Impromptu Back to School Q&A!

I got quite a few questions when I did an impromptu Q&A on Instagram so I thought I’d type up the rest of my answers instead of spamming people on my story!

Contents:

University Application Advice

What do you want to be? Which course?

I want to do medicine at university and eventually become a surgeon!

Any dream universities?

UCL which I’ll be going to in September

Do you have any tips for CV formats and personal statements?

I don’t really have any tips for writing a CV but for personal statements I’d recommend starting by making a list of everything you could possibly include in it. This could be books you’ve read, clubs you’ve taken part in at school or any work experience that you’ve done. Then try and put these into categories which can then become your paragraphs. Once you add a conclusion and an introduction you’re done! Just make sure that you link anything back to the course or the skills required for it.

Suggestions on medical interviews?

One of the main things that I did before my interviews was make a list of all the things about the course at that university that interested me (e.g. do they do an intercalated year, what is the style of teaching, how much clinical contact, etc.). I’d also suggest thinking about specific occasions during work experience/volunteering when you witnessed or displayed skills necessary for being a doctor so that you can discuss them if needed!

How are you preparing yourself to start medical school this September?

I honestly haven’t done much aside from packing and making sure I have everything I need! We haven’t received a book list or something similar so I haven’t been able to read anything ahead of time

Should my EPQ topic be based on the course I want to do at university?

Yes definitely! This means you can discuss it in your personal statement and in interviews.

How does the medical school application process work for non-UK students?

Unfortunately I don’t have much experience in this area, however I believe you still have to apply through UCAS like everyone else who is applying to a UK medical school. This means that you make an application on their site and submit a personal statement, etc. You will also most likely have to take the same entrance exams (the BMAT or UKCAT) as everyone else and there may be an English language test required as well. There’s a lot more detail about the process on this  The Medic Portal site.

I got ABB at AS, predicted A*AA. Could I still get a medicine offer?*

For sure! Many places won’t take your AS Levels into account since so little schools offer them and your predicted grades are what they’d be expecting. Maybe just make sure that any schools you apply to definitely don’t look at AS grades.

What was your UKCAT/BMAT score?

For the UKCAT I got an average of 715 with band 2 in SJT. I also got 5.4 in section 1, 4.9 in section 2 and 3A in section 3 of the BMAT.

Any last minute UKCAT advice?

If you don’t know the answer: guess, flag it and move on!

I live in the US but want to go to uni in England, any advice?

I’m honestly not sure how it would work for you as you may be considered to be a home student, in which case you’d apply just like a UK student and you’d be considered the same way. I’d recommend emailing any universities that you’re interested in as they’ll definitely know more about it!

A Level Advice

Which exams boards did you do?

AQA for biology, OCR for psychology, and Edexcel for chemistry.

What is the best thing about A Levels?

Having more freedom both in terms of which subjects you want to study and also in how you make notes and use your free time.

What is the worst thing about A Levels?

For me the worst thing was the pressure of exams because I knew I had worked really hard so I was just worried that I wouldn’t be able to reach my goal.

How did you prepare for the possibility of not getting grades that you’d be happy with?

One of the big things that I did was look at alternatives to my insurance and firm if I had to go into clearing. I had also considered what I’d do if I ended up taking a gap year or having to resit some of my subjects. Essentially, I tried to find something that would make me happy no matter what the outcome was (e.g. I’d try and find some exciting work experience if I had to take a gap year).

How did you balance having a social life and A Levels?

I tried to make time for my hobbies because I enjoyed them so I planned my studying around them. I’d recommend giving yourself one day or evening a week where you don’t study at all so that you have time for hobbies and friends.

What exam board were you on for EPQ? Tips on how to get an A?*

I did AQA and my biggest tip would be to keep a record of everything you do. Not only will this help you when writing up your diary and essay, it’ll also show that you planned things carefully and you did lots of research.

How many hours a week did you spend studying for A2?

