2018: Year in Review

2018 year in review.jpg

Image description: The text ‘2018 year in review’ over a firework.

We’ve almost made it through 2018! Hurrah! Let’s DO THIS THING. This year feels like it’s been one of the longest years of my life. The other day I genuinely thought that something I did over summer happened in February, so I guess it’s like 2 years have passed instead of 1? Like, what even. Anyway, I’m here with a good old yearly recap post, because I do like to be able to have this as a point of reference and it’s fun to see everything I’ve done over this year. (If I can even remember them.)

Looking back at 2018

  • Firstly, let’s recap my 2018 goals. Doing things with love? I mean, KIND OF. I do think that I’ve spent more time on friendships and on making new friends which is great! And I’ve also met some wonderful internet friends in real life! (This ties in with my other goal about meeting friends.) I’m getting better at looking critically at the things I love but I definitely have a long way to go with that process.
  • Caring for myself… Well, GCSEs sucked a LOT, I have to say. That whole experience and the culture of public examinations is still negatively affecting my mental health now. The first half of the year was really difficult for that reason and I haven’t always been amazing at taking care of myself, but part of that includes letting myself off for that, too? I’ve literally tried to block out all of that because it was just grim, tbh.
  • However, I can say with certainty that have enjoyed so much amazing art this year! From excellent books to theatre to new TV shows I’ve started… it’s been a great one. A big part of this has been helping out with the sixth form musical at my school, where I worked as the sound operator. I was so proud of that production, and although it was stressful, I had an amazing time and I know that it’ll stay with me forever.
  • I have also for sure experienced new things: I got my first job! I travelled to South America with Guides! I went to prom! I did make it through my first public exams! I started sixth form! I got my nose pierced! I DMed for the first time!
  • I want to expand on starting sixth form because Year 12 has been FULL. ON. I’m studying Maths, Spanish, History & Latin and I’m really glad that I picked those subjects. (Especially Latin because I’m maybe enjoying it the most and it was a last minute switch from Chemistry.)
  • I blogged much less in the second half of this year. My stats are NOT thanking me, lol, but sometimes that’s the way life goes. I do have a whole bunch of post ideas so I REALLY hope I can get some more posts up.
  • One thing that I actually was good at keeping up was my bullet journal. I’m so glad I put in pictures of what I was up to from throughout the year because it was really nice to remind me when I looked through.
  • Also, I took my last ever clarinet exam which was kind of trash but THANK GOD IT’S OVER. Now I just have to spend another 6 months re-learning to love the clarinet after that deeply stressful experience, I guess.

Looking ahead to 2019

  • I’m going to turn 18!! WHAT! I’m just going to make that its own bullet point in itself because I don’t feel like I’m ready to be a legal adult at all.
  • I want to do some preparation for my future: learning to drive, improving at cooking, maybe applying for uni/deciding what I’m going to do keeping on with my job.
  • More blogging! I miss it a lot! I’d like to blog at least once a month.
  • In addition to blogging, I want to continue with theatre tech, because that was really fun and fulfilling this year. In summer I’m going to be helping on a production at the Edinburgh Fringe which I’m super excited about! I hope to make the most of that experience!
  • Again, I want to better take care of myself. Some concrete ways I’m going to do this are making sure I exercise, getting back into meditation, keeping a regular sleeping schedule and allowing myself to sometimes just hand in work that’s good enough, if not perfect.
  • I want to use my time on the internet and my phone in better ways. Spending a lot of time mindlessly scrolling social media has been REALLY bad for my brain. Instead, I want to spend more time interacting with people and building relationships.
  • I would like to come out as non-binary to more people? Maybe? And also to just tell people when they misgender me because people still do that a lot but I feel awkward correcting them (even though it’s not my mistake). Also, to just not read the transphobic articles that cross my path because they do not exactly help.
  • I’d like to listen to more new music, since I love finding new bops and I didn’t get that much opportunity to do so in 2018.

I’ll probably think of something really good after I’ve posted this but, ah well. That’s how it goes. I hope you enjoyed this focus on my personal goals.

how was your 2018? do you have any goals or resolutions for 2019?

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Blog Birthday! Life! Sixth Form!

Hello again! It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d update you all on what’s going on with my blog and life and all that.

