25 September 2017

How I went from a 5 to a 9 at GCSE + FREE GCSE gift // GCSE mock exams



Hey everyone!

Hope you're all doing well! A few of you out there (not many) may be starting to think about mock exams that may be happening in your school. If you are already thinking about this, you are probably the type of person who yearns for those high marks and may actually die if you don't get them. Don't worry, I'm that person too.

Being that person ended up paying off for me as in my GCSEs I got a grade 9 in English Language and a grade 8 in English Literature. Look no further, the expert is right here.

However, If you can't be bothered to watch this video, in summary...

HERE ARE THE 8 THINGS YOU MUST DO TO GET A GRADE 9 IN GCSE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

1) Know what the examiners want

  • Learning objectives
  • Get teachers to mark your papers
  • Exemplar essays

2) Techniques and vocab

  • Go over important terms you have forgotten
  • Have a complete understanding of your basic vocabulary
  • Make sure you name that technique in your questions

3) Use techniques throughout

  • Show understanding of techniques by using them in your answers to questions
  • Also use these techniques in your question 5
  • As in, use ALL of techqniques
  • All the time
  • Have variation in your sentence length and language to show an abundance of skills

4) Surprise the examiner

  • Examiners are PEOPLE and they are really bored
  • Think outside the box 
  • In both your comprehension questions and your q5
  • Choose subtle things with lots of explanation e.g. structural features
  • Make them feel something, remember there's a person at the other end

5) Mr Bruff


  • Provides different interpretations
  • Can help you understand your texts and exams better
  • Goes into a lot of depth
  • Simplifies your learning

6) Focus on question 5 more

  • It is worth HALF the marks
  • Begin and end your q5 with a technique e.g. rhetorical question
  • Variation, variation, variation
  • Impressive vocabulary (learn some snazzy words)
  • Think of an interesting concept first BUT
  • Don't focus too much on the storyline, focus on the techniques
(tricks I love)
  • Throw in a reference to childhood
  • Throw in a one word paragraph
  • End on a rhetorical question

7) Time Management

  • 1.5 minutes per mark (at most)
  • Spend as little time as you can on 4-12 mark questions to allow yourself more time for the larger questions
  • Still do them well though
  • Spend more time than you are on q5, I spent 20-30 minutes on q5

8) Multiple interpretations

  • Gives you a way to surprise the examiner
  • Often forgotten
  • Either: a different meaning for the same technique in the sentence OR what a different technique in the sentence could mean

So, there you go! I really hope you do well in your exams this or next year, and if you've already done your exams, tell me what you think! Is there anything I could add to this?

// Jeani


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18 September 2017

My First Week at Boarding School / Sixth form // + FREE first morning checklist for going to a new school or sixth form


Hey everyone!

For those of you who don't know, for the majority of my life I have attended a state school, but this week I began boarding at a private (or public) school.

So, I thought I would tell you a few things that happened in my first week of boarding school in light of back to school season!

1. It is completely like Wild Child


It is true that, even in your first week, you get very close to your room mates. I have one roommate but the other girls in our corridor are in our year and a few of us are already very good friends! This is inevitable as you live together and see each other a lot throughout the day. 

Plus, I've already been compared to drippy!

2. Extra curricular activities are expected


As well as your general classwork, it is expected that you will participate in extra curricular activities such as societies or learning an instrument. For my extra curriculars, I will be doing dance (which will be interesting as I can barely stand without falling over), marketing hub and choir as well as continuing to play guitar in my spare time. While this can seem like a drag, it's good to continue doing things that you enjoy, not only for personal statements, but to enjoy your time as a teenager. 

3. Sport (Ugh)

Everybody cry with me and Leo, I have to do sport.
As well as doing a sporting 'activity' i.e. after school club, sixth formers have to continue to do PE (I know; I'm dying). I do aerobics, which, while fun, is extremely painful and for two days after my abs just died every time I moved.

However, this provides a good opportunity to get fit and keep healthy in a life where academia, aka snacking and sitting on the computer, is usually the priority. Furthermore, it provides a break from all the studying and a way to relieve stress, plus the sports kit is cute (or something else positive).

4. Change in uniform



For many of you going to sixth forms across the country, you will suddenly be given the liberation to wear your own clothes. I, on the other hand, have been given a much less liberating uniform as I now wear a kilt that reaches my ankles as opposed to a lovely little black mini skirt which has been known to resemble a belt (state school kids know). However, I am pleased in the quality of the uniform and it provides an excuse to not have to think about anything in the morning, and just get dressed!

4. Extra lessons/uni prep

Something introduced in sixth form is the beginning of uni preparations e.g. UCAS personal statements, helping you to make decisions and informing you on what to do to help. Further to that in our school we have a leadership and life skills class as well as PELTS, which is essentially study skills. While these extra lessons may seem like a waste of time sometimes, they teach valuable lessons that can come in very handy 

5. You won't have a clue what is going on


On my first day of sixth form I was 100% sure that I was going to be fine. I was prepared, I don't get homesick, I can do this, school is easy. Three days later I cried because I wanted to drop a subject and I was too scared to tell the teacher (the above gif is relevant here as I was literally stressed over relieving stress).

So, as it turned out, I was not 100% fine and truth was I didn't completely have it together as I had previously thought. To let you all know, this is completely normal and no one goes into sixth form and succeeds straight away because it is really hard and everyone is scared and confused, even if they seem 100% fine. 

6. Even though you're confused at first, everything slowly starts to fall into place


After the first couple of days, you slowly learn where your classes are, where people go to eat, what jokes are funny and what jokes aren't, the history of the other students and where you are going to fit in. This time last week, I had no idea where I belonged here and slowly I'm beginning to establish my role in this community.  It is a long process, fitting in, but it happens naturally and you will be fine.

7. Classwork = a brick. falling on your head. ow


There's an enormous amount of work that has to be put in to get anything out at A level. It is the expectation that you will participate 100% in classes, in your work outside the classroom and in your assessments. While a lot of people say the jump from GCSE to A level is big, I see it as just doing it for real. For example, at GCSE you can just about manage to scrape an A in music with a very basic knowledge of music itself, but at A level you have to actually understand both the theory and practical sides at a high level, because you can't just pretend anymore and get a good grade at the end of it.  While this can be intimidating, it just means you get to be thoroughly involved in your subject and become an expert!

8. It is really great to study the subjects you love

The best bit about doing A levels as you no longer have to do the subjects you are not invested in as you get to choose what you do. The reason the level of expectation in sixth form is so high is because the teachers are aware that it is your choice to be there and you should want to be studying your subjects. I study English Literature, French and History and while these three are intimidating, I enjoy them so much and it is fantastic to have the opportunity to study them in depth without the restraints of GCSE. 

9. It is FUN


Majority of sixth forms don't do this, but at this school we had a Freshers' Week to introduce us to each other. This meant doing a lot of team building exercises and climbing in the Peak District, which was painful and tiring, but kind of fun admittedly. 

Hadley Butler's film of Freshers' Week

Also, at the end of our first week of a levels, our school arranged a formal dinner where everyone got the opportunity to dress up and have some fun. If your school hasn't arranged anything like this, suggest it or arrange it yourself as it is really good to get to know each other better outside of the learning environment. 

Hope you enjoyed finding out about boarding school/sixth form! Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE checklist for your first morning at sixth form, boarding school or any new school!

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