I’m under a bit of time constraint, so let me quickly catch up. Yesterday, we had a guest on the blog and as I had mentioned that it was a mutual guest posting, here’s my content! It’s a very brief post in which I’ve mentioned basic study techniques and hacks. I’d be happy if ya leave a visit.
Hello! This is Divi, from The Name is Divi Blog. I’m a student who does blogging as a hobby to reflect upon her thoughts. I write about all things life, joys and rants on my blog. I also like experimenting with new methods of studying and enjoying it. Here’s the thing: Looking at studying from a school point of view is not the only way to learn[..]
Hello readers! Today we have a guest! A few weeks ago, me and PP from @ YourAverageSGKid got in touch for mutual guest posting! I’m here to present PP’s post for you all, and you’ll find my guest post on his site, too (I’d probably reblog it.)!
Examinations, something that I have become all too familiar with. As a medical student myself, examinations are the bread and butter of what I do. Having said that, I would like to think that I have somewhat mastered the art of tackling examinations, at least written ones for that matter. Having been a student for the past 13 years, I have modified my study techniques over the years and I would like to share them with you in hope that it can inspire you to find a study technique that will work best for yourself. In this post, I will write about how I studied for the Cambridge GCE A Levels (equivalent of the 12th grade curriculum in India) and share with you what I did to attain my As.
Before I begin, I would like to give put out some disclaimers: 1) I am not a perfect student, I wasn’t always an As student, 2) I did not have extra tuition for any of my subjects, I attained my As purely through implementing my own study methods, 3) I am just sharing what I did and I understand that my methods may not work for everyone but feel free to experiment and tweak it to suit your learning needs!
For the A Levels, I took a subject combination of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics, all at H2 level. In the following paragraphs, I shall go into detail and break down what I did to prepare myself for these subjects.
Since secondary school, Physics has been my best subject 👌🏼 and so I was pretty confident about taking it for the A Levels. Nevertheless, I constantly reminded myself not to be overly complacent and underestimate the rigour of A Level physics. Additionally, to be strong in physics, one’s mathematics must be relatively decent too and so my math was pretty good as well.
For these 2 subjects, I did not make any notes at all as I felt the essence of doing well in them lie in practice✍🏼. So with that, once I understood the physical and mathematical concepts taught in my lectures, I was busy attempting practice questions from topical review assessment books that I can find in bookstores. I spent quite a bit of money purchasing these assessment books but I was able to justify the cost to myself as I was already saving money by self-studying and not going for tuition.
If you are considering doing the same, you can always check online to see if there are free PDF versions of assessment books/practice questions from other schools which you can download. This will save you a lot of money and you comes with the additional benefit of having unlimited tries 🤩!
TL;DR – Learn the concept, attempt practice questions until you can’t get them wrong
I took a different approach to studying chemistry as compared to what I did for physics and math. Chemistry, whilst also being science subject, involves a certain degree of memory work and hence I resorted to doing notes for specific topics which require intensive memorisation😪. Examples of such topics include transition elements where we were required to know the various chemical equations in full as well as all organic chemistry topics whereby we had to know all the reactions and its mechanisms in detail.
After making notes for these topics, I would periodically test myself on how much I remembered by covering my notes and attempting to rewrite the chemical equations/ reaction mechanisms on a piece of rough paper. Now as I look back, I realise that I have been unknowingly practicing active recall and spaced repetition. After I have managed to memorise all that I ought to know, I start doing practice questions, similar to what do when I study for physics and math.
If you are considering doing the same, you can use Anki 😍 to help you with the active recall and spaced repetition. For assessment books, online free PDFs or 2nd hand books are you best bets!
TL;DR – Create notes for content heavy topics, implement active recall and space repetition to boost memorisation, attempt practice questions until you can’t get them wrong.
As a math and science student, econs was definitely the hardest subject for me. Whilst I enjoyed econs lessons and understood the concepts taught, I always fared poorly when it comes to formal assessments. I was consistently failing (<45%) my case studies and essays for as long as I remember 😢. For a period of time, I felt as though my econs was hopeless and that it was destined to be counted as my H1 subject in the computation of my final university admission score (UAS). However, during the December holidays of JC1 (junior college year 1; in Singapore, you are given 2 years to learn the A Level content and study for it), I found a study method that really helped me improve my econs.
