Tolgarda's Summer 'n' Scholastic GYG! Watch
Good luck with your NEA's
Totally agree with you about the rate-determining step. Its so confusing sometimes!
Good luck with your NEA's
Thank you. I think I'll need that good luck.
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.
a05 does exist, but we don't have to learn critics quotes can just be alternative interpretations of our own if we wanted to.
sorry was reading through your gyg and had to reply to this as i'm on aqa for english lit
a05 does exist, but we don't have to learn critics quotes can just be alternative interpretations of our own if we wanted to.
Starting to pick up the pace...
Hello wonderful people that have bothered to read my GYG up to this point or have just decided to drop in now! Sixth form is picking up the pace and we’re approaching the week in which we break up for the Halloween half-term holiday (which is the 18th of October, I believe).
Things have finally starting to get interesting in my subjects, English, so I finally have a lot more to report about. Chemistry is no different, but then again, when isn’t it in this respect?
All I can say is that I better bring my ‘A’ game if I want to actually finish these, because they’re trying to finish me, and they have a reasonable chance of winning. This is a battle that involves serious application, so without further redo, let’s get into the breakdown!
- - Learnt about Gibbs free energy.
- Learnt about Kp
- Revised rate equations and the rate-determining step and making a standard solution.
My precis of this section began with the organic side of the course, so let’s dive straight into that. During the lesson that I was introduced to this concept, I learn the formula for calculating the entropy of surroundings for a system. There were also some logical connections that could be made regarding the theory (e.g. an exothermic system would have a high/positive entropy of surroundings because the heat released increases the disorder as particles’ mobility is increased with more kinetic energy).
This wasn’t the main part of the lesson though. Gibbs free energy was, which was an equation to calculate the spontaneity of a chemical reaction. Should the answer of the equation (also known as ΔG) be less than zero, the reaction will be spontaneous. Most, if not all, questions on this topic involved synoptic assessment that also brought back some AS knowledge as well. This was because the reaction not only involved the calculation of a reaction’s entropy change (ΔS), but also involved Hess’s cycles to calculate the enthalpy change (ΔH) before we plugged the values into the equation. It wasn’t an immensely difficult concept to grasp because I had a pretty solid foundation here, and I was comfortable with calculating these values.
Speaking of organic chemistry, we still haven’t received the scores for our diagnostic test, but that can be forgiven because our organic teacher is quite busy and is a very genial lad. However, we still have to prepare for another organic test, but this will just be an end-of-topic one, so no real worries here. I might have to recap a few topics like Born–Haber cycles a little more extensively so that I am completely comfortable with this test, but I shouldn’t be too bad for this one. That being said, our organic teacher (Mr N) did say that he’d include a question from any AS organic topic (selected at random). I have a feeling it’s going to be a mechanism question, but I have to be prepared, and he did say that it is just to encourage us to go back and revise content that we were taught in the lower sixth, which is good seeing as, you know, we’re meant to be tested on all of our organic knowledge in the second paper and potentially the third.
Moving on the more physical side of the course, I was introduced to the cousin of Kc, who is called Kp (No, not Kim Possible for anyone that remembers that best of a show). This quantitative equilibrium calculation is suited for gases because, surprise surprise, we don’t seem to use moldm^-3 when we use gases. Fair enough, we can’t exactly warp the rules of science too much. So we just have to use another equation. And, to be fair, this one is fairly similar. When doing some practice questions, I found that the only major difference with Kc was that we had to multiply our molar values at equilibrium with the total pressure before plugging our numbers into the Kp equation. Other than that, the units were different. I think I got a hold of this quite quickly because of the Kc experience, but we’ll have to see. Haha, get it? Anyway, we haven’t done proper exam questions just yet, so I think I should save my hubris for later.
We’re not done with the physical side of the course just yet though, for I had to return to face my nemesis so that I could settle the score. This mumbo jumbo about rate questions really had me stumped for quite a while, until I was introduced to a fresh, new perspective on the topic. In essence, the whole idea was based on the fact that there was not one sole mechanism for a chemical reaction. Rather, there was at least two. The other intricacies of the topic seemed to be predicated on this, and the fact that by deciding which step was the slowest, and which reactants (as ions in the mechanism) actually influenced the rate of reaction if their concentration was increased. By understanding the chemistry here, I could decode what some exam questions were really asking for when I was presented with a table of data and a graph. I grasped the gist of this concept and some of the terminology too (e.g. with respect to…). Now, I could isolate the data and get to the bottom of the question. I just have to repeat this process so that it becomes as effortless and painless as Hess’s cycles (honestly, that **** took me long enough).
Finally, I decided to look back on some questions I fudged up on in my organic diagnostic test. One of them involved a six marker that called my practical skills into question. Honestly, I hate these because my practical skills are just absolute codswallop (to put it nicely). I actually learnt the process of making a standard solution of, well, any acid really, by rote. I actually have it stuck on the door of my fridge. The process actually seems so simple and I did feel like my head was crashing against a wall when I realised it, but this just ensures that I won’t suffer such a humiliation if I need to answer it again.
