A Level Results Day

Hey everyone! It is 11 days until A Level results day! Yes, I am counting down the days, not because I am petrified of finding out my results but because I am excited to see where I will be heading in September! I have previously written a piece about GCSE results day, as I knew a few younger people were quite nervous about receiving their results. Now, one year on, I am waiting for my A Level results, hoping to achieve the grades I need to get into my first choice of Universities!

Lots of people will be nervous about getting their results. Some of you may know that you smashed the exams after months of hard revising and you are confident you are going to do well! Others may think the exams have gone well but are staying quietly confident that you will get the necessary grades. And unfortunately, other people will be dreading the 16th, knowing that their exams did not go as they had hoped and that they are going to need a contingency plan if they get worse grades than the Universities are offering to accept.

Even if you are one of the confident individuals and you know that you have achieved your grades, having a back-up plan can never hurt! One thing I had forgotten is that if you do better than you had expected or have achieved higher grades that will get you into a higher University than is your first choice, you can go through Clearing to apply to the higher Universities. For example, you have a conditional offer from University of Liverpool for Mathematics for ABB, but you have achieved 3 A*’s! You could now apply through clearing to go to your other higher choice of UCL for A* A* A. If they have the spaces, they should accept you, as you have not only met the requirements, but have exceeded them. Keep this in mind if you do better than you had expected!

Similarly, if you have changed your mind about your first choice University, after checking the entry grades, and knowing that you have met them, you can apply through Clearing to your new choice. If you now want to go to University of Sussex (ABB) then you could apply through Clearing (as long as they have the spaces).

Clearing (through UCAS) works by creating a new application, and therefore a new UCAS Track profile. This will become active once your application is complete and you have received a welcome email. You can apply through Clearing for a number of reasons but the main ones include –

  • You have applied after the deadline of June 30th
  • You didn’t receive any offers
  • You don’t want to accept the offers you have been given
  • You do not meet the entry requirements of your University firm and insurance choices

If you don’t get the grades, don’t panic! If you really want to go to a specific University, ring them up and explain why you want to do your course there. Don’t try to make excuses about why your grades were lower than expected, unless there is a clearcut reason (for example a grievance or illness etc.). One thing to remember is that the Universities really want passionate and brilliant students, and often, with the rising number of other options instead of University (apprenticeships etc.) Universities may even be reaching out to fill the spaces they have for a course! Be hopeful, and don’t get flustered, if you do decide to ring them, try to stay calm. If you have become upset after receiving your results, just take a moment to compose yourself before you speak to the University.

If your University doesn’t have space on the course you want, you can try a different course, for example, if you were planning to do Psychology, try seeing if they have spaces on a Psychology with Education or something along those lines. Who knows? Perhaps the course will interest you more than you think! If it really isn’t your cup of tea, once you start your course, if you request to swap to your original course soon enough in the year, they may be able to fit more people in, due to drop-outs and people declining their offers.

The other option with Clearing is that other Universities may have spaces on the course you want to do. These may be Universities you hadn’t thought of, so be open minded and think; if I really want to do this course, does it matter which University I am at? Do try and look around any Universities before you confirm your place, or at least see if they offer a virtual tour online. Failing that, try using Google Maps Street View to look around the externals of the buildings to get a kind of feel for the campus.

If the exams have gone so badly wrong that you are not going to be able to get into a University you would like to go to, then perhaps you should rethink your options. Could you take a year out? Retake a subject? Work full time until you have a clearer idea of where you want to go? Do an apprenticeship? There are lots of options and although it might seem like a huge disaster on the day when the results aren’t what you hoped for, everything will be ok in the end!

A Level Results are released on the 16th August 2018 and are usually available for collection from your school/sixth form/college. Alternatively, if you know you can’t make it there on the day, you can receive them over the phone or arrange to have them emailed to you (check individual rules for your institution). This may also be the default option for some schools, as they have so many students, emailing out the results can be easier.

Good luck to everyone who is waiting for results in just over 10 days and I hope that you all get the grades you are hoping for and if not, you are still able to find a way to study something you love!

