three weeks postponed exams

On Monday, the government announced that the A-level and GCSE examinations will be pushed back by three weeks –https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54508851. This is not a sufficient amount of time to catch up on 5 months of missed school. The government needs a Plan B!

In my three extra weeks instead of ‘revising’ I am going to:

  1. sing happy birthday repeatedly and consecutively 181,440 times
  2. watch the film Pandemic on loop 328.7 times
  3. catch up on some sleep
  4. procrastinate for 10 hours, finally revise for 2 hours, eat and sleep for 12 hours. repeat
  5. listen to ‘I’m still standing’ by Elton John 9,969 times
  6. if I were to go on a mission to Mars, I would only get 7.6% through my journey (or 3.8%) before I’d have to turn around to take my exams)
  7. read the Great expectations by Charles Darwin roughly 49.5 times – though I am sure I’ll get bored of reading it by the third time

But one thing I cannot do is catch up on 5 months of missed school work 🙁

if you have read this far please can you fill in this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/326066

Summer 2020

Tomorrow I will be returning to school for my very last year (year 13), I am slightly nervous and I have written this blog post to recap my summer.

  1. Caught up on some school work – this included some of my maths and chemistry which after taking my online course, I became behind
  2. Read quite a few books – such as Red Rising, Red Queen, The Summer I turned Pretty, reread the Selection series and more
  3. Watched Netflix – including Scorpion, iZombie, the Order, Vampire Diaries etc.
  4. Home and Away via. My5 – I’ve been getting very behind on this show but it is amazing
  5. Did a tiny bit of revision – this was reading my flashcards through from year 12 and creating a few more resources
  6. Visited my family – this was lovely as I had not seen my family since Christmas
  7. Met with some friends – I was able to catch up since lock down and even saw my friend who moved to Manchester
  8. Watched too many movies – including Chalet Girl, Camp Rock 1&2, Feel the Beat, The Kissing Booth 2 and more
  9. Took some photos – I learnt some new skills and practised star photography with Comet Neowise
  10. Played guitar – learning some new songs and chords
  11. Spent time in the garden relaxing
  12. Stroked my cats
  13. Went on a 30km charity hike – blog post coming soon
  14. Wrote some letters
  15. Tweeted for changed to my ALevels in 2021
  16. Played on my Switch – changed my island in Animal Crossing New Horizons and visited my sisters island
  17. Celebrated my sisters 14th birthday – in my eyes she is still 12
  18. Practised french plaiting my hair
  19. Created a photo book – blog post also coming soon
  20. Went camping by the seaside
  21. Cooked lots of different meals – including pizza, burgers and coffee cake
  22. Attended some virtual camps
  23. Attended virtual open days

Last day of year 12

Two weeks ago, I went back to school again for my last official day at school in year 12. I got mini lessons from each of my subjects where we discussed some of the work we completed over the past few months as well as completing some practice questions. The day was slightly similar to the week before when we went into school, keeping 2 metres apart etc. However, the timings of the school day were slightly different. Sis84 also got to spend an hour at school on the same day I went in, she thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of her friends.

Since going into school, I have completed an online Cyber Course where I learnt skills such as Penetration testing, Encryption, Open Source Intelligence and Digital Forensics. It was a virtual course across the country and at the end of the course we got to do some ‘Capture the Flag’ activities which my team did not do very well in. Overall, I learnt many new skills and am inspired to look into Cyber Security in the future.

Finally, I have also completed my EPQ project on left-handedness. In the last official week of year 12, I completed my presentation (again virtually) as well as handing in my final essay.

All this concluded my year 12 and I am looking forward to seeing how year 13 turns out!

First day at school

2m spray painted signs

This week I went back into school for the day. It was very weird to be back after 107 days without being inside the building. Yes, you read that right, 107 days defeating Phineas and Ferb record of ‘104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it …’.

When I arrived at school, there was a strict layout in place and so we entered through the main school gate. We were always 2 metres apart and even got to wear our own home clothes! On top of that, it was a late morning start at 9:30 am compared to the usual 8:30 am start.

Kahoot winner

For the first half of the day we did some well being activities discussing how working at home has been going and how it differs from being at school. We had a one-on-one with our form tutors and also did a kahoot about lock down news (where I placed first). The second part was creating SMART targets within each of our subjects.

Some signs placed around school

For lunch, we were able to sit outside in our bubble and caught up over the past 3 months.

For the second half of the day we completed some UCAS work. We also discussed what we needed to do over the summer holidays such as writing our personal statements and researching universities as well as different courses. During this I also had a quick EPQ meeting with my supervisor. This led to the end of the day where we used the one way system to leave school.