- - I received my Hamlet assessment back.
- I received a mark for my critical-appreciation homework task.
- I continued to add the finishing touches to my NEA.
I was given a raw score for my first Hamlet assessment of the year. If you read my last update, you’ll know that I wasn’t too impressed by either of the parts for the question. With the dodgy excerpt and everything, I do believe as though I did what I could. I didn’t even properly remember where the scene I received placed (it was from Act 3), so Ophelia for part b definitely wasn’t easy either. Anyway, to get to my actual performance. I scored 12/15 for both parts, making a total of 24/30 marks, a solid C grade. Not bad for my first assessment of the year for this section of the exam. It can only improve from here (I hope). I got some decent feedback here. For part a, I need to make sure that I balance my analysis so that I don’t have disproportionately more language or structure than form. This is important if you’re trying to reach the higher levels. Part b’s criticism was a little basic and annoying, and it basically targeted my register. My style was far from academic in some areas when I decided to jump into the essay myself for the bits that discussed the extent of agreement with the question’s proposition. Not only that, but my critics weren’t used in a way that strengthened my arguments or helped the essay much at all. They were simply there to tick the AO5 box. Thus, I plan to shake things up a little next time.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the course, I received marks for my second attempt at a critical appreciation of an excerpt from a dystopian novel. This one was The Chrysalids and it was about a scene involving a dream and the narrator’s life growing up. Quite a decent excerpt to analyse for AO2 (the bulk of this essay). I actually procrastinated and wrote this quite quickly in the early morning, so I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece. I was awarded a mark of 21 out of 30. Not too shabby. Obviously, I would have liked more, and a female friend of mine actually scored 22/30, so it’s not exactly impossible at this stage. I think that practice and wider reading are truly integral to success in this section because you need to have a broad knowledge of the genre to make some strong AO1 links, but also need to know how to apply your AO2 knowledge as the prose will be unseen. It’s very similar to the reading-comprehension section in a GCSE English language paper. This is probably one of the sections I’d like to score the highest on because I really enjoy analysing language, form and structure.
Finally, onto the non-exam assessed component of the course. This is probably the most tedious part of the course, but it has to be done, and I’m coming to the end of it all as well. Really, I’m finishing integrating paragraphs to bolster my AO4 in my comparative essay, but I should probably revisit my close-reading piece because I haven’t even seen, let alone amend, that piece in a while. I’m not too far off the full fifteen marks though, so I think that it would be good if I returned to it soon.
- - I wrote an opinion article on PC language.
- We had our first lesson on texts and representations since the lower sixth.
- I am ready to get to the final part of my NEA.
So, the best part of this week that pertained to this subject has definitely got to be the opinion article that I wrote on political correctness (in the linguistic sense, that is). This task is similar to our transactional writing one in GCSE, except there are a few differences: linguistic theory must be included in an article for a common audience, the creativity of the piece is worth approximately 33.3% if we are looking at things from an assessment-objective standpoint (where at GCSE it was actually nearly double that with a huge weighting of 60%). The article was actually derived from the 2018 paper. It was quite an interesting one to say the least, and it was definitely very well written. I think I became a bit of a socialist sympathiser with how left-leaning my article was, especially with the fact that I think I took a weird approach, which aimed to completely refute the article rather than actually ‘evaluate’ the sentiments expressed in it. That being said, it read quite well and I was pretty proud of it myself, especially since I forgot to revise for it (no seriously, the only reason I remembered because a peer asked, ‘I wonder if it’s open book?’). I’m curious to see the mark I am awarded.
Oh also, that reminds me of something! We’ve finally moved on from the ****ing NEA! Yes! Well, not entirely, because we have to continue it at home, but that doesn’t matter. It’s about time we moved onto exam technique. This lesson began with a technique our English department seems to foam at the mouth at, which is something related to information retrieval. Basically, our starters in all of our English lessons ask a few short and snappy questions testing our knowledge, and the ones that can’t be answered are researched at home. However, what this has apparently been proven to do (and what I feel it has done for me) is make me plumb to the deepest depths of my memory. We then went over the mark scheme and the exam rubric for Section A of the first paper, which will be in our December mocks. It’s a section worth 70 marks, with two 20-mark questions (10 marks for identifying different language features with accuracy and precision; 15 marks for historical, social, political and cultural context) and one 25 marker (with all marks being devoted to comparison with linguistic analysis). And finally, we were introduced to a modern text, one that we will be assessed on in Tuesday’s lesson for our tracking grade. So, no pressure or anything really.
There’s not much to talk about with NEA. It’s pretty much the same, collect more data and analyse it. I’ve now begun my analysis thanks to collecting data for female practitioners in both fields, so that should be interesting. I finally have a date for the collection of my data for a male science teacher. It’s all starting to come together though, which is nice. As you can tell by the length of these NEA paragraphs, there’s not much more to write or discuss. I’m definitely thankful that these awful things come to an end because I detest them so much.