First of all: Twist in the Taile turned 5! That’s right, I started my blog 5 years ago this month. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Me neither: I always have to go back to my very first post to check that, yes, I was actually that young when I started it. I haven’t got my act together to do a giveaway right at this point (more on that later) but I’m thinking about perhaps doing a belated one. We shall see.

Anyway, the last year has been somewhat turbulent for Twist in the Taile as I took a couple of breaks, mainly due to schoolwork. I’m so grateful for all of you who continue to read my posts and brighten my day with your thoughts. Thank you ❤

Secondly: what’s happening with Sixth Form? Essentially, I’m very busy this term, and although I do have many ideas for posts I don’t really have the mental energy to do homework AND music practice AND my extracurricular commitments whilst not having a breakdown. So, there will probably be less posts. (I’m slightly wincing as I look at the dramatic drop in my stats over the last 2 months and think about the future. OH WELL.)

I’m enjoying Year 12 so far – I especially like that the classes are generally a bit smaller, teachers are more relaxed, I have free periods and such, although the workload is definitely more. Choosing clothes every day is kind of stressful but I’ve sort of ended up with a system where I wear the same trousers for the whole week and just swap the shirt because that’s easier. We have a ‘formal dress code’ which is like…interesting… I’d like to write another post on picking clothes because I find it kind of hard to both wear clothes I feel comfortable in whilst sticking to the expectations of formalwear which are kind of gendered but, eh.

Let me update you on how my subjects are going! I’m taking History, Maths, Spanish and Latin (at my school most people are advised to start with 4 and then drop 1; I don’t think they’ve quite got used to the linear system yet).

History is really interesting and I’m enjoying the Stuarts a lot more than I thought I might?? My GCSE was all based around the 20th century so it’s nice to do something else. Both my teachers are great as well (I have multiple teachers for every subject who teach different topics) although I am slightly terrified of them and my recent essay was…interesting. Also, there’s a lot of note-taking homework, which I’m still getting used to.

I’m so glad I took Maths since this time last year I was completely sure I wouldn’t be doing A-Level (lol) since it’s such a nice contrast to my other subjects. I mean, it’s also challenging but I do generally find it relaxing in comparison to, say History. I like that questions have an actual definitive answer, y’know?

I feel like Spanish has been the biggest step up from GCSE – I enjoy the subject but it does feel like suddenly we have to be a lot more fluent which is very much not me haha. There’s also been some issues with my class which makes it…interesting… I probably shouldn’t say too much about it on here though.

I’m liking Latin a lot! Again, I’m so glad I took it in the end since I was almost going to do Chemistry. Language is very fun, I’ve always found translation quite satisfying, and literature is interesting too. I even read some Extra Books so I feel like a moderately dedicated student. ALSO…the Latin verb drills website has finally come into immediate and practical use with prose composition ayy.

This half term is going to be pretty busy with my school musical that I’m helping and clarinet grade 8 in addition to schoolwork so I am essentially hoping to make it out alive?? Apologies for the lack of Monthly Mixtape; it has rather been put on hold and I feel that its future needs to be considered but that’s something I haven’t quite gotten round to.

Anyway! Please update me on what’s going on with you! I miss talking to you all. 🙂

Things Change, and That’s Okay?

I’ve been thinking about the past a lot this summer. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like even more than usual I’ve been reminded of memories, of how things used to be, of places I used to go. It’s very strange. And often it makes me wish that I could go back to then.

For example: it’s not that long ago, but I miss the time when I used to write a blog post every 4-5 days. I’m never going to get back to posting that often, I think.  I used to actually write stuff as well. The reality is that…school seems to take up so much of my time? And actually I like spending time on it? I mean, exams really sucked, but in general I enjoy learning.

I miss all that writing. But also I’m trying to accept that nothing is going to be the same forever, and actually a lot of stuff has changed in my life. That’s allowed to happen. I’m allowed to spend time on school or music or just hanging out. I still love this blog, and I’m still excited to write posts, but I don’t want it to become a chore — I want to feel excited about the prospect of writing a post instead of just tired. I don’t want to feel guilty about not posting as often as I used to or no getting as many views/followers/comments as I’d like. Because that’s not fun at all.

