress, because it looks daunting. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of this, but not quite sure what will happen if I don’t. Stay tuned, lads and lasses.

English literature

Summary:
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• I got feedback for both pieces of my NEA and made amendments to them.
• I did my first critical appreciation of an unseen dystopian excerpt.
• I had my first Hamlet assessment day, and I am awaiting my results.


So, as I am sure most of you would have noticed, this is a little bit of a less turbulent subject for me. I began by receiving feedback for both pieces of my non-exam assessment. This might count for twenty per cent of the final mark, but it’s probably more work than I’ll actually do for my exams. It is ridiculous. My close-reading analysis of A Streetcar Named Desire’s opening scene was reviewed and sent back to me. Apparently, I need to work on strengthening my focus on the question, which is something I thought I had done when I sent this on the last day of year 12. It appears not, the focus on the question is still as weak as it was before (although it is stronger than my first draft, not that that is much consolation). My teacher for this side of the course really wants to give me full marks, but the chance possibility is dwindling. I have to fix up, or get broken down, because with some of these grade boundaries, I don’t want to risk losing too many marks that are so easily attainable. Like, really, it’s basically glorified homework. The sad part about this is that you know there’s probably some opulent, spoilt child getting their work done for them as they brazenly cheat on this. I’d wager any amount that I’m correct. This just seems too easy to run away with under the nose of the moderators. I mean, really now, are they honestly going to catch something like that? Unless they’re divine omnipresent beings, I bloody doubt it.

Anyway, my other NEA piece also came under some serious scrutiny, and it appears that my AO4 is lacking, what a shame. This is my comparative essay between Small Island by Andrea Levy and Grace Nichols’s The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (yes, they are actually called that). I need to try and integrate my work a bit more, which really doesn’t seem to have seem to have been a problem since, I don’t know, the lower fifth, so it’s kind of weird going back to square one, but it has to be done. All this really requires is some changes in phrasing though, and I can simply transfer large blocks of text (containing my interpretation, of course) so that it hits all the AOs much better. Anyone doing literature knows that all of your paragraphs have to swiftly assault all AOs simultaneously to merit the most credit. I think to say I haven’t been emancipated from the tyranny of NEA just yet.

Going back to exam preparation, I wrote one paragraph of a critical appreciation, my first ever. Honestly, this is just really the first section of the Hamlet question with its AO2 (i.e. analysis of language, form and structure), it just has a little less AO1 and very generalised AO3 (i.e. context). It was an excerpt from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and it was, well, more science fiction than dystopia. Not bad, but not necessarily helpful when you have to link your analysis to your knowledge of the dystopian genre. I guess that’s the… challenge, should I say, or is it just a really poor choice of text? Whatever it is, it was my first, and it was only a paragraph, but I think I did pretty well, not that it matters because this is literally my first attempt. I have yet to receive my result for this, which is a level in the mark scheme rather than an extrapolated mark or a grade.

Going to the other side of the course (again), I had my first in-class Hamlet assessment. That’s right, every fortnight, on a Friday, we do an entire Hamlet question. That’s one 15 marker on the extract, and another on the whole play, assessing all but AOs 3 and 4. The extract for this question was really boring. It was from Act 1, Scene 3, where Laertes was being a whiny ***** about Hamlet and white knighting as he warned Ophelia about him and **** like that. Honestly quite boring, but apparently my class liked it? Yes there was a lot there, but how much of it was fruitful? Obviously, if you had LitCharts or SparkleNotes or whatever you might use when you’re not in an exam, you may be under the impression that there is indeed ‘a lot there’ as one peer put it, but you’re in your exam after not reading the play for a few months now. It takes you a while to even remember the context of the extract, and you’re under time constraints even tighter than the exam itself. It doesn’t matter that there’s ‘a lot there’, you’re fighting a losing battle from the beginning. There doesn’t just have to be a lot, there has to be a lot of useful ****. The only thing stopping me back is that the exam rubric allows ANY section from the play to feature for this section, so you really have to be prepared for ANYTHING. That being said, I got down my two paragraphs of analysis (our teacher allowed us because we only had one hour, while in an ideal exam situation, that would increase by fifteen minutes). The Section B question was on Ophelia with a quote from Rebecca West as the critic (I think we all recognised it if we had read the sheet that our teacher had provided us with for revision). And, I think that was just dirty. I hate this useless woman. Shakespeare is usually credited with writing quite strong female characters like Juliet, but Ophelia is just so feeble and such a trifling sideshow that to have a whole fifteen marks on her just feels like an insult to the wealth of knowledge we had acquired in the previous academic year. Anyway, I was armed with quite general critics like Voltaire’s ‘Hamlet is a barbarous tragedy’ and **** just to slap on the AO1 interpretation. It was true travail, but I got there in the end (I think). We’ll just have to wait for the results.