So, I was actually one of the assistants on our school’s open evening for those transitioning into KS3. More specifically, I was an assistant for the English department, so it was nice helping them and greeting parents and all that jazz. It was also difficult to an extent because I had limited knowledge of their KS3 curriculum (you know, the thing they actually came there for). We had displays for the future of their children, which included KS4 and KS5. I had to say, when presenting those curricula to the parents, I seemed far more engaged. After all, I’ve been enmeshed in that stuff for a while now. That being said, I had looked at some KS3 work beforehand and seen how our school actually doesn’t use any prescribed texts, but rather a theme (which is ‘love through the ages’ in this case), and it's quite wide in scope. The rather broad range of texts even manages to fit in some classical Greek and Roman literature. I don’t know how fun that is for the students, and I honestly felt that it made us look like a bunch of slightly pretentious dilettantes at first, but hey ho, it’s there.
I decided to explain it very superficially but employed the ‘waffly’ style that was just about good enough to make most decent-looking crap seem quite good. Obviously, I didn’t do this often, but if I felt obliged to explain it because no one else was really there, I just had the little bombastic comments about it in my head, haha.
Another thing that I had, which was the highlight of my week, was speak to another chap in his 40s who had overcome his visual disability. Seriously, his vision was slightly worse than mine, and we both had nystagmus, but he also had a plethora of other ocular impairments that really made me feel quite fortunate for myself. However, he had gone extremely far in life, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. I actually skipped a literature assessment (30-mark comparative essay between Rossetti and Ibsen. Lol, byeee) to speak to this person over some nice tea and biscuits.
He took me through some basic but fundamental tenets of his. The first of which was spirit and desire. This message seems platitudinous at first but it means something very different when the message can be received on a personal level. At school, he was seen as a ‘rebellious’ pupil for merely asking if he could move forward to see the chalkboard or because he had his neck backwards (which was unavoidable due to his disability). Objects were even blithely lobbed at him. School was truly a different place in the ’80s! Compounded with this, there were no laptops to write on, and no extra time in his exams! What? I still find this incredibly impressive, especially seeing as he still managed to matriculate at Cambridge University to read history and politics. His visual disability wasn’t understood, even during his years in higher education (i.e. the ’90s). English society certainly has changed a lot! He told me that the reason he got through all of those years, including his two at law school (which he said he ‘wouldn’t give to his greatest enemy’, haha), was because his passion and determination was true and genuine. He developed an indifference to reactions about his sight and simply moved on and was motivated to continue and succeed. ‘Never giving up’ had never sounded so novel! The ability to persevere seemed like a superpower in this instance. He now runs his own law firm and has been with quite a few important people as a solicitor (including an invitation to Parliament).
The next was about confidence, along with a reasonable degree of arrogance sprinkled in there as well. **** like imposter syndrome and timidity just wouldn’t cut it for someone in our position, and it usually doesn’t for most people either. He allowed me to use a phrase that he had, and so I will use it here because it is absolutely brilliant: ‘you either have the arrogance to fake the confidence, or the confidence to fake the arrogance’ (this creativity is probably why he’s about to publish his third book!) His ability to manage most tasks with aplomb despite his poor hand he was dealt in life was down to this principle. For example, he mentioned about how whenever he’s in a room, he tells himself that he ‘owns it’. He basically dominates it and plans to ensure that he has control of his situations despite his disability. He doesn’t do it in an overpowering sense, but he does it in such a way that he can have quite a great presence in a pub or get an audience to completely focus on him (he gave a few brilliant examples here).
He also discussed the importance of connections in life, and how knowing the right people can easily set you on a much more successful path. The ability to socialise well is incredibly crucial. He used the analogy of the spider’s web and how so many doors can be opened if we continue to thread our web. He talked about life as a series of peaks and troughs, and that if we continue to help ourselves by helping others and networking, these peaks will probably last longer and the troughs will be shortened.
Love was rooted in all of his work. He taught me the value of immense passion, which he simple described as ‘putting some love into it’. This was incredibly important because to actually care for your work, even the most mundane bits, can really turn things in life around. Another thing to extending your peaks and shortening your troughs. I was given the example of taking immense care when making a cheese sandwich, like properly grating the cheese, buttering the bread properly, serving it on a nice tray and even having a good drink and some vegetables on the side. Not many people care that much about the little details, but sometimes they’re the ones that count the most. It’s easy to forget that, but your life can become better if you take the time to remember it.
He finished it off with a talk about he was glad that he is invited and appreciated not to tick a box and say that they are all-inclusive by showing a disabled person, but actually because he deserved it and was given the opportunity based on his merits, just like any other ‘nor mal’ guy (he had a little rant about that word as well, haha).
It was well worth missing the little assessment, in my opinion. This is the kind of edification that school doesn’t normally teach you, so I was very fortunate. I was also quite inspired to apply this to my life.
I’ll be impressed if anyone has got enough time and/or energy to get this far, ahha. Thanks to all for reading!
That man truly does sound like an inspirational soul.