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REALLY want an A

  1. Oct 11, 2008 #1
    i really want to study physics at durham University but they want A's, i really want to do it and i'll work till i drop for it, but i dont know where to start with studying. Any tips welcome.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2008 #2
    I only get any study done by doing questions. I can read notes until the end of time, but I usually don't get it at all until I try at questions. I study by taking a textbook home and doing every question from a certain topic, right until the very last one, by which time they have usually got to A grade by the end of the chapter. Do this as often as you can, I'm doing two or three hours on weekdays, which isn't really enough for A, as exams are only a month or so away for us. So I'm stepping it up soon. If you're in the UK, I take it you're just starting your year? Make sure you do homework exercises. They really, really help.

    If you haven't got a big, question-heavy textbook, ask your teacher for practice tests, any other resources you can use etc. I had to do this for physics.
  4. Oct 11, 2008 #3
    That is probably the best advice you'll get for learning math related things. I agree with it wholeheartedly.
  5. Oct 12, 2008 #4
    Thanks that is really great thank you.
  6. Oct 12, 2008 #5
    Do past exam questions for your particular syllabus three hours a night, starting now. Don't trust teacher - especially the ones that *seem* good. My seemingly good Maths teacher was working to some other syllabus, probably the one she was taught, and I didn't get an A... My biology teacher read out his undergraduate notes, and was just a mess of confusion, so I *had to* do it for myself, so I sussed out the best A level review book & past exam papers on the exact syllabus I was taking. I got an A. Reading Tony Buzan's book on memory & revision and follow his advice (check out your local public library, he's bound to be in there if it's half decent).
  7. Oct 12, 2008 #6
    Wait? You are in year 12 right? Because if you are in year 13 then I guess you (like me) are just applying now so it would probably be a bit late. Durham is one of the universities I'm applying to actually, although I haven't seen it as its over 300 miles away (I'm a southerner :P).

    How come you want to go to Durham so much, I always thought Warwick or Oxbridge or Exeter looked good, that said Durham isn't so bad, maybe its just its the distance that makes it a pain for me.

    Oh and on topic: I got 5As in Maths, Further maths, bio chem and phys at AS and my advice would be just to read ahead and try lots of questions and then practice past exam papers like crazy too, and try not to cram too much. Don't be afraid to ask teachers for help if you don't understand something either, because it's good to get it out of the way rather than worrying about it close to the exams.

    By the way I wasn't trying to brag when I mentioned my grades its just that I figure you wouldn't have much interest in the advice of someone who didn't do well, although I suppose one can learn from anothers mistakes just as well as their successes..
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  8. Oct 12, 2008 #7
    actually im in year 13, but i am doing an extra year at college after making some bad choices baout my AS Levels, so im doing A2 maths and Physics and AS biiology and Chemistry. I actually live in County Durham and its such a beutiful city and the university is fantastic and after visiting several times i just fell in love with it. I'm not the brainiest of the bunch and actuall only got a C at AS but i want this and im perpared to work for it.

    Thanks for everyones advice
  9. Oct 12, 2008 #8
    You got Cs in AS maths and AS physics? What were your actual marks out of 300?

    If you got 209, you're gonna need at least 90 on each module you do in maths and physics this year... so i'd recommend re-sitting a good chunk of your AS modules (which doesn't change your 'AS Grade' but if you do better will change your overall score going into A2).

    And aye: What syllabus are you studying in maths and physics? They usually put past papers up on their websites (I got 300 in chemistry at AS by just downloading all the papers from OCR website and doing them and then downloading the answers to learn basically how to answer the questions i got slightly or wholly wrong).
  10. Oct 12, 2008 #9
    I have found some textbooks we used in class and they're what I used -- instead of notes, because they were poor -- to learn physics.


    They might not be as useful to you if you are not on the OCR syllabus and might even be out-dated, but ask your teacher what books cover your syllabus and then you'll have plenty of questions to go at.

    To re-iterate, and in line with others advice, DO QUESTIONS.
    Grade wise the past papers are even more important, but you'll probably find them a good deal easier if you do questions on everything they teach you in class.
  11. Oct 12, 2008 #10
    i cant remember exactly my score but i am resitting both papers, i am doing OCR B the advancing physics course. thanks for advice.
  12. Oct 12, 2008 #11
    Ah, fair enough. Well I wish you the best of luck, at least you seem determined to do physics which often far more important than just having sufficient grades (although unfortunately Durham also requires the latter)
  13. Oct 12, 2008 #12
    thanks, i really am i've never been more sure i want to do something in my life =]
  14. Oct 12, 2008 #13


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    Durham is an excellent university. I nearly went there but went to Newcastle instead.

    Nothing beats hard work. Read through the topics you're doing in the class in the recommended texts, make sure you understand them. Do lots of practise questions and you can normally get a few years past exams on the exam board web site along with the syllabus which may help you understand exactly what is expected of you. It is hard work but if you want to do well academically then you will have to get used to it. :smile:

    P.S. Exam revision guides I found very useful as they contained very concisely all the points you need for an exam. Look at a few and see which one suits you best, and leave plenty of time for revision.
  15. Oct 12, 2008 #14
    thank you.
  16. Oct 13, 2008 #15
    ooo seeing as you are in year 13, which syllabus are you doing? I'm on the AQA B one which has a horrific practical exam and is finishing this year..

    Also, what other unis are you going to apply to? I applied for Exeter, Durham, Warwick, Bristol and Oxford.. and now I kinda wish I hadn't bothered with Oxford as its quite a lot of hassle and stress for a 30% acceptance chance
  17. Oct 13, 2008 #16

    Exeter Campus is really nice, I live about 8 Miles away in Exmouth. I want to go there If I do physics. (And I can recommend 'The Jolly Porter' Pub down by St David's train station :D)
  18. Oct 13, 2008 #17
    Haha, awesome. Yeah, Exeter looks pretty good especially as they use macs (I just bought my first mac) and they have good scholarships too.. I worry a bit about its reputation as compared to say Durham, Warwick etc. but I'm kinda fed up of making decisions based on what other people think.
  19. Oct 13, 2008 #18
    lol might apply to exeter just for the pub lol,,, im doing ocr B the advancing physics course, it really interesting but we have to pieces of coureswork and a synoptic paper to do. one piece of cw is research and report for which im doing string theory and the other is a pratical investigation which i thing im doin parachutes for but not a 100%on that one yet.

  20. Oct 14, 2008 #19
    Ah cool, my syllabus doesn't have the student investigation stuff, but my chem syllabus has a practical investigation which is pretty nasty really I prefer the more prescribed stuff because whilst its boring at least you just have to do what you are told and nothing can go wrong.. perhaps not the best approach to science though :P
  21. Oct 14, 2008 #20
    I know what you mean though, i would hate to do one in chemistry i'd probably blow something up lol,, we're pretty lucky in physics that we have an amazing teacher who help us as much as possible.
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