How do I prep for S4?

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whatssleeps
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#1
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#1
I'm about to head into S4 and start doing N5's. But I have no idea what I should be getting or doing to prepare. Are there any essentials you would recommend and things I should just avoid altogether?

Plus, I hear people getting folders for each subject but I feel like it's overkill. But feel free to tell me otherwise.

Here's my subjects:
physics
maths
graph Comm
english
french
comp sci
+ a college course in web design

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by whatssleeps; 10 months ago
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AsianNerd:)
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#2
Report 10 months ago
#2
The subjects I did were Art & Design, History, English, Maths, Media and Graphic Comm. I got 5 band 1 As and one B band 4.

Due to covid, some things will be missed out in your exam/assessment at the end of the year. The link below takes you to that page, it comes underneath Course Information 2021-2022.
https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/45625.html

Graphics was horrible. DO NOT leave your revision till the last minute. You will probably need a folder for the amount of content. I ended up doing this and I barely scraped a B (Band 4) in the end. My teacher was also on maternity leave, my school couldn't afford a replacement and all that covid stuff but I pulled an all-nighter and my "exam" was at the end of the day. It was the only B I got and it hurt because I thought the exam went well. It did not and they took about two things out of the course. If you did Nat 4 last year the content for Nat 5 is 20X more. If you neglect this subject as I did (had 6 national 5s too), the subject takes more of a toll. Don't do all the past papers at once, constantly look over the DTP terms and the CAD modelling questions... good luck buddy, they make 'em harder every year. The assignment isn't even all that. The software bugs out all the time and it ruins everything no matter what. The graphic design stuff counts for about 14 marks which is upsetting since that's the best part of it. At my school, there was 8 of us doing nat 5. Maybe it was because of how bad my school is (reputation is a girl died cuz school PE block collapsed on her and it's pretty low on the league table) but only one person got an A. She was retaking the course for the second year in a row. Two people got no awards, three people got Cs and one other person got a B. It might be easier for you depending on where you are but get a headstart because it's damn hard to do on your own. The book doesn't help much, although I would recommend it to get a solid pass, and there's little to no videos on the subject so I'd wait till after summer with this one. The second you get any content though, revise.

Maths. I loved it but if you end up with a teacher like mine (who didn't teach us what was going to be in the assessment, she ended up getting sacked because most people got D's and no awards), the national 5 website and any videos you can find on youtube will save your whole grade. I went from a C (Band 6) to an A (Band 1) in the span of two months. I did at least one maths question every day, did all my homework and completed one or two past papers every week. Know how to do your formulas and all that basic stuff. Anything you don't know ask your teachers or ask someone else who's done the course in case your teacher is hopeless. Just get comfortable with the processes, in revision time you might want to write the steps down and remember them. The more past papers you do, the more confident you will be in the exam. Before my exam, I got up early and completed and marked a past paper question after getting ready and having breakfast. It woke me up and gave me so much more focus on the questions I was doing. Maths was always an enemy to lovers vibe for me growing up, but my teacher refused to help me because "you people are naturally good at maths". This is a lie, it is a skill you advance over time. Be consistent with it because it's so easy to get frustrated if you can't do a question. The book is useful but the book alone can only get you about a B/C. Youtube videos and past paper practice is what will bring you up to that A in the end. Do your homework after summer too. Even if that stuff won't be in the exam this year, chances are that you will need it if you choose to do higher unless it's bearings.