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on my blog for more content as I move to University and blog about questions and key topics that have been requested!

Imogen ❤

 

UCAS… What next?

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while, I’ve been concentrating on my courses and all the work that comes with doing A Levels, fellow strugglers, you know what I mean! I have sent my UCAS application off and have received offers back. But, I have been asking myself, what next? What do I do in this long wait between now and results day (aside from revision for my all important exams… obviously!)? And then I thought, maybe if I don’t know the next steps, others don’t either. So I thought I would do some research and compile a little guide as to your next move closer to starting University!

Of course, I know that not everyone chooses to go to university, and that’s great! Some people are suited to different styles of learning, others want to travel and work. Whatever you choose to do, as long as it is what you want to do, then it’s going to be okay! But, this post is focused on people who have applied through UCAS (hence the title) so if that’s not you, please feel free to either stay and read anyway or skip this post!

Receive your offers:

This will be dependent on a number of factors, such as how your predicted grades align with the grades the University is asking for (or tariff points if that’s the system they use). They will also consider how many places they have on offer, and if they have fewer applicants than they expected, they may offer you the place but on lower grades, which is great! They may also give you a ‘contextual offer’ if you attend an Aspiring College or Sixth Form, of which there is a list online for each University if your institution fits the criteria, or if you make that University your firm choice, then they will perhaps lower the grades too. All in all, the Universities are really searching for the people that show they want to be there and even if their grades aren’t ‘up there’ they will still be given a fair opportunity to bag a place!

Reply to your offers:

Congratulations if you have had offers back from Universities saying that they would like to give you a place! There are three responses you could have received; Conditional, Unconditional or Unsuccessful. Depending on which you have received will determine your next steps.

Conditional means you’ve got a place! That is, as long as you achieve the grades that the University are after.

Unconditional means congratulations! You’ve got a place at the University with whatever grades you get! Some people automatically assume that this means they don’t have to turn up for their exams, BUT! I would strongly recommend carrying on revising and working hard, not only because Universities can withdraw their offers, but it will also make the first year so much easier, having a strong base of knowledge at a higher level!

Unfortunately, if your application has been unsuccessful, that means you haven’t got a place at that University. But, the other 4 applications may be successful, so don’t lose hope! I have had unsuccessful applications and everyone sort of tiptoed around the topic if it came up, but the first thing I said was “Don’t worry! I’m sort of happy I got rejected… it makes choosing my top two easier!” You’ve just got to look on the positive side of these things and you’ll be fine!

Applying for Finance:

I will go into more detail about this on a separate post, but the basic gist of this is explained really well on the UCAS website, and through various emails advising you on the best course of action. UCAS will email you with the 16 digit code you need to set up a student bank account (this is slightly different to applying for finance but I’ll explain later). Other information you will need to apply is your UCAS Personal ID number, Passport number and National Insurance Number. The process takes about half an hour, and you then print a form to sign and send to the Student Finance HQ. They suggest that it will take roughly 6-8 weeks to process, but as soon as the application is in, it’s one less thing to worry about!

So there you have it, the next few steps after you have sent in your application. Of course, there is accommodation, applicant days and lots of revision, among other things, but I’m going to be writing some more in-depth posts for these bits as I think they just need their own posts. I know lots of people are quite daunted by the process, but it honestly isn’t that scary and once you do it, you feel so much better for being on top of it!

Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for new posts under the University tab on my page and I’ll be posting more content soon!

Imogen S.

Results Days

The 17th and 24th of August are important days for a lot of people this year… the dreaded days of results. I got my AS results today and I know friends who got A2 results, as well as next Thursday, friends who are getting GCSE results.

Before today, the most popular question I got was; ‘Are you nervous or worried?’ I think I mainly answered ‘No.’ This was usually met with a strange look or more questions about why I wasn’t having sleepless nights about ‘the day that’s the beginning of the end’.

My views on results days ( A-Level or GCSE) are nice and simple; once you have sat the exam (or handed in the coursework etc.) there is nothing that can be changed. Although that might be daunting if you think you’ve done badly, it also raises the question of why would you worry about something you can’t change?

