Year 12: an honest review

Hello again! As the academic year draws to a close, I’d like to do a bit of a recap/review of how this year has gone. Because friends, it has been a WILD ride. I genuinely feel like this academic year I have experienced some of the most dramatic changes of my life — not just at school but also personally, although today I’m going to focus on the school aspects.

Overall, I enjoyed Year 12. It was a pleasant feeling following Year 11 and GCSEs, which really took it out of me and kind of made me hate the subjects I was studying. Although I’ve always been kind of a nerd and liked school, this year has really allowed me to pursue my own academic interests. I’ve felt so excited and privileged to be able to learn things! I’m so glad that I get to do this! I’ve sort of decided on university and I’m hyped to learn even more! There’s certainly been some ups and downs but in general it’s been a good one.

sixth form life

Okay, I’ll start with sixth form life. I continued at the same school, so it’s still a school environment rather than college — I have to be there every day for lessons. However, I still had more independence. I was able to wear my own clothing, which although it does pose its own problems, has made me feel a lot more comfortable in my own body and gender expression. Free periods were the most new thing coming into Year 12 and I’ll be honest, they’re not that exciting. I have fewer than most people since I have an extra Spanish lesson, and generally I just do my homework since I prefer to do it at school than at home.

Probably the nicest thing has been the change in attitude of the teachers. I now have smaller classes and it’s a slightly less school-y environment, if that makes sense? My lessons are generally more based around discussion, and like if you forget your pencil case one time it’s your own problem, you’re not going to get a detention for it or whatever anymore.

This year we also had several people join school in sixth form which was nice. I still don’t know everyone in my year, especially if they’re not in any of my classes, but I’ve made some new friends across new and existing students.

subjects

This year I was taking Spanish, History, Maths, and Latin. I’ve ha a bit of an…Experience, shall we say, with my subjects this year. I started off thinking that Spanish and History would be my favourites, and that I’d drop Latin at the end of this year. However, I have struggled a lot more with those first two and now I think I might be applying for Classics so, oops?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Spanish as a language and I definitely want to continue learning it. I’ve also found the study of a film fascinating. At the start of the year it felt like the biggest step up from GCSE but I think I’ve made it. BUT. I’m a bit scared to say this in case, like, someone finds this and uses it against me (I don’t know how lol) but I really don’t like one of my teachers. They can’t speak Spanish very well, I don’t think they’re a good teacher, and I just don’t really get on well with their teaching methods or classes. I was intending to drop it next year but then I did really well in the mock exam so…yeah, I don’t know. My issue is that Spanish is a far less stressful subject for me than History, but if I continue I’ll hate half the lessons.

ANYWAY. Let’s discuss History. History A-Level is DIFFICULT, y’all. I spend the most time and effort doing History. This year was a bit of a shock because I’m used to doing well in the subject, and then I got a couple of bad marks for essays which really made me doubt myself. However, I managed to pick myself back up and improve to get a predicted grade I’m happy with, so. I do think History is in many ways my most useful and intellectually stimulating subject — I’ve learnt some VERY useful essay-writing and analysis skills. I just find revision and writing essays in the exam incredibly stressful, unfortunately. At the moment, I feel like I’ll continue with History over Spanish, but I’ve still got a bit of time to decide. (I got the same predicted grade for both so it’s more about workload and how I’ll find the lessons for each subject.)

Maths has been really fun! Like any other subject, it’s challenging at times but I enjoy it as a break from my other essay-based subjects; I find it very satisfying. I don’t have that much to say about it except that I’ve liked the first year and I’m really proud of my mock result. I was a little concerned before the exam because practice papers had been very mixed, but thankfully my revision paid off which was lovely. I just hope that Year 13 Maths isn’t super difficult and makes me regret taking it *sweats*

Finally, I’ve also very much enjoyed Latin. I’m extremely grateful that I am able to study this since it’s not offered at many schools. It was a bit of a rogue choice coming into Year 12 (I almost took Chemistry and I’m pretty glad I didn’t) but I’ve found myself looking forward to all of the lessons, including the literature which I was a bit unsure on previously.

I’ve gotten quite into the ancient world in general so I’m thinking I’ll apply for Classics at uni now? I mean, it’s kind of terrifying because whilst I’ve always been into languages and books, it’s only a subject I’ve come to really love this year. But, you know, if I’m not going to study the thing that I’m super enthusiastic about, I don’t know what else I’d do that would be equally useful? *sighs* Life decisions are so difficult.

learning outside lessons

One of the major changes to my education has been an increase in independent learning. Here I’m referring not as much to completing homework independently (though there has been more of that) but the extra work that I choose to do for my lessons. Basically, I’ve been consuming a lot more non-fiction books and podcasts — and I’ve been loving them! It’s so fun when I go to the library and I get super excited by the history section. There are also a lot of great podcasts and lectures out there which I hadn’t much listened to previously, although unfortunately not all of them provide transcripts. It’s just EXCITING to be able to LEARN NEW THINGS! And now I know more about how to find them! If society is going to be destroyed by climate change I want to learn as much as possible, you know?