English language

Summary:
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• I worked on my NEA.
• Completed my NEA progress form.



Honestly, we haven’t done much in this subject apart from work on the NEA. Like literature, this is a mere twenty per cent of the final mark, but it takes up so much damn lesson time and free time too. I honestly do not understand why NEA is still a thing dammit! I liked it better at GCSE, where this crap was scrapped! Anyway, I collected and transcribed some more spoken data for my language investigation. However, during my analysis, I noticed that pragmatics had influenced the style of speech to such an extent that I had to go to another lesson and record another set of data. The discrepancies in utterance style were explained by the stark difference in context, as one was teaching a text, while the other was dishing out instructions. Once I had finished my invasion of a poor lower-sixth class, I had another set of recorded and transcribed spoken data to my collection. I was in the middle of analysing it when my lesson in the morning was halted abruptly by, well, time.

Other things

To be honest, my weekend isn’t shaping up to be some extravagant tip to the Maldives or something like that, but I am doing some homework on the Arrhenius equation, working on my NEAs and furthering my UCAS application. So, I’d say that’s a close second.

Peace out, lads and lasses!

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troubletracking
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Ooh should hopefully be getting my streetcar coursework back soon too! Though I did scene 9 even though the first is a really good one to go to town on the analysis with
And ahahhaha I think the twelfth night equivalent to that Voltaire quote is Samuel Pepys' "but a silly play"
Hope you have a good week!
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Tolgarda
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(Original post by troubletracking)
Ooh should hopefully be getting my streetcar coursework back soon too! Though I did scene 9 even though the first is a really good one to go to town on the analysis with
Yeah, in hindsight, I didn't exactly choose the greatest question on the planet haha.


(Original post by troubletracking)
And ahahhaha I think the twelfth night equivalent to that Voltaire quote is Samuel Pepys' "but a silly play"
Hope you have a good week!
Haha, oh God, someone save us lmao. If they want AO5, there's their AO5.
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
Yeah, in hindsight, I didn't exactly choose the greatest question on the planet haha.
Haha, oh God, someone save us lmao. If they want AO5, there's their AO5.
Kinda excited to get the name stanley kowalski out of my head asap tbh:lol:
Us poor OCR kids with those goddamn critics:grumble:
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Tolgarda
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(Original post by troubletracking)
Kinda excited to get the name stanley kowalski out of my head asap tbh:lol:
I really need to stop thinking about the penguin from Madagascar when I read that name lol

(Original post by troubletracking)
Us poor OCR kids with those goddamn critics:grumble:
Pretty sure AO5 is universal for A Level, no? The AQA, Edexcel and Eduqas kids don't get off the hook so easily, no?
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
I really need to stop thinking about the penguin from Madagascar when I read that name lol
Pretty sure AO5 is universal for A Level, no? The AQA, Edexcel and Eduqas kids don't get off the hook so easily, no?
Omg thought I was the only one! Howling ahahahahah
Woah really? I swear my AQA and Edexcel lit friends once told me they didn't need to learn critics quotes, but I may be misguided:dontknow:
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Tolgarda
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(Original post by troubletracking)
Omg thought I was the only one! Howling ahahahahah
You know it! Talk about cultural references, and that meme a while back didn't help.

(Original post by troubletracking)
Woah really? I swear my AQA and Edexcel lit friends once told me they didn't need to learn critics quotes, but I may be misguided:dontknow:
I just checked, and it's true. I mean, logically, it has to be as well since they wouldn't have their specs accredited by Ofqual if they didn't. Maybe they just don't have to quote them, but AO5 definitely exists.

Who I do feel sorry for is the Eduqas kids with their 60-mark poetry questions lol.
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
You know it! Talk about cultural references, and that meme a while back didn't help.

