A Strange New Universe: A Year 13 GYG

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SilentSolitaire
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Hi and welcome to my GYG!

(Title is a reference to a Janos Bolyai quote)
Another year, another go at a GYG blog I guess!

About Me
Hi, I'm SilentSolitaire and I'm a year 13 studying Further Maths, Physics and Computer Science. I'm hoping to study maths at uni so like to try (and fail) to solve lots of maths problems in my free time (usually UKMT, though I have 43,000 maths books that I keep meaning to actually look at...). When that's not taken over my entire life (and, really, that's never), I like cooking, playing the piano (badly), trying to learn french, coding, and using way too many parentheses (whoops). I also like listening to way too much musical theatre (currently hadestown but who knows about tomorrow...) so please let me know if you've got any suggestions!

Grades
Spoiler:
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GCSEs: 999999887A*A*A*A
A-Level Maths: A*
STEP: 1SS
Predicted: A*A*A*

University Decisions
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UCAS
Cambridge
Acknowledgement: Yes
Decision:

Manchester
Acknowledgement: Yes
Decision: AA offer

Warwick
Acknowledgement: Yes
Decision: A*A*A + 1 in STEP/A*A*A* offer

Leeds
Acknowledgement:
Decision:

Durham
Acknowledgement: Yes
Decision:

American Unis
MIT (EA)
Applied?: Yes
Decision:

UChicago (EA?)
Applied?:
Decision:

Harvard
Applied?:
Decision:

Princeton
Applied?:
Decision:

Yale
Applied?:
Decision:


Goals for this year
  1. Get into Cambridge I guess? That'd be really good but I'm aiming to get and meet a Warwick offer if that doesn't happen.
  2. Revise phys/comp sci for at least 30 minutes each day so it all doesn't pile up at the end of the year.
  3. Do well in the maths challenges this year (a distinction in BMO2? maybe?)
  4. Actually exercising would be good (going to aim for 3 times a week but we'll see.)
  5. I'd quite like to do some sort of project in maths (probably reading and writing up blog posts on some sort of topic but I'm not really sure) but that'll really be time dependent.

Important Updates

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will update later
Last edited by SilentSolitaire; 5 months ago
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SilentSolitaire
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02/09/2019 - 3 days until schools starts...
To-do List
  1. Write up physics flashcards on ideal gases and simple harmonic motion. [half]
  2. Answer physics questions on ideal gases. [started]
  3. Complete chapter two of calc for the ambitious. [not started]
  4. Finish drafting my personal statement. [mostly done]

Okay, so didn't get much done as I realised I hadn't done any of my physics flashcards for 3 other topics so did those instead and then got distracted with some maths questions but hopefully I should be slightly more productive when school starts back again.
In terms of non-academic work, went for a walk and looked in a few charity shops, got some new folders and organised some of my notes from over the summer. Going to miss the free time but it was quite a fun afternoon and now I have my maths notes organised I can take them into school and look them over if I have free time which should be slightly more fun than regular revision...
Last edited by SilentSolitaire; 6 months ago
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nyxnko_
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Didn't realise you had a GYG
Good luck with Year 13!! :rave:
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SilentSolitaire
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
Didn't realise you had a GYG
Good luck with Year 13!! :rave:
Yes, decided to try again, hopefully I might actually stick with it this year...
Thank you!
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03/09/2019 - 2 days until school starts...
To-do List



  1. 30 minutes of computer science memrise (30 minutes) [done]
  2. Finish ideal gases questions + flashcards (30 minutes) [done]
  3. Finish the draft of my Nuffield Report (1 hour) [started]
  4. Start reading this graph theory paper (???) [not started]
Last edited by SilentSolitaire; 6 months ago
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SilentSolitaire
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09/09/2019 - How has school gone so far?
To-do list for the week

  1. Nuffield Report! (Due: 12/09) [ ]
  2. Finish at least 2 of the MIT application prompts. (Due: 01/11) [ ]
  3. Finish the rest of the extra information for the MIT application. [ ]
  4. Finish this booklet of physics past paper questions. [ ]
  5. Finish programming my game play screen for computer science. [ ]
  6. Submit UCAS. [ ]
  7. Organise Maths Club for the year. [ ]
  8. Do 6 geo problems. [ ]

Well, that's a lot to keep me busy...
Updates on School
I'm back, got my timetable, discovered that since I finished further maths I have 12 frees a week! Which is almost more intense then classes, especially as my laptop keeps on running out of charge. :mad: The subjects don't seem that much harder than year 12, possibly because we started year 13 content last year. I'm also enjoying my new teachers, they seem really nice, so school's going good so far!
Updates on Applications
I've decided to apply to MIT after all, I figure I've already spent enough frees obsessing over their classes and programs that I may as well just apply at this point. That's keeping me busy (I am very not good at writing personal essays) but I'm finding the application really interesting at the moment so that's good!
I had a meeting to discuss applications today and I'm submitting UCAS tomorrow! I'm super excited just to have that out of the way so that I can focus on school work, especially as my compsci teacher is leaving soon so I'm trying to get as much as possible of the programming project done before then.
Updates on Extracurriculars
Nuffield is annoying me at the moment- I'm still waiting on this one document to finish my report but that means I'm going to have about 5 pages to write in 2 days and I've never been the fastest. I also haven't decided whether to run maths club this year- I can't find anyone to help me and it was a bit of a fail last year - so I'm not sure there's really much point in me running it again.
I'm going to focus on doing a bit of olympiad maths at the start of this year then hopefully I'll have a bit of time to read some maths papers and work on university maths but we'll see I guess. :dontknow:


Okay, I'm just realising how boring I am... Anyway, let's see how much of this to-do list I can get done!
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nyxnko_
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12 frees a week!? :eek3:
Do keep us updated on the MIT application :yes: It sounds really interesting
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SilentSolitaire
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
12 frees a week!? :eek3:
Do keep us updated on the MIT application :yes: It sounds really interesting
I know, seems a few too many... I've got plenty to be getting on with though so it's going okay so far.
It's been quite fun filling it in so far as it's a completely separate application system so there's more of a focus on what your interested in rather than whether you do about 13 extracurriculars. Might not be so motivated when it comes to stuff like the common app! How did you find applying to international unis (was it Singapore you applied to?)?
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SilentSolitaire
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11/09/2019 - Submitted my UCAS!
To-do list update
  1. Nuffield Report! (Due: 12/09) [submitted a draft]
  2. Finish at least 2 of the MIT application prompts. (Due: 01/11) [drafted]
  3. Finish the rest of the extra information for the MIT application. [drafted]
  4. Finish this booklet of physics past paper questions. [16/28 pages]
  5. Finish programming my game play screen for computer science. [finished main menu screen]
  6. Submit UCAS. [done!]
  7. Organise Maths Club for the year. [kind of?]
  8. Do 6 geo problems. [0/6]

As you may have guessed from the title, I've submitted UCAS! And I've got my track login! Uni doesn't actually feel that far away now...
This essentially means that I only have the SAQ and (hopefully) interviews to go now which I'm quite relieved about. I forgot to get the form to ask for frees off school though so I'm going to complete my MIT application and then go back to get it.
I still haven't got the things I needed for Nuffield so I just submitted a draft, hopefully that'll be okay. I'll have to see what I can do over the weekend but I don't think that I'm going to be able to fix the issue so it might just be a case of not having any actual results, which feels a bit sad and means I won't be able to do anything with my report but ah well.

The rest of school's going okay; had 4 frees today which was way too many so I did some work/some procrastination in the morning then just did some maths problems from my UKMT mentoring sheet in the afternoon. My goal for tonight is to finish the physics questions, do some exercise then get an early night as I have a maths test tomorrow.
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nyxnko_
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(Original post by SilentSolitaire)
I know, seems a few too many... I've got plenty to be getting on with though so it's going okay so far.
It's been quite fun filling it in so far as it's a completely separate application system so there's more of a focus on what your interested in rather than whether you do about 13 extracurriculars. Might not be so motivated when it comes to stuff like the common app! How did you find applying to international unis (was it Singapore you applied to?)?
It's good you've got lots to get through but make sure you do give yourself a break sometimes too :yes:
Yeah, I've heard that US colleges actually look for a person rather than a student :dontknow:
I actually didn't end up applying in the end but yeah, I was planning to apply to Singapore
Good luck for your maths test today! And yay for submitting UCAS! :woo: That's really early!
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ANO-NI-MUS
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
It's good you've got lots to get through but make sure you do give yourself a break sometimes too :yes:
Yeah, I've heard that US colleges actually look for a person rather than a student :dontknow:
I actually didn't end up applying in the end but yeah, I was planning to apply to Singapore
Good luck for your maths test today! And yay for submitting UCAS! :woo: That's really early!
oooh I'm applying to singapore! Singapore universities are supposedly really good (and Singapore as place is beyond amazing) I take it you meant to apply to NUS?
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(Original post by ANO-NI-MUS)
oooh I'm applying to singapore! Singapore universities are supposedly really good (and Singapore as place is beyond amazing) I take it you meant to apply to NUS?
Yeah, I planned to apply to NUS Good luck with your application! :rave: Are you applying after you do your A-levels/IB/etc.?
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
Yeah, I planned to apply to NUS Good luck with your application! :rave: Are you applying after you do your A-levels/IB/etc.?
Thank you!
Well I'm doing CIE A levels so I'll apply with my IGCSE, AS and predicted A level grades. I will also give the SAT exams.
Why didn't you go through with it at the end?
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(Original post by ANO-NI-MUS)
Thank you!
Well I'm doing CIE A levels so I'll apply with my IGCSE, AS and predicted A level grades. I will also give the SAT exams.
Why didn't you go through with it at the end?
Wait, I'll send you a PM so we don't end up spamming SilentSolitaire's thread
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SilentSolitaire
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17/09/2019 - I do actually do stuff, honest!
Update on last to-do list

