My GCSE Experience | Revision, Exams & The Future

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As many of you have already started your GCSE exams, and are going through your first proper exam season, cycle’s of revision and I’m sure lot’s of stress; I thought I would share my own experience of GCSE’s. How I found the entire two years, what I thought about the exams, all about the revision, the stress, what I got at the end and my future after GCSE’s…

The GCSE Years- My GCSE years really were a massive roller coast ride of emotions, both because of things happening with my family, friendships and also exams. I found that the first year of GCSE’s, which is year 10 in the UK, was actually quite chilled out and other than having regular subject tests to see how we were doing, it really was like any other school year. The work pushed me just enough to keep me interested and I enjoyed all of my subjects. English was a bit of struggle for me, as it always has been really, as I’m not a wordy person and I’m a lot more creative and visual. I was still doing really well, but due to my personality I was constantly pushing myself to get that A I really wanted. It didn’t happen that year, however I really grew into it in year 11 and I smashed my retaken coursework and my final exam’s. The only thing I found stressful about year 10 was mock exam’s and having to really get your first taste of a proper revision cycle. However, I always knew that they weren’t real and it didn’t really matter if I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to.

The second year of GCSE’s, year 11 in the UK, was stress straight from Christmas all the way to the end of exams in June. I found that because I was doing 12 GCSE’s, I was constantly doing end of subject tests, coursework pieces for French or English and trying to nail my final pieces for Dance and Textiles. I’ve got to admit they were such busy months of my life and the busiest you ever get up until the end of GCSE’s. However, I personally think my school were super helpful, and put on different revision sessions before  and after school, and even in the school holidays to help us with our work.

Exam Season- The actual exam’s had to be the most stressful, tiring and full on part of GCSE’s, because I had 28 exams split over around a 5/6 week period. That meant that I had a least one exam nearly every day from the middle of May to the end of June. I was constantly having long days; waking up early to go to morning revision sessions, doing my daily exams and then staying after school for more revision sessions. That was my life for so long and I’ve got to admit that it made me pretty stressed out and I even lost weight in the process. This wasn’t anything extreme, but just because my body was over worked and I didn’t have any time to have a break from school, exams or revision, because I had no exam leave. It was just everything I thought about as there was no time for anything else. Now looking back on that time, whilst having study leave for A-Levels, I honestly don’t know how I did it without going completely insane!

The majority of my exams I found okay, and because I had done lot’s of revision I was able to answer most to all of the questions and I didn’t really struggle. I had worked so hard for those exams, so I was really glad that it was all worth it after every exam. The only two subjects I found hard were biology, because we had an awful teacher in our second year who also left us half way through to sort ourselves out, and Further Maths, because even though I was really good at maths this bridge to A-Levels was a bit too much for me and I hated it. However, a large group of us were just taught how to pass and get a C, and I was so happy that I eventually did.

The actual exam process I found okay, because we had done around 2 to 3 mock exam weeks and so I knew what the routine was. I didn’t feel nervous by how I needed to find out my seat number, that I needed to turn off all my electronic items, and how strict the exam invigilators can be. I was so used to it that it was just went over my head and I went into my exams feeling relaxed and confident, about the actual test and the environment I was in. However, I found it difficult to have to come straight out after an exam and back to my lesson, to only then revise for my next exam. All I can say is if you’re going through this process at the minute, seriously just keep working and hang on in there, because it will all be worth it and you will have an amazing summer ahead of you to enjoy!

The Result & The Future- After all the hardwork and stress of 28 exams, endless revision and coursework I came out with results I was really proud of. I got 1 A*, which I so unbelievably happy about as that was in textiles and the career I wanted to head into, 5 A’s, in English Lit, English Lang, Geography, Maths and Philosophy and Ethics. I also got 5 B’s; 2 in science, one in ICT, one in French, one in PE, and 2 C’s, in dance and Further Maths. The only thing I was a bit annoyed about was Dance, as I had put in so much effort to that subject and I’d been told I was getting A’s all year, and in my coursework pieces. However, that was just an extra subject and was the least important of all my exams.

The future after GCSE’s, at first, did really stress me out. Originally, I wanted to stay at my school and go into the Sixth Form to do A-Levels, however they weren’t able to open one as we were their first year of doing GCSE’s for a long period of time. So, I had to go to so many different open days to decide what I wanted to do. In the end I decided on a Sixth form at a school about half an hour away from where I live. I knew a few girls from Dancing who went there, and in the end I was really excited to leave to have a fresh start and start a new journey doing A-Levels. Although, I’m not going to lie I was still really nervous about how hard they were going to be and if I would be able to do them.