Essentially, what I did was to revise everything that was taught in JC1 and also create templates 👍🏼 to answer specific questions that are pretty commonly asked. For instance, I would have a template for answering questions on Market Failure or one for answering questions on Price Elasticity of Demand/Supply. My template contained all the key phrases which are the marking points that examiners look out for. Having these templates helped me to better structure my answers so that they are comprehensive and are not missing out anything when it comes to explaining the various econs concepts. Now you may be wondering how do I know what the key phrases/marking points? Well, I simply looked through many econs marking schemes from the Ten Year Series (TYS) as well as those from other school promotional (promo) and preliminary (prelim) exams to deduce the various key phrases/ marking points! 💯
When I entered JC2, I continued doing the same for the new econs concepts I learnt. When I was preparing for common tests or exams, I will first memorise the various templates that I have created for myself. Additionally, I will practice econs by doing case study questions as well as write essay outlines. As time is extremely tight during econs exams, I find it important to practice doing a whole econs paper from time to time just to make sure that my time management is on point. However, constantly doing econs practice papers in full is of a much lower yield than just doing the case study questions and writing essay outlines in my opinion. Writing essay outlines are much faster than writing the essay itself and as they say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and so planning the essay is actually more important than writing it. With the time saved by writing essay outlines instead of full essays, you can expose yourself to more types of questions and the different ways a similar question can be asked so that you will be more prepared to face a variety of questions in future!
TL;DR – Learn the concept, create answering templates, memorise answering templates, attempt practice questions until you can’t get them wrong
So there you have it, an in-depth guide to how I studied for my 4H2 subjects at the A Levels. You may or may not have noticed, but regardless of subject, there is always one commonality in all my study methods – EXPOSURE to a multitude of questions. I truly believe that if you want to score well, you must first and foremost fully understand what you are learning. After which, you have to attempt as many questions as possible such that you are exposed to all types of questions which can be asked. Many a times, similar questions are re-used in exams with little tweaks in the question stem such that certain values or conditions are different. Exposing yourself to a wide variety of questions will equip you well to answer all types of questions in the actual exam as they will feel familiar to you. And, since familiarity breed confidence, I’m sure you will be more confident when tackling your exams too!
If you have read this post all the way, I hope you have managed to learn a thing or two. Let me know in the comments if you personally use a study method that is similar t0 mine or what your custom study method is! I would love to hear from you all how you cope with preparing for the A Levels.
ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR EXAMS AND HAPPY STUDYING! 💪🏼
PhattyPaikia (PP) is a medical student from Singapore, currently studying at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. In his free time, he loves to write about his medical school journey, share productivity tips as well as discuss topics related to money. Through his blog, which you can check out here, PP hopes to share what it is like to become a doctor in Singapore and inspire fellow students to lead the most productive and fruitful lives during their teenage/early adult years. Apart from blogging, PP is also a keen reader and an avid adventurer who regularly participates in many outdoor activities.
Last week, one of my dear friend and blogger had emailed me about a very specific type of a post. Coincidentally, I was already working on a post like that. It was nice to know that my readers and I think quite similarly! You can read my friend’s blog here.
Anyways, today, should we do another blog-diary entry?
Nah, I think we’re doing it too often.
Today I’m feeling super-duper lazy to edit any graphics or images for a diary post, so regular post it is! (If you’d like me to do a diary post soon, let me know!)
7:00 AM: Can you believe it? Exactly on 7. My biological clock must be a genius or something. Today I was SUPER LAZY (as I told you already), so I skipped exercise. But the calories, they never skip anything. I had a 60 minute head start for school to begin, half of which I spent in wondering if a chicken came first or an egg.
8:00 AM: Math Class! I was IMMERSED in today’s lecture. The thing with math is that you won’t understand it if you DON’T WANT to understand it. Just for the sake of doing something never got us anywhere, did it? Anyways, we had two consecutive math classes, so my back surely had a BAD TIME!
After that I had my breakfast and edited my brand new profile picture!
And I had another language lecture and a few assignments to complete.
11:45 AM: I drew a few diagrams for my cell-organelles assignment that is due at the end of this month. But then, I subsequently began drafting a new blog post (Which happens to be this very post). And then I realize, “Goddamn, what happened to my assignment!”. So I begin researching again.
12:30 PM: And I got bored. So I chilled out with some music.
1:20- ish PM: I had some food. Obviously I have to stay alive. After that me and my sister saw some cartoon and then, off to the next part of the day!
