//A not-so-happy ending?//

I really, really wanted to write a “its-the-end-of-the-acedemic-year-let’s-look-back-on-all-the-positive-things-that-have-happened” post, considering next Thursday I will receive my mock A Level exam results and it’ll be the end of term – aside from a few days of UCAS/univeristy application stuff, but the truth is I don’t feel happy, or relieved, or stress-free. If anything, I sort of feel kind of numb. I think with the hustle and bustle of the exam period, it’s easy to get caught up in things and distract yourself from how your emotions with the insurmountable workload that A Level revision encompasses, however since the exam week (a.k.a. last week), I’ve had more time to pay attention to my emotions and I guess you could say they’ve hit me in a sort of “wave”.

Now that the exams are over and I don’t have to worry about revising countless lists of French vocabulary or learning the order of British 20th Century Prime Ministers, my mind has found the time to start fretting over other things. One thing I’m really worried about is going on a college tip to France in two weeks. Although I am very excited, I’m also so worried that I’ll end up not enjoying the trip because I a) won’t be able to cope with the heat in Marseille, b) will panic when trying to speak French to native speakers and c) will be left out because there are only five other people going on the trip – collectively a trio and pair of best friends. I feel like I’ll just be left out of the group and be that person that no one really talks to and just tolerates because they have to, and honestly I’m becoming so irrationally paranoid about how hot it’s going to be that it’s driving me mad.

Secondly, I’m actually really not looking forward to breaking up for summer. I’ve already drifted apart from loads of my friends this year, and I feel like because they aren’t forced to put up with my on a daily basis at college, they’ll all just forget about me and I won’t see any of them throughout the summer. I do have a group of friends that I am closer with and meet up with every now and then, but they’ve all recently got into relationships and even now I hardly see them or talk to them because they’re preoccupied with their boyfriends/girlfriends, so who knows what it’ll be like over summer. I keep having those days lately where I feel like my friends don’t actually care about me and would much rather that I wasn’t part of the “group” (or rather my brain keeps telling me to feel this way). I’m sort of fed up of every time when someone says hi to me or talks to me my brain telling me “oh they don’t like you really they’re just doing that so as not to seem rude” or “everyone talks about you behind your back” etc. I guess I’m just feeling kinda lonely as even my closest friends don’t spend as much time with me or talking to me as they used to as they’d rather send their time with other people. I’m just worried that I’ll become isolated over the summer which will NOT be fun.

Then recently I keep being really hard on myself, like today in French I kept thinking “there’s no way you’ll be able to do French at uni if you can’t even say a few words in class” and I’ve just become really doubtful of my ability to do anything. It’s not that I don’t want to speak up in class more – and not just in French – it’s just my brain is kind of “bullying” me in the sense that everything I want to do or say, it mocks and puts me down to the point that I just don’t bother because I’m scared that everyone else will judge me the way I judge myself. ARGHHH CONFUSION.

Finally, I’ve been very sad and emotional over the past week because last Friday, my good friend returned home to Italy after completing her year of studying abroad at my college. I’m so, so sad that I might not be able to see her again, or at least for a long time, and I miss her terribly already. College isn’t the same without her around – she is such a lovely, funny, caring person – something that is rare nowadays. I know we can keep in touch over the internet, but it’s just not the same. 😦

So yeah, although I should be really excited that my first year of A Levels is over, and I can spend the summer having a well-deserved break, I’m just not. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll feel better, but right now I’m just so exhausted and not going through a great mental health stage, which isn’t really how I wanted to end the year.

I hope next week I’ll be back with a more positive post, or maybe before then, but until then have a lovely weekend guys. 🙂

 

//Français – mon amour!//

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A French magazine I was given after going to a French conference in January (where I jhad to give a weather report in French in front of a group of strangers and direct and film a mini video in French)

Hello! Welcome back, sorry it’s been such a long time since I last posted on here, I’ve been terribly busy with revision for my exams (which are 10 days away eek!) but somehow I managed to find a bit of time today to sit down and write about my growing love of French.