English was hell, purely because my teacher didn't like me. She thought I was lazy - clearly, she didn't know me very well. I love the subject but the way it's taught in S4 is such a shock in comparison to the rest of your subjects. There are two (technically three) exam papers RUAE, Scottish Set Text and Critical Essay. Your set text and critical essay are in the same paper and it's recommended that you spend 45 minutes on each section although if you're anything like me, you spend 30 minutes on set text and an hour on the essay. If you know what your set text novel or poem is, start reading it and getting familiar with the characters and what they're like. RUAE and set text are quite similar but SST is easier because you get asked about the extract you are familiar with while RUAE is an unseen article. SST requires you to memorise some quotes, flashcards might help you, I made a song for mine. Expand your vocabulary with daily reading, if you know what you might want to study at university, feel free to take this opportunity to read around your subject. There's a lot of in your own words questions in RUAE and SST so do a few exercises with your chosen book when you're free and re-write a paragraph or sentence with challenging words or phrases. You have the lucky chance of getting marks for quoting at Nat 5, enjoy it while you can because you don't get them at higher. Keep your quoting really specific and focused on the question if it says writer's/ character's feelings, why/how is the feeling shown. Language - imagery, word choice, tone, sentence structure and when in doubt, word choice is your best friend. If the question says word choice and imagery, you must take examples one of each - this is super common in SST. The critical essay, according to my teacher, I was very good at. A lot of it is a clearly structured, deep analysis, supporting with evidence and relating things to society. One big secret which will help you a lot if your exams are "cancelled" is taking everything your teacher says, rewording it and making that into your own opinion. You need to get super quick with writing - your school should offer you the chance to type for this section. This part is the newest and most unfamiliar because your English teachers will ramble on how you can't write an essay in 45 minutes and then this is your exam. The only thing that changes for your English work is the amount of coursework you need to do so nothing actually changes in terms of examinations. For the folio pieces, you need to submit only one either broadly creative or broadly discursive. Your teachers might make you do both but you only get two rounds of formal written feedback for each so use it wisely. Think about your genre for the creative and think about your argument and opinion on a topic for your persuasive/discursive. I did my creative on Gavrilo Princip, you know, the 19-year-old who started world war I. This was the historical fiction genre and call me a nerd but it was so fun to write about a short moment through his perspective. The discursive, I did mine on secularism and Islamophobia in Europe. Wrote a whole paragraph bashing Boris Johnson and the research only brought me more rage to find out about the stupid laws on hijabs and niqabs. The more rage, the better the passion because it's about making people believe you are right. For your discursive, you have to write down any research, statistics and information with full links, the date you found it and a brief reference to what information it was. I recommend using both books and websites, films and documentaries are good sources too especially if you're talking about media representation. If you plan and write a rough draft of both, you'll be able to see what one is your personal strength and a great time to do this is over summer. You can think about particular topics and set out new ideas. I recommend you keep your drafts and planning electronic because it is easier for you to keep all together - I recommend using OneNote and if you have an iPad you can draw or write kinda by hand. You can share that with your teacher so that they can see your progress. For rough, second and final drafts, do them on word and then put a link to it on OneNote so you don't misplace it in some folder somewhere. This makes it easier for your teachers because they'll need to print it out for marking. There's a lot of online material for you to look at in terms of writing techniques but I'll give you these for the discursive.

Repetition- Repeating of words/phrases used

Rule of 3- Three adjectives used together to create a mood/emotion.

Imperatives- Importance of a particular subject, calling for immediate action.

Hyperbole- Over exaggerating a feature to bring attention to something such as an argument or your mood towards a particular topic.

Alliteration- Sounds/ beginning of words that are together to add emphasis to an idea, for example 'Melodramatic missus'

Anecdotes- Stories (either yours or someone else's) used to portray the argument.

Personal & Collective pronouns- you, we, us, our, etc. Used to make the reader feel acknowledged.

Facts and statistics- Factual evidence such as percentages is used to support an opinion.

Emotive Language- Language that tackles the desperation you want to show the audience.

Direct Address- Addressing the audience to take action, usually in the conclusion.

Rhetorical Questions- Asking a question aimed at a particular topic, used to make the reader think about a particular idea. Does not provide a direct answer but usually points to one based on the writer's opinion.

English is truly about focused waffling. I didn't buy the Leckie and Leckie book because it truly isn't worth it as all the past papers are online and the techniques are too. BBC bitesize is quite good for set text, I did Tally's blood for mine. Really focus on English this year, even if you hate it. You'll need it for Higher and you'll probably have to take Higher English next year for university, college or apprenticeship.


You'll need to write your Scottish Candidate Number on every bit of coursework and your date of birth so make sure you know that information. Somewhere along the line, you'll start to regret not slacking off in your earlier years. If you feel like you will, take this summer and do a bit of work but don't do too much. No matter the situation, it will be hard. Maths and English are the two that really matter but if you've already got a goal in mind, be mindful to manage your time with revision properly. Give yourself breaks, social isolation is super easy to do during exam years. Establish a good sleep routine, really focus on being healthier in terms of diet and stay hydrated. Don't ever convince yourself that you can't get a certain grade or that you're not good enough to get there. You will. In my first RUAE prelim, I got 10/30 which is 33%. Trust me when I say you can if you push yourself to do it.

