Tolgarda's Summer 'n' Scholastic GYG! Watch
Application based questions are the absolute worst!
Haven't watched a movie in a while tbh, but Five Feet Apart made me cry .
Can't remember the last time I even watched a movie. I can never find the effort in me to leave the house and sit down for 2 hours or something. But during it, it's fun.
Anyway, probably Descendants 3, I watched it on Disney Channel love the soundtrack.
Nevermind on the chem test. I'm sure you'll see improvement as you go along.
Haven't watched a movie in a while tbh, but Five Feet Apart made me cry .
It honestly isn't a failure from your side. Do take it as a compliment because I've not come across many people who can write so beautifully, I mean poetically.
That being said, I want to try and get into the mindset that prioritises clarity when using language.
Yeah, I wasn't too bothered. I have a decent amount of time that I plan to leverage before my big showdown with the December mock papers.
I think they're rather cruel.
Might think about watching that myself when I have the time.
You should definitely watch it.
The font is pretty. I remember using it for my computer science gcse NEA ... so it was somewhat .... nostalgic? Qotd sounds cool as well. I was gonna do one for my gyg but I would think of boring questions ... lmao.
Well done with nearly finishing your NEA! Lots of people in my school who are doing English were stressi spaghetti last week coz some of them had done hardly anything. Also congrats on nearly finishing your PS, you still have time but it's obviously better to finish it early so you don't need to worry about it!
You're doing a different topic to me in Chem. I think we start thermodynamics and the Arrhenius equation in a few months time. Good luck with Chem and that's an amazing exam result btw .... it clearly shows that putting in hard work gives you results!
My seemingly trivial travails continue...
Question of the Day: If two persons pull the lever, the two empty trolleys will crash and no one dies. If one person pulls whilst the other does not, six people die. If both do nothing, two people die. You are unable to communicate with the other person. Do you pull the lever?
Quote of the Day: The razor is sharp but it cannot cut the tree's bark; the axe is strong but it cannot cut the person's hair. We all have our unique purpose in life and the society we live in. Never look down on someone unless you are admiring or going to compliment their shoes.
Also, before I continue, can you guys give this person's GYG some love? I think it's unfair how her effort goes unnoticed and I've enjoyed reading it myself!
If only you could see my visage right now. The disappointment. The frustration. The sheer fury. I am livid! I have my fists clenched tighter than a supermax's security despite my blood steaming to the point that my skin is beginning to feel viscous. I want to smash my desk with such brutal force that both my bones and the desk frame shatter upon impact. This anger makes me feel bestial! Having a long post erased off the face of the Earth is not something you want after a long day containing three in-class assessments, all lengthy essays, mind you. Untimely much? Typing this up now feels like torture, but I have to do it so that I can expiate my unnecessarily extended absence from this blog. I would call it a hiatus, but that feels like justifying the neglection of the blog. Ugh, here we go again…
So, in case that opening conundrum and diatribe against my lack of ability to save wasn’t enough of a giveaway, I have returned! The procrastination from typing this post up has left me in quite a dismal mood actually. Ironically, this blog’s raison d'être was to mitigate my procrastination from work by being forced to report on what I had learnt over the week, but I’ve clearly banished that from my memory seeing as my last update was over a fortnight ago. Since then, chemistry has returned with a vengeance and has decided it will once again enter my life’s hall of infamy and be the bane of my existence, and the English department has developed an assessment fetish. Without further ado, let us proceed with a catch up of the academic and social facets of my life…
- Began the topic ‘electrochemical cells’, both theoretically and practically.
- Revised nomenclature.
- Revised Born–Haber cycles, ΔG and ΔT.