I’ve been studying French since I was in year 5 – so since I was about 9/10. I mean, that 7-ish years of learning French sounds like such a long time (and I’m still not fluent haha) – it’s weird to think French has been part of my life for THAT long!

When I first started learning, I never imagined I’d fall in love with the language – or languages in general – but here I am, studying A Level French and falling helplessly inlove with the French language and culture.

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Throwback to when my French grammar was shocking (and fastforward to my awful photography skills).

In primary school, and the first two years of secondary school, French was compulsory for me, and as someone who always works hard, I put in just as much effort into French as my other subjects. So, whilst most of my friends and classmates weren’t enjoying the French lessons (I don’t get why so many don’t like learning languages??) I was loving them so much I chose to do French for my GCSEs.

I think by about year 10, when I was starting to think about what I wanted to do after school for my A Levels, I started to realise that I really wanted to carry on with French for as long as possible. My French teachers at secondary school were really supportive and encouraged me to do French A Level as well, so that’s what I did, and here I am now!

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My A Level text book.
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My A Level revision scrapbook that I’m actually quite proud of!

Honestly, I think doing French A Level as been the best decision I’ve ever made. Yes, it’s probably my hardest subject, but it’s also the most interesting by far! Luckily, the teachering at my college is just as good – if not better -than that at my secondary school, and my current teacher is alkso really supportive. I also love being in a small class – there’s just six of us – of people that are dedicated to learning French, and don’t judge you for liking languages, like some people did at secondary school.

Also, the A Level course is so interesting! I’m doing the new A Levels, so the expectations are higher than the older specifications, as we’re required to have an exstensive knowledge of French and Francophone culture on a range of topics, but I honestly love it so much. Learning about the French culture has made me love the language even more, as I quickly realised that a language only makes up a small part of a countries culture, and there is so much else to learn.

I also love how when I speak French, I feel like I have a much wider understanding of the world – or at least another part of it. There’s also a sense of pride for defying the stereotype that British people are “lazy and don’t learn languages”.

I have improved so much over the last year, and have gone from someone who would quite happily read and write in French, but couldn’t speak more than a badly-pronounced sentence, to someone who now can understand being taught each lesson in French by my teacher, repsond to her questions, understand French films and books, read French magazines and have a lengthy conversation with other people in French. Also, my pronounciation is really improving too!

The only thing my love of French is missing, is actually having visted France. The only time I (briefly) went to France was when I went to Austria back in 2011 and got the channel ferry from Dover to Calais. But then we only stayed in the ferry terminal for an hour or so at Calais so not really proper France. BUT I am venturing to Marseille at the beginning of July with my A Level French class, and I’m so excited! I can;t ait to experience the culture first hand and practice my speaking skills (hopefully I’ll be confident enough)!

So that just about brings us up-to-date with my French journey. However I will hopefully be posting a fashion-type post over the next week or so (which is new for me so I don’t know how that will go) as due to the hotness of being in the South of France on the French Riveria, I need to go out and buy some summery, lightweight clothing. So look out for that and until then, au revoir!

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A canvas I painted reading “La Vie”

//A wee lil update pour vous//

(What a mess of a title, je suis désolée 😂)

Hellooo! It feels like such a long time since I actually sat down and write a blog post. It’s not that I haven’t had any inspiration – I kept coming up with ideas, but by the time I’d actually have some free time, I’d forget what they were (oops) or watch a couple of epsiodes of Waterloo Road from 2010 (I just love it so much, don’t judge) 😂. But alas, here I am, back to give you a brief update of what I’ve been up to lately!

As you can imagine, my life hasn’t been very interesting over the past few weeks, as *SPOILERS* it’s exam season *sighs* so most of my time has been spent doing revision (or rather, figuring out how to revise effectively).

I have been rather stressed over the past two weeks, as I’ve had a French speaking mock (which was comme ci comme ça si vous comprenez moi) and my history teacher left, so we’ve had various replacements and are seriously behind schedule (eeek!). On top of that, I realised that my revision just wasn’t effective and I couldn’t recall much of what I’ve been revising since February (such a waste of time..ugh) so now I’m trying to pull myself together and use these last three weeks to revise everything….again.