S4 is about figuring out what you want from school and how you learn information best. Caring is your first step to success in academia
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lorieh
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#3
Report 10 months ago
#3
Getting a folder for each subject certainly isn’t ‘overkill’. Organising your stuff so your learning process is more productive and stable isn’t ‘overkill’.

Good luck with that mindset tho
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whatssleeps
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#4
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#4
(Original post by AsianNerd:))
The subjects I did were Art & Design, History, English, Maths, Media and Graphic Comm. I got 5 band 1 As and one B band 4.

Due to covid, some things will be missed out in your exam/assessment at the end of the year. The link below takes you to that page, it comes underneath Course Information 2021-2022.
https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/45625.html

Graphics was horrible. DO NOT leave your revision till the last minute. You will probably need a folder for the amount of content. I ended up doing this and I barely scraped a B (Band 4) in the end. My teacher was also on maternity leave, my school couldn't afford a replacement and all that covid stuff but I pulled an all-nighter and my "exam" was at the end of the day. It was the only B I got and it hurt because I thought the exam went well. It did not and they took about two things out of the course. If you did Nat 4 last year the content for Nat 5 is 20X more. If you neglect this subject as I did (had 6 national 5s too), the subject takes more of a toll. Don't do all the past papers at once, constantly look over the DTP terms and the CAD modelling questions... good luck buddy, they make 'em harder every year. The assignment isn't even all that. The software bugs out all the time and it ruins everything no matter what. The graphic design stuff counts for about 14 marks which is upsetting since that's the best part of it. At my school, there was 8 of us doing nat 5. Maybe it was because of how bad my school is (reputation is a girl died cuz school PE block collapsed on her and it's pretty low on the league table) but only one person got an A. She was retaking the course for the second year in a row. Two people got no awards, three people got Cs and one other person got a B. It might be easier for you depending on where you are but get a headstart because it's damn hard to do on your own. The book doesn't help much, although I would recommend it to get a solid pass, and there's little to no videos on the subject so I'd wait till after summer with this one. The second you get any content though, revise.

Maths. I loved it but if you end up with a teacher like mine (who didn't teach us what was going to be in the assessment, she ended up getting sacked because most people got D's and no awards), the national 5 website and any videos you can find on youtube will save your whole grade. I went from a C (Band 6) to an A (Band 1) in the span of two months. I did at least one maths question every day, did all my homework and completed one or two past papers every week. Know how to do your formulas and all that basic stuff. Anything you don't know ask your teachers or ask someone else who's done the course in case your teacher is hopeless. Just get comfortable with the processes, in revision time you might want to write the steps down and remember them. The more past papers you do, the more confident you will be in the exam. Before my exam, I got up early and completed and marked a past paper question after getting ready and having breakfast. It woke me up and gave me so much more focus on the questions I was doing. Maths was always an enemy to lovers vibe for me growing up, but my teacher refused to help me because "you people are naturally good at maths". This is a lie, it is a skill you advance over time. Be consistent with it because it's so easy to get frustrated if you can't do a question. The book is useful but the book alone can only get you about a B/C. Youtube videos and past paper practice is what will bring you up to that A in the end. Do your homework after summer too. Even if that stuff won't be in the exam this year, chances are that you will need it if you choose to do higher unless it's bearings.