So, we began this new topic, based on electrochemistry, and I bloody loathe it. It just seems so dull. I’m honestly dragging myself through this topic, and I’m finding it far too difficult to grasp for some unknown reason. I think that, barring all of these conventions, I am okay with computing the electromotive force (e.m.f.), because that is quite basic in terms of its application and mathematics. I seem to be stretched a little beyond my limits with everything else, and I honestly think it’s because I am struggling to find me footing or concentrate in the classes that focus on this topic. Even my teacher made a comment as the rest of the class exited the laboratory that I was slipping behind my peers, and it was difficult for me to actually demur with anything tenable because it was veracious. I really need to slog away at this stuff. The practical lesson didn’t necessarily show much promise. I forgot fragments of basic yet essential information and struggled to finish on time. It honestly made me believe that the B that I scored a few months ago really was no bellwether of an upward trend in exam results, but rather an anomaly that cruelly raised my hopes for a short period of time, a small dose of happiness, a quick shot of optimism. I have to stay sanguine and wade through this treacle though. This was a shock to the system (and a high voltage one at that), but as I was going through the textbook at home and cementing AS knowledge like half-equations, I am starting to feel more prepared to return to this topic and quell, no, QUASH my doubt so that I can continue on the path of positivity. Speaking of positivity, I believe it’s time to move onto something a trifle less agonising and confounding…
Our organic-chemistry teacher noticed that we had dropped some ‘safe marks’ on nomenclature questions, so we had a lesson going over systematic names and the IUPAC’s rules and conventions once again. It was AS recap, but it was important because it also introduced me to slightly more advanced functional groups in chemistry that befit the demanding nature of Advanced Level; these were [acid] anhydride, acyl chloride and amide. We used the skeletal formulae of the organic compounds for naming, but we had some interesting compounds, and this assisted in consolidating our knowledge because these questions could cost a grade and can be just as easy to lose as they are to gain. All in all, I think I would have preferred a lesson that went over optical isomerism once again since that is what we ended on prior to the half-term break, but I deem this activity purposive as well because it was clearly something our teacher noticed when he was marking and wanted to urgently address.
Finally, I’ve been wanting to solidify my knowledge and understanding of Gibbs free energy and entropy by practising a few exam questions on them. I particularly went for questions that asked for a qualitative analysis of Gibbs free energy and entropy because I felt that I was more comfortable with the quantitative questions., and I also drew a few Born–Haber cycles and answered a few questions on those (most of which were on the legacy specification, but that’s really of little concern, just thought I’d add this detail in). I think I’ve grown fond of this topic because my success rate on its questions has substantially increased. Also, a slight digression here but I thought I’d just pose this question for you guys, why do you think many of the world’s leaders have been chemists in the past? The current Pope, Xi Jinping, Angele Merkel, Margaret Thatcher have had links with the study of chemistry. Not that I plan to go into politics, haha.
- Received feedback for three answers.
- Completed two in-class assessments: one on Hamlet and the other on an unseen excerpt from the dystopia genre.
- December mock grade boundaries revealed.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m more of an essayist than a chemist, and the data seems to agree thus far, as does my mental state. I was e-mailed the marks and comments for two essays that I had written prior to the half-term break. The feedback was fair in all places. The teacher in question has marked A Level scripts in the past for the awarding body and is familiar with interpreting and applying the marking grid to the responses presented. I’m not ahead of the curve or anything, but I’m on track to reaching my target of an A*. Yep! That’s right. Unbeknown to me, the rules were warped slightly in this instance. This alteration of the rules seems to now enable the department to predict me two grades above what was achieved in the lower-sixth summative assessment. Not bad, it may bolster my application, but it may also demand too much from me? Will I make it? These are austere, significant questions that should be asked and deeply contemplated.
This piece of feedback acknowledged my response to the suggested emendations from my previous Hamlet assessment in which I scored 80%. My teacher had this to say about my amendments:
Thank you for making the amendments and also being such a reflective learner it really shows that you have thought about your answer and where the marks were awarded. Well done to you!!! Upon reading your section A again I would now be confident awarding it 15/15.
Your part B still needs some fine tuning.
