Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's been a while

It seemed an age since I had last posted, so I checked the date and realised that I wasn't wrong. The events of the past few months have been so numerous that I don't really know where to start.

Most significantly, I made my application to university through UCAS. For those not familiar with the system, it allows you to apply online to a maximum of 6 universities, each of which may either reject your application or make you an offer of a place on the course, usually one contingent upon achieving certain grades at A-level. Over the course of several months I received a full complement of offers from my chosen institutions, which may sounded good until push came to shove, and I had to eliminate four to leave only "Firm" and "Insurance" choices (with the former being the preferred institution).

In the end, I chose Imperial College in London as my firm choice and Warwick as the insurance. Both are excellent institutions and impressed me greatly, so I won't feel too bad if the acid test of my exam results means that an Imperial rejection is on the cards.

When I first started writing this post (not only am I too lazy to update regularly, but I can't even write a post in one sitting) the upcoming exams seemed a distant event, but with my first out of the way and the bulk of them just round the corner, reality has hit home.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


After the summer holiday (whose duration seemed to be only a few days), I'm back at the sixth form. Again. It's difficult to believe that I was almost looking forward to getting back - having settled once more into the usual grind, lie-ins seem almost a distant memory and the deluge of work is not pleasant.

On a happier note, I did eventually recieve my AS results; however, I simply couldn't be bothered to update. They went as follows:

Chemistry - A. I was relieved, as I thought my performance in the summer exam wasn't great (I was right; it was a B).
Physics - A. Again, relief - I actually managed 98% on the summer exam despite thinking that I had made a huge number of mistakes!
Computing - A. My coursework dragged it down as I thought, but the exams were so easy that it was pulled up without any difficulty.
General Studies - A. Easy, 'nuff said.
Mathematics - B. It should have been higher, but I missed several marks off both due to a question in each of the two Core papers that threw me off. Sadly this meant that I couldn't get an A.
Philosophy - a surprising C (two papers were Bs, but it was dragged down). I was shocked at this for certain!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Time seems to be flying by at an extraordinary rate. I can still remember making each and every one of the below posts, and yet they nearly now span an entire year (albeit a sparsely-updated one). It seems bizarre that there remain only 8 days until I recieve the second set of results - the overall AS year grades - since the fateful 26th of August last year. Unfortunately, however, these are much more important.

Ultimately, these results might well decide the outcome of my university applications - as such, the prospect of recieving them is deeply concerning, to say the least.

Physics: My coursework for this subject was good (A grade) and the second exam was not terrible (although it transpired to my horror after leaving that I made several rather bumbling mistakes which were fortunately worth few marks). I was also pleased with the resit, in which I hope to gain a few more marks to hopefully push the grade up to an A.

Chemistry: This was definitely more difficult than Physics. While I obtained 94% in the original module, that really was a proverbial piece of cake in comparison to the summer examination. My coursework was again graded A, and I hope that this will offset the (probably B-grade, possibly A) performance in the most recent exam.

Computing: Preposterously easy examinations (8 marks for decoding some numbers...), but my coursework was, frankly, pretty shit. I'll be interested to see what I get here.

General Studies: What is there to say about this? You write stuff. I've no idea how well I did, but hopefully it'll meet the standards of the last two.

Maths: I've grown to enjoy this a lot. There's something fantastically satisfying about knowing how it works, even when a lot of the things that we do have moved from having practical relevance to being purely theoretical assessment. That having been said, I felt that my performance in the exams was mediocre - I missed two big-mark questions on the Core 2 exam (but seemed to be OK on the rest) while Core 1 went a bit better except for a silly differentiation question (that I would understand a lot better if it had been taught properly).

I left Maths until the end because there's a seperate rant coming on - time. Time is something that the exam boards seem to have a real problem with. From packing 11 exams into 4 days to forcing so much learning that the principles behind basic things can't be learnt, it would be nice if they actually broke out a calendar once in a while and evaluated things.

Consequently, I am probably the only person in my class who did some external reading and learned how differentiation (a mathematical technique) actually works, which is a great shame (especially because in principle it's quite simple). I might write a post about it soon if I get bored.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Well, well, well; after what seems like only the next day after recieving the envelope (i.e. my GCSE results), I get yet another little piece of paper with some life-changing numbers on it. In this case, it happens to be my AS Level module results.