I just checked, and it's true. I mean, logically, it has to be as well since they wouldn't have their specs accredited by Ofqual if they didn't. Maybe they just don't have to quote them, but AO5 definitely exists.

Who I do feel sorry for is the Eduqas kids with their 60-mark poetry questions lol.
think madagascar had a greater culture impact than streetcar did pahahah
really? wow, guess no one can escape godawful ao5. don't mind the objective itself cos it's kinda interesting, but critics quotes are so much harder to learn than normal quotes
now that's just disgusting really isnt it:/
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Tolgarda
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(Original post by troubletracking)
think madagascar had a greater culture impact than streetcar did pahahah
True.


(Original post by troubletracking)
really? wow, guess no one can escape godawful ao5. don't mind the objective itself cos it's kinda interesting, but critics quotes are so much harder to learn than normal quotes
now that's just disgusting really isnt it:/
Critic quotes are actually so sh*t lol. They are boring as hell.

I know. They also apparently have 45-mark Shakespeare play questions and 50-mark questions on unseen prose and poetry.
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euphrosynay
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wow chemistry seems like a whole different world and the only thing i understand is logarithms..
i do get what you're saying about the drop-in sessions, a lot of people in my school are finally getting over any shame they might feel (in year 13 there really is no point caring about that) and going to them, and they're saying it helps! i have yet to go to one, but when i do i'll come with a question and a clear objective; the only thing stopping me is that i'm scared that the teachers will doubt if i'm capable when i inevitably get stuck on a question for some time or can't find the words to explain things when talking to them and end up missing something obvious. one day ;-;

honestly you're probably right that there's someone who's cheating with their homework or tests and can get it done for them.. the only consolation i can give is that you're clearly more talented than them and in the end it'll be you that's rewarded and will know how to progress from here. you're right to be annoyed at that and the arbitrary subjects of questions (characters/critical quotes), but in the end you will get through and hopefully at uni you'll get the chance to look into literature independently, focus on things that you find meaning and interest in, and explore your own view on things while willingly engaging with other critics for a diversity of reception rather than to avoid getting penalised in an exam.

your english language project seems cool! feel free to give more details, i'd like to know more about your analyses
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Tolgarda
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(Original post by euphrosynay)
wow chemistry seems like a whole different world and the only thing i understand is logarithms..
i do get what you're saying about the drop-in sessions, a lot of people in my school are finally getting over any shame they might feel (in year 13 there really is no point caring about that) and going to them, and they're saying it helps! i have yet to go to one, but when i do i'll come with a question and a clear objective; the only thing stopping me is that i'm scared that the teachers will doubt if i'm capable when i inevitably get stuck on a question for some time or can't find the words to explain things when talking to them and end up missing something obvious. one day ;-;
I guess it would be haha.

Also, I think you shouldn't be worried about this. You should always think that you're there to learn and that it's okay to get stuck! The teachers are there to help, not just praise you haha. They wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't teaching you anything new really. So yeah, give it a go. I am definitely trying to utilise these sessions. I kind of have to really.

(Original post by euphrosynay)
honestly you're probably right that there's someone who's cheating with their homework or tests and can get it done for them.. the only consolation i can give is that you're clearly more talented than them and in the end it'll be you that's rewarded and will know how to progress from here. you're right to be annoyed at that and the arbitrary subjects of questions (characters/critical quotes), but in the end you will get through and hopefully at uni you'll get the chance to look into literature independently, focus on things that you find meaning and interest in, and explore your own view on things while willingly engaging with other critics for a diversity of reception rather than to avoid getting penalised in an exam.
What I'm slightly miffed about is that cheating in the NEA raises the boundaries, and these boundaries are probably the highest OCR has. They're slightly on the ludicrous side. For the 2019 exams, an A* was only awarded to students that scored 94% of higher. You just think that maybe if such ‘amazing’ work from people that aren't even the students themselves might be playing a role in it. Anyway, I think I should stop ranting and just continue trying to improve my performance.

Also, quotations from professional critics and theoreticians, and interpretations of people who have adapted the literary piece are an integral part of literary criticism. So, I don't really think I'll escape those. I'm not too irritated by them anyway. Some questions I am just a little underprepared for because of how obscure their focus may be, but using critics is not necessarily too big of a deal for me.

