Warwick Open Day Experience

Image result for university of warwickArriving at the open day was complicated and tiring. After a 2 hour car ride we had to queue to get into the ‘car park’. (‘car park’ being a dusty old field). The queue of cars took us about 30 minutes. Then we parked up and had to get into an another queue, this time a queue of people which took 40 minutes. This was all for the park and ride service the university was offering, as they didn’t want visitors parking in their car park as there would not have been enough room. Oddly we managed to park next to one of my friends from school, which was crazy considering we had know idea she was coming and we had driven 2 hours away from home and yet in a car park full of about 2000 cars we managed to park next to each other, truly amazing.

The queue didn’t seem so bad as we had someone to chat with and there were plenty of buses. The bus ride its self was not great, I ended up sitting on what I think was an heating vent. Even though it was a hot day June it appeared the heating was jammed on. Not only that we had to sit at the top and the windows had to be kept open due to the heat. However when we drove through the narrow roads with low hanging branches, tree debris and leaves fell on us!

On arrival we had our bar code scanned and an open day booklet given to us. We said goodbye to my friend from school and headed towards the Student Union. We bought a plain standard coffee and sat inside the main part of the student union. There were bright coloured chairs, that looked like something you would find in a nursery play room! The overall appearance of the Student Union did not look too bad though, it did have a modern clean feel. In the student union they had a hair dressers, cafe, bank, bread shop, pool tables, arcade games, bar and what looked to be a music room.

We then decided to walk around campus and found our self in the sports centre. We didn’t have a proper look around, mainly because I wouldn’t classify myself as a ‘sporty’ person. I saw the main sports hall, which looked pretty standard with 4 badminton courts. There was also an indoor climbing wall, which I wasn’t too impressed with it was more of an indoor climbing cave, rather than wall.

I decided to have a quick browse of the chemistry department, we walked in saw the stands and then walked out again. We didn’t stop and speak to anyone, there did seem to be more going on, but I was conscious that I hadn’t booked or anything. Not only that I am not really interested in studying chemistry anyway. Afterwards we went to the library which was a little disappointing, there didn’t seem to be many books! Instead everything was computerised and the so called 1.2 million books were actually ebooks. There just seemed to be endless amounts of computers and plenty of study space.

We then headed towards an accommodation that was en-suite, we once again queued at the entrance. The kitchen was nice and stylish, there was a large table for people to eat around. With two cookers (8 hobs) which would be shared for about 8-12 people. The room seemed fairly average and typical of a common uni room. The en-suite did have a bath tub though, instead of just a shower.

Giving our self plenty of time we decided to leave the main campus and head to a side campus known as Gibbet Hill campus, where they teach medicine and life sciences. This was really what I was interested in and came for. The campus was about a 15 minute walk away from the main campus, but the walk there was breathtaking (in a good way). The pathway took us through a beautiful woodland area, where there were lots of trees and wild plants. We walked across a scenic little bridge across a stream. It felt so refreshing like a break from the busy campus life style a spectacular little walk in nature. In the Summer month of June the sun was beaming through the green leaves and the area felt full of life. I could picture the gorgeous blue bells that would appear there in the spring and a glittering blanket of frost in the winter. I loved how the life sciences campus was separate from the main campus, it somehow made you feel important and special. It was lovely to know only scientists and doctors would walk down the path and that you were valued and treated differently from everyone else.

As we entered the life science campus we were greeted and given a plastic wallet full of information. It was truly incredible the plastic wallet was sturdy and strong in an aqua blue colour, the wallet is practical and can be reused. Inside was a nice notepad of paper with “Warwick life sciences” printed at the bottom accompanied by a free working pen! But best of all there was a £5 gift voucher to be spent in any university run cafe! Wow, we were truly valued by the university. We had a lovely tour of the science labs where we spoke to one of 12 lab technicians. It was also reassuring to find out the first 2 practicals did not count, so we could get a feel for what a proper practical was like before being assessed. We then went into a room known as the ‘Orchard’ as it had 120 APPLE IMAC COMPUTERS! Yes, one hundred and twenty! I was amazed about how much value was in one room. We then went to a mini-library place known as a ‘biogrid’ to be fair it was a bit rubbish, there were only 3/4 book shelves and a tiny group study area. The group study looked as if it would be noisy and rowdy.