I find myself mourning friends who aren’t as close anymore and honestly, you know what — people change! I’ve changed a lot. It’s alright for my friendships to shift. I’m particularly thinking about this as I start 6th form which feels like a BIG new thing in my life; it’s the biggest change in school I’ve had since starting secondary school. IT’S SO WEIRD. I miss my old teachers and classes! But also it’s exciting.

Also, I miss when I like…didn’t think about my gender all the time, I guess. And then it makes me wonder if I’m making it all up and gaslighting myself into thinking I’m not actually queer and I’m just a special snowflake. I hate feeling like that; I usually then go and remind myself of all the other LGBTQ+ out there who are real and do exist.

I DON’T KNOW. I feel like this is quite an uncharacteristic and rambly post, for me. I haven’t written one like this in a while and it’s quite cathartic. I don’t understand what this weird remembering thing is. I get it much more vividly from hearing or tasting things — playing my old clarinet pieces kind of feels like transporting myself back into the past. Maybe because clarinet is separate from everything else. The music just goes into a different part of my brain. Aaah you see what I mean?!?

Anyway, I don’t really have a conclusion planned out, except to say that: things change! It’s scary but I’m trying to accept it! I don’t want to pressure myself to blog! And I hope you have a wonderful day. 🙂

 

GCSE Results Day // #evestudies

Coloured pens strewn over a notebook, with the text 'GCSE results day #evestudies'.

Hi everyone! WOW it has been a long time since I sat down to write a post. Everything feels kind of surreal so I guess this just adds to it??

Anyway, if you didn’t know, yesterday was GCSE results day in England (GCSEs being the public exams that I’ve worked on for the last 2 years or so). These were my first set of public exams so it has been an…interesting time, let’s say. By which I mean they were rather scary and difficult. But I’m not actually here to talk about Year 11 or the exams themselves! You can go and read previous #evestudies posts including my experience of Year 11 and advice for those going into it, revision techniques, and a masterpost of GCSE science resources.

Over the summer holidays I didn’t have much opportunity to get stressed about results day and I am SO GLAD. I’d been away on a trip with Guides for most of August which took up all of my brain space! Obviously it was still lurking in the back of my thoughts, but I didn’t start thinking about it loads until I came back and started lying in bed at night stressing that I’d failed everything. Fun times, am I right?

Discussing my worries with friends made me feel less alone since I realised that actually everyone was freaking out, not just me. (Though I was still kind of stressed.) On the morning of results day I stayed in bed for ages hoping to distract myself with books and podcasts. I even ended up going in later than I’d planned haha despite waking up early.

ANYWAY. I’m, like, still really in shock at my results?? I did way better than I was expecting? I’d convinced myself that I’d failed additional maths and I actually got an A which I DO NOT UNDERSTAND AT ALL because the exam was ABSOLUTE HELL. (The answer is that the grade boundaries were extremely low.)

I’d prefer not to share all of my grades publicly on here, but since this blog series has covered a lot of my GCSEs I felt that I should do some kind of conclusion. So I just wanted to say that I’m really happy with my results! I got the top grades in the subjects I’m taking at A-Level which is awesome since a) obviously now I’m allowed to take those subjects next year and b) it makes me feel more confident that I actually have a chance at A-Levels. I’m planning to take Maths, Spanish, History & Latin, and I’m very excited?! Hopefully sixth form won’t be too scary haha.

It feels so strangely anti-climatic to see so many hours of schoolwork boiled down to one piece of paper… It still hasn’t quite sunk in for me that it’s, you know, over. But GCSEs have been hanging over me for so long, and it’s such a relief to finally close this chapter. These new exams have been confusing and stressful but WE MADE IT THROUGH, FOLKS.

If you were also getting results yesterday, I hope you’re happy and even if not I send you internet hugs. It might not feel like it sometimes (and this is certainly something that I need to remind myself of) but exam results are NOT the be all and end all, and you’re still awesome no matter what. ❤

As I said, I’m starting sixth form this year which is all very new for me, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more posts in this series. A-Levels! Way less subjects! I don’t have to wear uniform anymore! And also lots of other stuff that I’m sure I’ll discover when I get there. I can’t wait to update you all on it. 🙂

Year 11: My Experience & Advice // #evestudies

Coloured pens strewn over a notebook, with the words '#evestudies Year Eleven my experience and advice'.