(Original post by euphrosynay)
your english language project seems cool! feel free to give more details, i'd like to know more about your analyses
Basically, I want to see if the nature of STEM and the arts influence the way practitioners and pupils in those fields. Does an essay-based subject make you more voluble, and does a STEM-based subject with its immutable answers tend to make you more laconic?

Do humanities students use more modifiers to gloss their utterances, or is it the other way around?

I have decided to go into science and humanities lessons, four in total, two from each field, and one taught by a male and another by a female. After recording for around 15 minutes in their lessons, I go home and transcribe the data. All the recorded utterances from students are removed, but the amount of time they take to speak is recorded (this is to make a judgement as to whether the more powerful participant in a conversation (Fairclough, 2001) is the teacher or his/her students). Once all the teacher's utterances are transcribed, I begin to analyse the number of modifiers they use in their speech (qualifiers come under this as well), and the type of sentences their utterances are (simple, complex etc.).
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Honestly, your GYG is super entertaining to read so thank you for that.
Keep at it with chemistry, you'll get there in the end!
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(Original post by Fazzy_77)
Honestly, your GYG is super entertaining to read so thank you for that.
Keep at it with chemistry, you'll get there in the end!
Hey, thanks for reading. Have I not added you to the tag list yet?

Thanks for your words of confidence. I recently received a surprise for chemistry, which I will reveal later.
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Hey, thanks for reading. Have I not added you to the tag list yet?

Thanks for your words of confidence. I recently received a surprise for chemistry, which I will reveal later.
Yepp, I'm already on the tag list.
Oooh, I hope its good news.
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Yepp, I'm already on the tag list.
Oooh, I hope its good news.
That's good.
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
I guess it would be haha.

Also, I think you shouldn't be worried about this. You should always think that you're there to learn and that it's okay to get stuck! The teachers are there to help, not just praise you haha. They wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't teaching you anything new really. So yeah, give it a go. I am definitely trying to utilise these sessions. I kind of have to really.



What I'm slightly miffed about is that cheating in the NEA raises the boundaries, and these boundaries are probably the highest OCR has. They're slightly on the ludicrous side. For the 2019 exams, an A* was only awarded to students that scored 94% of higher. You just think that maybe if such ‘amazing’ work from people that aren't even the students themselves might be playing a role in it. Anyway, I think I should stop ranting and just continue trying to improve my performance.

Also, quotations from professional critics and theoreticians, and interpretations of people who have adapted the literary piece are an integral part of literary criticism. So, I don't really think I'll escape those. I'm not too irritated by them anyway. Some questions I am just a little underprepared for because of how obscure their focus may be, but using critics is not necessarily too big of a deal for me.



Basically, I want to see if the nature of STEM and the arts influence the way practitioners and pupils in those fields. Does an essay-based subject make you more voluble, and does a STEM-based subject with its immutable answers tend to make you more laconic?

Do humanities students use more modifiers to gloss their utterances, or is it the other way around?

I have decided to go into science and humanities lessons, four in total, two from each field, and one taught by a male and another by a female. After recording for around 15 minutes in their lessons, I go home and transcribe the data. All the recorded utterances from students are removed, but the amount of time they take to speak is recorded (this is to make a judgement as to whether the more powerful participant in a conversation (Fairclough, 2001) is the teacher or his/her students). Once all the teacher's utterances are transcribed, I begin to analyse the number of modifiers they use in their speech (qualifiers come under this as well), and the type of sentences their utterances are (simple, complex etc.).
thank you for the reassurance! it's true that i am there to learn, but with other people around i tend to neglect that truth with the reason that those other people are there to learn (and they're more important) or that i end up being too scared of making a mistake to really take action on it

yeah, i've heard that the ocr grade boundaries for english are notoriously high. it's true that there's always room for improvement, but you seem to be doing really well and i'd hate for you to forget that; and them cheating could never be excusable.

glad to know you can value and use literary criticisms

that's an interesting thing to be searching, and i've wondered about it myself! though, of course, it's less noticeable now since all students receive humanities and stem education together to a significant point in their education (gcse).
i think surety of thought is behind it - using filler words and modifiers could show that someone could only approximate the true nature of their thoughts, even if they're confident in expressing them; with humanities subjects this is probably a frequent problem since their analysis is qualitative, but it certainly is possible for them to express their thoughts outright with few words in between.

the power of participants in conversation is also worth analysing (though scary as i'm thinking back now and finding that in most conversations i've had it takes me longer to reply even if saying something of little content) and it would be interesting to see if students having more power in a conversation would lead to better ease of discussion across a class and across equals, or if a teacher's position grounds the conversation and allows students to think before speaking, meaning more are willing to take their chance).
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Have I lost the plot, or has it thickened? A2 continues, and, spoiler warning, it isn't getting easier anytime soon.

