Sunday, 8 May 2016

Chemistry Study Plan

I'm really freaking out about the Leaving Cert, which is exactly one month away. I studied really well for the Mocks and ended up with 540 points, which is quite good, but haven't been able to focus for the last month or so and I'm starting to panic. I've had "Make study plans for Maths, History and Chemistry" (the subjects I find hardest) on my to-do list forever but I'm finally doing them today. Let's go. 

I really struggle with Chemistry experiments because I find it so difficult to learn stuff off and that's required, so I'm going to have to just drill them into my head. I love most of Chemistry but the rote-learning sucks. So yeah, I'm starting with experiments. I found this amazing resource full of questions and answers on all the experiments and I have access to Studyclix PLUS, so I'm going to write out all the questions and answers for each experiment and then do all the exam questions I can find on them. 

There are 28 mandatory experiments in total; 8 organic chemistry, 10 titrations (acid-base, redox and water) and then 10 random ones e.g. flame tests, anion tests, rates of reaction. I like some of the organic experiments e.g. ethene, ethyne, but I find it difficult to remember the details in "extraction of clove oil from cloves" and "preparation of soap". 

I'm going to do Chemistry exam questions from 2015-2003, which is 13 years * 11 questions = 143 questions in total. Divided by 31 days, that's 4.6 questions per day, which I'll round up to 5. I'm going to go top-heavy now so I can have more time in the week before the exam to cram for English and Irish which, let's face it, are cram subjects because those quotes are not going to stay in my long-term memory. 

So, this week I want to get all the mandatory experiments revised. Today I'll do all 8 organic experiments and look over them tomorrow. Tuesday I'll do all the acid-base titrations, Wednesday the redox and water titrations. Friday I'll do 5 random ones and Saturday the same, then on Sunday I'll look over all of them. I'm leaving Monday, Thursday and Sunday pretty light so I can focus more on History and Maths. 

Then next week I'll do all the Q4, Q5 and Rate of Reactions and Equilibrium questions and also read/write out notes on whatever comes up in those that I don't get first try. The week after that I'll do organic questions and Q10 and 11, and the final week I'll look over all my exam questions and notes and learn off definitions.

08/05/2016 8 Organic Mes
10/05/2016 Redox, Water Titrations
12/05/2016 5 Random Expts
13/05/2016 5 Random Expts
14/05/2016 Look over all expts
16/05/2016 Look over notes
17/05/2016 Do all Q4s
19/05/2016 Do all Q5s
20/05/2016 Do Equilibrium qs
22/05/2016 Do Rates Qs
23/05/2016 Read over notes
25/05/2016 Do all Q6s
26/05/2016 Make Q10 and 11 notes
27/05/2016 Do all Q10s
28/05/2016 Do all Q11s
29/05/2016 Remaining orgo Qs
31/05/2016 Definitions list
01/06/2016 Read over notes
02/06/2016 Learn Definitions
03/06/2016 Learn definitions
04/06/2016 Read over notes

Saturday, 7 May 2016

April 2016 Review

Admittedly, almost nothing of note happened in my life in April. But here I am with a blog post anyway!

FRIENDS: I had fabulous sleepovers with Alice, Chloe and Ben (who are all stellar beans), and shoutout to Daniel for Skyping me in Irish the weekend before my oral.

LEAVING CERT: I had my French oral, which was grand although I stumbled a lot when she asked me why I think there are fewer women than men in science. Irish was also good, but the second question she asked me in the Comhrá was "Do you think they'll find a cure for Alzheimer's?" I managed to deal with it but holy shit. I got the easiest poem (Colscaradh) and supposedly the easiest sraith (Bua sa Chomórtas Raidió), but honestly I would have much preferred a harder sraith like Timpiste/Athrú Aeráide/Gearrchéim Eacnamaíochta because I'm better at those. Oh well!

SCIFEST: This was the focus of my month. I did a project for Scifest investigating features of bacteria that influence their susceptibility to inactivation to UVC light. One of the weeks, I spent 30 hours on top of school doing lab work for it ... It was intense. I am really proud of it though, it's a solid project. Big thanks to Dr. Bríd Quilty of DCU and others for helping me get the bacteria I needed for the project. I've learned a ton about aseptic technique and I've actually drastically improved my lab skills, which is cool. Scifest itself was in May so I'll talk about that in my next monthly review.

COMPETITION: Not much competition-related news this month. I found out that I'd won National Runner-up in my category for the writing awards. That's the competition at which I won my iPad last year. I've been invited to an awards ceremony in the Department of Education for it on Wednesday 11th May but honestly I don't want to miss more Chemistry so I probably can't go.

POLITICS: I procrastinated way too much this month by reading political analysis of the US presidential primaries, especially on It's fascinating, and the data. Love it.

So that's about it! Lots of hard work this month, definitely not enough studying and very little on the competition side of things.