The next critique was on the final essay of last term. It was one where, if you somehow remember from my last blog, I was caught off guard and exposed quite a bit to the harsh reality of ill-preparation's (pretty sure that's a neologism lol) consequences. I actually handed my essay in quite shamefully after that abysmal performance. I only wrote one paragraph for the thing because I was left for dead. However, the paragraph was one of substance and not arrant balderdash or some bombastic crap that would have really wasted the time of my teacher that she’d never get back, so I felt that I saved myself the humiliation and her some marking. With that in mind, I was quite pleased to be awarded a solid mark around 25/30. For one paragraph, that’s not bad at all. I’m curious as to whether there was some assumption going on with an extrapolated mark, but my teacher knows what works and what doesn’t when assessing our work, so I have faith in the mark that I was given here. The final comment is the following:
Tolga, this was a really good read. I thoroughly enjoyed the links that you made consistently throughout the piece. Well done. The use of the critic to develop the overall focus of your writing was particularly good. I also felt as though you had some good A03 but perhaps that this needed to be ‘evaluated’ (as per the mark scheme) and fully developed. Finally – where is your conclusion? This is a full essay, unlike Hamlet. It does require an academic approach!
Otherwise, I would be happy to put you at 25/30.
The final assessment that was marked was one that I personally did out of frustration. In class, we looked at Claudius in Act 2, scene ii, and how we acted towards Hamlet. I felt that I had some excellent points for the particular scene that we were focusing on and was seething when the lesson ended before I could set forth my interpretation of the scene. In response, I made it my personal homework to write a response to this particular excerpt as if it were a part (a) question, and my teacher had this to see when she reported back to me:
Overall, a fantastic exploration of the extract – I really enjoyed the read. Nicely developed throughout and always dissecting the A02 – I would suggest however that you give as much time to all three and not focus so much on language!
So, with all of that wrapped up, let’s move onto the assessments, both of which occurred on Friday. Great… The Hamlet essay was actually only a part (b) question was a part (b) on the ways and extent to which we agreed with a statement positing that Hamlet’s hamartia as a tragic hero was his impulsivity rather than his many vacillations. I actually formulated a few arguments that agreed with this statement although I truly think Hamlet’s indecisiveness leads to his demise. I don’t look at him and see a rash, brash man that needs to control his actions. That being said, translating my thoughts into the language required by the expected academic register was bloody difficult. I only had half an hour to write this as well, so I could only fit in one decent paragraph, one slightly sloppy, rushed paragraph and a very hastily written conclusion. Oh wow, that mark is going to be interesting.
The next essay was a response to an excerpt from the dystopian novel Darkness at Noon. This was quite an interesting extract because it didn’t explicitly conform to the mythos of the genre, but rather attempted to fit in its framework, with all the tropes and feature, in its own way. This lack of adherence to the usual conventions made it difficult yet slightly enjoyable to analyse. The main protagonist, Rubashov, seemed to have more control than the oppressor in this situation, and the totalitarian regime seemed quite flimsy itself from the language, form and structure that I selected. I also think my heart was beating erratically after realising mid-way through my second paragraph that I forgot to include socio-historical links, which was a pain in the derrière because I had to go through it all from that point and sprinkle the piece with context. I think I did alright though and most of my points were strong enough, although the language wasn’t especially strong in this piece; there were very few literary devices here, and you had to really quite heavily on word classes (luckily for me, that is actually one of my specialities).
This assessment came after we had looked at eco-dystopias with novels like The Road and the Onyx and the Crake, and after looking at a few revision resources replete with pertinent, powerful information on them. Obviously, this was quite a popular theme because it linked with the contemporary geographical issue of anthropogenic global heating (oh, and ‘ecological collapse’, as they describe it), and a few of my peers, who are avid activists in this youth-lead, environmental policy-change movement, really enjoyed it. We also looked at political dystopias, which slightly confused me because aren’t all dystopias, well… inherently political? I mean, I have yet to come across a dystopia that has nothing about the ruling class or a feature grounded in political discourse. They are socio-political texts dammit!