Sitting outside at lunch

Our classrooms were set up with desks being 2m apart as well as only having a small number of students (I had 7 other people in my bubble). Overall, the day was very useful allthough it was very weird being back at school again after so many months of learning from home.

84 days since school…

So, today marks 84 days since I last was at school. I have been ‘home schooling’ myself since being set work online as well as competing various assessments. Since this, I have been reading lots of books as well as binging Netflix a lot. I have also been catching up on a few of my TV shows and am very happy as I’ve got the crossover I’ve been waiting for on DVD – Crisis on Infinite Earth’s (I am an avid fan of the Flash). – 84

How to prepare cyclohexane.

A while back in A level Chemistry we have been completing a practical on preparing a cyclohexane. Today’s blog post I will show the practical instructions with photos of our set ups and final product. This is to celebrate the ending of British Science Week 2020!

Part 1: preparation

Distillation apparatus
  1. Add 10cm3 of cyclohexane to a small round bottom or pear-shaped flask (CARE: don’t get it on your skin. Don’t inhale it. Keep away from naked flame.)
  2. Slowly add 4cm3 of concentrated phosphoric(v) acid and mix thoroughly (CARE: don’t get it on your skin. Mix slowly to prevent it getting too hot due to it being an exothermic reaction.)
  3. Add a few anti-bumping granules to the mixture, then set up the apparatus for reflux alongside an electric heater or sand bath (CARE: avoid splashing when adding granules.)
  4. Heat the mixture under reflux at 70oc for 15 minutes, adjust the heating and cooling rates to ensure that all condensation occurs in the lower half of the condenser (CARE: avoid water contact with electricity.)
  5. Stop heating and allow the glassware to cool for a few minutes (CARE: don’t touch the hot glass whilst it cools.)
  6. Rearrange the apparatus for distillation
  7. Raise the temperature and distil very slowly, collecting the distillate which comes over between 70oc and 90oc (CARE: don’t raise the temperature too fast. Don’t touch any apparatus which is hot.)

Part 2: purification

The pure cyclohexene we made
  1. Add an equal volume of saturated sodium chloride solution to the distillate in a separating funnel, shake gently and release any pressure build-up (CARE: avoid pressure build up and hence an explosion.)
  2. Allow the layers to separate and then discard the lower aqueous layer
  3. Wash the organic layer with an equal volume of water and discard the lower aqueous layer
  4. Run the remaining organic layer into a small conical flask
  5. Add a few lumps of anhydrous calcium chloride and swirl the mixture – if the liquid does not become clear, add more anhydrous calcium chloride and swirl again (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
  6. Finally decant the clear liquid into a weight container (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
  7. Reweigh the container and find the mass of cyclohexane that you have prepared (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
Using Bromine water to confirm that the product was an alkene as the bromine water should turn form orange to colourless when an alkene is present.

Part 3: organic functional group identification

  1. Test for the presence of carbon-carbon double bond in the product

A very busy half term

This past week, I’ve been busy with my half term. From completing homework, to watching some new Netflix shows as well as meeting up with a few of my friends. Last Saturday, I went for a meal with a few of my friends which became eventful as we forgot to check if the 40% off voucher was valid on a Saturday. On the Monday, I met with a few of my friends who had moved to different schools for sixth form. it was lovely to catch up over coffee. On Wednesday, I went to a swimming pool with water slides but my friends and I were sad as the wave machine was not working.

On Friday, I met with some more of my friends who had moved schools and we went bouldering before heading to the Cathedral to see the light show display. In the evening I went to my friends Birthday Party and met many new people. On Saturday evening, I met with another friend from school over coffee to catch up.

Finally, today has been an inset day so I’ve had the chance to finish my homework and prepare for school tomorrow. A recent series I have been watching is Locke and Key as well as The Stranger. I also watched the movie Midnight Sun. Overall, I have had a good half term and am ready to get back to school as I am now officially half way into year 12.

Don’t loose your USB Stick …

I am still in the midst of writing my blog post around the camp I went on a few weekends ago . For now I will be explaining why not to loose your USB stick before I will be back on rewriting my coursework.

Don’t loose you USB stick if it contains all your coursework – you are going to have to recomplete it.

Don’t loose your USB stick if it’s not backed up anywhere – just makes sure you back it up.

Don’t loose you USB stick if you don’t know where you have lost it – if your are here there and everywhere I wouldn’t recommend where to start looking for it.

Don’t loose your USB stick if you take computer science as a GCSE – especially because you learn about the disadvantages to solid-state storage (USBs) including the fact that they can be lost easily.

Don’t loose your USB stick if you are prone to loosing stuff in general – self-explanatory.