I didn’t have a set amount of hours that I spent studying per week, instead I just made a list of topics that I wanted to cover and worked my way through those.

What is A Level psychology like?

I did OCR which I know is quite different from AQA but I found that there was a lot of information that you just needed to memorise. As long as you spend enough time memorising it all, you should be fine.

Advice on starting sixth form?

Keep on top of your notes from the start because you’ll most likely use these to revise from as well as the textbooks.

How was your A Level experience?

Stressful! There were times where I struggled and I was pretty certain that I would never be able to get the grades I needed – I got a D in my first few chemistry tests.

I’d like to know about subject combinations for A Levels in your country

There aren’t really any set combinations and you can pretty much take any A Levels that you like (aside from if there’s timetable clashes, etc.) although people usually takes ones that ‘go’ well together like all sciences or humanities.

What did you get in your A Levels?

I got A*AA with an A in EPQ.

Did you study only from school textbooks or also from some tutors, internet, etc.?

I use my school textbooks for psychology and chemistry, however for biology I used a different textbook that I found online as well as a revision guide and SnapRevise.

Exam Advice

Tips for GCSEs?

Don’t leave all your revision to the last minute even though you may think it’s possible – you’ll just be really stressed out and it means you might not be able to ask your teacher for help with things that you’re struggling with.

What grades did you get at GCSE?

I got 8A*s and 3As!

How difficult are GCSEs?

Obviously I haven’t sat the new spec exams so my experience is a little outdated but I found that as long as you had actually taken the time to revise the content and you hadn’t crammed it the week beforehand you should be fine.

How do you deal with stress and anxiety before results?

I tried to distract myself as much as possible whilst also coming up with alternative plans that I’d be happy with just in case everything did go wrong.

Studying Advice

What is your top tip for studying more than one subject?

I’d say keep everything organised and stay on top of things! If you fall behind in one subject, it can negatively impact everything else as you have to take more time to catch up on things. Having a planner to keep everything in is really important so that you have the homework/exams for all of your classes written in one place which should stop you from panicking when you realise last minute that you have two massive assignments due on the same day.

I’d also recommend prioritising your subjects in terms of difficulty. This allows you to spend more time on the things that you find difficult instead of wasting it on something that you already understand reasonably well. Obviously this doesn’t mean neglect a subject just because it seems easy though!

Do you take quick notes in class and rewrite them later?

Unless I’m revising for an exam, I write my notes that you see on Instagram in class.

How did you decide on your layout that you’re currently using for note taking?

It’s just a lot of trial and error to be honest. I’ve always used the bullet point method for taking notes as I find it much easier to comprehend than large paragraphs of text. As for the layout, this usually just changes with my mood as well as whoever is inspiring me on Instagram at the minute!

Tips for productivity?

My number one tip is to be realistic with what you can achieve in a day because this helps you to plan out your studying effectively and it stops you from getting demotivated when you can never seem to finish your to do list.

Any tips for note takers

Have a simple system so that you don’t waste too much time making it look nice when you should be writing things down. Mine is usually a page split into two columns (which you could do in advance if you really wanted to I suppose), a hand-lettered title which takes around a minute, then one colour for the headings and just bullet points for the main notes.

How do you find the motivation to study?

I try and focus on my end goal and I think about what I need to do to get there!

Which is better and less time consuming: iPad notes or written notes?

They both take me around the same amount of time more or less although the advantage of the iPad is that you don’t have as many things to carry around and you can have all your notes with you at all times.

How do you file your notes? I wanted to use the arc system but it’s too much money.

For my A Levels I just used a regular lever arch file for each subject and then I added in dividers for each topic. They’re quite heavy to carry around but I had a lot of notes that I needed with me anyway!

Do you listen to music while you’re studying?

I usually listen to instrumental music or soundtracks from musicals that I haven’t had the chance to listen to yet.

Does confidence help you when studying?

I don’t think it hinders you! Maybe don’t get too cocky and skip over important things but at the same time you should believe that you can do well in whatever you’re studying.

