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!
Since I entered Oxbridge College with a completely English studying environment, I usually chat with my classmates in English and practice my English skills.
Apart from the English communication in our daily life, we also have a special English speaking time that further enhances our speaking skills with different topics.
I have also entered the student union group as an inspector of disciplines, so I was so busy during the first month on the school campus.
Today, I would like to share my feelings and experiences during the first month as an Oxbridge College student. Here we go!
What is Oxbridge College?
First, I would like to talk about some background information about the Oxbridge College in my school.
Oxbridge College is a new type of class in my school, GCGS, which provides English courses to pursue students to enter University of Oxford or Cambridge.
For more information, please see articles from GCGS's WeChat official account:
- We will have our Oxbridge College, we promise
- The meeting ceremony of Oxbridge College
- Speaking in behalf of Oxbridge College
The Benefits at Oxbridge College
Obviously, there are loads of merits for studying at Oxbridge College.
There are several things that are dominant in the study environment on the school campus. Not only can we enjoy an advanced accommodation environment, but, more importantly, we have a completely English environment.
The first meritorious feature is the new-designed accommodation environment. Since we are Oxbridge College students, we are living in a brand-new apartment instead of standard dormitories.
There are only 8 to 9 people in the same room in the apartment. Inside each room, there are about 2 to 3 people in a separate room.
Because the small rooms inside the large one are interconnected, we can study and communicate with our roommates together in the evening.
What's more? The distance between our classroom and our apartment is just a few metres and our classroom is on the first floor. So, we can commute between our apartment and classroom conveniently and rapidly.
Completely English Environment
The Oxbridge College is a completely English environment, in which we speak English all day, including daily management in not only the classroom but also in our apartment and canteen.
This gives me an opportunity to practice our English skills and correct errors with each other.
English Corner (Speaking Time)
There is also an English speaking time 20 minutes before the evening lessons. It is called: English Corner.
We have been divided into some groups with 2 students in each one. The groups are different from day to day so we can be familiar with all students in the classroom within a month.
A topic card is displayed on the screen during the English corner time, including source material and several sample questions. We can understand the content of the topic by looking at the material displayed and then ask some questions. Then, we can ask some extra questions based on our understanding of the topic or the content we have talked about.
In IELTS Speaking Part 3, the questions may be changed by the examiner based on the contents we have spoken in Part 2 or Part 3.
We usually ask some further questions when we chat with each other because we want to know other's information as much as possible. So, this kind of practice is used in real-life scenarios.
Everyone has to make and submit a topic card. We may generate ideas based on the latest news, the news we have read or watched on magazines or TV, the topics or subjects we are interested in, and so on.
For instance, I am interested in computer science and programming so my topic is related to computer programming, including its importance in the 21st century.
In addition, we can be interrupted by the teacher immediately at 19:10 when the evening self-study lesson starts, so we can have a similar experience of being interrupted by the examiner if we say too much on IELTS Speaking Part 2.
Curriculum, Routine and Environment
Now, I would like to talk about the curriculum, study routine and environment on the A Level Oxbridge College.
Curriculum at A Level
There is a wide range of courses I study in my school. Apart from compulsory courses, I attend part of them according to my interests.
The compulsory courses are: Mathematics (9709), Further Mathematics (9231), EPQ, PE, and English Literature.
There are also some optional courses. The courses I have chosen are Physics (9702), Chemistry (9701), Computer Science (9618, 9608).
Apart from my subjects, there are also some other choices: Economics (9708), Biology (9700), Business (9609) and Geography (9696). However, A Level subjects are difficult and we have limited capacity, so we only choose and study certain subjects we want.
Having Extra Self-study Lessons
So, what about the time for the lessons we have not chosen? They are some extra self-study time generated for us to study in the self-study room, like my IELTS school (New Oriental) at Guangzhou city centre.
Each lesson lasts 80 minutes, so we have sufficient time to study anything we want, including practising IELTS listening, reading and writing.
Because A Level subjects are difficult for us, this time can be used to fully revise and understand knowledge points that we are not familiar with.
With my Daily Tasks List (which will be introduced later, please check my website later), I can study productively with my strong time-management skills.
Evening Self-study Lessons
We have 2 self-study lessons in the evening as similar as our IGCSE school life.