To conclude: I feel that Year 12 has been in general positive academically. It’s definitely been a step up that has come with many challenges, but I’ve made it through and I’ve learnt a lot from the experience. I can’t believe that next year will be my final year of school! It’s so weird! In many ways, I don’t feel at all ready, but in others I do feel like life is moving appropriately onward with me as I mature. One year left, everyone!

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I Am Worried About the Future

I just got a very sudden urge to write a blog post, so HERE I AM.

I’m just going to jump right in and say — if I’m honest, this blog has not been the place where I truly write about all my feelings for some time.

I always feel like there’s a strange tension (for me at least) between trying to put your blog out there as a ~brand~ and between using it as a diary to discuss your innermost feelings. As my blog expanded and I’ve shown it to be more people, it has become less of a diary. I think part of this is down to me; I’m not very good at discussing my feelings with people in real life, and when I write them down I feel worried about what people I know IRL who could read this blog might think of them. (I’m kind of doing it now.) I’m not sure why that scares me so much, but there it is.

I think it’s also due to fear that whatever I publish on the internet is permanent, in some way. I shy away from posting precise details about my life because a) I don’t want people to be able to find me and b) it just freaks me out that this might all be…there for people to find. I want to keep something for myself.

Anyway. I’ve recently got a couple of things on my mind, and I wanted to talk about them a little bit (mainly to get them off my chest because, lol, this blog barely gets traffic anymore). Mainly, I am worried about the future: specifically, about climate change and university/post-school plans. It feels trivial to worry about university in comparison to climate change, which is obviously a WAY bigger issue, but I guess uni is something that I have more control over, so there we are. I can’t change my brain.

If you’ve been reading the UK news lately, you might be familiar with the Extinction Rebellion and Youth Strike for Climate Change protests, both of which call on the government for far quicker action. I’ve always cared about the environment, but the recent protests (partly inspired by Greta Thunberg) has really brought it more to my daily agenda of thoughts. I’m so stressed, folks! The IPCC report says we have to achieve net zero emissions by 2050! We’re already seeing the devastating impact of climate change across the world, particularly where people are already the most vulnerable. If we don’t take direct action to keep global warming below 1 degrees Celsius then this will only worsen, as will the loss of biodiversity — I mean, if we reach a warming of 2 degrees then 99% of coral is going to die out. NINETY NINE PERCENT.

It makes me so worried for the future. It feels hard to have hope and enjoy my life when I know that everything I do is damaging the planet, and that before I’m 50 years old the world and society could be irreparably damaged. This is only added to by the absolutely inconceivable lack of political will to DO ANYTHING. I know some politicians are trying to be good but honestly can some people just stop trying to further their own ambition and actually do something good for the country and the world! The point of being a politician shouldn’t be the power itself! (Basically, the Tory leadership contest is absolutely dismal. And I continue to be frustrated that Labour still think they will win an election by not really changing any of their policies. Argh.)

We have declared a climate emergency, but if concrete policy that strengthens and increases current measures aren’t carried out, then what’s the point? We’re not just going to get to zero emissions by recycling now and then. And we need to do BIG things that limit companies rather than just pointlessly targeting vulnerable individuals (like with the plastic straws).

I feel very hopeless around the whole thing. I’ve written to my MP and downloaded the search engine Ecosia which uses the revenue from its advertising to plant trees (which can absorb carbon dioxide), as well as trying to be more active about recycling and plastic use, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Several of my friends have gone on the Youth Strike for Climate Change which I really admire. I wish I could do that, but every time it comes around I feel so worried because I know I’m missing work that will be in our exam.

Which brings me onto my next topic…this might be a bit of a strange transition, because it’s going from a huge issue that affects all of us and needs global action to an extremely personal one. And I do feel bad worrying about university when it’s not actually important in the grand scheme of things. But as I said, it is something I have more control over and, you know, if society is going to disintegrate then I want to make the most of the time that I have.

Before I started Year 12 I thought that I’d want to study something like Spanish, History, or Politics after leaving school. (I take Spanish, History, Maths and Latin.) However, as the year has progressed I’ve realised that a) one of my Spanish teachers is really not great and b) whilst History is extremely interesting and useful, it requires so much work and it’s not the work that I really look forward to. It feels like it takes so much time  from my other subjects. I’m just sort of…meh. I don’t know. And whilst I still care about politics in general, I’m just not really finding myself motivated to do extra work around it? Especially in comparison to other things I’ve been drawn into like ancient history.

