The A Level international exam is coming soon. While I am staying at school during the pandemic, I not only study, revise and practice, but also relax.
I do my revision work and practise past papers in the morning and the afternoon, while I usually watch studying and school life vlogs from students, open emails, and write articles in the evening.
While watching other's vlogs during my day-to-day studying process at school, I can not only find motivations to study productively but also discover other's study tips and strategies.
I always give myself an award which is the vlog time after finishing my today's work. We are all sharing our school life and routine on the Internet to encourage each other.
Last week, I have written an article about my daily life as an A Level student at our school's Oxbridge College to share my daily school life and the things I usually do.
Today, I am going to share my study routine while preparing for the A Level international exam at school. Let's jump in!
Why do we Stay at School?
Before getting started, I am going to talk about why we need to stay at school before the important international exam.
Normally, we go back home at weekends with school buses, as described on my last article.
However, due to the escalation of the pandemic in the city where I live, I have to stay at school to avoid the interruption on the exams.
There is a risk of being unable to take exams in case of the escalation of the pandemic at the place where I currently live. So, school is a safe and, of course, productive place to stay and get ready for the exam.
The CAIE international exams (June 2022) in a few cities with severe pandemics have been cancelled, which are switched to the portfolio of evidence. Learn More
Fortunately for us, we can participate in the exam since no pandemic has occurred at the school's city.
So, I would have written an article about my weekend life at home, but I will write it once I can go back home.
Student vloggers usually share this on their YouTube channels to motivate others to study effectively.
Enabling my Backup Servers
One thing I have already done at home is to enable my backup servers.
Recently, I have just finished my EPQ project about my website, but I am currently preparing for the A Level international exam.
During the final exam period of last semester, one of my classmates complained that my website's content could not be displayed normally due to a database error although it can be accessed.
Because I am not at my home for a long time, I can't control my web servers directly so I usually manage my servers remotely. That's why I have enabled my backup servers in advance.
If my website or Planner servers are down during the exam season, please email me and wait for a few days. I will switch you to my backup servers.
Here is one slide of my EPQ project presentation that represents Load-balancing technology.
* Note: Some information on my EPQ project is confidential, so I only share one to explain and demystify the knowledge point clearly.
Planning for Exams with Study Planner
The days of each exam with different papers for each subject are discrete, so I will need to be aware of the date for each exam to make correct preparations.
So, I have added them into the Event section of my Study Planner. Upcoming exams with less than 7 days left are marked as orange.
I use "syllabus code / component code" to name an exam for each paper. For example "9709/33 (Pure Maths)" and "9618/13 (CS Theory)".
Now, move on to the topic. I am going to share my daily schedule and routine.
Get up and Have Breakfast
The schedule of staying at school at weekends and vacations is slightly different from studying at school, which can be more flexible like living at home.
I get up at 07:00, complete my morning routine on Ken's Study Planner, and then go for breakfast at school canteen at 07:20.
While walking around the school path for breakfast, I usually think about my today's tasks list as well as breath in the fresh air directly from the trees alongside.
From the student vlogs I have watched, there are such distances and paths among different quads and buildings around a school campus. (I will talk about the vlogs below.)
You can relax, breath in fresh air, and think about your today' tasks and knowledge learned recently as you walk along the school path.
Practise Papers and Review Knowledge
It is our studying time after breakfast. We can allocate our time freely during the day.
I usually practise past papers for the international exam on May, except for Further Mathematics which will be on June.
I use my Study Timer on my laptop to limit time as I study or practise a past paper. This can also help me to concentrate on my tasks and avoid wasting my time.
However, I don't use the Pomodoro study technique since my schedule can be flexible according to the time limits on each paper.
Then I use Frank's C(A)IE Workshop to check the answers on the corresponding mark schemes. There are so few people staying at school and practise papers so it is unlikely to reach its rate limits.
Similarly, I have lunch at 11:40 at school, again, in the school canteen.
I don't immediately continue studying after lunch, but I usually go to the school gym to take exercise as well as remembering English words using Quizlet.
Sometimes, I also open emails to see the latest updates including email newsletters.
Then, I continue studying and practise past papers or review knowledge. The dinner time is at 17:00.
I do one past paper for each paper during this period. Surprisingly, I have got relatively high scores after checking the answers.
I do not need to do too much past papers. I just need to do one question paper carefully, find out and review the missing knowledge points.
One day, I have practised for the upcoming OUCC competition (Elite, the highest level; this weekend) and, surprisingly, I have got a full score.
After dinner at approximately 18:00, I don't take a shower in the afternoon since we need to go back to our apartment at 21:30 so that we have sufficient time to do that.
The productivity can be waning after studying for a long time. So, I will do something relaxing in the evening.
So, after clearing my today's tasks list in the morning and the afternoon, I have a sense of achievement and I usually award myself a vlog time.
When I am at home, I watch vlogs or read blog articles in the first 15 to 45 minutes and the last 45 to 15 minutes during the day.
I will talk more about this in my weekend routine article later.
The vlogs on YouTube are from (I)GCSE, A Level and university students in the UK and/or other countries.
By watching their vlogs, I can understand the daily routine of a university student as well as their study tips and environment. This allows me to adapt to the studying vibe in the future.
I am interested in some topics like study routine, morning/evening/night routine, [(I)GCSE, A Level, and university] school life, bedroom tour and decorations, productive stduy tips, and school campus environment. I often discuss these topics with my classmates and roommates too!
I do enjoy discussing with my friends, but I have banned some topics that have potential negative impacts on my study journey and feelings (e.g. games, some jokes).
We can find out our interesting topics. Avoid talking about topics with negative impacts or lacking interest in partners to make sure we can have a healthy lifestyle.