So yeah, that’s basically how my college life has been going. I also received my exam timetable and discovered I have three exams on one day 😭 – 2 hour geography mock, then a 20 minute French speaking exam, then a 2 hour history mock (in which I have to write 3 essays). As I’m doing the linear a-levels, I don’t have any “real” exams this year, which you might think would reduce the pressure and stress a bit but nope! I think the fact that they aren’t “real” is making me more stressed, as for the past two years I’ve got used to taking external exams, and having only internal exams just feels wrong?? I’m still treating them like real exams, but because they are just mocks, my teachers aren’t. So therefore, we haven’t spent much time practicing for the exams so I don’t feel prepared at all, and we’re not doing revision in class because we’re so behind we probably won’t even finish the content before the mocks, which is FAB.

But anyway, I feel like this week I’m coping with the stress a bit better, and I’m just so ready for summer. 

Ooh and I watched Eurovision on Saturday (obvs) and had a sort-of-party thing with the fam like last year, where we had food from across Europe, and this year I spent a few hours painting flag bunting which was cool.

Aside from that, I haven’t really done much. I’ve been trying to put university out of my mind for now so I can focus on my a-levels, but I have managed to book three open days – the first of which is coming up in just over two weeks at Exeter, which I’m looking forward to! 

What have you guys been up to lately? I hope you’re lives have been more interesting then mine 😂

//Worried about the new linear A Levels? Here are some tips!//

Those of you in the UK will probably (hopefully/unfortunately??) know that from 2016 (a.k.a. last September), the government started to roll out its new linear A levels. Which means, unlucky for me and all the other year 12’s out there, we’re the “guinea pig” year – meaning we’re the first ones to go through the stress of having the new system trialled out on us.

The new linear system means that instead of taking AS exams at the end of year 12, and A2 exams at the end of year 13 – which each comprised 50% of the qualification – the majority of us will be taking all of our exams at the end of year 13. Which will mean, trying to juggle learning all the second year content, as well as revising all of the first year AND second year. So basically, STRESS. But don’t worry, as I’ve been suffering  working under the new system for about 8 months now, I come bearing tips and tricks which I have tried and tested, or make a note of things which I can do during year 13 (so I can look back at this when I’m stressed and buried under a huge workload and find a solution) and just general things that I have learnt throughout my experience of A Levels so far.

1. The “jump”

I’m sure most teenagers in the UK will know someone who is doing, or has done or has some knowledge of A Levels, and it’s more than likely that they’ve also told you about the “jump” from GCSE to A Level and how big it is. Now if you’re like me, then you won’t really believe them or have any idea what they’re on about, until about week 3 of A Levels when the teachers have stopped recapping GCSE knowledge to get you all up to the same level, and suddenly you have seven assignments to do, ten chapters of text books to read and five test to prepare for (that might be a slight exaggeration,but honestly sometimes the workload can feel like this!). But don’t let it put you off, because although A Levels are notoriously hard and the workload is huge, if you’re passionate about the subjects you choose, you will love to learn them in such detail!

2. Trial and error

My whole revision and learning process this year as been a game of trial and error. With GCSEs, I found that as there wasn’t much content, I could get away with revising by making mindmaps or flashcards for most of my subjects, and it would be effective, but at A Level, because of the sheer diversity in content between and within each subject, you may find that not one sole revision technique works for you, or that the methods you used at GCSE don’t work with trying to revise such a vast and varied subject content. But that’s ok – I’ve experienced that many times this year and to tell the truth it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but you just have to go with it: some things will work and others won’t, it’s about finding out what works best for you. 

With the linear A Levels, you’ll either take first year external exams at the end of the Year 12 – but these don’t count towards your overall grade and a sort of a way to gauge your progress, or your sixth form or college will provide internal ‘mock’ exams for you to sit, which is what I’m doing. However, although I’m treating them as if they are real exams (as I need to get a D or above to continue to second year), I’m also using the mock exams as sort of an “experiment” for next year, so I can play around with different revision strategies now so by the time it comes to my real exams next year, I’ll know exactly which revision tactics worked best for what. 