This week has been replete with action and drama on all fronts barring the ones that concern my forte, which is English, which has felt stultifying recently. Honestly, **** NEA, but we’ll get to that in a bit. There’s also a fair bit that has happened outside the academic sphere in my life as well.

Without further redo, here’s all the details of the update from yours truly:

CHEMISTRY

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• My grade from the resit moved up from a D to a C.
• I was introduced to entropy and continued with rate equations and the other intricacies of the topic.
• I sat my organic chemistry diagnostic test/


So, remember that resit I was quibbling about around two weeks ago? Yeah well, upon further inspection of the paper, something awry with a bond-enthalpy question was identified. To understand what I’m about to go over, I must remind my readers that I’m an albino. Due to my visual impairment, any internally assessed written exams are typed up by a member of our school’s department for special needs. This can be an arduous process and errors can be made. There was a typographical error in which a halogenoalkane contained one fluorine when it should have been two, thus rendering the equation in the question unbalanced and skewing my answer in a way that misrepresented my understanding of the are of the spec the question was targeting. I lost three crucial marks that separated me from the C grade. I decided to challenge the grade, and I am glad I did. When looking at the mark scheme, my current chemistry teacher and organic teacher from the lower sixth cross-checked my answer with the mark scheme and found that all of my working was correct with the data that I was given, and deduced that, had I been given the correct data on the day, I would have made the correct computation and reached the answer to score all three marks. Thus, three retrospective marks were added to my score, and my mark moved from 36 to 39/80. It was just enough, but I didn’t believe it was enough to move my predicted grade up because the C was far too weak. We’ll get back to this later.

Meanwhile, on the organic side of the course, I learnt about entropy, which is basically the amount of disorder in a substance (or was it level?), and I also learnt the equation to calculate entropy change with numerical values, which was basically a matter of subtracting the sum of the reactants’ entropies from the sum of the products’ entropies. It was quite interesting knowing Not a bad lesson all in all. Oh, and I also learnt about identifying when an entropy change will be positive (e.g. going from a solid, which has less disorder due to its closely packed particles and, consequently, a lower entropy, to a gas, which has more disorder and hence a higher entropy), and why they would be negative. We also covered the demerits of the ‘perfect ionic model’ and discussed about the spontaneity of chemical reactions (basically asking the question we all casually ask, ‘Why do they occur?’).

With regard to the more physical side of the course, I am definitely getting the hand of rate equations, but I am still not a huge fan of the RDS (rate-determining step), which can be complex as hell in some questions. Not much to discuss here. I seem to assimilate more information in my organic teacher’s lessons!

Speaking of organic chemistry, I sat through a three-hour diagnostic organic paper yesterday morning. And, I must say, that I am feeling confident about some questions, but disappointed about quite a few. This was a fair test. That being said, some things irked me and some questions did push me to limit and indeed surpass it. I knew that this wasn’t going to be the most comfortable ride when even the first question boggled my mind because it was quite a gaping hole in my knowledge that I thought I had covered prior to the exam (although I think I succumbed to the pressure). It was merely a factual recall question about testing between aldehydes, ketones and carboxylic acids, and which reagents should be used along with the observations. No big deal, apart from the fact that it was a whopping six marks. That’s right, the very first question was a six-mark one, and three more six markers would make their appearance on this paper: another one being a mini-essay type explanation of changes to equilibrium, reaction rate and effects on cost, with another one being about preparing standard solutions (my practical knowledge is abysmal and I could barely write anything here) and the final one being a calculation, which I believe I actually got correct. Despite the fact that I floundered at the beginning, I knew that there was still a long way to go, and I managed to keep some equanimity, which probably really helped me when it came to making logical connections in unstructured calculations and drawing reaction mechanisms to the best of my ability. Regardless of that, I still stumbled on some questions like ones that tested my diagrammatic skills (goodbye, like, five marks lol) I also forgot the prefix for a compound with cyanide in it, which was nice (felt like there was cyanide in the room when that hit me lol). The multiple-choice section was also not the kindest in the world, there were some cheeky questions where the marks felt like a gift (hope I don’t regret saying that), but there were also ones where you felt that it was a bit unfair that you had to toil so much for one measly mark. With MCQs though, you could bring peace to the Middle East and win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and still only get the single mark, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with what I’ve got here haha. I think I’ve got a decent C here, and I am still improving. Jesus, how do students even get full marks on these things?