Yeah. So, now I have ended up trying to decide which of these  two subjects — that I was most enthusiastic about at the start of the year — to drop, which is strange. I’ve got mock exams next week so I’m going to see how I do in those… I’ll be honest, they’re quite stressful because they’re giving me my predicted grades, but at least I don’t have to go through the whole shebang of public exams.

The idea of leaving school is stressful. I have decided that I want to go to uni but obviously I don’t know where or studying exactly what yet. My life has changed quite a bit in the last year and I feel like it’s only going to change so much more after sixth form ends. I’ll have to make new friends! I’ll probably have to discover a new place to live! I’ll have to learn about organising my own time! I really hope that I’ll be able to come out and get people to use the right pronouns for me but I know that there’ll probably be a lot of explaining to do. But it’s a nice thought.

It’s all just exciting but also terrifying. At the same time, I feel bad for getting excited because the world is also collapsing around me and I KNOW that I can’t function on worry all the time but my brain still does that I guess. I’m not exactly sure how to move forwards. At least writing this post helped; I’ve actually written a lot here, which is kind of wow. If any of you are going through or have gone through similar things — let’s share our thoughts?

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. 🙂

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.

 

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. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape #3: Petrichor

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hey everyone! I’m back with the March edition of my music feature Monthly Mixtape. (You can check out the earlier prompts here.) I’m definitely enjoying this opportunity to discover new music in addition to making playlists of my own — check out those on The Writing HufflepuffScattered Delusions and by my co-creator Evi on Adventuring Through Pages. If you’d like to share a playlist I didn’t see do let me know. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of April! And this month’s prompt is…

#3: petrichor

petrichor, noun: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

Add or view playlist links HERE 

I hope you enjoy this prompt and, as ever, I look forward to listening to your playlists! You can view other playlists or add a link to your playlists above — of course it’s not obligatory, but I’d love to be able to see your posts!

A close up of two green leaves with water droplets on them. The word 'petrichor' in a script font.

for walking through the forest after a summer rain.
listen on youtube / spotify

undan hulu – ólafur arnalds
mercury –  sufjan stevens, bryce dessner, nico muhly, james mcalister
amar pelos dois – salvador sobral
soothing – laura marling
moon river – frank ocean
february air (acoustic) – lights
naked as we came – iron and wine
featherstone – the paper kites

I’m really happy with this final playlist — the first song, Undan Hulu, was actually used in my school play last year so it brings back very vivid memories for me. Also Frank Ocean’s cover of Moon River is SO. GOOD. ASDFGHJK I CAN’T.

Anyway, I’d love to hear any music you’ve been into lately! Have you ever smelt petrichor?

GCSE Posting Schedule and Q&A

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know my plans for this blog over the next few months.

As you might know (because I talk/scream about them loads) I have my GCSE exams coming up in May and June. I want to do my best in these so I’m probably going to be a studying A LOT around that time, including April.

Since September I’ve been posting a bit less than I previously had — posting around once per week instead of every 4 – 5 days. I take great pride in my blog but I just haven’t been able to keep up that kind of schedule, and I especially don’t expect to over GCSE period.

At the moment, I plan to post once per week on the weekend. I love writing posts and they’re a great way for me to have some fun. However, I don’t want to burn myself out trying to do too many extra things (which I sometimes do). So that might change. I just wanted to let you all know. 🙂

Anyways! I’m hoping to do a Q&A soon, and I would LOVE to hear your questions. (PLEASE SEND SOME IF YOU WANT TO. I really need some to answer haha. Also I’ve never done a Q&A which is kind of wild.) These might be book-related, musical-relared LGBTQ+ stuff, any questions you have about school or GCSEs, or just random questions. Anything! Go for it! Just comment below or tweet me before the end of February; I’ll be looking over all the questions on 1st March.

The Orchestra Book Tag

The words 'orchestra book tag' with a music note icon beside. A photo of the books The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Radio Silence and Warcross in a pile on a checked blue duvet cover.

I love creating new tags even more than I enjoy doing them so I HAVE A NEW TAG EVERYONE. It’s a book tag based on instruments in the orchestra, because I am kind of a music nerd and definitely a book nerd.

Unfortunately I couldn’t include every instrument since a) I didn’t want the tag to be too long and b) I probably couldn’t think of that many things but no personal offence is intended to any instruments. I couldn’t find any tag similar to this so I just decided to go for it — I have no intention of copying another tag but if you find another one around let me know!

How the tag works: link back to this post, if you were tagged then link back to the person who tagged you, do some or all of the questions, and then tag as many more blogs as you like. 🙂 You can also tag it on WordPress with ‘the orchestra tag’ so that it can be found more easily. I’ll put all the questions in a nice, easy-to-copy list at the end.

Conductor

a character likely to mastermind an evil plan

I mean, Kaz Brekker is an obvious answer, but it’s CLEARLY Kaz Brekker. He literally already did this in Six of Crows.