After the tour we attended a talk on life sciences, which was a 45 minute talk covering all the life science subjects. This included biomedical, biological sciences and biochemistry along with something else called “Global sustainability” or something similar. For me the talk confirmed that biological science was not for me, but I could do either biomedical or biochemistry. It was also reassuring to see that 80% of those who graduated were doing something useful, whether it was working within the field or further study. The other 20% went into different fields such as banking etc. We then headed down to the onsite cafe and had sandwiches, crisps, cake and tea.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the demonstrations as such because I didn’t know where they were. We saw the poster display, but there didn’t look to be anyone demonstrating anything. I didn’t want to ask “Where is the demonstration?” just in case they replied “this is it!” and then I would have to awkwardly do the “ohhh”

We then headed back to main campus and looked around some more accommodation we went into another en suite place which was very similar to the first except the kitchen was a touch smaller and the desk in the bedroom a little smaller. We then viewed the cheapest accommodation open which was a shared bathroom. The room itself didn’t look too bad, in fact the room was bigger than the en-suite rooms. I did like how the toilet was separate to the shower. The kitchen didn’t look much different to that of the other places except just a touch smaller. I think the biggest difference was the fact that 19 people could be in that one kitchen, compared to the max of 12 elsewhere. I know they say people have different schedules and stuff, but with 19 people and only 4 toilets and 8 hobs. There must be times where you have to wait.

Overall I liked the layout of the campus it was like a mini town. However for me there was too many cafes, bars and restaurants. To me everywhere you went there was a cafe in some places 3 or four cafes in one building. It makes you wonder if the students actually cook, I do think I could potentially get bored there after a while. Especially since there felt like there was no life outside the campus, it wasn’t next to a big city or anything! The student ambassadors were friendly and the were visitors friendly too. Overall I enjoyed my day there, even though getting there was a nightmare!

 

Laboratory Work Experience

As part of my sixth form, one had to undergo one weeks worth of work experience. Each student is responsible for finding and organising their own placement and the sixth form will simply review it to check that it is appropriate. For my work experience I am doing a placement at a local private school in their science prep room, where I am working as a Laboratory Technician. This is my experience and how I got on:

Day 1

On arrival I was given huge amounts of safety information from symbols on chemicals, to fire doors and first aid kits. Once I started working I did a huge amount of manual work from sorting through the post, unboxing, moving textbooks between classes, sorting textbooks into piles and unloading the dishwasher. The work was tough and required a lot of heavy lifting, I struggled to life boxes of paper onto a high shelf. I did a little lab work, which involved making a simple solution. I also had to read through some rather boring risk assessments and old folders. To be honest I found it quite awkward a lot of the time, I did not know what to say to people! I also felt that I was a bit in the way or a bit of an ‘inconvenience’ so to speak. For example I felt that the technician had “proper” work to be doing and needed to make some chemicals that I was unable to do as I am obviously not qualified. At one point I was thinking “I wanna go home!” I guess I just felt out of place, like I shouldn’t be there.

Day 2

I was dreading my second day, but it was not actually too bad. I didn’t feel quite as awkward as day 1. However I didn’t do any practical lab work, instead it was all organising and writing things. I had to write a list of all the equipment in some of the class rooms, which involved things such as counting the number of beakers, conical flasks and petri dishes. It meant I was doing something and wasn’t just sat around the lab room feeling totally useless. I had to package the old textbooks that I carried on Day 1 into boxes, label them and tape them. The only time I felt a little awkward was when I had finished the task and the technician had to find me another job to stay occupied. I felt like I needed to engage more and ask questions, but none came to me! At the end of the day I had exhausted the list of jobs that needed doing, which meant I got to “go home” early. The only trouble is my house is a 40 minute car ride away, so I had to spend 30 minutes just standing around and you guessed it feeling awkward!

Day 3

The textbooks are back! I had to move them into an underground storage facility… it sounds like a secret service mission I know! Once that was done I spent the rest of the day cleaning. Great fun. I had to clean out all sorts of ancient pre-industrial revolution equipment, some of it looked like the type of stuff you would find in an old car boot sale… rather than a science lab. The day wasn’t too awful, it was hot..but not too awkward. But nothing really lab based, we didn’t mix any chemicals or burn anything…so a bit of a boring day for the laboratory maverick!

