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A Level international exam / assessment is in progress. Ken's Study Journey hopes you can pass the exam and get outstanding results!

My 2022 Winter Vacation Study Journey | Planning, Studying, Relaxing

Language/语言:   English   简体中文
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By: Ken Deng   Published on Feb. 27, 2022

Approx. 2800 words, 12 mins

  Table of Contents

A* Flies to the Sky, Making your Future Bright. During the winter vacation, top students usually plan their journey and keep studying while having relaxation.

At the beginning of the holiday, I have made several reflections, adjustments and improvements on my plan and goals. I also have done a lot of things later on.

Hello there! My name is Ken and I am a Chinese senior high A Level student in Guangdong Country Garden School. Welcome to Ken's Study Journey website and blog!

Today, I am going to talk about plans and the things I have done in the holiday. Follow me!

My 2022 Winter Vacation Study Plan

Overall, my holiday was divided into 3 periods.

Period 1: Programming and IELTS

The first period is to attend programming and IELTS lessons in Guangzhou city centre.

The programming lesson starts at 09:00 and ends at 12:00, so I had to get up earlier at 06:30, going to the underground station at 07:00.

There were IELTS lessons in the afternoon in some days, so I then go to the IELTS School to attend lessons.

The Final Project at Programming School

The course in the programming school was coming to the end, so we made our final projects and prepared for the presentation of the last lesson.

In the lessons during this semester, we have practised making WeChat mini programs using its developer tools.

The final project is to imitate and make a program using the knowledge we have learned before.

Did you know?

As well as websites and apps, there is another form of program that can be run on our phones.

It is embedded in some apps, which is called: Mini Program. We do not need to download additional apps to use certain functions (e.g. health codes). All we need to do is to download the app (e.g. WeChat), scan a QR code or search the program and open it.

The codes and data we have just used are cached in the app instead of fully downloading and installing additional apps, so it saves a lot of data and bandwidth, especially when we use mobile data.

Period 2: Hometown

After about 6 days of the lessons, our family went back to our hometown to celebrate Chinese New Year.

As some new highways that are directly connected to my hometown had been built, the travel time has been shortened from 8.5 hours to 7 hours. Perhaps my hometown can be acted as a cultural tourist attraction in the future.

Related Knowledge

Now, I am going to talk about a relevant A Level Physics (9702) knowledge: Distance and Displacement.

Distance is a scalar with magnitude only without units. It is the total length traveled. Displacement, however, is a vector with directions. It is the length between 2 places in a straight line.

Distance and Displacement (Physics)

Distance, speed, work, energy are scalars, while displacement, velocity, acceleration, force, momentum are vectors.

Speed is the rate of change of distance, velocity is the rate of change of displacement, and force is the rate of change of momentum.

In this example, the distance and time has been both shortened as there are some new routes, but the displacement stays the same.

We bought some essentials for the celebration like couplets and lanterns, had dinner in the whole family, watched Spring Festival Gala, and stayed overnight in the separation line between 2021 and 2022.

Then, I also went to a mountain in the town centre, taking macro photos of flowers and leaves on my iPhone 13 Pro.

There are a lot of lanterns hang alongside the pathway and they are red during the Spring Festival because it is one of our traditions to celebrate it.

I wrote an article about our Chinese Spring Festival traditions since I had started my website in February 2019.

I enjoy the noodles, our local cuisine at hometown, too and we eat it every morning there.

Fortunately, the 5G and IPv6 is now available at the town centre with full signal over mobile data. However, there is only weak 4G signal at home in a remote town. Perhaps these new technology can be implemented at more remote areas.

Did you know?

A few days after enabling IPv6 on my website and server on October 2021, some Chinese ISPs in a few cities have stopped allocating IPv4 addresses for new broadband users to accelerate our country's IPv6 development. Learn More

Fortunately to you, my website has already been added IPv6 support, especially for new users. If you have free time, you can Learn More about IPv6. Of course, I enjoy and like 5G and IPv6 so much.

I think this is an effective way to develop IPv6 because it has initiated the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 for the future.

Similarly, ISPs in some regions have already turned off 2G and 3G networks to speed up 4G and 5G development. I have already turned off SSL 2.0 and 3.0, TLS 1.0 and 1.1 on my website and server in August 2020 to enhance its security.

Keeping OS, software and technology up-to-date is very important because it can improve not only convenience, but also security people are always concerned about.