What’s your opinion on rewriting notes?

Unless there’s a reason for doing it, don’t bother! I usually only rewrote mine if I’d written them really scruffily during lessons so I couldn’t study from them or if I needed to add more information.

What are your specific study tips for maths?

I just did tonnes of practice questions at GCSE to be honest. We were given one practice exam paper per week from Christmas onwards so I’d usually just complete those as well as some workbook questions.

Do you use any applications for your notes?

I use GoodNotes to make all my digital notes on my iPad.

Do you have a method for learning a huge amount of information like politics?

For psychology I used the Tinycards app to learn details about the individual studies, Quizlet works well too!

How do you make sure your mental health is still good at school?

Fortunately, I’ve never struggled too much with my mental health but I’d recommend scheduling time out to do something other than school (literally anything, even if it just involves watching TV with your family for one evening) and also talking to your teachers if you’re really struggling with something rather than spending hours trying to fix it yourself.

Planning Tips

Bujo tips?

When you start don’t make lots and lots of spreads because you’re unlikely to keep up with them. I’d suggest that you just start with a monthly spread and a weekly spread for the first few weeks and then add a few more as you go along. I’d also say try and remember that any spreads you make in it should be functional – it’s okay making a really pretty weekly layout but it’s useful if there isn’t enough space for you to add in all your homework and tasks for that day.

Where do you get your stationery items?

Most of my stationery comes from Amazon although a few bits and pieces have been sent to me from various companies or they’re from places like Muji.

Favourite pens to use?

My favourite brush lettering pen is the Pentel Touch brush pen, my favourite coloured pens are the Tombow Twintone ones and my favourite black pen is a Stabilo Point 88 fineliner.

Paper planning or a digital ones?

I definitely prefer a paper planner! I tried a digital one for a couple of weeks and it just didn’t feel the same.

How do you make sure to always update your bujo?

I always set some time aside for me to sort out my planner for the week and then I go through every day/couple of days to fill it in if I need to.

Do I need to have a planner? Is it important?

Obviously you don’t need to have a planner but I find that it’s a lifesaver for keeping track of everything from homework, to things I need to post to Instagram, to boring admin tasks for uni.

Zebra or Tombow pens?

I prefer Tombow pens because of the range of colours and styles they have!

What agenda or diary do you use?

I use an academic Passion Planner Pro!

Is the iPad you use an iPad Pro and if so would you recommend getting one for GCSEs?

I do use an iPad Pro although I don’t know what the benefit would be for GCSE as I know that my teachers were very specific about how they wanted me to make my notes in lessons (e.g. in my exercise books) and the main benefit for me is that I could make my class notes on it so that I didn’t have to carry my massive ring binders around.

Miscellaneous Questions

Are you sad to leave school or not really?

There’s so many people that I’ll miss but I’m also really excited to move on and learn new things!

Favourite books?

I absolutely love Harry Potter so I’d have to say my all-time favourite book is Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.

How old are you?

I’m 18, almost 19.

How did you grow your study page?

I didn’t really do anything special aside from post regularly, try to get involved with the community and just keep going! I’ve had my account for over 2 years and it has just happened naturally to be honest.

How did your journey to becoming a studygram begin?

I started just before my GCSEs because I felt like I was annoying people by uploading my notes to my personal account.

Where do you live?

I live in England!

Who is your inspiration?

I love  @boy.study ,  @everydayalice_  and  @amelia_studies !

What’s your zodiac?

I’m a libra.

Any siblings?

I have two 16 year old brothers.

How do you have a good Instagram feed?

Try and keep any posts relatively consistent (e.g. always post with the same colour scheme or background) in order to make it look neat and tidy.

How can I have better penmanship?

I don’t really have any tips because my handwriting just kind of developed over years and years at school but I’d suggest looking at Pinterest for handwriting help.

What is your favourite colour?

Pink!

I hope some of these questions have helped you out! If you still have a question for me feel free to  email me  or  send me a DM on Instagram!

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