Moving on, we were given a set of the pre-calibrated grade thresholds that we would be up against in our December mocks, which are not too dissimilar to the ones we had in July. It was interesting to see how these were set, and I’ll let you be the judge with how fair you think they are:
- Looked at attitudes towards language change.
- Completed two in-class assessments.
- Received first mark for NEA.
So, to begin with, we discussed the theory of declinism in the English language with people like Jonathan Swift in the 18th century acting as an ardent proponent of as much standardisation in the language as possible, linking ‘correct’ language to good morals via the idea of standards, and how change is a perversion of the English language. We looked at the introduction and work of grammarians as well. In another lesson we looked at Fairclough’s theory that language was becoming more informal (i.e. informalisation), and that written language was now adopting the style of spoken language, a process called ‘conversationalisation’. I’m not joking, either. All in all, quite interesting takes on language change that burnished my knowledge of prescriptivism in the linguistic discourse.
One of the lessons focused on a more descriptivist perspective of language change. Aitchison’s metaphors on language change that she used to refute the prescriptivist arguments about language change. The arguments rebutted were the ‘damp spoon’ (increasing indolence of the language users, even though some aspects of dialect like glottal stops actually require more muscle movement), ‘crumbling castle’ (a fall from grace from a ‘golden age’ of the English language, despite the fact that there is no set date for such an epoch) and the ‘infectious disease’ (lower standards in English being contagious and leading to the destruction of the language, without considering a functionalist position that considers language to be a tool of communication, so there is nothing wrong if everyone understands each other and knows the messages being conveyed). I also found a brilliant website on language change, but couldn’t leverage it because I was overwhelmed by the sea of information that I felt was going to drown in after twenty minutes of looking at the site. It seems to be more suited to the rigours of undergraduate-level study.
An in-class assessment on Thursday was based on what we had learnt recently, and while I had all the information with me, it was very difficult to write a discursive essay with them. This assessment focused on the type of question we would receive in Section A of the second paper. We had to argue for and against the view propounded by the question. I think one of the problems is that my first paragraph was quite hefty and loaded with the primary flaws of prescripvism against descriptivism on the basis of a single, immutable, ‘valid’ use of the language. It was a heavily detailed criticism that probably took more time than it should have. I began my second paragraph but had to end there as the assessment time stopped. Now, I could have asked for a bit of extra time, but I’m not that cheap. That’ll come when it really matters in the formal internally and externally marked examinations.
The second test in controlled conditions was on Friday, and it was on the second question of the first section of the first paper. We had to analyse how meanings and representations were created in a page from a medical textbook from 1652 on the St John’s-wort. I actually found it immensely intriguing to see an actual text from back then and what the written word looked like. Obviously, few were literate at the time so this was clearly a symbol of a learned man. I think I was tickled a little by the German-like capitalisation of many non-proper nouns and the misuse of colons in accordance with today’s standards. It was also slightly amusing to see how even a sign of social prestige itself (that being writing) had to even have prestigious features added to it like the convoluted subjunctive mood and awfully prolix sentences. A novel, archaic, special character that looks like an ‘f’, the medial s (or long/descending s) was also littered throughout the piece (the long s: ſ). On the page, the uppercase looks like the integration symbol. Once again, something more for style than substance. Funnily enough, I actually barely discussed the aim of flaunting the ability to write here and how about how language was a tool of social status and class. I had other things to talk about in my essay such as precision, knowledge and authoritarian tone. This was the first time I had done a texts and representations essay in exam conditions where the full range of marks were available, with ten of them for the first assessment objective and fifteen for the third.