These are my favourite channels:
Sometimes, I have also got some inspirations from their study tips in some videos. For example, I was inspired by the big folders in a video by rowan emily, a GCSE student, which can hold all materials for one subject.
Other examples are the decorations in the bedroom behind the videos, studying productively at a café, energetic breakfast (e.g. milk with the grain), environments and facilities (e.g. libraries) at universities (e.g. Oxford), view of a city (e.g. London), and so on.
I usually turn off the caption while watching as possible to practise IELTS listening.
I am also mindful about the pronunciations, fluency and cohesion while watching to practise IELTS speaking in addition to consuming the video content.
I also write comments on their videos about my feelings, suggestions, and greetings (e.g. Thanks for sharing, Hope you can pass the exam) as well as my school life and situations.
Most of my comments were liked and replied to by the video authors.
From my experiences, there are some ways to write comments that the bloggers and vloggers enjoy and inspire.
- The comments should be related to the content in the video.
- The comments should be positive and encouraging.
You can write the following contents on the video comments.
- Evaluate the video (e.g. music used, bedroom decorations used)
- Give suggestions
- Send greetings (e.g. hope you can pass your exams)
- Share your feelings (e.g. I enjoy studying at the café too)
- Share your studying and living experiences (e.g. I am also busy on A Level exams and EPQ)
- Ask some questions
Write Website/Blog Articles
In the meantime, I am also writing this article on my website.
I have created my website and blog because I have strong programming skills and I had built my servers, but most students usually have YouTube channels instead of websites and blogs (some students have).
I guess because creating a website requires programming skills and some costs for hardware and maintenance. YouTube can be a suitable platform for them to publish and share information about their daily life and study tips.
The costs of my website and servers are from my scholarships majorly, while some costs are from the pocket money from my parents.
Since my website has become part of my EPQ project and it can practise my programming skills, my parents undertake part of the costs.
But anyway, I both read blog articles and watch vlogs from students in my free time.
Conclude the Day and Prepare for Tomorrow
One last thing is to fill in my Daily Goals Checklist on my Study Planner as well as make tomorrow's Tasks List.
Going Back to Apartment
At 21:30, I go back to our apartment to take shower and prepare for sleeping.
Since the apartment has decorations similar to my home, I can form great study habits with some stickers as well as enjoy a comfortable environment.
I also chat with my roomates who are staying at school, discussing about what we usually do at school, our studying progress, our goals for the exam, our studying experiences and feelings.
My goal for the exam is 3A* 1A. A2 Maths (9709) must be A* to satisfy university requirements. AS Physics (9702) and Computer Science (9618) are 90% (a) respectively. AS Further Maths (XFM01) is a.
Using Separative Studying System
I have my separative studying system to make sure I can focus on my tasks.
Normally, I only think about my studying stuff during school days at school, while I do other things (e.g. write website articles, watch vlogs and read other's articles, open emails) outside the school time.
So, in this period, I do my study tasks in the morning and afternoon, while I do other things in the evening.
My Suggestions and Tips
Here, I am going to share my suggestions and some tips to get outstanding results in the exam.
- Read Questions Carefully
- Keep your Desk Tidy
- Relax and Play Sports Appropriately
- Don't Leave Many Tasks Until Deadline
- Don't Discuss Answers with your Classmates After an Exam
Read Questions Carefully
Some questions involve traps, including calculating the distance from velocity (Not displacement), using special units (e.g. mm, g), and significant air resistance.
For example, in multiple choice questions, there is still an option even though you forgot to multiply/divide by 2, forgot to make a square or square root, forgot to convert units (e.g. from mm to m), interpret x- and y-axises inversely, or have done the question partially.
So, you need to read each question very carefully to make sure you do not miss important information.
Keep your Desk Tidy
Another thing is to keep your desk tidy.
By neatly placing your items on your desk, you will make room for your paper-based study materials so you will feel comfortable during your studying process.
Relax and Play Sports Appropriately
One last thing is to appropriately have relaxations and play sports.
I usually award myself a vlog or article time after finishing my tasks. Studying in a day can be tiring.
If you have got more tasks to be done, just add it to your tasks list so you will complete your required tasks during your studying time.
Playing sports can also strengthen your body so that you will boost your energy during your studying process.
Don't Leave Many Tasks Until Deadline
Firstly, I recommend you finish your tasks on time. No matter what the deadlines they are, you always need to complete your tasks.
If you cram or leave too many tasks until deadlines, you will rush to make your projects finished. This will lower the quality of your projects and hence they will become less effective in your exams.
I use Ken's Study Planner app to plan my study journey, which can display the days left until the next project or event.
Don't Discuss Answers with your Classmates After an Exam
There is one more tip during the exam day. Don't discuss answers with your classmates immediately after an exam.
If your answer is incorrect when discussing answers, not only will you exert pressure on yourself, but also it will affect your mood for preparing for future exams.
No matter what your feelings are or what results you will get after an exam, you always need to prepare for future exams and subjects.
Hope you can Pass the Exam!
Can you see the red banner at the top of my website? Yes, it's true. I am encouraging students to study better and pass their exams. The banner remains during the exam season.
The A Level international exam or school assessment is in progress. I hope you can get outstanding results on your (I)GCSE or A Level exam! Come on!
Keep Writing Articles
Since I have used my Separative Studying System, in which I focus on studying tasks on school days and relax at weekends and holidays, and Great Study Habits stickers, my productivity has been boosted significantly.
My website will no longer display "Pause Writing Articles" notices and I will write articles at any time if I have extra free time.
During the pandemic, I will provide more study tips for students who are staying at home, letting you overtake others.
Ken's Study Journey strives to provide high-quality articles about my tips and tutorials to study productively, together with some knowledge explanations. If you need help, I am here for you.
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