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year where school is finishing up for most people here, and I realised that despite posting some general updates, I haven’t actually done another official post in my #evestudies series since before GCSEs. (My last one was in February, so practically AEONS ago.) Before I started Year 11 I was pretty nervous about my first set of public exams, GCSEs, so I thought it might be helpful for some people to give my own experience and advice for making it through. And hopefully it’ll still be interesting to read even if you’re not taking GCSEs haha.

Firstly, though, I would like to emphasise that this is only my experience. There are SO MANY reasons that it may not match yours, and the same is true for my advice; what works for me might not work for you. And that is completely valid.

But to get started with my own experience. Reading back through my posts over the last year is fascinating, and I’m glad that I have this blog as a digital record. As you can see from some of thos older posts, I started the year extremely keen to keep up extra work like doing online Physics lessons and constantly revising vocab. Honestly, I would not recommend that you start revising for GCSEs right from the start of the year. Although some of the languages vocab probably helped a little, by the time the exam season rolled around, I felt that a lot of what I’d revised earlier had faded from my brain and I was forced to return to it again anyway. Instead, I just felt guilty for not completing this ‘extra work’ I had set myself.

First and foremost, I would recommend that, if possible, you try to take care of yourself (whatever form that takes). The first term of Year 11 was pretty similar to Year 10 for me except for officially submitting my English coursework and doing stage management for a play at school. But I sort of had a breakdown towards the end of this term since I was trying to do so many things, and that was REALLY BAD. Probably the worst my mental health has ever been. So trying to keep a balance in your life is really important.

I also found creating good habits and routines really helped me during Year 111. And that refers not only to study habits like completing your homework on time, but also to self-care routines. Personally, I find routines very comforting, and I really enjoy having them. This might not be true for everyone, but I’ve found that sticking to my routines gave me something to anchor to during the stressful revision and exam period where all the days just kind of blended into one long stress. I can tell when my mental health is getting bad because when that happens I start to break my routines. (Not included missing them for special occasions and stuff.)

To give an example from my own life: every Tuesday afternoon, I spend an hour watching TV. Often I find it difficult to sit down and watch an episode of something because I feel like I should be doing something else ‘more productive’ (which is completely not a thing) but making that a routine has helped me a lot. Other little routines I have are reading for half an hour in the evening, going swimming on Sundays, and listening to podcasts as I go to bed. (Does that count as a routine? I don’t know haha. It’s just a nice thing that I like do to.)

I did put in work for my mock exams at school and I found this to be very useful. Particularly for more content-based subjects, I really did use the notes that I made for mock exams during actual GCSE revision, especially my Quizlets since those allowed me to test myself.) However, my revision style did actually change from mocks to later revision; before, I’d just spent all my time making notes, and then I already had them! So I tended to do more self-testing. But if you don’t revise loads for mocks then it’s not at all the end of the world! I just liked to feel prepared.

I’m not going to lie, Easter and the summer term were a frustrating time for me. I’ve previously been very enthusiastic about my school experience, saying that I love learning and each year has been better than the last. Frankly, Year 11 was not my best year yet. Towards the end of the year, I felt as though I wasn’t learning for educational benefit but rather to pass an exam. And I know that’s what I was supposed to be doing, but even as someone who really likes learning, it all feel rather pointless to me. We’d spent 2 years working for what felt like a very small number of exams. (But also, SO MANY EXAMS. SO. GODDAMN. MANY.)

For the actual exam period, timetables are AMAZING. As you can probably tell already, I like to have everything organised and prepared haha. I spent a lot of time figuring out my timetable. At the start of each week I would try to fill in which specific topics I would study during my subject periods. Also, I tried not to dwell on past exams. I thought I was going to enjoy all the hashtags, and I sort of did? But also, once the exam had finished I just wanted to completely erase it from my memory since there wasn’t anything I could do to change it.

Writing about school and exams comes SO easily to me now because I feel like that’s 90% of what I’ve been thinking about for the last 8 months. I don’t think I’ve yet recovered from exams; finishing them was just a bit of an anticlimax. And results day looms next month, which is…yikes. I’m not looking forward to getting my results, but I very much want to gain closure for this chapter of school.