2:00 PM: This is where the fun part of the day begins. By Fun, I mean things that make my day, a day. I prepare my “Checklist of the day”. Basically, this is just a piece of paper where I write my goals and the agenda of the day.
I caught up on my left out assignment and yay, I finished it. :-D
3:14 ish: I did some chores. Me and my sister have this eternally ongoing chore of doing laundry. I do my part quite responsibly. It’s my sister Miss lazybones who escapes from doing her part. I spent the next half an hour reminding her that she had some chores to do.
3:45 PM: *Crossing out a few more things out of the checklist* I begin “Study-part 2”. I’m sorry! That’s all I did! It sure seems pretty boring but 9th grade, is a total mess. The one thing interesting now was updating my post, with all I did till now. And now since I had come to wordpress, I read a few posts out here.
4:30 PM: I got up and flexed out my hands. They got sick of writing so many notes, poor little things. I checked my texts and replied to them. I listened to some music again…ahhhhhhhh.
5:00 PM: I tried doing an illustration. Or whatever its called. I was trying out my new watercolor pens and they’re GOOD. I had some fun here and there, until it was time for tea. In my case, milk. Me and my sister made a quick snack and we talked about how our day was going. Of course, nothing serious.
DO WE BOTH SEEM LIKE KIDS WHO TALK PHILOSOPHY?
No! It was some cuckoo theories and cracking jokes about each other.
5:30 PM: *Blog Post editing*. Today is my blog posting day. Every tuesday, I get the thoughts in my brain and on the pages of my notebooks into the digital draft. Gives me a sense of completing half of the work. A 20 minutes at this work and then I’m off to reading this book I’m halfway through.
6:18 PM: *Closing of the day* My dad always says that we must close all the work that is pending by the end of the day, it gives us a sense of satisfaction. He isn’t wrong. I cleaned my desk and made my bed and kept everything ready for the next day. I don’t do this everyday, but I realized that I gotta be a *Decent girl*, so that I’m presentable in this post. Here we are.
I watched television. I wouldn’t want to mention any timings for this because, I clearly don’t remember! I had my dinner too, soon. (Yeah, we have television meals at night.) Anyways, it was getting late. Tomorrow I’m gonna have to come and edit the draft of the post and schedule it.
*A work well done.*
Not-so-daintily loving you,
P.S. Thanks for reading this! My examinations are up next month, I might disappear for a few weeks. I don’t want my grades to drop, at all! So I’ll post less frequently, or maybe not post at all. But stay with me, okay? I know you would.
It’s been an exciting week, but lord, never expected something like this.
This award is quite special, because its my first one! *Screaming on the inside *
First of all, Lot’s of love to Maggie, the lovely person who nominated me. She is a wonderful blogger who has a wonderful and an exciting blog. I cannot describe someone else’s blog, for only the person who made it can describe it truly and passionately and my explanations, are just mere assumptions and compliments. Head straight to her blog, here!
This award was created by Ashmita @ The Fictional Journal, and it has been reaching more and more bloggers everyday!
Tell me something about this world that you admire.
What is your favourite form of creativity?
Nominate 7 lovely people and notify them by commenting on their posts; spread some love!
Ask your nominees 4 questions.
Share something you created. (can be anything!)
And lastly, just so you know: I LOVE YOUR CREATIONS!
People! Positive people, of course. Humans are the reason why we have this world. I admire people because they have brains a heart. A heart to give another chance. Also, people are the reason we have books, movies and food. Aliens didn’t write Harry Potter, the oceans didn’t create the superhero movies (To be precise, Marvel) and the volcanoes never made food. Bad examples, but you get my point.
Writing, as of now. I’m so obsessed with writing. The reason why blogging isn’t the answer is because, it’s not my first priority. Writing is my first love (and eternal too), hence my favorite. I get to express things that I may not be able to in real life. Also to beat some sense into people. But mostly expressing myself.
Haha, the entire blog that you’re reading right now.
I bet most of my nominees already got tagged for this thing, but I can’t seem to know many people out here!! Anyways, my questions!
Which book’s lead character do you wish that you could be in real life, and why?
What would you define as your perfect life? (Haha, no philosophy class, okay?)
Where do you envision your blog to be 2 months from now?
Are you guilty of doing something silly? (How about you confess it?)
Wheeeeeeee! Thanks for the award and Luck to all my nominees! And hey, no pressure, only if you’re interested. If anyone else wants me to tag them in this award, I’m happy to! Drop a message in the comments or here.