English was hell, purely because my teacher didn't like me. She thought I was lazy - clearly, she didn't know me very well. I love the subject but the way it's taught in S4 is such a shock in comparison to the rest of your subjects. There are two (technically three) exam papers RUAE, Scottish Set Text and Critical Essay. Your set text and critical essay are in the same paper and it's recommended that you spend 45 minutes on each section although if you're anything like me, you spend 30 minutes on set text and an hour on the essay. If you know what your set text novel or poem is, start reading it and getting familiar with the characters and what they're like. RUAE and set text are quite similar but SST is easier because you get asked about the extract you are familiar with while RUAE is an unseen article. SST requires you to memorise some quotes, flashcards might help you, I made a song for mine. Expand your vocabulary with daily reading, if you know what you might want to study at university, feel free to take this opportunity to read around your subject. There's a lot of in your own words questions in RUAE and SST so do a few exercises with your chosen book when you're free and re-write a paragraph or sentence with challenging words or phrases. You have the lucky chance of getting marks for quoting at Nat 5, enjoy it while you can because you don't get them at higher. Keep your quoting really specific and focused on the question if it says writer's/ character's feelings, why/how is the feeling shown. Language - imagery, word choice, tone, sentence structure and when in doubt, word choice is your best friend. If the question says word choice and imagery, you must take examples one of each - this is super common in SST. The critical essay, according to my teacher, I was very good at. A lot of it is a clearly structured, deep analysis, supporting with evidence and relating things to society. One big secret which will help you a lot if your exams are "cancelled" is taking everything your teacher says, rewording it and making that into your own opinion. You need to get super quick with writing - your school should offer you the chance to type for this section. This part is the newest and most unfamiliar because your English teachers will ramble on how you can't write an essay in 45 minutes and then this is your exam. The only thing that changes for your English work is the amount of coursework you need to do so nothing actually changes in terms of examinations. For the folio pieces, you need to submit only one either broadly creative or broadly discursive. Your teachers might make you do both but you only get two rounds of formal written feedback for each so use it wisely. Think about your genre for the creative and think about your argument and opinion on a topic for your persuasive/discursive. I did my creative on Gavrilo Princip, you know, the 19-year-old who started world war I. This was the historical fiction genre and call me a nerd but it was so fun to write about a short moment through his perspective. The discursive, I did mine on secularism and Islamophobia in Europe. Wrote a whole paragraph bashing Boris Johnson and the research only brought me more rage to find out about the stupid laws on hijabs and niqabs. The more rage, the better the passion because it's about making people believe you are right. For your discursive, you have to write down any research, statistics and information with full links, the date you found it and a brief reference to what information it was. I recommend using both books and websites, films and documentaries are good sources too especially if you're talking about media representation. If you plan and write a rough draft of both, you'll be able to see what one is your personal strength and a great time to do this is over summer. You can think about particular topics and set out new ideas. I recommend you keep your drafts and planning electronic because it is easier for you to keep all together - I recommend using OneNote and if you have an iPad you can draw or write kinda by hand. You can share that with your teacher so that they can see your progress. For rough, second and final drafts, do them on word and then put a link to it on OneNote so you don't misplace it in some folder somewhere. This makes it easier for your teachers because they'll need to print it out for marking. There's a lot of online material for you to look at in terms of writing techniques but I'll give you these for the discursive.

Repetition- Repeating of words/phrases used

Rule of 3- Three adjectives used together to create a mood/emotion.

Imperatives- Importance of a particular subject, calling for immediate action.

Hyperbole- Over exaggerating a feature to bring attention to something such as an argument or your mood towards a particular topic.

Alliteration- Sounds/ beginning of words that are together to add emphasis to an idea, for example 'Melodramatic missus'

Anecdotes- Stories (either yours or someone else's) used to portray the argument.

Personal & Collective pronouns- you, we, us, our, etc. Used to make the reader feel acknowledged.

Facts and statistics- Factual evidence such as percentages is used to support an opinion.

Emotive Language- Language that tackles the desperation you want to show the audience.

Direct Address- Addressing the audience to take action, usually in the conclusion.

Rhetorical Questions- Asking a question aimed at a particular topic, used to make the reader think about a particular idea. Does not provide a direct answer but usually points to one based on the writer's opinion.

English is truly about focused waffling. I didn't buy the Leckie and Leckie book because it truly isn't worth it as all the past papers are online and the techniques are too. BBC bitesize is quite good for set text, I did Tally's blood for mine. Really focus on English this year, even if you hate it. You'll need it for Higher and you'll probably have to take Higher English next year for university, college or apprenticeship.


You'll need to write your Scottish Candidate Number on every bit of coursework and your date of birth so make sure you know that information. Somewhere along the line, you'll start to regret not slacking off in your earlier years. If you feel like you will, take this summer and do a bit of work but don't do too much. No matter the situation, it will be hard. Maths and English are the two that really matter but if you've already got a goal in mind, be mindful to manage your time with revision properly. Give yourself breaks, social isolation is super easy to do during exam years. Establish a good sleep routine, really focus on being healthier in terms of diet and stay hydrated. Don't ever convince yourself that you can't get a certain grade or that you're not good enough to get there. You will. In my first RUAE prelim, I got 10/30 which is 33%. Trust me when I say you can if you push yourself to do it.

