Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tips for CIE AS and A Level Biology

I got 4A for my AS Level in October 2013 and 4A* for my A Level in May 2014. One of the 4 subjects I took was Biology. My percentage uniform mark for Biology was 90% in AS Level and 92% in A Level. Do you want to know how to score in AS and A Level for Biology? Here, I am posting the complete tips for AS and A Level Biology. These tips are intended for students who are sitting for AS or A Level in October 2014, May 2015 or October 2015.

Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html


1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need notes or reference books that are complete. As far as I know, no reference books in the market is complete. Instead, I recommend you to use my notes. You can download my notes here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/full-notes-for-cambridge-international.html . However, if you know of any reference book that is complete, you may use it.
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in my notes or in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. You also need to know and understand all formulas. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in college or school.
- You should be actively involved in all experiments carried out in college or school because this can help improve your practical skills which are essential for Paper 3 and Paper 5.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in my notes or in the reference book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and scientific terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- For the calculations, you need to know how to apply what you have learnt and use the correct formula to solve the questions. Go through all the example questions in my notes or in the reference book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation, facts, experiments and examples for calculation questions in my notes or in the reference book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- When you have understood all topics, you have to do past year A Level questions. They are available on
http://papers.xtremepapers.com/CIE/Cambridge%20International%20A%20and%20AS%20Level/ . After doing the questions, refer to the mark scheme and do self marking. The mark schemes can be found on the same website as the past year questions.
- You should understand how the mark schemes are used. In the mark schemes for Biology, most marks are independent of any other marks, which means that they can be scored without other marks also being scored, unless otherwise stated by the mark scheme. If any biological term is underlined or highlighted, it means that the exact term must be used in the answer and no other term is acceptable even if the meaning is the same, but grammatical variants of the term is accepted. If any non-biological term is underlined or highlighted, it means that either the exact term or other terms with the same meaning must be used in the answer. If any words are placed in brackets, it means that the words need not be present in the answer for the mark to be scored.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.
- To prepare for Biology Paper 3 and Paper 5, you should go through all the past year questions and the mark schemes. Find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers. The pattern of questions set is similar for every year and you should familiarise yourself with the pattern. Usually, the same type of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions. You should remember the answers for questions that are common.

2. Paper 1
- Read the question and all the options carefully. Write any rough workings on the question paper if you need to. Cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the options.

3. Paper 2 and Paper 4
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in Biology. Certain questions may test you on more than one topics. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in Physics in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in my notes or in the revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in my notes and the revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in Biology or give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct biological terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all biological terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in biological terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell a non-biological term wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, such as formula for chemical substances and symbols for units of physical quantities.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form, point form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer.
- When answering questions on calculation, you should show all workings. You should not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. Correct answer without working usually scores only 1 mark. If your final answer is wrong but some of your working is correct, you may still be given some marks. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the points, even if one of them is correct. You are advised to write extra points if you are not completely sure of what the question is asking for.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. You are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write answers that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the answers, even if one of them is correct.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.

4. Paper 3
- During the test, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given. Certain parts of the question require you to record the readings from the experiment in a table. You should draw the tables before carrying out the experiment so that you can record your readings in the table straight away during the experiment. Then, carry out the experiment by following the steps given in the question exactly. You need to apply your Biology practical skills when carrying out the experiment.
- Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Biology to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- When recording readings from an measuring instrument, the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places.) For digital instruments (except digital stopwatch), the number of decimal places used should be the same as that shown on the display. The reading should be recorded to the nearest 1s for stopwatch (both analogue and digital). In all cases, do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. You should plot the independent variable on the x-axis and dependent variable on the y-axis. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0 (unless otherwise stated by the question). The scales should be chosen such that the graph cover at least half of the graph paper. For line graphs, the markings on the scales should be 2 large squares apart, plot all points on the graph accurate to half a small square and the diameter of each point should not be larger than half a small square, then draw a curve or straight line that passes through all points on the graph if it is possible to do so, or if it is not possible, you can just use straight lines to join them point-to-point, and in all cases never extrapolate the line. For bar charts, draw blocks with equal width accurate to half a small square, where there must be space between the blocks and the distance between adjacent blocks should be equal, then label every block. After that, draw the error bars based on the standard error or standard deviation if required by the question.
- For questions on microscopy, you will be required to draw plan diagrams and high power drawings. For all drawings, use pencil to draw, draw as big as possible without drawing over the text of the question and leave enough space for labels, ensure that the lines you draw are thin, single, unbroken, clear & continuous and never shade or colour. When drawing plan diagrams, show the outlines of the tissues, ensure that the proportions of tissues in the diagram you draw is the same as what you see and do not include drawings of cells. When drawing high power drawings, draw only what the question asks, show the outlines of the cells, ensure that the proportions of cells in the diagram you draw is the same as what you see, show the cell walls of plant cells as double lines and where plant cells touch there should be 3 lines and show any contents of cells that you can see which may be nucleus, chloroplasts, vacuoles or others. Label your diagram if the required by the question. Use a ruler to draw the labelling lines.
- For any questions involving calculation, the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures. You should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the points, even if one of them is correct. You are advised to write extra points if you are not completely sure of what the question is asking for.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. You are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write answers that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the answers, even if one of them is correct.
- For all questions, you should use the correct experimental and biological terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all experimental and biological terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in experimental and biological terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell other terms wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, such as formula for chemical substances and symbols for units of physical quantities.


