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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 Busy Study Journey on March 2022 | EPQ, IELTS, and School Mock Exam

Language/语言:   English   简体中文
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By: Ken Deng   Published on Mar. 26, 2022

Approx. 2400 words, 10 mins

  Table of Contents

In the past few weeks on March 2022, I have experienced a busy study journey, preparing for my EPQ project, school mock exam, as well as some competitions.

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!

Applying to top universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London is not easy! Students need to do loads of work to cater for their requirements and thresholds.

The AS Level international exam is coming soon, which will be held in May and June (M/J/21), so we need to do a lot of preparations.

Since the pandemic in the city where I live in was escalated and exacerbated, I had to stay at school to study for one or more weeks, but I had a sense of productivity. I have also updated my website after my burden went back to normal.

Having a Lot of Work and Burden

In this month, I have done a lot of work, including my EPQ project submission, the first mock exam at my school, and some computer competitions.

Loads of tasks less than 7 days to deadline have been labelled a red "Close to Deadline" on my Study Planner, so I needed to clear my task list in order.

EPQ (Website) and Research Lessons

The first task I needed to do is my EPQ project as well as my online research lessons.

The research lessons about machine learning had just ended a few weeks ago and we had to make a report about an image recognition project.

EPQ, however, is completely different for me since they have different projects. My EPQ project is not related to machine learning but it is related to making a functional, secure, and liable educational website.

I finally realised that I am more interested in making very deep research on the Internet and computer networking rather than machine learning that rely heavily on further mathematics last year. As a result, I have decided to associate my website to my EPQ project.

The deadline of the first draft of my EPQ project, including my Activity Log, Proposal Form and Dissertation is on 11 March while the deadline of the report of the machine learning lesson is on 18 March. So, I had to finish my EPQ project earlier.

IELTS Exam

Another thing I have done is the IELTS exam. I took the exam in the middle of this month with a Band 7.0 score which is part of my one final goal "IELTS Band 7.0 (6.5 per component)".

Two weeks before the exam, I have made some preparations, including IELTS reading computer mock exams which took 1 hour each.

Surprisigly, my speaking score has been improved significantly from 5.5 last year to 6.5 at the start of this year. Thanks for the opportunities from my school's Oxbridge College for practising my English skills.

I still have to improve my writing score to achieve "6.5 per component" in the later few months as well as my "Band 7.5 (7.0 per component)" final goal next year.

School Mock Exam

There was also a mock exam at my school to prepare for the next international exam.

I have reviewed the syllabuses, textbooks and my notebooks as well as doing a lot of past papers.

Did you know?

In the CAIE international courses, the exam papers are made according to the syllabuses instead of textbooks.

So, instead of reviewing everything on the textbook, we usually revise using the syllabuses to check the missing knowledge.

You can download the syllabus by going to Cambridge International website using the Syllabus Code (e.g. 9709). For example, www.cambridgeinternational.org/9709

Tip

If you have limited reading skills that you cannot read everything on the textbook in a short time, you can review the syllabus to find your missing knowledge points. Then see the textbook for the full knowledge.

I also have used my timer that I have recently discovered from other schoolmates in the library in order to be concentrated by setting time limits. I have then programmed it on my computer.

My New Timer on my Laptop

Normally, the timer is used on my old phones acting as a desk clock which can be directly controlled with my PC at my home.

My New Timer in my Bedroom

This was then adopted as my study strategy released in this month since it can help me to concentrate on my study tasks and realise the time goes off very quickly.

We also used Frank's C(A)IE Workshop, a website that allows students download CAIE past papers more easily with a Chinese interface, to download and do some CAIE past papers and check their mark schemes.

I also believed that quality is more important than quantity according to my own test results. We do not need to do a lot of past papers since some tests usually ask questions never appeared before. Just fully review the syllabuses, textbooks and notebooks before doing past papers.

Did you know?

All study tips displayed on my website are fully tested by myself and/or based on my own experiences, some of which may contradict to other's opinions, including some research results.

Unfortunately, the website has a frequency limit, which prevents reselling past papers and DDoS attack, of 6 times per minute (12 times per minute for schools) which is so annoying since all devices at our school are under the same public IP address, so we had to wait for a minute to get some past paper. Note that the English text in the image has been translated by myself.

Frank's CAIE Workshop Frequency Limit

The Image Says: (translated by myself from Chinese)

Sorry, you have reached the frequency limit.

The HTTP Status Code “429 Too Many Requests” indicates that there are too many requests in a short time by users. In other words, it has exceeded the Frequency Limit.

All devices using the same IP address 183.**.**.55 have already requested the pages using pdfmp3 controller for 12 times in the last 60 seconds.

The special rule “CN - Country Garden School - China Mobile (Foshan, Guangdong)” is used for this IP address.

The system has temporarily blocked the IP address, which will not respond to more download requests, until the server goes back to normal.

Many users sharing the home broadband, school campus network, residential areas or streets that share the same IP address will be affected for a greater extent. Please let me know if this feature has affected your experience severely.

Did you know?

Some other websites, like Google, YouTube and Cloudflare, also have frequency limits to prevent DDoS attack and automated query by spam robots. They require users to tick the Google reCAPTCHA (I'm Not a Robot) checkbox if there are too many requests or unusual traffic under the same IP address as shown below.

Google Search reCAPTCHA

Cloudflare is the CDN provider that can hide the IP addresses of original servers. Similarly, it will not request the original server if there are too many requests under the same IP address unless the user completes the reCAPTCHA verification. Hence, the original server can be protected from DDoS attack.