Curiously, the one about which I was most concerned was General Studies - although I am aware of its irrelevance when it comes to reputable UCAS centres, I do enjoy writing, and it was my hope that the fluent diction (if I do say so myself) utilised in the exam would boost the grades. Consequently, it was with great trepidation that I approached the sixth form building and, upon entering, I was immediately congratulated by the Head of Year for my General Studies result. Presumably to infuriate me, she didn't actually quantify it in any way, but instead ushered me into the common room, which served to compound the situation by taking on the role of a sauna.

I'll spare you the gory details, but, stuffed like a sardine between a computer and a pillar, I sat for a good hour through presentations about results, presentations about university bursaries and banal speeches about studentship. Suffice to say that if such a thing as platitude-o-meter existed, it would have exploded from sheer overwork.

Finally, after much tedium, we were sent to our tutor rooms to recieve the results. Upon picking up that piece of paper, I noticed immediately two letters at the bottom of the list: an A and a U. An interesting contrast, but regrettably the only one I'd be performing for a while, since the lazy dipshits at Edexcel and AQA regard translating marks into results as an insurmountable challenge.

It transpired eventually that my General Studies Paper 1 mark was in fact one of (if not the) highest in the year, with the second paper failing to meet the standards set by the first and falling at a more mediocre B (2 marks off an A). Physics, in a similar vein, was three marks from an A, while Chemistry and Computing both sat above the A-grade border. And Maths? Well, that would be the U.

Overall then, a satisfying set indeed - I plan to retake most of them for the sake of getting higher marks (unfortunately, the exam boards don't work purely with grades). Here's to hoping that the summer grades maintain parity...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Well, well...

Those of you who have noticed the lack of recent updates (i.e. none; I suspect the lack of them is rather conducive to a non-existent readership) might have pondered the issue and attempted to formulate a reason for this lengthy period of inactivity. Had I become swamped with work? Incapacitated? Perhaps a variety of technical issues?

Well, no. Despite numerous exciting possibilities, the somewhat more mundane truth is that I simply couldn't be bothered. I'll endeavour to update this, but whether that's an empty promise or not remains to be seen.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

An average weekend

Despite the fact that I have not yet recieved the RAM back from Crucial, this weekend has been a fairly good one. I've finally got round to putting up the new shelving and am very pleased with it - my room is somewhat of a detritus at this point, so the extra storage space is appreciated.

Amusingly, the system was designed (some time ago) to hold many CDs - something which has been made obsolete by my Argos storage box. Nevertheless, I'm sure it won't be long before it's stacked with an assortment of rubbish.

On an unrelated note, I have also ordered the parts for my brother's computer; £400 in total should make a very nice machine for him. This upgrade is not so much a convenience as a necessity: his computer is actually incapable of running newer games at all, with Black and White 2, a recent purchase, rudely exiting upon startup with a reminder that his GeForce4 MX440 does not support Pixel Shader 2.0.

One thing, however, is eating away at me - my AS Physics coursework. Due to the hassle with the computer, I have been unable to complete it, and thusly have required two extensions. I should hope that the RAM will be back tomorrow...

Friday, December 02, 2005

A not entirely satisfactory week

I have not updated for some time; the sharper of you might have already deduced that since the aim of the blog is to reflect my life, nothing much has happened. This week, however, has provided a not-so-welcome interruption of schedule.

I find it strange how computers are devices of logic, yet they seem to be behave so illogically - it's damn annoying more than anything, as - invariably - I am the one who ends up having to fix them. As if to remind me of this, the technology in my house has decided to celebrate our entry into the festive season by promptly refusing to work. The list of equipment on strike consists of the following:

Router power pack - seems to have a fondness for randomly withdrawing power
My computer's RAM - decided that giving data back correctly was too much work
HP printer - "i don't have any ink cartridges, lol"
IBM hard disk - thought that clicking was more impressive than storing data

As a result of this, I now have to return the RAM at my own cost, replace the printer, replace the power pack, and replace the hard disk. Not good.

To make things worse, I am currently typing this entry to you from an old Pentium 3 computer; if The Antiques Roadshow team come into town, I'll be sure to take it along for them to have a look at; I dare say that most of items on their show are of a similar vintage. The machine in question is currently finding it very hard to hold a voice conversation with a friend and accept input from the keyboard simultaneously.

I guess these things happen...