5. Paper 5
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given and know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on the experiment and its observations and results. You may need to apply your Biology experimental skills to answer some questions. Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Biology to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct biological and experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all biological and experimental terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in biological and experimental terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell a non-biological term wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, such as formula for chemical substances and symbols for units of physical quantities.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form, point form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer.
- For any questions involving calculation, the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures. You should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the points, even if one of them is correct. You are advised to write extra points if you are not completely sure of what the question is asking for.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. You are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write answers that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the answers, even if one of them is correct.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. You should plot the independent variable on the x-axis and dependent variable on the y-axis. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0 (unless otherwise stated by the question). The scales should be chosen such that the graph cover at least half of the graph paper. For line graphs, the markings on the scales should be 2 large squares apart, plot all points on the graph accurate to half a small square and the diameter of each point should not be larger than half a small square, then draw a curve or straight line that passes through all points on the graph if it is possible to do so, or if it is not possible, you can just use straight lines to join them point-to-point, and in all cases never extrapolate the line. For bar charts, draw blocks with equal width accurate to half a small square, where there must be space between the blocks and the distance between adjacent blocks should be equal, then label every block. After that, draw the error bars based on the standard error or standard deviation if required by the question.
- For the question on planning experiment, when writing the procedure, you must include the steps to change the independent variable, measure the dependent variable and control the constant variable, as well as other steps required to set up the apparatus. You should also state the potential safety hazards when carrying out the experiment and the ways to avoid them. Besides, you have to state the ways to improve the reliability of the experiment such as repeating the experiment and calculating the mean or identifying anomalies. In the procedure, you should state the amount and concentration of the substances used. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. You do not need to draw the diagram of set-up apparatus.


Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html

Tips for CIE AS and A Level Chemistry

I got 4A for my AS Level in October 2013 and 4A* for my A Level in May 2014. One of the 4 subjects I took was Chemistry. My percentage uniform mark for Chemistry was 96% in AS Level and 93% in A Level. Do you want to know how to score in AS and A Level for Chemistry? Here, I am posting the complete tips for AS and A Level Chemistry. These tips are intended for students who are sitting for AS or A Level in October 2014, May 2015 or October 2015.

Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html


1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need notes or reference books that are complete. As far as I know, no reference books in the market is complete. Instead, I recommend you to use my notes. You can download my notes here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/full-notes-for-cambridge-international.html . However, if you know of any reference book that is complete, you may use it.
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in my notes or in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. You also need to know and understand all formulas. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in college or school.
- You should be actively involved in all experiments carried out in college or school because this can help improve your practical skills which are essential for Paper 3 and Paper 5.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in my notes or in the reference book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and scientific terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- For the calculations, you need to know how to apply what you have learnt and use the correct formula to solve the questions. Go through all the example questions in my notes or in the reference book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation, facts, experiments and examples for calculation questions in my notes or in the reference book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- When you have understood all topics, you have to do past year A Level questions. They are available on
http://papers.xtremepapers.com/CIE/Cambridge%20International%20A%20and%20AS%20Level/ . After doing the questions, refer to the mark scheme and do self marking. The mark schemes can be found on the same website as the past year questions.
- You should understand how the mark schemes are used. In the mark schemes for Chemistry, most marks are independent of any other marks, which means that they can be scored without other marks also being scored, unless otherwise stated by the mark scheme. If any Chemistry term is underlined or highlighted, it means that the exact term must be used in the answer and no other term is acceptable even if the meaning is the same, but grammatical variants of the term is accepted. If any non-Chemistry term is underlined or highlighted, it means that either the exact term or other terms with the same meaning must be used in the answer. If any words are placed in brackets, it means that the words need not be present in the answer for the mark to be scored.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.
- To prepare for Chemistry Paper 3 and Paper 5, you should go through all the past year questions and the mark schemes. Find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers. The pattern of questions set is similar for every year and you should familiarise yourself with the pattern. Usually, the same type of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions. You should remember the answers for questions that are common.

2. Paper 1
- Read the question and all the options carefully. Write any rough workings on the question paper if you need to. Cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the options.