Anyways! I hope you found this post enjoyable in some way. 🙂 I’m thinking about making some more revision posts later in the year — I feel like I should get my results first to see if my revision techniques actually worked haha — so let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in. I was thinking perhaps some subject-specific posts like for modern foreign languages, sciences, and possibly Latin?? (I have a lot of Latin resources, but I know not many people actually take it so.)

have you taken any public exams this year? what was your experience? how are you doing today?

Sad Feelings and Exam Stress

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing okay. This is just a little update post to let you know what’s going on with me, because I’ve been rather sad recently and blogging hasn’t been quite the fun activity I want it to be.

These few weeks are very weird for me because I’m in a strange liminal space between ‘normal school’ and actual exams. I used to enjoy school a lot, especially in Year 10, but currently I just feel like I’m preparing to pass an exam. And I know that’s what I’m doing, but it still frustrates me. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is pointless. Yet the same time, I feel very very stressed about getting good grades and living up to people’s (and my own) expectations of me. And then I feel stressed about stressing when I should be revising, AAAAAH. IT IS TERRIBLE.

Other things have also been contributing to me sadness like my compulsion to read transphobic articles which make me feel bad, stressing about what to do in the future, friend group politics etc. etc. Just: a lot of things are happening right now.

I don’t know, the summer weather makes me feel better. But I’ve also been crying a lot. I’m not sure where this post is going, but the most important thing I’d like to say is that I need to take some time out. I still have some blog posts lined up, but I don’t want blogging to be a chore. I need to take care of myself, and I need to let myself not do stuff — and that includes not blogging as frequently.

But I’m still around! If you’d like to talk to me then you can of course still comment on my blog or tweet me @appletaile. Like I said, I still have some posts which will be going up soon.

 

BBC Les Mis: Opinions! Predictions! Old posts revisited!

All the way back in 2016, when the new TV adaptation of Les Mis was first announced, I wrote a post called 7 Things I Want to See in BBC Les Mis. It’s taken a LONG time, but finally we’re getting some more news about it, and it’s due to air at the start of 2019. And my Les Mis obsession seems to be rising from the dead, because now I check for the imdb page and talk to people about it all the time. SORRY.

Anyways. I thought it would be fun to revisit my old wishlist, see what’s changed, and add some of my current thoughts on information we had so far. (Because I can only jabber on at my IRL friends so much. They get a bit tired.) I hope that it’ll still be entertaining even if you’re not quite a Les Mis obsessive like me. Although it’s been like 3 years now since I read Les Mis itself so I have to admit, I don’t remember it as clearly as I could in 2016…

But before I look back through my list, I want to talk a bit about my thoughts so far!

Firstly, it’s written by Andrew Davies, who did War & Peace and Pride & Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth). In the interviews I’ve read with him, he seems to very vehemently hate the musical, describing it as a ‘shoddy farrago’. He seems to really want to show people that Les Miserables is a lot more than that, etc. etc. Personally I enjoy the musical and the book so, you know. We’ll see what comes of his desire to show the true character of Les Mis. I do hope that it means he’ll get some good stuff in there but who knows.

Next, the main cast — Dominic West as Valjean, David Oyolewo as Javert, Lily Collins as Fantine, Olivia Colman and Adeel Akhtar as the Thenardiers, Ellie Bamber as Cosette, Josh O’Connor as Marius,  Erin Kellyman as Eponine and Joseph Quinn as Enjolras.

Frankly, I barely know any actors, so I don’t have much to go on, but I’m super excited for David Oyolewo as Javert!  And I didn’t realise until just now that Dominic West played Jonathan in the movie Pride (it’s a great movie, you should go watch it) and now I feel more excited. I’ve written more in deetail about some of the castings below, in my response to what I wrote in 2016.

The cast list hasn’t been updated loads, but there are a few more characters lurking on the IMDb page if you care to look. We’ve also been seeing some pictures from filming, which I’m greatly enjoying  — you can see updates on this BBC Les Mis updates tumblr if you so wish.

Here’s some pictures of the set for the Barricade, with all the French flags out:

However, I was saddened by the announcement that it won’t be airing until 2019. PLEASE, I NEED THIS TO HEAL MY SOUL. Maybe to heal my soul through raging at it. Who knows.