If you got your results today; I hope you’ve done well and you are pleased with your grades. Congratulations if you have been given your place at the universities of choice, and if you haven’t, remember that A-Levels are not the be-all and end-all. If you don’t do as well as you hoped, don’t spend the next few weeks drinking the rest of your holidays away. You should research what your next options are. Are there other courses, at possibly different levels, that you can apply for? Can you go through clearing and get a place somewhere else? If you are truly passionate about the subject you want to study, I am sure there is a place available somewhere. There is no point hiding that you got lower grades than you wanted because otherwise, you wouldn’t be in clearing, so try and describe to universities how much you want to study your chosen subject and how much it would mean to be given another opportunity.

For GCSE students, it’s a similar story but instead of a university place, its college and sixth form offering you your next steps in education. I remember my GCSE results last year, and whilst I was happy with my grades as I had done quite well, I think I was expecting higher. I now look back and realize that the grades I got were a true reflection on how hard I worked. You honestly do only get out however much work you put in. I was fortunate to have teachers who really cared about their pupils and subjects, so I was at an advantage of good quality teaching. But, as I was at an independent school, the pressure it puts you under to achieve higher than average grades is huge, especially with many people around you with academic scholarships.

I am now at college studying A-Levels, and I am really enjoying myself. The thing that really hits hard in your first few months of college is; GCSE’s are just a ‘stepping stone’ (excuse the cliché) to your next choice. So, if you don’t get the grades, don’t worry about it! Because a D in geography at GCSE is NOT going to stop you getting anywhere in life, trust me on this. It is now one year since my GCSE results, and I can’t even remember what I got. That’s not just my terrible memory either. Multiple people, I have asked can’t even remember the subjects they studied.

I wish everyone the best of luck with their GCSE results next week, try not to panic too much and remember it will all be okay, whatever your grades are. If you’re off to university next month, good luck! I hope everyone has an amazing time. And if you are now looking at a different route to what you originally planned, don’t worry about it, because it will work itself out and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Thank you for reading this, especially today with everything else on your mind, and I hope I’ve reassured some people on next week. Once again, good luck!

Imogen ❤

Top Tips to Exam Success!

So my exam season is OVER thank goodness. But, I know lots of you aren’t even halfway through. I know first hand how stressful exams can get, even though in the end I always look back and wonder why I ever worried so much! There were a few little things that helped me get through the two weeks from hell, and they aren’t the normal; revise lots, do exercise, cliché nonsense. These are just a few bits and bobs I’ll do to just take my mind off the looming events of the next day and just make some time for myself.

  1. Have a bath. Obviously make sure you are keeping your personal hygiene up, because trust me, there is nothing worse than sitting next to somebody in an exam that smells a bit pongy. Take an hour to just relax in the bath, maybe buy a bath bomb, or light a few candles and just relax for a bit. Don’t forget, nothing is more important than making sure you are ok yourself.
  2. Try to get some fresh air. True, this can be tricky with the English weather like it is, but maybe try to sit in the garden for a bit, walk your dogs (if you have any!) or simply sit in your room with a window open. Fresh air helps me be more relaxed, and I know for sure that if I am getting stressy at college, the best thing is for me to take a walk to the Greggs round the corner.
  3. Listen to a playlist that gets you in the mood for studying. Yes, I know it sucks that you have to actually study, but when you do, if music is something that helps you concentrate, then go for it. Everyone is different so this is a personal one, but if it’s something that works then try choosing something less ‘rock’ and more ‘relax’.
  4. Get up in the morning with plenty of time to make yourself feel ready for the day. If that means getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier so you wash your hair, then try and do it. I know at the time of 6 AM it doesn’t feel like it will be worth it, but just take a few extra minutes in the morning to make yourself feel beautiful. Feeling a natural day? Wear no makeup! Feeling a little more self-conscious? Go all out and use all your makeup skills to sculpt your face until it’s chiseled to the bone! I try to wash my hair every morning because it just makes me feel more ready for the day ahead, and one less thing to worry about halfway through the hot and sticky afternoon, but if I don’t have time I tend to double braid my hair and get it up and out the way.
  5. Pack your bag the night before, making sure you have everything you could possibly need. People that know me, know that I carry practically everything with me. I’ve been called a walking pharmacy! Take rainbow highlighters, and glitter gel pens and funky Post-It Notes. When you’ve been forced to write with a boring black biro for hours, a sparkly pen can really liven things up a bit. (Not in your exam though!)
  6. If you are that way inclined, why not go for a run? I know, it’s not for everybody, but if you know exercise takes your mind off things, get up off your ass and go for a 20-minute jog, if you can’t face a half marathon right that second!
  7. If you have a job, don’t take time off! I know that sounds backwards, but I found that working gave me something to take my mind off things and let me relax for a bit, (even if it was 30 degrees and I was standing in-front of an oven for a good 6 hours!) If you obviously don’t have enough time to work and revise, then do take some time out, but really think whether you need the time off or whether you just aren’t time-managing very well.
  8. Talking about time management, take a few hours out of a busy day to get together with some friends for lunch or a coffee. Just have a catch-up, and if you are feeling really guilty for not studying, then talk about revision over your lunch. Test each other and see how well each of you know areas of the subjects you take. Make it ‘fun’, if that’s possible, so you are truly having a break from the books.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a list of rules you should follow for success in your exams (whatever the title says), but I do find these little things just made my exams a bit less worrying. The most important thing is to make sure you are having time to yourself, and however you do that is your choice, but make sure you fit it into the schedule because revision 24/7 is draining and won’t help at the end of the day.