Day 4

I officially vacated the lab, which I guess takes the lab out of laboratory work experience! Instead I got a general work experience over view, if you like. We went out on a field trip to a nature reserve and saw some wildlife. We looked at aquatic creatures when we went pond dipping and vertebrates in bug catching. Overall the day was slow and boring, apart from your common pond snail and spider, we basically saw nothing! At least I can definitely rule any nature/wildlife/agricultural degree off my options! I like walking through nature and going hiking, canoeing and more active sports. However observing, recording and collecting data about nature isn’t my thing!

Day 5

My last day was certainly no easy wind down, but instead a chaotic busy day! I reorganised the whole of the labs stationary, I sorted through pens, pencils and permanent markers. Learnt how to use a labelling machine to produce sticky labels and practised my colour coordination when sorting out coloured card. I also did a little bit of physics work involving clamp stands, which I had to set up along with some Newton meters. Then I did some simple tasks such as filling up bottles of distilled water and some paper work. I even had to sort out some computing/programming stuff for a display that was occurring on the weekend. At the end of the day it was odd to finally leave, knowing that I would never come back. I was only there for a week, but it did feel a lot longer! I was rewarded for my work with some chocolate and a card!

Overall I didn’t do as much ‘lab’ work I was hoping to do, however I did do a lot of organisation and tiding up. I learnt how to use a label machine and how to set up a practical demonstration in record breaking time. I practised making a solution, which I did learn to do during my A-level, but it was nice to make it in a larger quantity. The tasks were so varied from helping out with the chemicals to helping with the sound and lighting to going on a field trip.

My first 35 hour week of work, has been a wake up call. The world of work is tough and physically/mentally challenging. From lifting heavy boxes and walking around the countryside to running up stairs. All the way to the small talk, soft skills and trying to not feel awkward!

 

My University of Bristol Open Day Experience

Image result for bristol universityYesterday I hopped onto the bus, armed with my campus map and braved the 25 degrees heat to head out to the University of Bristol Open Day. As you can imagine the weather was marvellous, it was bright and sunny…just like the photos in the prospectus!

Getting there was challenging, I got off at the wrong bus stop (I think it was too early) which meant I had to navigate free hand. To make matters worse I had no data on my phone, so I couldn’t just get a map up and get some directions. Instead I had to ask random members of the public for directions, I got quite lost and ended up in some antique market. After I kept asking different people, I slowly came closer and closer to the university. Then it was quite a long walk up a rather steep hill to the top where the university is located.

Once I arrived there was no time to take in views or anything, I was straight of to my first talk of the day ‘Cellular and Molecular Medicine’. To be honest going in I knew little about the course, so was simply keen to get a better insight. I was actually quite surprised the course sounded quite interesting and something to consider. Afterwards I headed to their cafe in the Chemistry department, where I ordered a rather expensive latte. From the cafe I walked down the corridor and had a quick browse of the biomedical library.  The library was not that big to be honest and there appeared to be quite a lot of ancient books.  However there was some good study space and plenty of desks, some of which had computers and a nice view across the city.

Afterwards I went over to their labs to have a look around at their displays. I found the biochemistry and biomedical science displays, which was what I was interested in. I spoke to a biochemistry first year student who briefly explained the difference between the two courses. Then I went to biomedical science and asked one student if she knew if the course was accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Scientist, surprisingly she did not know. Which was quite surprising really considering the fact that she was studying the course! However the whole area was quite busy with people so I didn’t really speak to many people there. Looking back on it, I think I should have spent a little longer at the displays and asked some more questions.

Once I had checked out the laboratories, I headed into the city centre to look at the city accommodation. First I went to a rather nice place that was extremely modern and newly refurbished. Location 1 was a short walk from the department I would be at, which is a bonus. The rooms however were very small, it was quite literally shoe box living. What made the rooms appear even smaller was the fact that they had a double bed, which meant the floor space was rapidly reduced. I don’t know about you but I would rather be able to walk around my room, than have a large bed. The en suite was practically a cupboard, but was clean and tidy. In location 1 they had a nice communal room and a good launderette. However the corridors were extremely narrow and tight, with what felt like endless stairs!