Good Luck to all of you doing GCSE’s and any other exams over the next few months. You can do it and all your need is self confidence and to do lot’s of hard work.

Rachel x

10 Ways to Nail Your Revision This Exam Season

10 Ways to Nail Your Revision

Exam season and revision is a massive part of any students year, whether your doing your GCSE’s, A-Levels or your finishing your year at university. It’s a time that so many of us hate and utterly dread, but it’s your final obstacle to face before you can have the most amazing summer. I’m sure that revision is implanted in most of your brains at the minute and you’re constantly trying to find more hours in the day to tick off that revision to do list. So, I’m sharing 10 ways that you can nail your revision this exam season, and make sure that you smash those end of year exams…

1.Get Organised- Before you do any revision it’s super important that you make sure you know what you actually need to revise. Something I’ve done is got a separate revision notebook for each subject and then written a check list of the topics I need to cover. Then I know what’s on the spec and can tick it off when I’ve done it.

2. Be Realistic- We’re all culprits of doing this, but it’s so important that you stay realistic with how much revision you can do in one day. 3/4 topics is usually my limit, especially if I plan it around my social life and having regular breaks to just completely take my mind off revision.

3. Short bursts of time- Most people work best in short busts of time, so 35-45 minutes and then have a break for 30 minutes or so. That way you stay engaged and interested in what your revising and not just turn off and have to go over the same topics again when you can’t remember anything.

4. New surroundings- As much as I love being at my desk to revise and having everything I need around me, sometimes this is really unproductive and demotivating. So, go somewhere new, maybe a friend or relatives house, a café, library or even just another room in your house; so you don’t feel so trapped by your revision.

5. Leave time- The best way to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed and stressed out is just to make sure you leave time to revise. Don’t start one or two weeks before your exam, but leave 7/8 weeks instead and then you don’t have to do so much revision every week. You can do it more slowly and in chunks.

6. Variety- This is so key to making sure you don’t get bored by your revision, even if it is making you want to kill your self. So, watch videos, make mind maps, write notes and talk over topics with friends in your class, so you can engage with your revision.

7. Colour- This doesn’t work for everyone, however if your creative and want to make your revision more interesting to look at, then I love to use colour. Before I make any mind maps I always empty out my pencil case, with coloured pens and highlighters so that I can use them whilst I’m revising. I love making everything look pretty, so this is the perfect technique to engage me in my revision.

8. Snacks- When your revising and using a lot of brain power, it’s essential that you have some food to keep you motivated and alert. Chocolate is perfect for a bit of sugar rush and to satisfy that sweet craving, but I also love having a banana. I just think they really boost my concentration and give me some motivation when I feel tired of revision and have still got lots to do.

9. Start from the beginning- When I’m revising I always like to start from the beginning and then work through all the topics. Not only does this ensure you know all the content, but it also just seems more logical to me and makes sure I don’t get confused on what is on each of my exams.

10. Past Exam Questions- Knowing the content is just one part of the exam, you also need to know how to answer the questions and the type of answers the exam board are looking for. So do lots of practice exam questions and ask your teacher to mark them. This way you can practice the type of questions you will have in the exam and can also get feedback on what you don’t understand or are getting wrong.

I hope some of these tips will help you ease the pain of revision and help you nail your exams.

Rachel x

5 Years Of Blogging

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This month marks the anniversary of my blogging journey and a massive 5 years of sharing my love for fashion and lifestyle with all you. I can’t believe how quick the time has flied, and it only feels like five minutes ago since I first hit that Publish button and was creating some of my first posts. It’s so crazy to not only think how far this blog has come, as well as my content and really discovering my own style. But, also how far I’ve come as an online creator and growing from a teenager with dreams, to a woman with so much vision for the future. I feel like I’ve truly grown up on this blog and you have all been able to follow me on this amazing journey, full of opportunities.