Cover of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Half-burnt matchsticks arranged in a simple house shape (a square with a triangle on top). The title in a brush font inside the house.

 

Violin

a popular book you enjoyed

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (which I believe is a Sunday Times bestseller) for my school book club and I actually…liked it a lot? It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read for school book club.

Cello

a character who surprised you

Daniel from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman! I mean, I love this book DEEPLY so obviously must include it in as many posts as possibly. I didn’t pay too much attention to Daniel at the start of Radio Silence but as the book continued some stuff happened and now I love him a lot.

Viola

an overlooked book

The comic Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! written by Kate Leth and illustrated by Brittney Williams. I absolutely ADORED this comic and I’m so upset that it got cancelled?? I understand it might not be for everyone but I can’t understand the multitude of negative Goodreads reviews because, man, it just clicked with me SO MUCH and I deeply wish more people would know about it so they can love it too.

Cover of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. Two fish hooks arranged in a heart shape over a white scaley background. The title within the heart and the tagline 'Miracles aways come at a price.'

Oboe

a book with an unusual premise

This immediately calls to mind Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, which is about gay magical fish. It sounds weird, and it definitely is weird, but it’s also VERY good. Just trust me.

Clarinet

a book you’d recommend to anyone

(I am personally a clarinetist so obviously I had to include us. Clarinets are very versatile, folks.) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I think this could apply to so many books (and versatile doesn’t necessarily mean a book is better or  anything) but The Loneliest Girl was just such a gripping read for me. Sci-fi has a reputation for being a bit dense but I think this is super easy to understand and enjoy. (Bonus piece of music: have you heard the Saint-Saens clarinet sonata? Isn’t it lovely?)

Flute

a character who stands above the rest

I just read Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence and I loved Indigo, she was such an engaging & interesting character. (Bonus piece of music: Carillion from L’Arlesienne by Bizet. You might have already heard bits of it but it has a Very Nice wind section in the middle which I played in my orchestra.)

Cover of Love, Hate & other filters by Samira Ahmed. A person with brown skin and dark hair in a bun taking a photo with the camera pointed at the reader. They stand in front of a red wall with colourful tessellating patterns at the bottom. The title and author above.

Trumpets

a talked-about book on your TBR

I’ve heard so much about Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed and I just downloaded the eBook to read this week! I’m super excited! (UK readers, it’s on sale on Amazon for only £0.99 which is an amazing deal. This isn’t sponsored, I just love a bargain haha.)

Horn

 

a historical book

I don’t read much historical fiction, but the last historical thing I read was the novella Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant. It’s a historical fantasy which really gave me Howl’s Moving Castle vibes. Also! I love reading books with multiple trans characters! Please give me all the sweet sweet trans books!!

Tuba

a book which strongly informs how you are as a person

(Because tuba is the bass, like a basis for you, get it? I don’t know. Maybe that’s a bit tenuous.) Probably Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? That might sound pretentious but getting into Les Mis has had a really big effect on my life in terms of affirming my own beliefs and identity.

Cover of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. An old-timey engraving-esque illustration of a boat with two figures riding a wave under a stormy sky. Two animals climb over the gold title text.

Piano

a very long book

I mean, I already banged out the longest book I’ve ever read which was Les Mis (oops), but I wanted to keep this one open for both already read books and those on your TBR. So I’ll go with The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. I loved His Dark Materials when I was younger but I haven’t yet got round to this because I’d like to reread the original trilogy first. I guess I’d better get going… (Bonus piece of music: we’re doing this movement from the Beethoven Pathetique sonata for GCSE music and it is a TUNE.)

Timpani

book which finished with a bang

Hmmm. HMM. (Don’t you just love it when I have to think real hard about answering my own questions?) OH OH I KNOW. Warcross by Marie Lu! This one had me VERY shook. Obviously I don’t want to spoil it but you should 100% read it.

Anyway, during the course of writing this post it has become apparent to me that the left and right alignment of images does not work on my actual blog webpage anymore which is rather annoying. Anyone else getting this?? Or is it just my super old theme?

Never mind — I do hope you enjoyed this tag! Once again, the questions are as follows:

Conductor – a character likely to mastermind an evil plan
Violin – a popular book you enjoyed
Cello – a rich, nuanced character
Viola – an overlooked book
Oboe – a book with an unusual premise
Clarinet – a versatile book you’d recommend to anyone
Flute – a character who stands out from the rest
Trumpets – a talked-about book on your TBR
Horn – a historical book
Tuba – a book which strongly informs how you are as a person
Timpani – a book which finished with a bang
Piano – a very long book

And I’m tagging Lia @ Lost in a Story, Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff, Jess @ Bookends and Endings and anyone else who wants to do it! But there’s absolutely NO pressure, please don’t worry. 🙂

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!