I wish everyone luck in their remaining exams and I’ll hopefully be back soon with some ideas on kick-starting your summer!

Thanks for reading!

Imogen ❤

Maybelline Fit Me

A friend once introduced me to the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer and I had a bit of a rough start with it. I found it cakey and thick, clinging to the dry patches on my skin and turning orange, even though I had the correct shade.

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6 months after I had sworn that I would never use it again, I found myself out of my old concealer and the Fit Me tube was staring at me, begging to be given a second chance. So I prepped and primed my skin using the Rimmel Fix & Perfect Primer, and dotted the concealer cautiously on my skin. To my shock, it blended beautifully and covered the redness and scarring from previous blemishes. I finally understood why my friend continuously raved about this product and I am so happy to say; it is now my everyday, go-to product.

I was in Tesco with a friend the other day browsing their limited range of makeup, and spotted the concealer and eagerly told her about my little journey with the product but how I now love it. I then looked to the left slightly and discovered they do a Fit Me Foundation. I was very excited at the prospect of a foundation with coverage as good as the concealer. My excitement heightened when I saw it was only £6! I don’t often purchase products that I haven’t had a little look online for reviews and ratings. However this time, I was too impressed at the price and rapidly made the decision that £6 wouldn’t hurt my bank account too much if it was a flop.

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I rushed home and quickly cleared my face of the day’s makeup, ready to try my new purchase. I started with my primer once again, concealer and then I applied the foundation with my normal technique, dot it around my face with a brush and blend. It blended into my face really well and had amazing coverage. As well as this, it didn’t feel heavy or thick on my face, as some high coverage foundations can do. It says it gives a natural, seamless finish and for once, I agree!

Its main selling points advertised by the company are:

  •  Mattifies and refines pores with blurring micro-powders for poreless looking skin,
  • Matches skin tone and texture,
  • Natural, seamless finish

I can safely say I agree with all three of these statements, especially the one about mattifying your skin as this was one of the first things I noticed. I have never used a dewy foundation, however some show signs of having a less matte finish than others. Fit Me has a seriously matte finish, but as I mentioned before, this doesn’t make it cakey or thick.

This foundation is recommended for people with Normal-Oily skin and I would say that the concealer is also aimed at people with this same skin type. I would highly recommend using a primer, or at very least a moisturizer, before applying both of these products, otherwise any dry skin will be highlighted and will stand out like a sore thumb!

Overall these products are the two I use for my skin, and with careful and thorough removal, neither leave your skin with endless blemishes or blackheads.

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I hope you guys will take my word on this and go out and find your new favorite products! Have fun shopping!

Imogen ❤