Finally, and most importantly, the first mark for 10% of my grade was released. This was for my original-writing NEA, which had just gone through the first bit of standardisation. It was a piece of creative writing that emulated Louisa May Alcott’s style in Little Women. I had actually invested a prodigious amount of time and effort in this, so I was expecting a half-decent mark to appear. I was actually called up to an after-school meeting regarding NEA every Wednesday to make amendments and polish the piece, so I thought that something was definitely awry (two from each group were not invited because they believed the NEA was as best as it could be). Here is the mark:
45/50 – grade TBD
My friend looked crestfallen at his mark, so I asked him what it was, he told me. Wow. A mark of ****ing 49! I felt a bit hard done by there! The man looked like he was draped in the cloth of sorrow. Oh well, I guess standards truly are relative. Speaking of NEA, I had better make some amendments to my language investigation that are quite overdue anyway because I realised a few minor errors that need fixing like style inconsistency and a miscount of the number of adverbs in one of my data sets.
So, I’m about to send my UCAS application off actually. The choices, predicted grades and personal statement have all been prepared and are ready for submission. My predicted for chemistry is now also a B (slightly worryingly), making for this set of predicted grades: two starred As and a B. My choices (in no particular order of preference or importance just yet) are Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leicester, Leeds and Durham, all for their English degrees. I was actually interested in LSE’s philosophy degree at one point, but I just couldn’t reshape my personal statement that was so English-oriented for one degree course that piqued my interest. It’s time to see how good I am.
Next, I want to mention a pretty nice opportunity given to me by my English literature teacher for our Drama and Poetry Pre-1900 component. She was rather interested in a deeper knowledge of word classes (both open and closed/functional ones). Now, she has seen me use a little rarer word classes more often in my literature essays and knows that I’m enraptured by these seemingly irrelevant things. By virtue of the aforementioned facts, I was invited to give the lower-sixth literature students some advice on word classes after school, like a lecture. And I was also invited to give the upper-fifth students some advice on their GCSEs, which were both pretty good opportunities. Obviously, I jumped on them, but this means that I also have to practise and create PowerPoints for them, along with other materials to try and make it a little more interactive.
My father and I also bonded a little. I rarely get to be too close to the man, but we both went for our second viewing of ‘Joker’ (ah, such a brilliant film), and he even proposed a movie night every week, which I found awesome. I never thought I'd hear that from him to be honest.
I was also involved in a little imbroglio with my friend that we resolved on the day (this happened on Friday). In essence, I disclosed his NEA mark of 49 to one of the year 12s that was curious about our NEA marks. It appears that ‘divulge’ would have been a more appropriate term here, because he seemed quite irritated at the fact that I had disseminated information that he deemed to be sensitive. I was actually quite upset, not necessarily overwhelmed with distraught, but definitely saddened, because I hate breaking trust. He later, unexpectedly, messaged me confirming that he didn’t care and that he was disconcerted initially, but now felt that he was a little harsh, so it’s cool that we’ve put that behind us.
Thanks for reading all of you, and I hope to post these on a more consistent basis.
omg assessment fetish😂😂😂
eeewww electrochemical cells gross🤮
honestly I feel I gain a few brain cells reading your posts so thanks for expanding my vocabulary!!
hmm well I’d pull it. it’s better to take action than to just sit back and let two people DEFINITELY die rather than thinking you’d be hopefully saving everyone. and I guess you could then blame the other person for not pulling it if six ended up dying.
Chemistry is probably the bane of all chem students' existence.
Hmmm, not sure why world leaders studied chemistry - as my stats teacher would put it, no correlation
Such amazing scores in English Lit and your language NEA! Well done!
Yay for your UCAS being done! Hopefully you start getting offers soon.
Aotd: I probably wouldn't pull the lever. The chances of pulling it at the same time are too small.
Chemistry is probably the bane of all chem students' existence.
Hmmm, not sure why world leaders studied chemistry - as my stats teacher would put it, no correlation
I think they care more about the people's reactions than the chemical reactions!