I hope all websites can enable IPv6 as soon as possible. Websites of companies with IPv6 support should also give technical support for companies with difficulties to enable it.

Period 3: Self-study

The third period of the holiday is to self-study, completing winter vacation homework and preparing for competitions, and so on.

The homework can be quite a lot because we are striving for Oxbridge and other top universities. I have already allocated this period of time for homework, but I think it may be quite not enough.

Related Knowledge

Now, I am going to talk about a relevant A Level Computer Science (9618) knowledge: Disk Defragmentation Software.

In HDD (Hard Disk Drive), the data are stored discretely and the disk has been divided into several parts, which slows down the disk speed, because changing places of data can be time-consuming once it is stored.

When you add something into a Word file, it adds it to the disk space in other areas because both sides of the file data have been occupied by other files.

So, disk defragmentation software has solved this problem. It is a kind of utility software. You can run this software to put disk data in a continuous way every several months.

Disk Defragmentation Software (Computer Science)

My time allocation is similar to this. In fact, it is suitable to complete homework within several hours continuously so that our minds will not be interrupted. So, I need to ‘defragment’ my timetable to have continuous homework time.

So, I have speeded up my process by going to café with a cosy environment and energetic beverages.

Café is the appropriate spot for me to study. You can learn more about some places suitable for studying in this article written last year.

Studying at Café

In my free time at home, I have also played sports and taken exercise, such as table tennis and virtual indoor bicycle, at my home's gymnasium at the basement. These activities can also be done at my school gym.

Things I have Done in the Vacation

During this winter vacation, I have done several things on both study and relaxation.

As I said above, I have finished my homework, especially some past papers, to prepare for the international exam.

I have also done several things, like IELTS mock exams, website updates (part of my EPQ), and watching university vlogs.

Now, I will talk more about my website updates, EPQ, and university vlogs I have watched.

Website and EPQ with New Servers

From now on, my website has become a part of my EPQ, which stands for Extended Project Qualification, and I found it easy to do the project.

In this vacation, I have updated several things on my website.

During the final exam period, one of my classmates complained that my website cannot be displayed normally, although it can be opened, due to the server database failure. I have then remotely and urgently restarted my server and fixed this problem.

Did you know?

There may be technical issues on websites and servers when there are too many visitors, mal-operation during maintenances and upgrades, and Internet cable failure. No one can guarantee that their websites and apps can be used normally all the time.

This can be commonly seen in Disclaimer and Terms of Service on every website. It says that “I/We cannot guarantee that my/our services can work normally for you all the time”.

A few months ago, the phenomenon that servers and websites going down has been exacerbated. A few websites and their servers were down for several hours. I think that this may be caused by increased Internet and bandwidth usage during the pandemic.

So, I have added some extra cloud servers and, by the way, I can learn how can large companies synchronise data between servers distributed around the world, enhancing my EPQ project with some new technology elements.

My website is for international school students, but most visitors come from China. I think perhaps after migrating my server there in August 2020, the loading speed in western countries may be slower.

I now have 2 servers in China and 1 server in the UK. This can improve students’ studying experience in western countries. I am going to university in the UK, so adding servers there can be a solution.

Did you know?

Some large companies have more than 1 server because they need to accelerate website speed for visitors in different places. This is known as “load-balancing”.

For example, Google (including YouTube) and Facebook (plus its Instagram and WhatsApp, etc.) have hundreds of branches, servers and IP addresses in different countries/regions. Chinese companies like Baidu and Tencent have many servers around China too, plus a number of overseas servers.

So, wherever we are travelling to, we always can access some websites rapidly. If one of the servers is down, the website owner can temporarily redirect visitors to other servers using DNS.

Studying in my Free Time

Some top students always study from time to time, but some students, including me, have limited capacity and hence we will be exhausted and out of juice during or after a large amount of studying.

So, one possible solution for me is to study in my free time, when I am exuberant and on cloud nine, implementing my study plan and goals.

According to my study plan, I always take out my phone and remember English words with Quizlet flashcards app when I am waiting outside.

I have also read some academic articles on Imperial College News university website and I had subscribed to its newsletter, listen to Podcasts and even TED talks when and where possible.

More importantly, I do discover and share knowledge in real life to social media to encourage students to study in the real life context. Some of my discovered knowledge are also shown in the green boxes in this article.

Watching University Vlogs

In case I am really fatigued, I usually watch some vlogs by university students (in Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, etc.) on YouTube.