When I first created this space on the internet, I really had no idea what a blog even was or what industry I was coming into. The popularity in blogging has grown so much over the last five years, with the massive boom in social media and YouTube, and really it’s so much better than it ever used to be. I’m now able to extend this blog to all of my social media channels and really create an amazing platform; allowing me to interact with all of you on a more personal level. It’s so much more than just having a blog now, as it’s also about the blogger themselves, and sharing their lives, fears, hopes and dreams with their readers; which is what I’m really loving about it. You can talk about whatever you want, share all of your stories, showcase your latest purchases or your beautiful holiday pictures, without having to be put into any type of box. I learnt a long time ago that this blog was just as much for me, as it is for all of you, and it will only be a true reflection of what I love, if I do it straight from the heart.

What I really can’t believe and I’m so grateful for, is the amount of milestones and opportunities I’ve had over the last five years. I’ve been able to work with so many amazing brands, such as Farfetch, Zaful, Bonobos, CLC World Travel and Tommy John, just to name a few. It still blows my mind that anyone other than my family and friends even read what I write every week, despite big brands contacting me and wanting to work together on a piece of content. It’s really helped me to grow my confidence in my own abilities and to push myself to create some great content, that I’m still super proud of. But more than anything, it’s so unbelievable to be able to have these opportunities and I’m so grateful that for everything this blog has allowed me to do so far.

Every single milestone means so much to me, even from the first ever post like, to my first 100 followers, to my first comment, my 1000 followers and all of my blogging anniversaries. I’m so happy that I’m still able to have this little place on the internet, to share all my love for fashion and style, but also to have a hobby I really love and I’m dedicated to.

It’s been a crazy five years so far, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months and years hold for me and this blog. Here’s to the next chapter…

Rachel x

My Fashion Reading List | 2017

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As you all know, I love fashion, and that’s why I not only write a fashion and style blog but also want to make it my future career. So, it’s no wonder that I have lot’s of fashion related things, such as magazine’s, books and even a really gorgeous Parian Street Style colouring book. I love collecting all of the beautiful things out there, that are to do with fashion and in particular I have a growing collection of fashion books; ranging from the best places to shop in different cities, to an entire journey into the history of fashion. So, as I have recently added a few more items to my collection, I thought I would share my 2017 fashion reading list with you all; talking through some of the amazing books in my collection which I really want to delve into this year…

Vogue On Christian Dior

This is the second book that I have from the ‘Vogue On’ series, and it’s a really interesting one about the life and work of the one and only Christian Dior. Originally a French fashion designer, and now the name of one of the biggest fashion houses in the world. He really is a true icon within fashion and someone who is so interesting to read about. I love finding about how famous designers came to be, their background and also what made them so revolutionary at the time they became well-known. So, I can’t wait to delve into this one and find out all about the man himself, his fashion house and how he became so iconic. Also, there’s a really good documentary, that was on All 4, that looked inside Dior and followed each different element of the fashion house; for any fashion lover it would be so amazing and I would really recommend giving it a watch.

Where Stylists Shop

This is the newest addition to my collection and one which I’m super excited to read. This book uncovers some of the amazing places, in cities all across the world, where fashion stylists shop. It sounds so interesting and especially as I not only love shopping, but would like to dabble with a bit of fashion styling myself in the future. This is definitely going to be a good book to keep with me after I finish my degree and I’m hopefully a fashion buyer. It’s also just a great read and the perfect way to find those undiscovered gems that are unbelievable places to shop.

London Style Guide

This book is a bit more of an entire lifestyle overview of London and some of the best places to visit, shop and eat. London is not only one of my favourite cities, because I just love the vibe and it’s so me, but it’s also my country’s capital city and I feel proud of how much of a figure it is in the fashion world. This will be a great one to have when I visit London and a perfect way to discover new places to go, that aren’t as widely known. I can’t wait to sit down and have a proper read of this.

The Fashion Book

This is the true fashion bible and one that I’ll be able to constantly refer back to and read, both now and during my degree. It’s a book that really takes you a journey through fashion’s history; highlighting some of the key icons, trends and periods of time along the way. It looks so interesting and a book I’m sure I will treasure forever in my collection. Although, it’s super heavy, so it will definitely not be a bed time read.

Is there any fashion books you’ve read and would recommend to me?

Rachel x

My Learning To Drive Experience | Tips & Advice

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Learning to drive has been a really big part of my life for the last year, as I’ve been regulary having lessons every week and constantly waiting to be able drive on my own. It’s been a very hectic time in my life, as I’ve had to juggle it with doing my A-Levels, having a job and whilst still trying to hang onto a social life. So, as I passed my test on Monday, I  thought I would share my experience of learning to drive and give you a few tips, and a bit of advice along the way.