3. Organising your notes

Something I’ve done since September is rewriting my notes after each lesson onto index cards, like the ones below. My notes from class are generally very messy and unorganised, so I take about half an hour after each lesson (or whenever I have a free period or day off) to rewrite them, referring to my text book at the same time to make sure I haven’t missed anything out that we perhaps hadn’t had time to cover in class (which in my experience happens a lot, and it’s your responsibility to check through the text book and make sure you’re staying on track, even if your teacher isn’t).

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Some of my rewritten notes from Geography

I did this as a sort of experiment, to see if it would work for me and just because I needed to get my head round how A Levels work (which is something I’m still figuring out). In some ways it has as when I’ve come to revising for tests or the mocks, I can choose topics to revise in bitesize sections, giving me a clearer idea over what I’m supposed to know, as I find the text book can sometimes feel overwhelming because there is just SO. MUCH. But this way, I’ve broken it down so I’ve just written down the key notes that I need to know, not all the waffle.

However the index card strategy can sometimes still be too unorganised or illogical for me, as I rewrote my notes in accordance to the order of chapters within the text books, and the Geography text book especially seems to be written in a really illogical order, flicking from one topic to the next then back to the first, so as my revision for the mocks, I rewrote them into a notebook, and colour-coordinated them with diagrams in what I consider to be a more logical order. That works a lot better for me, as it’s more visual, so I think next year instead of spending all that time making index cards only to discover writing them up in a different way works better, I’ll instead write them up in the notebook-style that works for me from September, so when it comes to revision I can focus more on recall revision techniques, not making sure my notes are organised!

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My revision notebook – much more organised and revision-friendly!

4. Revision strategies

Again it will take a lot of trial and error to find out what works for you, or what type of learner you are. I think I can be every time of learner to be honest: visual (through use of diagrams and colour-coding), auditory (through saying things out loud that I want to remember over and over again until it sticks), read-write (through rewriting notes or vocab to help me memorise them) and kinesthetic (through highlighting stuff as I read to stop my mind from wandering). Different strategies will work for different people but here are a few methods that I’ve found that really work for me, and may do for you too! (I haven’t found an effective way of revising for history yet which is a BIT WORRYING considering the mock is in 5 weeks eeek!)

  • Flashcards with definitions/key concepts on – works well with subjects with lots of content, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, break it down onto flashcards. I revised the whole of GCSE triple science in this way by getting my mum (thanks mum, forever my revision buddy!) to regularly test me on the flashcards – she’d read out the keyword, and I’d give the definition. I’m hoping to use the same strategies with Geography this year, as the key pillars of the specification are keywords and concepts and it’s these that you’ll need to use and explain in exams. Can also be used to learn the dates of key events in history, but I haven’t got round to trying that yet!wp-1493651840511
  • Post-it notes for French vocab/keywords – learning vocabulary for a language can be one of the most tedious parts to language learning, and I’m not saying I enjoy it that much, but this is a revision tactic that I’ve recently tried out and has really worked for me. I think the key with learning vocab is to change the way you revise it so it doesn’t get boring, whether that be rewriting it, getting someone to read at the word and you give the translation, drawing pictures to help you remember tricky words or writing words on post-it notes, sticking them somewhere you visit regularly (i.e. your bedroom the fridge etc.) and testing yourself on them. I stuck mine on my bookcase, and each morning I’ll try to translate each word – I wrote the english on the back incase I forget – and once I’ve learnt them I’ll swap them over. This could also work with keywords and definitions, if you don’t have anyone wiling to test you on them at all hours of the day (sorry mum).wp-1493655469867.jpg

5. Exam questions

Now you may be worried, as I was, about the lack of past papers available for the new exam specifications. As you probably know, past papers are one of the best ways to check if a) your revision strategy is working and b) you understand the exam technique required to answer the questions. Something I’ve struggled with this year is the lack of past papers, because I just want a way to test my knowledge and see if how I’m revising is actually working. But after doing a bit of research (and actually reading the text books properly oops)  can inform you that there is exam material out there and available!