1. Valjean’s James Bond convent escape
2. Nuanced Cosette
3. Non-hunky Enjolras
4. Les Amis de L’ABC
5. Thenardier’s botched robbery (starring Marius)
6. Marius being a nerd
7. The Thenardier family

I mean. I still agree with these. P L E A S E I crave Cosette content so badly! Ellie Bamber seemed cool in an interview I read so…? Who knows? In reference to Enjolras: I don’t know anything about this actor, but they should have cast a black actor. (Read this excellent thread by @JEHANCOURF on twitter and also check out their zine, The Case For Black Enjolras.) Archie Madekwe who plays Courfeyrac seems GREAT though, I’m so excited to see him.

For a while I was Very Stressed that they had cut out the Amis (since the IMDB cast list doesn’t have many of them on) but then we saw some set pictures and it looks like they’re at least present. Although there was also an interview with someone who said they were playing an unnamed student extra, so maybe not.

I mean, I have no idea whether they’ll put in any of the scenes I mentioned here. (And yes, I do know that there are many adaptations out there with various different scenes in! But, you know.) In addition, to this, I really would like to see this adaptation maintain the theme of social change and revolution. Yes, it’s an excellent story, but that message is also a key part of it!

I’ve just spent AGES doing practice Chemistry paper so excuse me if my brain is a little tired. Ah well. In the meantime, I desperately await more news and continue to check the IMDb page every day. Oops.

do you like les mis? what do you want to see in the adaptation? what’s your favourite tv adaptation?

 

 

7 Things on the Internet That Make Me Smile

Hi everyone! So…I am feeling slightly overwhelmed at the moment. I thought I would share a few things on the internet that have made me smile recently. (And here I’m talking about small things rather than big general things, because the internet is TOO BIG.)

1. Good as Hell by Lizzo

This song is SUCH A TUNE honestly!!! It fills me with joy and strength!! The video is also SO GOOD — it features lots of awesome women getting their hair done and being happy and it is honestly the best.

2. The McElroy brothers call a secret society

This short excerpt from the My Brother My Brother and Me TV show of the McElroys calling secret societies still made me laugh when I rewatched it for this post. I know it doesn’t sound that funny but…IT IS FUNNY. Or maybe I’ve just listened to too many McElroy products at this point, who even knows. (Bonus: this video of Griffin McElroy eating a banana AKA cronch origins.)

3. Cats meowing at each other

Two kitties! Meowing at each other! So pure and beautiful!! I mean, there’s so much good good cat content out there. But I do like this one. You can check out my whole cats tag on tumblr if you like.

4. This online purr generator

OK, I’m just going to put all the cat content together: it is a purr generator. For your computer. I love cats purring so this is just the BEST for me!

5. The Ladies of Hamilton #Ham4Ham

This is a video from back when Hamilton cast on Broadway did little bonus things outside the theatre. That whole run produced lots of very very good content, but in particular I love this one. I’ve probably watched it at least a dozen times, OOPS. I’m just too queer… I cannot handle the beauty.

6. Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko

This still makes me real emotional. I love Hayley Kiyoko so much. Just a VERY GOOD song and video.

7. The time Joe Johnson livetweeted reading Check, Please!

Maybe this is too niche but OH WELL. NEVER MIND Firstly, if you haven’t read the webcomic Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu then you should because it is very very good. Anyway, the subject in question is when the ice skater Joe Johnson read the comic and livetweeted it back in December which produced many, many excellent tweets.

Other quality content is this, this, and this tweet. And no, I absolutely did not just go back through his entire twitter to find those. (The things I do for you.) (But also MUCH #relatable content on there haha.)

Anyways. I hope you enjoyed this rather random post and I wish you a wonderful day!

what are your favourite things on the internet? do you also greatly enjoy looking at cute cats or is it just me??

 

Do Study Blogs Really Help Me Study?

A yellow pencil, pencil sharpener and pencil shavings on a blank lined notebook. The words 'do study blogs really help me study?'

Hi everyone! As you might know, I’ve been busy with school lately, hence the many school-related posts. I was busy over the winter holidays for mocks in January, and I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time in general looking around study blogs like studyblr, Youtube, and such. I’m here today with a discussion post on whether study blogs actually help.