During the first lesson (19:10 to 20:30), everyone must be in the classroom and we are not allowed to use our laptops or discuss. So, we can concentrate on studying independently. This can also improve our thinking skills.
On the second lesson (20:40 to 21:50), we can discuss, use our laptops to study (e.g. finding words in the dictionary), and find teachers if we have difficulties on certain subjects.
Students who need to go elsewhere apart from our classroom in the second lesson must register with our homeroom teacher in advance so that teachers can ensure the safety of students.
On Thursday evening at 21:30, we have full classroom cleanup when everyone needs to take actions to clean and tidy up the classroom from place to place. At 21:50 when evening self-study lesson ends, student union members will inspect and evaluate classrooms according to the standards of classroom hygiene.
At A Level in my school, we are allowed to use our laptops at suitable times.
However, there are some strict rules for using our laptops at school. These rules can compel students to focus on studying at certain times. For example:
- Everyone who do not fail an exam at school (getting C or above) is eligible for using laptops at school.
- We must stick labels on our laptops written with names, student ID numbers and classes, which must be appeared on the school campus. We will receive laptop labels if we are eligible for using laptops.
- Laptops are mainly used for studying, including finding resources on the Internet, preparing for competitions, and doing computer programming.
- We must not use our laptops during the first evening-self study lesson, when everyone must be in their classrooms.
- We must not play any games and/or watch relevant videos on the school campus during school days.
- We must not take our laptops into our dormitory.
Note: Checking whether students are using electronic devices improperly is not a duty and responsibility of the student union.
You need to have strong self-management skills when using your laptop. Otherwise, you will be hallucinated by the content on your computers and you may not able to concentrate on studying.
We have 3 meals every day, which are breakfast at 06:45, lunch at 11:40, and dinner at 17:00.
The queue is very crowded during peak times, such as 11:40 - lunch time. So, I usually read books and/or remember English words when waiting for food.
There are 2 areas in the school mess, which are Chinese food and western food. We can choose the type we like after entering the mess.
Maximising my Study Effort
I was so busy studying in the Oxbridge College at A Level because I need to do not only school courses but also student union and other school-organised activities, so I need to balance my workload among them.
Being a Student Union Member
Recently, I have been elected by and entered the student union at school, acting as an inspector of disciplines.
By being an inspector of disciplines, I am going to check and correct student's behaviours throughout the school campus, including whether the classroom hygiene fails to meet some criteria during the big cleanup. This can help students establish a clean and comfortable studying environment to boost their productivity.
This is the first time I have ever been a student union member. Because I have strong self-management skills and strict discipline, my homeroom teacher has invited me to participate in the election speech. It increases my honour as I can gain experience. I have cherished such a great opportunity after I received the invitation from my teacher.
So, I need to spend some time at the school campus on it. I may need to take some time to adapt to such a busy school life. That's why I have paused recording and publishing my audio articles in the past few weeks.
By the way, I have also been elected as an inspector of disciplines of the class. I always sit at the front of the classroom in the evening self-study lessons to maintain a quiet and comfortable studying environment, checking and warning students who are using their laptops improperly and violating school rules (e.g. playing games or watch relevant videos inside the school campus).
Achieving Great Performance in the First Monthly Exam
Because of the busyness of my current school life, I didn't perform well during the first day of the monthly exam, but I will keep endeavouring and overtaking other students in the following months.
Fortunately for me, I have received both Outstanding Learner Award and Former of Disciplines Award. This means I was not out of gear during the exam.
Don't be stressful if you fail some small exams organised by the school, including monthly exams and weekly quizzes.
You should always be open-minded so you will make progress overtake others in the future. The progress on studying is more important than some results of small exams.
Everyone makes his progress at his own pace.
— The Previous Educational Concept of my junior high school PCIS
Utilising Free Time
Recently, I have been featured by most audiences of a time-management lecture for introducing my time-management skills and tools for utilising my free time, including my daily goals checklist and English vocabulary cards in my pocket.
I usually take out my vocabulary cards from my pocket whenever I have my free time, including when I waiting for food in the queue at canteen.
I always fill in my daily goals checklist evening to ensure that I have my maximum potential to achieve all goals. More importantly, I make a summary at the end of each month.Learn More
My Oxbridge College school life is quite interesting but stressful. I can enjoy such a wonderful studying environment and I will need to adapt to the busy school life.
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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