According to my recent personal rules (which will be shown below) "Be mindful about pronunciation, fluency, new words and idioms while listening to English audio.", I have started improving my English skills by watching vlogs and listening to audio materials.

Some vloggers also enjoy studying in the library and/or café since they are quieter and more comfortable than homes. They thumbed up my relevant positive comments as well.

I really enjoy these channels for great study strategies and vlogs:

Having Too Much Burden

Going to universities is not easy! Students always need to study hard whatever scores they got and whatever free time they have.

There are several common conditions we need to have in order to go to university: standardised exams (A Level), competitions, research and EPQ project, personal statements, entrance exams, and interviews.

So, I need to prepare for them during the vacation.

In addition, I didn't study well in the past until Grade 9 lacking a few basic skills, so I need to work much harder to overtake others under extreme tiredness.

Using Study Planner

Right now, Ken's Study Planner has solved this problem, which helps me plan my study tasks and manage my daily goals properly.

Recently, some classmates have started using it. Not only can they plan their study journey with a few clicks like me, but also they can learn more about my computer and programming interests.

My 2022 Updates

During the winter vacation, I have made several adjustments for the new year, such as new servers for my website (EPQ project, mentioned above), new simple personal rules, new study plans and daily goals, and new study strategies.

New Personal Rules

In the final Period 3 of my vacation, I always told myself to do the correct things like "After 22:15 when there are 15 minutes until the end of the day, using electronic devices will no longer be possible." and "Use, write and speak English to yourself as much as possible.", which is similar to invigilators telling rules in the exams.

These things have significantly increased my productivity, and I have organised all of the words into a written form "Personal Rules" in order to save and use them later.

You can Download my Personal Rules PDF to see full details. It will be posted on my website later on.

Unlike my unusual personal rules in 2019 with a lot of details, my current rules can be simpler and easier to understand. They also can be used as an oral form in my everyday life.

This study strategy was paused since 2020 because I do not need them as I am self-disciplined, but it is now resumed to prevent me from forgetting them.

New Plans and Goals

As introduced on my last article, there were a few updates on my study plan and daily goals.

I have added some final goals recently. There is a new daily goal that let me use the English words I have remembered recently.

Changes on my Website

My study burden and busyness were increased significantly recently to prepare for competitions, exams, and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). I may post less articles on my website.

However, since my website has become part of my EPQ project, I will continue to update my website in my free time, supporting the latest technology development.

So, overall, I have allocated more time on the codes and servers of my website rather than articles to complete my EPQ - that's what I often do in my free time.

I also believe that quality is more important than quantity. For example, I do not need to write too many articles as most students are also busy on studying rather than reading articles and watching vlogs. This can not only save my valuable studying time, but also attract more students on my website.

Did you know?

Last year, I could have written an article with the title "Quality vs. Quantity, Which is More Important?", but it was then revoked and deleted because this was already told on some YouTube channels by medical students.

Most creators from YouTube channels who share their study tips are medical students because starting channels for medical students has become a common phenomenon a few years ago. They usually link their study tips with some aspects of the human body and study capacity as well as some research.

The study strategies released on my website can be different from their channels. My study strategies was made and released based on my experiences and trials.

I always discover and share knowledge in real life, which is seldom seen on other's public resources (blogs and vlogs).

Preparing for University Applications

More importantly, the application for universities like Oxford and Cambridge is coming soon, I may pause writing new articles and/or study strategies between September 2022 and January 2023.

So, I have imagined the following notices in my mind (during this application period):

  • I may pause writing articles and publishing new study strategies.
  • If my website and/or servers were down, please wait patiently until this weekend.
  • All comments and emails will be delayed for replies.

New Study Strategy

Last but not least, I will release several new study strategies on my website on March 2022.

My 2022 new study strategy (predicted):

  • Integrated Planning System
  • Items Checklist
  • Tasks List 2.0 (with Daily Tasks List and Tasks Pool)
  • Final Goals
  • Personal Rules
  • Active Recall+ (Plus) * (recall my daily goals as well as knowledge while walking)
  • Pomodoro Study Technique *

* These stragies were adopted from other's blogs/vlogs and/or improved.

Conclusion

These are the things I have done and several updates for 2022. I hope you can study smartly with your plans and goals.

Ken's Study Journey strives to provide high-quality articles about my tips and tutorials to study productively, together with some knowledge explanations. If you need help, I am here for you.

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