Firstly, I have to say that I just love looking at pretty aesthetic things. (SORRY BUT I DO.) It makes me SO happy to watch videos of people making pretty bullet journals or pictures of cute revision notes. These fill my with an intense, inexplicable joy, and they also make me go ‘Wow, I really want to make something as pretty as this!’ So I find it a lot of fun looking at those.

But does appearance translate into any real life effects? Personally I’ve found it pretty difficult to replicate what I see online. Sometimes if I get so focused on trying to make something beautiful that I’m less concentrated on learning the actual content. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that I’m not actually very artistic so I just. Can’t. I CAN’T.

I do find study blogs motivating. They make we want to go out into the world and do all the productive things. However, I think that’s only true up to a point, because productivity and schoolwork are NOT the only things that matter. Personally, I’m a motivated person anyway; in fact, I think that sometimes I make myself feel worse by trying to do too much work.

Recently my mental health hasn’t been great, and I think that part of that is due to a constant feeling, made worse by looking at all these blogs, that I’m not working hard enough, not being productive enough, not making the most efficient… Hell, I even feel bad for not RELAXING enough. Which is ridiculous, right? But although this ableist idea that productivity equals worth might have negative effects on me, it hurts disabled people way more. (Thank you @StealthClock for tweeting this thread on the topic back in January.)

Even self-care gets turned into a chore, something that I have to complete, which, well, it just kind of sucks. So although I like looking at pretty pictures and working my bullet journal, it’s not always good — and I think it’s important to approach these blogs with caution.

Finding useful revision resources is really cool, and some resources have absolutely changed the way I work, but searching for them can also just be a way of adding to my procrastination. Sometimes just doing some questions from the textbook is the way to go, you know? Another thing is that I find it can be quite hard to find specific resources for what you’re looking for. I don’t see that any GCSE things and also there are sooo many different exam boards with slightly different courses. IT’S SO FRUSTRATING. Also, my school is really extra and my year is doing some really weird things like Maths iGCSE? Why are we doing iGCSE? Does anyone know?? I’m pretty sure the younger years are doing something else.

So, overall, although I think study blogs can be really helpful, they should be used with moderation and caution. I feel like I’m just repeating all the stuff that adults complain about, the internet doesn’t show an exact representation of real life.

what do you think of study blogs? do you use them? how are you today?

By the way, I’m planning to post my Q&A next week so if you have any more questions then do let me know! They can be on anything (books, school, LGBTQ+ stuff etc.) as long as they’re respectful and not weird. 🙂

GCSE Science Resource Masterpost // #evestudies

The words 'resource masterpost for gcse science #evestudies' over an image of coloured pens on a journal with colourful lists.

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing with you my favourite resources for revising GCSE Science. As you might know I’ve had mocks recently — I’m just coming to the end of them — and I thought it would be useful to share what I use to revise so that you can all use them if you still have exams ahead of you. I’ll be covering resources from the exam board, videos, other websites and books.

I take AQA triple science, so whilst what I find is targeted at that course, it definitely applies to other courses and also to general science revision anyway. 🙂 Almost all of these are free except for the books at the end.

exam board resources

Specifications (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsFirstly I’d very strongly urge you to get a copy of the spec which is free to download from your exam board. I base all my revision off this as it tells you exactly, point-by-point, what you need to know. If you take only one point from this post it’s that you should LOOK AT THE SPEC.

Required practicals (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsThese will give you the exact methods AQA want you to know for every single practical. Especially useful if you can’t quite remember doing it or don’t have class notes.

Scheme of work (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) This goes into further detail on the spec points and — what I find most useful — provides links to other websites where you can learn about the topic. I’m only annoyed I didn’t know about these earlier!

Science skills There are a lot of questions in the exam on experimental procedure so don’t forget to revise that.

videos

There are MANY, MANY informative videos out there on the web. These range from videos directed specifically at GCSE science courses to general informative videos. The ones here are some of the ones I’ve found useful.

My GCSE Science This is one of my personal favourites. It clearly explains topics with a voiceover and illustrative diagrams. In particular I love their Physics video on the motor and generator effect; I found that topic hard to get my head around and it absolutely SAVED ME. However, their videos do NOT cover all the course content, particularly triple and higher content; they only publish a selection of videos as the rest are available on their website as a paid-for subscription. Also, this might be inaccessible to some people as a lot of the videos need both the diagrams and voiceover to understand. They have videos for AQA, Edexcel and OCR.