  1. Nuffield Report! (Due: 12/09) [submitted a draft]
  2. Finish at least 2 of the MIT application prompts. (Due: 01/11) [drafted]
  3. Finish the rest of the extra information for the MIT application. [drafted]
  4. Finish this booklet of physics past paper questions. [22/28 pages]
  5. Finish programming my game play screen for computer science. [finished main menu screen, started on classes]
  6. Submit UCAS. [done!]
  7. Organise Maths Club for the year. [kind of done?]
  8. Do 6 geo problems. [1/6]

New to-do list

  1. Finish polishing the two MIT prompts I drafted. [0/2]
  2. Finish drafting up another 1 of the prompts. [0/1]
  3. Finish physics past paper questions. [22/28]
  4. Finish computer science paper. [2/22]
  5. Organise Mentoring for the year. []
  6. Do 3 geo problems off a handout. [0/3]
  7. Do 3 other maths problems. [0/3]

Things that went well last week:
  • Maths club got (kind of) advertised? It's been missed out of the clubs list but clubs fair went well (okay, a couple of people took pity on me and wandered over to play a game on Nim with me but we'll take the wins where we can get them.) I also managed to talk for the whole of club fair - chalking that up as a win!
  • My new physics teacher has been letting me work at my own pace rather than insisting I work at the speed of the class so that's been going much faster.
  • I've kind of finished the computer science course? I've got a lot of exam practice to do and desperately need to review quite a lot of the topics but it means I can start looking at papers now, which is nice.
Things that went not-so-well last week:
  • Okay, I've only just remembered that I can't (under any circumstances) program in C#. Which, when that's supposed to be my language, is absolutely marvelous. So far this just means a lot of googling but it's slow going (like an hour for a couple of lines mostly because who knows how to program a class? Not me!) so it's hard work just sitting down and getting on with it. I'm probably going to mostly give that a break for this week and focus a little bit more on theory then start making deadlines for the code in the hopes that I'll actually manage to finish before Christmas. Fingers crossed...
  • Didn't do much maths which always seems to make everything else harder so I need to remember to make time to actually do some this week!
  • I did nothing over the weekend. Or Monday after school. Or Tuesday after school. It either feels like every task I do is just so big and overwhelming that I can't even start or that I just have way too much stuff to do. I don't know. :dontknow: I'm working on breaking things down more which should hopefully help!
Things that we're never talking about ever again, okay?:
  • That maths test. No. Just... No.

And that was my weekly recap with me! Tune in next time to hear me say, 'what do you mean programming project?!' :vroam:
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Glad physics and compsci are going well :woo:
Breaking things down is harder than it seems... :console: Good luck with your new to-do list!
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SilentSolitaire
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
Glad physics and compsci are going well :woo:
Breaking things down is harder than it seems... :console: Good luck with your new to-do list!
Thank you! Yes, haven't had too much success so far but here's hoping...
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SilentSolitaire
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23/09/2019 (whoops)
To-do List from last week
1. Finish polishing the two MIT prompts I drafted. [2/2]
2. Finish drafting up another 1 of the prompts. [1/1]
3. Finish physics past paper questions. [28/28]
4. Finish computer science paper. [22/22]
5. Organise Mentoring for the year. [kind of?]
6. Do 3 geo problems off a handout. [2/3]
7. Do 3 other maths problems. [3/3]

So the only one I didn’t manage to do was the 3 geometry questions which I’m quite proud of.
I’m not very happy with the prompt answer so that’s going to take a lot of redrafting (or just a whole new idea…) but I got something down! I got around 73% on both the computer science and the physics questions which wasn’t amazing but would probably enough to get around an A so I’m quite happy with it to say we’re still at the start of the year.

To-do List for this week
1. Finish polishing up the next MIT prompt. [/1]
2. Finish drafting up another one of the prompts. [/1]
3. Submit my SAQ. []
4. Put up some maths club posters. []
5. Finish some gravitational fields questions. []
6. Code 3 more functions for my computer science projects. [1/3]
7. Do 3 geo problems and write all 5 up. [/5]
8. Do 2 more maths problems. [/2]

Last week I mostly just worked on doing some revision and practicing questions. I went to maths club last week but no one turned up, hence the posters. We also had to do a review on ‘barriers to learning’ or something like that which was a bit annoying but at least it’s done now.
On Friday I went to the Durham open day! It was okay but the course doesn’t have that much logic (I think you’d be able to do some in a computer science course or in a project but there’s no main logic courses) so it was never going to be my favourite. I really liked the sound of most of the pure courses which was good. Found and added two photos! Name:  IMG_20190920_090630.jpg
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I didn’t do much over the weekend (whoops) but I did submit a final version of my Nuffield research report so at least that’s over and done with now. Today I sat a physics test (that I’d completely forgotten about…), WWTBAM (through to round 2!) and did a few cyber assess challenges. I also started doing some coding for my project so I’m quite happy with that.
Last edited by SilentSolitaire; 5 months ago
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nyxnko_
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Well done for completing most of last week's to-do list! :woo:
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SilentSolitaire
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(Original post by nyxnko_)
Well done for completing most of last week's to-do list! :woo:
Thank you! How're you finding Durham?
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