Firstly, in the text books themselves, there are usually practice exam questions at the end of each page/topic. Secondly, the exam board may release workbooks – like for geography we’ve just received a workbook for units 1 and 2, which is basically a magazine which has around 60 questions in PER TOPIC (which is basically exam question heaven if you’re me and rely on doing exam questions as a major part of your revision). Finally, if you don’t have access to the afore-mentioned resources, look online at past papers for previous specifications, as with some subjects, at least part of the content will overlap and you’ll be able to find some relevant exam questions (especially for languages, as any practice is good practice, even if the topics aren’t entirely the same, and there will definitely be past history specifications that overlap with some of what you’re studying for the new spec).

Doing exam questions will be invaluable for your end of year 12 mocks or exams, and vital for the exams you’ll sit at the end of year 13, so it’s best you get your head round them as soon as possible. I started doing a few ast the end of each unit as we were learning them in geography, jut to consolidate the unit and with history we’ve been doing essays in class throughout the year anyway, but you can never get enough exam practice, especially with A Levels where the content is so vast and the questions can be so vague!

6. Using time effectively

This should probably be one of the first tips, but I only though of it just as I was about to hit the publish button. One advantage of doing the new linear A Levels, is that you have the summer holidays between year 12 and year 13 to sort yourself out. For the most part of year 12, you’ll just be getting used to A Levels and working out what works best, so it is sort of like an experiment as I mentioned earlier, and you may get to the end of the year and realise that you’ve missed things I out or haven’t learnt things properly, but it’s okay because you have the whole of summer to make sure you’ve got the first year’s content nailed. I know I’ll definitely be using some of my summer holidays to go over everything I learnt, check for any gaps in my knowledge and make sure I have some top notch revision resources ready for when it comes to revising for the end of year 13 exams, because you don’t want to get to March of year 13 and realise you’re not confident on all the stuff from year 1 and not have enough time to go over all of that and all of the second year content. So make sure you use your time effectively so you’re as prepared as possible for next year!

Okay, so I think that concludes my tips for the new A Level specification. If you want me to do subject-specific tips or revision ideas, let me know below and I’d be delighted to help. Also if you have any more tips to share, feel free to leave a comment. 

I hoped this may have in some way helped with the rollercoaster that is the new A Level system and given you some new ideas about how to survive it. Just remember you’re not alone and that it’s okay if you’re not hitting your target grades now, because you still have another year before the exams that count, and you’ll make so much progress between now and then! 

Best of luck to everyone embarking on the new A Level specification, and to anyone thinking about doing A Levels after college, despite the workload, I can honestly say I am loving studying the subjects I’m passionate about in more detail and taking more responsibility for your learning. Although the prospect of A Levels may seem daunting, they are definitely worth your consideration!

//Getting back into YouTube??//

SO some of you may know I also have a YouTube channel – Em is Lost– as well as this blog which I used to enjoy making videos for. But since starting college and A Levels I’ve been somewhat absent on the YouTube front as I just simply don’t have time to film and edit videos. However, last week I thought I’d try out something different and vlog my week, in a semi-anonymous way of course because I want to try to stay as anonymous online as possible (which I probably comprimised by filming this but OH WELL). So I sat down this afternoon and made the final touches, then hit the button (or several because nothing is straight forward when it comes to YouTube) and uploaded it! So if you want to see what a typical week in the life of an A Level student is, don’t watch this! you can check out my video here!

Had a few ~technical issues~ with sound and the weird black thing at the beginning (?) (don’t worry I don’t know what I’m on about either) but yeah, hope you enjoy! I had fun making it, but I don’t know if I’ll have time to do it often but I definitely want to do it again in the future.

Hope you’re all okay!