Also in the city centre was Location 2. Location 2 was cheaper and older. The rooms were on the whole larger and you could easily walk around. The beds were single, but the desk was much larger. Yet the room was very dull and poorly lit, with one small window. The light was kept on even though it was in the middle of a very sunny day. But the worst part had to be the en suite, it was very grubby and grim. The floor was stained, to the point where I would consider wearing flip flops in the shower!

Once we finished snooping around the city centre accommodation we headed back to the biology and chemistry departments. We managed to attend the biomedical science talk, which was ultimately the one I most wanted to go to, however it was “fully booked” however not everyone turned up, so we managed to get in. The talk on the whole was disappointing, it was practically identical to the “Cellular Medicine” one I went to a few hours earlier. Straight afterwards I had the biochemistry talk, which was much more engaging. The lecturers really grabbed my attention and rather than just rambling through the modules, they gave examples of what you would be learning.

The last thing I wanted to do, was check out some more accommodation. The next location was a lot further away and required quite a walk, so it didn’t quite tick the whole location box! Once I arrived I realised that they were basically closing. So I only got a real quick peek at the rooms. I viewed an en suite room and was very impressed, it was a lovely big room, with a sink for cooking (yes cooking!) and an en suite! The only thing I can say is that I dread to look at the pricing of a room like that! The kitchen itself, was not quite as nice as other places. The whole grounds on the whole was amazing, it was like entering a stately home: a beautiful historic entrance and extensive gardens. However time was of the essence and I was only able to view one of the two locations.

Getting back home was equally challenging, as the bus decided to pick me up from a different stop that it dropped me off! Nevertheless I managed to get home safely and avoided getting sun burnt!

Overall the day was good, I enjoyed the talks and displays. Most of the student ambassadors were helpful and none of them were rude. However I wasn’t overly keen on the whole location, it was all very hilly and spread out, which meant a lot of walking. The student ambassadors were only directly outside the university, so actually finding the place was challenging! It would have been nice to have people spread out a little further to direct people towards the university, which would have saved people like myself endlessly walking up and down.

My Easter Revision Plan

So Easter holidays are here enter: procrastination, eating chocolate eggs and catching up on TV.

However this time I have decided to become motivated and do some revision for my quickly approaching AS exams. It feels like only a few weeks ago when I was deciding what AS levels to study and now I am sat here panicking about exams! It’s crazy to think that this time last year I was stressing about GCSEs, now I am here doing the exact same thing but for AS.

I have exactly 17 days off for Easter, 4 of those I have to go into sixth form to do some timetabled study sessions. So that leaves me with 13 days to chill, sorry I mean study. That’s why I am here, to motivate myself into revising or I know the holidays will pass by and I will have barely picked up a pen.

So my plan of action is simple:

  • ~4 hours of study a day
  • ~ 4 past papers a week (Chemistry + Biology)

My goal is to cover every subtopic which is approximately one HUNDRED!! Gulp. I need some serious motivation to keep this up!

So my plan is to do 2 biology and 2 chemistry papers over each weekend of the holiday. I want to do 6 maths papers in the whole 17 days (2 core one, 2 core two, 2 statistics). Along with 2 psychology past papers (My course is new so there are no more)

I am a little stressed as two of my friends have manged to copy out the entire chemistry revision guide, which I have only scanned through! Life is stressful! I just have to hope for the best, wish me luck!

May the rest of your days be as productive as your dreams!

xx

AS mock exam results

I wasn’t going to post about this, as I wasn’t very happy with my results. However I feel like I should, because I told you all about my mocks in my latest post: AS Mock Exams. So I decided it would only be right to follow it up, so here I am about to tell you my grades. Drum role please……….AABD

Let us go from lowest to highest, because I am not a negative person at all! 😉 So my D grade was in maths. Not my best subject by far, and the first time I have ever got a D grade in my life! To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. In fact I am beyond devastated, I literally cried when I saw my grade. I am NOT a D grade student! I repeat, I am NOT a D grade student. The paper was in fact really hard and I knew I hadn’t done well, but I hoped I would scrap a C….but no. Half of my class got a U grade, so I guess I did better than some, however one student in my class got an A. I guess there is definitely room for improvement!

Next up was my B grade, which was in Biology. I wasn’t  surprised with my grade as I knew I messed up a few of the questions. My biggest problem was the fact that my teacher hadn’t taught me one of the topics, I am not just using that as an excuse by the way! She generally didn’t! One of the big 5 markers was on a topic we hadn’t covered yet: Vaccines. In fact I am still waiting for her to teach us that topic! One thing I was happy about, was the fact that I got most of the maths based questions correct. Which lets face it, was a surprise!