How did you get started?

Getting started is by far the easiest part of the entire process, because most people have a real wish to learn drive and the chance to have independence. I couldn’t wait to learn to drive as soon as I was 17, and although I ended up waiting until January 2016 because I had a big dancing commitment before then; I really wanted to be able to get behind the wheel.

So, the whole time leading up to my 17th birthday I always knew I wanted a woman to teach me to drive and I had a lady recommended to me from a family friend. I honestly think getting a recommendation is the best way to find a driving instructor, because you know what they’re like and they’ve almost been test run before you learn with them.  I also  thought that a woman was likely to be patient and understand that you know nothing about cars. This was a really good decision of mine, as it made it so easy to make conversation whilst we were in the car and she quickly learned what type of driver I was.

Originally, before I started to drive I thought that 8 months would be plenty of time to learn, however little did I know that there was a mass of waiting lists, lessons and also frustration ahead of me on this journey. And, this was just the beginning, as there was still my theory test to revise for and my practical test to nail.

What did you enjoy?

The number one thing I’ve loved about driving, right from day one, has been the independence it gives you and the ability for you to go anywhere you want. You’re not tied down to buses, strict time schedule’s or relying on you own personal taxi service. That was something that was always so important for me, throughout the entire process, was to be able to look after myself and not feel dependant on someone else.

Although, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed doing my theory test and learning all the mass of content you need to know, this was one of the easier parts for me. It came quite naturally, as I got the driving theory app and practised every morning and afternoon on the bus journey to and from college. This was like my dedicated time to do the tests and this worked really well for me. Even though I didn’t take my test until June, because I wanted to focus on my exams, I easily could of taken it around March or April. There’s a lot to learn, but I would 100% recommend you get the app, spend small amounts of time doing it, but do it often. Also, don’t book it until you feel ready and please don’t be one of those last minute revisers who thinks they can learn everything in a week, or even a night, before the test.

I’m also really enjoying the fact that I’ve now finally passed my test and I’ve driven myself to college and back home again, for the first time today. I’ve got to admit that I was super nervous and bricking it a little bit, but I’ve loved being able to be independent, have my own music on and never have to rely on the bus EVER again.

What did you struggle with?

The actual driving has been a real struggle for me over the last year, and the fact that I felt like it was such an impossible task. I know it probably sounds ridiculous, but I’m used to being quite good and anything I try to do or learn, and so not being able to nail driving straight away was so frustrating for me. There was so many times, about July/August time where I honestly felt like every lesson was struggle and I was going up such a steep hill that I would never be able to get over. It was just being able to grasp everything, think about the car, my observations, indicating and then there was my manoeuvers and looking at all the road signs. There’s just so much to do when your driving, and although it’s taken me a year and 3 months to pass my test, I honestly think it’s made me a better driver and I’ve had a lot more experience than some people my age.

I also really struggled with failing my first test, as there was nothing more in the world that I wanted but to pass my test and be ale to drive on my own. So, I was devastated when I failed the first time I took it. I felt so crap about it, thought I was an awful driver and it knocked my confidence. But more than anything, I didn’t want to have to wait any longer for be able to drive, and the amount of money I felt I’d wasted was unreal. The driving test process if not only the hardest part, but you also have to pass out a fortune for it and you have to wait ages on a list to be able to take it.

However, I know all those struggles and especially when I failed my first test, really made me have to fight and be determined to pass next time. Although I didn’t want to fail originally, it helped me so much with what to expect second time around, and took all the fear of the unknown away form my second test. What’s funny is that everything was different about the second time around, different route, different instructor, different manoeuvre, different independent drive, and I had to do an emergency stop. But, I think that was what I needed to pass, because I tried to completely forget about my first experience and go in with the intention of passing.

With you practical test I would honestly recommend that you make sure you’re ready before you book it, as it’s so expensive and you’ll just waste your time and lower your confidence, it’s honestly not as bad as you think it’s going to be, and just stay calm and give your self a pep talk before hand. That’s what I did and it instantly got me into the right frame of mind to really prove myself in my second test.

I’ve written a more in depth and detailed post about the theory test and the basics of getting started, which you can go and read HERE.

Rachel x