S4 is about figuring out what you want from school and how you learn information best. Caring is your first step to success in academia
Thank you! I'll certainly keep this all in mind and I'll definitely take your advice on graph comm. I can't really put my gratitude into proper context but really, thank you very much!
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whatssleeps
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#5
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#5
(Original post by lorieh)
Getting a folder for each subject certainly isn’t ‘overkill’. Organising your stuff so your learning process is more productive and stable isn’t ‘overkill’.

Good luck with that mindset tho
I was just a tad worried about if some of my subjects really do require a folder. For example, comp sci and graph comm as most of the coursework would be completed digitally and could easily be stored on a USB drive. However, that was probably not the best assumption and I see your point now.

Thanks for the help
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michaelfarnell5
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#6
Report 10 months ago
#6
(Original post by whatssleeps)
I'm about to head into S4 and start doing N5's. But I have no idea what I should be getting or doing to prepare. Are there any essentials you would recommend and things I should just avoid altogether?

Plus, I hear people getting folders for each subject but I feel like it's overkill. But feel free to tell me otherwise.

Here's my subjects:
physics
maths
graph Comm
english
french
comp sci
+ a college course in web design

Thanks in advance!
Hello, I'm here to give my advice also on Physics and French, as the other person gave really good detail for Maths, English and Graphics

Physics - Revise content constantly as there is a lot in Nat 5, i sat it and got a C, same with Higher. Its also about practice so past paper questions, practice questions etc. I probably could have got a B if i did that constantly around exams and prelims. Make sure to ask for help on anything your stuck with as it'll show your determined to succeed

French - I didn't do this, i did Spanish but the same revision tips apply. Revise grammar points constantly as there is a lot and it can get confusing quickly. Also did reading, listening, writing practices a lot as you normally do quite a lot of them throughout the year. And for speaking i did flashcards, questions on 1 side my answer on the other, same with my presentation i did a bullet point per flashcard (this could also possibly work or writing)

Hope this helps, and good luck for your Nat 5s
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BlackLab
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#7
Report 10 months ago
#7
physics - take good notes, revise as you go along throughout the year. If you have any revision guides read them as you go along, watch Mr physics you tube videos. This is a good page for practising past papers by topic - Past papers by topic as you work through each unit of the course.

maths - practice lots, going over previous topics regularly - the tee Jay book is good for q+a if your school didn't provide enough. Take notes of where you struggle and just keep practicing. Ask your teacher really if you are struggling with something, dont fall behind as it can be harder to catch up. Little and often.

english - read quality newspaper opinion pieces every day or so and look out for the techniques writers use, the ruae text usually comes from there, especially the guardian. Increase your vocab by trying to use your own words to explain what they have written, use a thesaurus to help if needed. The Bright red course book (not the study guide) is good for working through RUAE techniques, do this first it will take a few weeks, then do past papers and pay attention to the marking instructions. It also has some hints for folio. Start folio early to get it out the way. I would prioritise ruae and folio to begin with in s4. Then take really good notes for the set text and mind map/memorise common themes and quotes (Improving your ruae will really help with set text questions too), for critical essay write essay plans for theme, setting, character, introduction and conclusions and memorise then practise manipulating these to fit different questions.

french - get a couple of hundred A7 or A8 is better card flash cards and write them out by hand (better than an app) - words, sentences, verbs - for the French nat5 topics and practice with someone 10-15 mins most nights. Use spaced repetition.


We got so no text books and so many handouts in S4 plastic wallets/folders were needed to keep everything in order and stop them becoming crumpled messes as you'll need them to revise.

Work out how to study and revise early on. What works is different for different people. Try out the Thomas frank youtube videos on things like recognition vs recall, spaced repetition, study techniques, how to do flash cards and try them out to see what works for you. If you keep up with the work, don't fall behind, and revise little and often then the run up to exams is less stressful. S4 isn't too bad so don't worry.

Higher is much harder as subjects are more in depth, it is more important to get a strong foundation in S4 and it will stand you in good stead for highers which are the ones that really matter.
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