Moving onto my two A grades which were in Psychology and Chemistry. We will start with psychology as I scored 89% (UMS) on that one! To look at the percentage and the grade I am one happy bunny. However when I actually go through my paper, my smile fades. I had some issues with the longer answer questions and dropped a few easy marks. Even though I got a good grade, it would be wrong of me not to point out that the majority of my class also received an A. Does that take away from my grade? Maybe. Scoring 1% higher, is my Chemistry results with 90% (UMS). I was very pleased with my grade, my percentage and my paper! Of course there were a few silly mistakes here and there, which I will beat myself up over. However I am pleased with my result for Chemistry.

Overall it is a mixture of feelings, I feel that the one bad grade (D in maths) devalues the rest of my work. It’s like I am unable to focus on the positives of my other good grades, when all I can think about is the horror of maths. Oh well, it gives me something to improve upon.

AS Mock Exams!

This week I took my AS level mock exams. It was a stressful experience and one that didn’t go too well either!

First up we had maths, which was an absolute disaster! In a practise we did in class I just scrapped an A, so I was sure with a little revision I would be fine. But no, oh no. It was one of the worst exams I have ever sat in my LIFE! The paper we did seemed to be so much harder than any past paper I had done at home or in class. I couldn’t believe it! I left so many questions blank, looking back on it I know that I got one of the ‘easier’ questions wrong. I dread to think of my grade. 😦

Straight after the shocker of maths I had just enough time to swallow a sandwich before heading to my psychology exam. Going in I was a nervous wreck, we had two parts of the exam: the first biological and the second social. I had done more revision for psychology than I had maths. Overall I felt both parts of the exam went well, in fact I think it was the best paper I did out of all my AS exams. The only slight issue I had is the fact that I messed one of the questions up. The question stated ‘Evaluate’ so of course I evaluated the theory, but I forgot to actually state what the theory was! AHHHHH!

The following day was an early start with my Biology exam at 9am. The bio exam was stressful, I got the timing wrong. The exam was an hour and a half, but I thought we only had an hour. So I rushed the entire paper, almost had a panic attack when I looked at the clock and thought I had 5 minutes left, with about 8 questions to go. So I rushed and wrote a load of rubbish and didn’t even read the question properly, I just wanted to get something down. The last few questions were all on a topic that we have not covered: immunity.

Chemistry was my last exam, it was alright. There was a lot of maths calculations, calculate the mass of this, calculate the number of moles in this, work out the concentration of this acid, work out the percentage purity of this and work out the atom economy for this. Maths isn’t my strongest area, so I did struggle a little with the maths side. The actual chemistry was alright, I got one question about dative bonds wrong (I drew the arrow the wrong way).

Overall it was stressful and it makes me worry about May when I take the real exams! I just hope I haven’t got a U in maths!

 

2016- ‘A year of change and opportunity’

For me personally 2016 has been an outstanding year, full of achievement and change. Let me take you on a whistle stop tour of my year in review.

My greatest memory of 2016, comes from my GCSE results. I sat so nervously in my mum’s car, grasping the envelope in my hands as if it was so powerful and so important I barely could hold it. Hands trembling, I struggled to rip the envelope open. My eyes scanned down the page, taking in the grades without looking at the subjects. All I could see was A*s and As (with that one pesky C). I squirmed and squealed in joy and happiness, tears forming in my eyes. I received 8A*s, 4As and a C. I was so pleased and so proud of my achievements  I literally screamed in happiness. I was especially proud of maths, I received an A* for the first time ever! I also managed to pass further maths with an A, which I had expected to fail.

My brother managed to pass all 3 of his A-levels, with BCC. I was very happy for him and he really put the effort in this year. He really changed and improved his attitude towards education, good for him. He is now taking a gap year and has even managed to find a job!

This summer I took part in National Citizens Service (NCS). Although it had its ups and downs, I am really glad I took part. It was a very memorable experience and I tried many new things, such as kayaking and paddle boarding. I am proud of myself for completing the 4 week course, as I never thought I could do it. All my family thought I would drop out on day 2, but I pulled through and graduated this September. Standing on stage collecting my award was a moment full of self-accomplishment.