ENGLISH LITERATURE

Summary:
Spoiler:
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• I received feedback for my first unseen-dystopia analysis.
• I continued refining my NEA.


On the dystopia side of the course, I saw that my single paragraph scored a level four out of the six in the mark scheme, which wasn’t bad, especially considering it was my first ever try. I must admit that I thought it was a little better, but we’re playing with A2 expectations here, so I should never get too complacent, confident or comfortable. I was then set a homework task to write three paragraphs in response to another unseen excerpt from a dystopian novel. In the same lesson that I got my feedback, we looked at what OCR’s experts had to say about the passage (their ‘indicative content’), and I must say that these guys are good. They are literary critics for a reason. I definitely want to reach that kind of stage. Even if time was on their side, they were still immeasurably perceptive.

So yeah, I don’t know if it’s noticeable, but this subject is actually making me weary because it just doesn’t feel that we’re making much progress for the most part. I would devote a separate paragraph for both parts of my NEA, but I’m really just burnishing it now. That final polish is where the top marks are achieved. For my comparative, I need to integrate my paragraphs more (i.e. add more AO4), and for my clos-reading analysis, I need to add more AO1 (i.e. be more critical and address the question slightly more closely). That’s it really. It’ll take time, but I’ll get there.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Summary:
Spoiler:
Show

• I continued my NEA.


Yep, as with English literature, I was just continuing my investigation here. I got my first piece of data from the science department as I recorded my former organic-chemistry teacher emulating the role of an examiner by going over a question on how hydrogen bonds arise in hydrogen-chloride molecules. Honestly was rather interesting analysing this data to see how her language was different compared to the female humanities/English teacher.

I wrote down the first paragraph of my analysis, and while it passed my first teacher without any difficulty, it was not so lucky when my other teacher looked through it disapprovingly. So, it’s now my task to get this done with. The scary thing is, that was our last NEA lesson. The rest will have to be done at home until the deadline, so I definitely still have a lot of work to do outside of school.

OTHER THINGS

Alright, so here’s were things get interesting. On Monday, the title of ‘Literacy Leader’ was conferred on me by the head of our English department; actually, there are a few of us as we’re a team, but I do like the title. We are the Literacy Leaders!

On Tuesday, I actually went to watch the Arsenal–Nott. Forest game at the Emirates Stadium. It was a fantastic evening out with my father. It was also quite hectic in the beginning because we don’t regularly do this, so our lack of nautical acumen and knowledge of the stadium’s geography made us have to run down Holloway Road (I believe that’s the one it was), and boy was it a long run. Like, it wouldn’t have been nearly as long if we had made the right turn out of the Tube station, but we learn from our mistakes. We made it on time and the game was such an enthralling spectacle. It was amazing to watch Arsenal vanquish them and hear the passion in the stadium. We also got to chant about how **** Spurs were when a fan in our stand discovered that they had been defeated by Colchester on penalties (which was honestly such a highlight, lol).

We also had parents evening, which hurt me a lot. I was eulogised for the first half when the primary focus was English, but my father and I got into an acrimonious dispute over chemistry when we got home after a pretty honest overview of my ability. I was also told that depending on where I applied, the predicted grade could be pushed to a B despite the C being tenuous. It was difficult for me to swallow it because I truly felt like a failure and my father basically just exacerbated it. So, that happened. I slept over it, but I’m still slightly disappointed that he only cares about chemistry because it’s a STEM subject and totally forgets about the other A Levels. Oh well…

Peace out, lads and lasses!

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