(I’ve had such an unproductive day arghhhhhhghhhhhghghghghghgh I should go do some actual work now instead of wandering around google trying to do research for geography that is like IMPOSSIBLE ARGHH)

//Revision/A Level tips!!//

I can’t believe it’s March already! That means I’ve been at college for 7 months and am well into my first year of A Levels. With exam season nearing ever closer, I started revising a few weeks ago and it’s been a bit of a learning curve to say the least, so I thought I’d share a few revision tips I’ve learnt over the past few weeks and just general tips for studying A Levels in general! Obviously if you’re not studying A Levels, you can still adapt these tips to help you and feel free to comment more advice below. 🙂

Make sure you have a good set of notes to revise from
This is something that ideally you should do as you go along, rather than in the last few months before exams. Always make sure your notes are up to scratch after each lesson and consult the course books to see if any extra detail can be added. I know some people like to do this by just rereading their notes after lesson and checking they’ve got all the information they need on that topic, and others who rewrite their notes to make sure they have a neat set of notes which are set out clearly and will make the revision process easier. I do the latter in a way – since September I have been rewriting my notes after each lesson onto little index cards which have turned out to be really useful to help with revision as all the information is laid in manageable, bite-sized chunks. But do whatever works for you, just make sure you have covered all the information required before the time revision starts so you’re not learning something for the first time just before your exams.

Make sure you know the course content

This sort of links in with the last point – in order to have good notes from which to revise, you need to make sure you’re keeping up with the required course content. You can do this by checking the text book after lesson to see if there’s anything you’ve missed or downloading the specification for your course from the exam board website which will tell you exactly what you are required to know as part of the course. 

Also sometimes you won’t have time to cover all of the course content in lesson – I know sometimes we don’t have time to study a chapter or two (or three or four *cough cough GEOGRAPHY*) but make sure you don’t leave this until revision starts because it will just be added stress to try to learn something for the first time whilst revising everything else! A good way to avoid this is use half-terms to catch up on any chapters/topics you may have not had time to cover that term before you move on to the next unit and completely forget about all the stuff you missed out. 

Revision timetables can be flexible

Whilst I’d definitely recommend making a revision timetable to help you structure and organise your revision and ensure you have adequate time to cover all the topics before exams arrive, your timetable doesn’t have to be set in stone. It can seem quite daunting to have a set list of things you need to do and sometimes I find it stresses me out because it can feel like revision is taking over my life and I constantly worry over the fact that I have to revise depositional landforms or the prohibition era today and I can’t relax until I’ve done it, which is quite frankly stress I don’t need! So I’ve discovered that not having a fixed timetable is more relaxing and productive. 

When I’m making a timetable, I  will assign a subject for revision to particular days (e.g. Monday’s = geography, Tuesday’s = history) BUT I don’t force myself to stick to doing those things on those days. Sometimes I’ll get home after a long day at college on Monday and won’t feel like spending more time on geography after my 3.5 hrs of geography lessons,so I’ll do history or French instead. Or other times I’ll be really tired so take an evening off and reschedule that revision to later on in the week. Or I’ll do half of the planned revision and do the rest the next day/before college if I have some spare time. The only restrictions I would advise to place on your revision timetable even if you want to make it as flexible as possible, is to complete all the revision planned for that week before the start of the next week, because putting revision off until it piles up does not help and you’d just get so behind. 

For some people, having a rigid timetable might work, but if you’re like me and having set times to certain things stresses you out more, then adopting a strategy like this might work!

This week I did my geography revision on Monday evening and Tuesday morning instead and will do the history revision later on in the week, probably Friday evening.

Take advantage of moments of motivationSomething a lot of people struggle with during the revision process is motivation. It can seem like revision is a never-ending process and after a while it can get repetitive and tedious, causing you to want to give up. That’s why it’s a good way to take advantage of moments of motivation – if you suddenly get an urge to go over standard deviation or the imperfect tense, there’s no point forcing yourself to revise the acceleration of globalisation just because it’s scheduled on your revision timetable. This links in again with the last point about flexible timetabling – at the end of the day you’re going to be most productive if you’re revising something that you want to revise and are feeling motivated to revise in that moment. That being said, don’t use this an excuse to put off topics that are harder/are less interested in – even if you have to make deal with yourself to revise a harder topic than an easier topic that you enjoy more. It’s all about finding a varied balance of revision to keep you engaged. 