After 8-9 years of playing badminton, this year saw my short lived badminton career come to an end. I gave up badminton to focus on my GCSEs and academics. It was a tough decision and one I had been pondering for months. But looking back on it now I am glad I finally left. I do not miss the cold sports hall, clothes damp with sweat and pressure of competing in tournaments.

At the end of June I went to my school prom, which was at a posh country hotel. I wore a dark blue dress with silver heels. It was a fabulous night where we were greeted with peach smoothie and danced away for the last time as a whole year group. They always say your school prom is a night to remember.

This September I started my A-levels, I am studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Psychology. My sixth form experience got off to a rough start, but I pulled through the first term. At the end of my first term I won the star award for psychology, which I was very happy with as psychology is a new subject for me.

At the end of year school celebrations I won a further two awards. One for ‘The Highest Achievement at GCSE’ which I got for achieving 10 or more As or A*s. The other award was for ‘Best progression from KS2 to GCSE’ which I won for getting higher than all my target grades. It was fantastic to win awards at the school ceremony, it was the first time I ever got an invite.

As a family we sold a house we inherited last year from a family friend. It was a little sad to see the house go as I had a few memories of being there. However handing the keys over to the estate agent felt like some sort of completion. We then went ahead and bought a smaller more manageable house in the town. Which we are currently doing up in order to rent it out in the new year.

In regards to music and entertainment. This year I got into two amazing BBC programs. First was ‘Thirteen’ which is a drama series about a girl who was abducted as a teenager and grew up in her kidnappers basement. She manged to escape, but her kidnapper is now on the run and plans to hunt her down. It is a gripping series with two detectives and a broken family. The other BBC show I got into this year was ‘Class’ which is a spin-off of Doctor Who. Having not watched Doctor Who I was apprehensive, but the story line is very engaging and pulled me in. In regards to music one artist that stood out for me was Sia. Her song ‘Cheap Thrills’ became my motivation for my GCSEs, before I went into each exam I played the song in order to get my adrenaline pumping.

So that is my year summed up, lots of great achievements and plenty of memorable moments. I would like to wish all my readers a fantastic new year, and I hope 2017 is filled with promise and opportunity.

 

My First Term at Sixth Form

Christmas is here!!!!

My first term at sixth form is officially over! It is actually crazy to think that I have completed a third of my first year already, it feels like yesterday when I started my sixth form adventure. Now I am here, looking back and reflecting on my first full term as an A-level student.

Socially sixth form has been great, I have made a few new friends and have become closer to my original friends. I am never alone in my frees and I always have someone to talk to. In fact my social abilities have definitely improved since starting sixth form. Before I only ever used to talk to people within my circle of friends, I rarely spoke to people who were not in my group. Now I have lots of strong connections with people who are not within my group. I am even spending time outside of sixth form with my friends, for example tomorrow I am off to the cinema with two of my friends from sixth form and the following day I am meeting up with an old friend to go Christmas shopping. I am still quiet within class though, I don’t contribute to class discussions and rarely express my ideas. I guess I am not a confident person and old habits die hard.

Academically I am doing 4 AS levels that include Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Psychology. At the moment biology is very content heavy, there is a lot to learn in a short space of time. We seem to be flying through the topics incredibly quickly, the lessons are fast paced and the homework is massive. At times it has felt a little over whelming, especially with all the new terminology. However I do understand the concepts covered, it is just a case of remembering every fine detail. Chemistry is almost the opposite in regards to pace, we seem to be doing very little in chemistry. We have conducted the same titration practical 5 times now, it is almost becoming deja vu. The topics in chemistry vary considerably in regards to difficulty. Topics like Atoms, Bonding, Periodicity and Calculations are all very easy and straight forward. Whereas topics like Electrophilic Additions and Reaction Mechanisms are very confusing! One thing I don’t like about chemistry is that people think I am good at it. All the other students in the class look up to me as some sort of chemistry prodigy, but in all honesty my chemistry is rubbish!

That leaves me with maths and psychology. So far maths has not been too bad! Core 1 maths is almost the same as further maths GCSE (which I got an A in) just a little harder. There is one topic called ‘Applications of Differentiation’ which I understand none of, it is like a cross between physics, maths, logic and common sense (something I lack). Psychology has been going well in terms of grades, however I feel I lack passion for the subject. I find about 70% of the information boring and a waste of time. Sometimes I struggle to keep my eyes open, the lessons just put me to sleep!