Freesciencelessons My other favourite channel! What I love about these videos is that they are very well organised and follow the spec extremely closely so you know that you’re getting everything you need. He hasn’t yet covered every topic, but I believe they’ll be done in time for GCSEs. In particular I like the Required Practical videos. Although these videos do have diagrams, they’re not necessary for all topics; most of content is in the voiceover and text on screen.

Science With Hazel I haven’t watched loads of these; personally I found the one I watched didn’t cover the topic I wanted in enough detail. However, she does provide recaps of the whole specification for each science for both AQA and Edexcel iGCSE which may be useful to you.

Revising Science Another GCSE recap channel similar to Freesciencelessons, with very very short and condensed videos.

Fallibroome Required Practicals Videos are a great way to remind yourself of required practicals if you want to actually watch someone doing them rather than simply hear an explanation. I like that these not only show you a clear method but also explain potential errors and how you might improve the experiment (which you will be tested on!).

Crash Course (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) These videos are NOT directed at GCSE students and generally provide more detail than you need, but are useful to help explain stuff anyway. I recommend you search for particular topic videos if you need them such as this Physics one on sound.

Science songs There are many amusing and catchy science songs out there. Ones I know and have used are: the photosynthesis song, the other photosynthesis song, the osmosis song, the adaptation song and the EM waves song. But don’t use these as the only method of your revision!

other websites

Phet Colorado simulations These are laboratory simulations which help you model topics. I especially like them for Physics where some topics are hard to get around; I recommend circuit constructor, Faraday’s Electromagentic Lab, Magnets and Electromagnets. Simulations are available for all 3 sciences.

BBC Bitesize (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Ah, the saviour of students everywhere! I love BBC Bitesize; it provides easy-to-follow explanations with diagrams and covers a wide variety of topics. But it’s a general resource for all GCSE students and not targeted towards an exam board so approach with some caution. There may be some topics which aren’t on there as well as some additional topics not in your exam, and it might not cover exactly what you have to learn in the right words.

Chem Collective virtual lab and notes A virtual lab for if you want to practice your practicals which also provides notes and practice questions for some topics. (Though again, not specific to GCSE.)

Passmyexams.co.uk This website contains notes on almost all of the topics. However, I haven’t used it massively myself and although it is for GCSE, it’s not targeted towards a particular exam board so again I would approach it with some caution.

Spolem Biology quizzes This website provides great interactive Biology quizzes to test your knowledge. It also has links to Biology and Chemistry resources such as online notes and videos, but these are directed towards the Edexcel iGCSE.

Compound Chem infographics Beautiful infographics which you can stick up around your room to remind you of Chemistry, or use as a model to make your own. I use their ones for properties of Group 1 and Group 7.

Quizlet I love Quizlet SO MUCH. In terms of science I find it particularly useful for Biology as it’s very content-heavy. (You can find my Biology quizlets here.) Although you can of course make your own, there are many excellent sets already created for GCSE Science so do have a search. I normally find a set, copy it, and then go through and edit with my own notes to ensure it measures up with a spec, changing anything I need.

books

AQA textbooks (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) We were issued these at the start of our GCSE — I don’t know if everyone does, all the people I know do have one but if you don’t for whatever reason I would HIGHLY recommend it. It covers everything in the spec and also has some great exam questions for revision practice.

CGP revision guides (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Our school sells these to us at a cheaper price. I know many students use the revision guides to do almost all their revision so they’re worth a look, but remember that they do NOT substitute for your own notes or the official specification. I generally only use CGP if I can’t get what I need from the textbook, or as a last-minute summary. These are available for AQA, Edexcel, OCR, and a limited range for iGCSE.

CGP exam practice workbook and practice papers (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsThe workbook has more exam-style questions if you want them. I haven’t yet tried the practice papers but I’m sure they’ll be useful, especially as we are the first year of this GCSE so there aren’t any past papers for our specification. The exam practice workbooks are available for AQA, Edexcel and OCR but the practice papers are only available for AQA.

I hope you find this post useful for learning and revising science; I had a lot of fun making this and I’d love to hear any feedback you have. 🙂 Please let me know if any of the links don’t work. I wish you good luck with your studies!