Revision is very much trial and error

At GCSE I found it was fairly easy to just revise each subject in the same way – by making mindmap, flashcards, rewriting notes etc – but since starting A Levels in September I’ve found it much harder to revise for them. For one thing, the subjects are much more diverse meaning certain revision methods work for some subjects or units and not others, which does mean you have to plan your revision more carefully to ensure you give yourself enough time to revise in he most effective way for each unit – saldy last minute cramming DOES NOT work with A Levels! Secondly, there is just so much content in A Levels that some revision techniques are just too time-consuming to be effective – it’s all about finding the balance between efficiency and effectiveness which might take a lot of trial and error.

For example I reluctantly came to the conclusion yesterday that my method of revising French had not been working for the past few weeks, but that’s okay because if you start revising a bit earlier than needed, you can evaluate your revision process as you go along and if you find, like me, that something isn’t working, you have enough time to fix it without losing valuable revision time. 

So that’s a few tips that I’ve learnt from studying A Levels and attempting to figure out how the heck it’s possible to revise SO MUCH content for the exams in the summer, hopefully they’ll be useful to some of you and if you have anymore advice you’d like to share regarding revision, please feel free!

//When You Try Your Best But It’s Never Good Enough//

Hello! It’s been a while since I last found the time, and motivation, to blog but here I am still alive, drowning in work, yes, but very much still alive. 

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve just started studying a-levels at sixth form college. Everyone says the jump from GCSEs to a-levels is so big and despite being told this repetitively throughout last year, it still took me by surprise. It’s not that a-levels are much harder than GCSEs in regards to the actual content we have to learn – don’t get me wrong it is inuch greater depth than at school but it’s not that difficult that you can’t understand what you’re learning as such – it’s the fact that teachers expect so much from you that shocked me.

It’s not the homework, even though the sheer volume of it does eat up my weekends most weeks, I can cope with that. It’s everything else that I’m struggling with. Being expected to remember and recall every single bit of information you’ve learnt about so far on the spot (half the stuff I’m sure we haven’t even learnt but we are questioned on it anyway), is what’s hard. And being expected to find time to do extra research outside of class on top of all our homework. It just feels like whatever I do it’s never good enough.

I’ve spent hours and hours on homework tasks these past few weeks, using up all my energy and putting all my effort into them but still am told by my teachers that I ‘could’ve done more’. I spent most of yesterday revising for a geography test and was feeling confident that I actually knew and understood what we’ve learnt so far yet when I opened the test, I found I was unable to answer half the questions.

On top of this, I’m finding it hard to balance all of my subjects. Prior to this week, I’d been trying to spend equal time on each yet found that that meant I’ve been not quite keeping up to the teachers high standards as I hadn’t been dedicating enough time to each (there are only 24 hrs in a day and I am not a superhuman so idk what they expect from me seriously) so this week I’ve dedicated the most time to geography because of the end of topic test we had today but now I’ve started falling behind with my work in French and history! You can’t win with a-levels, you really can’t.

So I don’t know which subjects to prioritise, if any. I just want to do equally well in all three but it seems impossible to stay on top of everything. It feels like whenever I go to lesson, we learn about 2356 billion new things and I just get further and further behind. I can’t even remember what I learnt in class today because my head is just one huge cluttered mess of facts that I don’t know what to with. What’s worse is most other people seem to give off the general impression that they’re coping which just makes me feel even worse about my capabilities. Everyone seems to be able to absorb the information being thrown at them whereas my ‘knowledge absorption sponge’ is full of holes and I’m lucky if I can retain one thing after each lesson. 

So yeah my general impression of a-levels at the moment is that no matter how hard I try, it’ll never be good enough to meet the teacher’s – or my own – standards.

Anyway, are you doing a-levels? How are you getting on with school? Let me know! 🙂