So that sums up my first term of sixth form. Of course I had my opens and downs, mainly the first two weeks, which were awful. However I have made it out alive. I am now off on my Christmas Holidays, I plan to meet up with some friends and do a bit of revision for my mocks in January.

 

11 weeks into A-levels

Including my half term holiday, I am 11 weeks into my A levels. I wanted to share with you how things are going so far. I am studying 4 A levels: Chemistry, Biology , Maths and Psychology. This is how I am finding the subjects so far:

Chemistry

During the lesson, I often struggle to pick things up straight away. Meaning I regularly leave the class completely confused and questioning myself on why I ever took the subject. But once I get home I pull my textbook out and I go over things on my own and it just makes so much more sense. Perhaps it is the teacher rather than the subject that I am finding hard to understand. During the lessons I often feel a bit stupid as a result as everyone else just seems to get it instantly, while I am left sat there doubting myself.

Biology

Probably the most full on subject in my opinion. We cover such a huge amount of work in one lesson. I almost feel that my teacher is rushing through the work so quickly and leaving us all behind as a result. At least with biology some of my fellow class mates are struggling just as much, if not more than me. I have had a real mix of results for biology in some tests I have got an A, while in one homework I got a U. So it’s hard to tell what I will get.

Maths

Boring as usual. As I did GCSE further maths last year, a lot of the syllabus is not new to me. Some parts of maths are really tricky, but I feel that if I just keep working at it, I will eventually get there.

Psychology

What a wreck! I have 2 teachers: 1 loves me and 1 hates me. The one that loves me has sent me postcards saying how well I am doing, she congratulated me for getting the 2nd highest mark in the year on a test we did and she congratulated me again for writing the best essay in the year which she said was “almost faultless”. However the other teacher hates me with a passion, she sent a letter home to my parents saying  that “my standard of work was not good enough”. Rude. She made me cry the other day and she makes me so angry!

Socially sixth form is okay. Recently the common room has been shut down and will remain closed for 5 months while they refurbish it. So I basically have no where to go. One of the girls in my friendship group is blind, so we can’t eat in the canteen like all the others as it is too dangerous for her. As a result we have to eat our lunch in spare classrooms, which is always awkward!

So overall my sixth form experience so far hasn’t been too awful, I mean it certainly could be better. However it could also be much, much worse!

HE+ Launch Event- Cambridge University

Home(HE+ stands for ‘Higher Education Plus’)

The programme is run by Cambridge University, specifically Trinity Hall. It’s aimed at year 12 students who have the potential to study at Oxbridge. This year I was selected along with a few of my friends.

10 local schools selected their top 15 students to take part. The launch event was actually held at my school this year, so we were able to host the top students from all across the county. It was an exciting experience where we were given the opportunity to talk to students from different schools and get a special insight into Cambridge life.

The day started at 10 am where all the schools arrived and we sat down for a short 20 minute presentation that outlined what HE+ was and what the day would hold. We were then split into random groups of roughly 7. Nobody in the groups knew each other as each of us came from a different school. After a brief awkward introduction where we shared names we began the first task. Between us we had to take the Oxbridge admissions test and write an essay based on one of the four titles presented to us. I personally worked on the admission test along with another boy from a different school to mine.

Afterwards we went into the school canteen for our free lunch. (Probably the best part of the day). Most schools stayed together as we enjoyed our free flapjacks and shortcake. Afterwards we moved to the lecturing theatre where we embarked on an hour lecture by a representative of Cambridge. She spoke about the college systems, the entry requirements, the interview and the whole application process. At the end we bombarded her with our questions. What I was most surprised to hear was the fact that the entrance criteria was A*A* A for science subjects. Gulp. My hopes of Cambridge are out of the window.

At the end we had to decide which subject we wanted to study out of a list. For me there were four possibilities: Biology, Chemistry, Medicine or Vet Med. I ended up going for biology and put my name forward. Afterwards I found myself escorting the schools to reception, before heading home myself.

Overall it was an enjoyable but stressful day, which basically shattered my dreams of Oxbridge. But I now can make a realistic choice of university, I suppose!