Cloudflare reCAPTCHA
Related Knowledge

Now, I am going to talk about A Level computer science (9618) knowledge: Public and Private IP Addresses.

IP address is shorted by Internet Protocol address, which is similar to the addresses of some buildings and houses in a city.

Public IP addresses are the addresses that can appear on the Internet (e.g. 8.8.4.4, 223.5.5.5), while private IP addresses are the addresses that only appear behind an internal network like the room numbers at one place (e.g. Room 202, 301; 192.168.2.2, 172.19.3.1).

192.168.0.0/16 is commonly seen in the home routers, while there are other ranges of private addresses like 172.16.0.0/12 and 10.0.0.0/8.

Due to the shortage of IPv4 addresses, NAT (Network Address Translation) was used with private addresses have solved this problem. That's why our school only has one public IP address.

IPv6, however, allows every device to have an address since it has sufficient space and range. Learn More about IPv6

Due to this limitation, I usually use a special method "pre-load" to work around it, downloading the mark schemes in advance when finishing a past paper.

I also pre-load up to 5 articles on my phone's Safari browser at home WiFi before I am going to read some academic articles on Imperial College London News in public transportations since the overseas bandwidth can be limited.

Taking Exercise while Studying

Taking Exercise at Weekends

In the past few weeks, my parents have introduced a small mountain at the edge of my residential area, on which we only need about an hour to climb up and down.

So, as well as taking exercise at home using my home's gym with table tennis and virtual bicycles, I have started to go to the mountain with my family every Sunday morning.

My Home Gym

I also use my iPhone 13 Pro to take some macro photos of some flowers and leaves on the mountain, enjoying a new feature on my new phone.

Related Knowledge

Now, I am going to talk about relevant A Level Physics (9702) knowledge: Energy Transfer.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, which can only transform to another form of energy or transfer to another object. In other words, the total energy is conserved during a motion.

There are many forms of energy: Gravitational Potential Energy (g.p.e.), Kinetic Energy (k.e.), Chemical Energy, Light Energy, Sound Energy, Heat Energy, and so on. G.p.e. and k.e. can also be calculated using the following formulae:
(Note: the acceleration of gravity is g = 9.81 ms-2 in A Level Physics)

  • g.p.e. = m g h
  • k.e. = 1/2 m v2

Kinetic energy is the energy stored during a motion, while gravitational potential energy is the energy stored due to a height in the gravitational field.

When we climb up the mountain, most of the chemical energy (total energy) is transformed into kinetic and gravitational energy (useful energy), while some of it is transformed into sound and heat energy (wasted energy).

We can also calculate the efficiency using the following formula:
Efficiency = (Useful energy (output) / Total energy (input) ) * 100%

Taking Exercise at School

We usually need to run on the track for several laps on a daily basis, which helps me to boost my productivity during self-study times.

During the studying process at school, I also take exercise actively at my school gym (usually between 12:00 and 12:20 after lunch) using its virtual bicycles and/or running machines. I usually set an award for myself of a sport drink after exercising to regain energy. This can be bought from my school's automated food vendoring machine.

I have also secretly set a goal while taking a bicycle. My maximum heart rate should be greater than or equal to 170 BPM (beats/minute).

Decorations at Home and School Apartment

At the start of this month, I also have done the bedroom decorations at not only my home bedroom but also my school apartment. You can click the link to learn more.

This activity was derived by the apartment bedroom decoration competition in our Oxbridge College. I have also discovered the bedroom decorations among the vlogs by university students.

I have bought several materials such as strings of lights, transparent tapes, clamps, hooks and boards as well as printing photos and drawing some notice cards on the paper.

Decoration Board at Apartment

I have also designed and drawn some reminder cards to reminder myself for some great habits.

Reminder Cards on Decoration Board Reminder Cards on Decoration Board

Later on, I have added a notice stickers (sticky notes) area in the middle where I can stick some sticky notes.

Since English becomes the first language when we study or live at our school's Oxbridge College, we can speak with each other in English as much as possible and improve the IELTS scores quickly.

Unlike standard dormitories, we can make some decorations at our apartment since they are similar as the houses among universities and colleges.

New Study Tools and Habits

At the end of the month, I have released my new study tools and habits, such as Ken's Study Timer, bedroom decorations, final goals, subject folders, items checklist. This is similar to an Apple Event releasing new products. Click the links to learn more.

My New Study Tools

My New Study Habits

My Final Goals (2022)

Note that Ken's Study Timer and Desk Clock (public version) is under alpha testing process, which will be released in a few weeks.

Related Knowledge

Now, I am going to talk about relevant A Level Computer Science (9618) knowledge: Types of Testing and Program Development Cycle.

There are five main stages in the program/software development cycle: Analysis, Design, Coding, Testing and Maintenance. It can be the waterfall model, iterative model, and RAD (Rapid Application Development).

A test plan and strategy should be designed with some test data and methods at the Analysis stage. The program needs to be fully tested before releasing to reduce bugs and errors.

At the Testing stage, the program is tested in the Alpha Testing process internally by some staff in the company, which is then released to people participated in the Beta program first, known as Beta Testing.

When the program is fully tested by both internal staff and some beta testers, it is then released to the general public.

Utilising Free Time

In my free time, I usually remember English words as well as reading some articles. I also watch some university vlogs on YouTube in the first and last 45 minutes during the day to relax. Learn More

Conclusion

These are the introductions of my new study tips and the story of my busy study journey on March 2022. I hope you can study hard, strive and go to your dream university!

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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