3. Paper 2 and Paper 4
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in Chemistry. Certain questions may test you on more than one topics. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in Physics in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in my notes or in the revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in my notes and the revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in Chemistry or give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Chemistry terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all Chemistry terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in Chemistry terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell a non-Chemistry term wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, such as formula for chemical substances and symbols for units of physical quantities.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form, point form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer.
- When answering questions on calculation, you should show all workings. You should not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are advised to write down the formula used to solve the question, even though it is not compulsory to do so. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. Correct answer without working usually scores only 1 mark. If your final answer is wrong but some of your working is correct, you may still be given some marks. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. When copying figures from the question or from your answer for the previous part of the question, be careful not to copy wrongly.
- Usually, you should give the final answer to 3 significant figures. Do not write your final answer as a fraction or in surd form. However, if the question asks you to give your answer to a specific number of significant figures, then you must follow the instruction, or if the question states that you must give your answer to a suitable number of significant figures, then the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures.
-  For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so, marks may not be given for the extra answers, and marks may be deducted if any of them is wrong. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answer with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.

4. Paper 3
- During the test, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given. Certain parts of the question require you to record the readings from the experiment in a table. You should draw the tables before carrying out the experiment so that you can record your readings in the table straight away during the experiment. Then, carry out the experiment by following the steps given in the question exactly. You need to apply your Chemistry practical skills when carrying out the experiment.
- Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Chemistry to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- When recording readings from an measuring instrument, the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places.) For digital instruments (except digital stopwatch), the number of decimal places used should be the same as that shown on the display. The reading should be recorded to the nearest 1s for stopwatch (both analogue and digital). In all cases, do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- For questions on titration, you should first perform a rough titration, then perform 2 accurate titrations. Record the initial burette reading and final burette reading for each titration, then calculate the titre. You should record everything in a table. All readings should be recorded to 2 decimal places. The titre for the 2 accurate titrations should not differ by more than 0.10cm3. Then, calculate the mean titre for the 2 accurate titrations. The mean should be given to 2 decimal places.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0. The scales should be chosen such that the points plotted on graph cover at least half of the graph paper. Plot all points on the graph accurately. The points should be accurate to half a small square. For all the points, their diameter should not be larger than half a small square. Then, draw the correct straight line or curve. When drawing the straight line or curve, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. When determining the gradient of a straight-line graph, choose 2 points on the line and draw a triangle. The distance between the 2 points chosen should be at least half the length of the line.
- For questions on qualitative analysis, for each chemical test, you should use about 1cm depth or 2cm3 of each solution unless otherwise stated by the question. You have to record the full observations. State if there is any colour change or if precipitate forms. For any colour change, indicate both the initial and final colour, as well as the stage in which the change occurs if more than one reagents are added. If precipitate forms, state the colour of precipitate and whether it is soluble in excess of the reagent added, and if it is soluble state the colour of the solution formed. If you see any bubbles formed, it means that gas is released, and you should carry out gas tests to determine what the gas is. Only gas tests in the Qualitative Analysis Notes at the last page of question paper should be carried out. The gas can be any one of the 6 gases, but based on the type of reagents added and your experience in doing Chemistry practical work, you may be able to predict the type of gas released and thus choose the appropriate gas test to be carried out (For example, if a metal is added to an unknown solution and gas is released, it is likely that the solution is an acid and thus hydrogen gas is released, so you should carry out the gas test for hydrogen). State that effervescence occurs and state the observations of the gas test and the type of gas released. When determining the type of an unknown chemical, it should be based on your observations and refer to the Qualitative Analysis Notes at the last page of question paper.
- For any questions involving calculation, the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to or one more than the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures. You should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so, marks may not be given for the extra answers, and marks may be deducted if any of them is wrong. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answer with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For all questions, you should use the correct experimental and Chemistry terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all experimental and Chemistry terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in experimental and Chemistry terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell other terms wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, such as formula for chemical substances and symbols for units of physical quantities.

5. Paper 5
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given and know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on the experiment and its observations and results. You may need to apply your Chemistry experimental skills to answer some questions. Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Chemistry to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Chemistry and experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all Chemistry and experimental terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in Chemistry and experimental terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell a non-Chemistry term wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, such as formula for chemical substances and symbols for units of physical quantities.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form, point form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer.
- For any questions involving calculation, the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to or one more than the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures. If you are in doubt, give your answer to 3 significant figures. You should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so, marks may not be given for the extra answers, and marks may be deducted if any of them is wrong. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answer with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0 (unless otherwise stated by the question). The scales should be chosen such that the points plotted on graph cover at least half of the graph paper. Plot all points on the graph accurately. The points should be accurate to half a small square. For all the points, their diameter should not be larger than half a small square. Then, draw the correct straight line or curve. When drawing the straight line or curve, it should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal. However, usually one or more points on the graph are anomalous, which should be ignored when drawing the straight line or curve. The line or curve should not be deviated to accommodate them.
- For the question which asks you to suggest the reason for the anomalous points on the graph, common reasons are that a particular measurement is done before or after the moment it should be done, the actual value of a quantity is higher or lower than the measured value, incomplete oxidation/reduction, incomplete decomposition, loss of water/chemical, a compound has decomposed or other similar reasons.


Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html

Tips for CIE AS and A Level Physics

I got 4A for my AS Level in October 2013 and 4A* for my A Level in May 2014. One of the 4 subjects I took was Physics. My percentage uniform mark for Physics was 93% in AS Level and 95% in A Level. Do you want to know how to score in AS and A Level for Physics? Here, I am posting the complete tips for AS and A Level Physics. These tips are intended for students who are sitting for AS or A Level in October 2014, May 2015 or October 2015.

Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html


1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need notes or reference books that are complete. As far as I know, no reference books in the market is complete. Instead, I recommend you to use my notes. You can download my notes here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/full-notes-for-cambridge-international.html . However, if you know of any reference book that is complete, you may use it.
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in my notes or in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. You also need to know and understand all formulas. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in college or school.
- You should be actively involved in all experiments carried out in college or school because this can help improve your practical skills which are essential for Paper 3 and Paper 5.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in my notes or in the reference book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and scientific terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- For the calculations, you need to know how to apply what you have learnt and use the correct formula to solve the questions. Go through all the example questions in my notes or in the reference book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation, facts, experiments and examples for calculation questions in my notes or in the reference book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- When you have understood all topics, you have to do past year A Level questions. They are available on
http://papers.xtremepapers.com/CIE/Cambridge%20International%20A%20and%20AS%20Level/ . After doing the questions, refer to the mark scheme and do self marking. The mark schemes can be found on the same website as the past year questions.
- You should understand how the mark schemes are used. In the mark schemes for Physics, there are 4 types of marks, which are M, C, A and B. The A marks are always dependent on the M marks, which means that A marks can only be scored if the M marks are also scored. If a question does not have M mark, then the A mark can be scored on its own. C marks are automatically scored if the subsequent M or A mark is scored, even if the points for the C marks are not written down, but if the subsequent M or A mark is not scored, then the points for the C marks must written down in order for the C marks to be scored. On the other hand, B marks are independent of any other marks, which means that they can be scored without other marks also being scored. If any Physics term is underlined or highlighted, it means that the exact term must be used in the answer and no other term is acceptable even if the meaning is the same, but grammatical variants of the term is accepted. If any non-Physics term is underlined or highlighted, it means that either the exact term or other terms with the same meaning must be used in the answer. If any words are placed in brackets, it means that the words need not be present in the answer for the mark to be scored.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.
- To prepare for Physics Paper 3 and Paper 5, you should go through all the past year questions and the mark schemes. Find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers. The pattern of questions set is similar for every year and you should familiarise yourself with the pattern. Usually, the same type of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions. You should remember the answers for questions that are common.

2. Paper 1
- Read the question and all the options carefully. Write any rough workings on the question paper if you need to. Cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the options.

3. Paper 2 and Paper 4
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in Physics. Certain questions may test you on more than one topics. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in Physics in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in my notes or in the revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in my notes and the revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in Physics or give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Physics terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all Physics terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in Physics terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell a non-Physics term wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, especially for representing physical quantities or their units.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form, point form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer.
- When answering questions on calculation, you should show all workings. You should not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are advised to write down the formula used to solve the question, even though it is not compulsory to do so. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. In some cases, if your final answer is correct, full marks will be given and the workings will not be marked. In other cases, marks can only be given for the final answer if the marks for working are scored, where correct answer without working scores 0 mark. Whichever case, if your final answer is wrong but some of your working is correct, you may still be given some marks. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. When copying figures from the question or from your answer for the previous part of the question, be careful not to copy wrongly.
- Usually, you should give the final answer to 3 significant figures. Do not write your final answer as a fraction or in surd form. However, if the question asks you to give your answer to a specific number of significant figures, then you must follow the instruction, or if the question states that you must give your answer to a suitable number of significant figures, then the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures.
- When answering questions which requires you to give an answer as well as an explanation to your answer, such as questions that say 'State and explain', 'Suggest and explain' or something similar, it is very important that you give a complete and clear explanation. Marks can only be given for the answer if the marks for explanation are scored. Therefore, correct answer without satisfactory explanation usually scores 0 mark. On the other hand, if your answer is wrong but some of your explanation is correct, you may still be given some marks. In other words, 'explain' is more important than 'state' or 'suggest'.
-  For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Some of the marks may be dependent on other marks, which means that they can only be scored if the other marks are also scored. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so, marks may not be given for the extra answers, and marks may be deducted if any of them is wrong. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write any answer with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.

4. Paper 3
- During the test, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given. Certain parts of the question require you to record the readings from the experiment in a table. You should draw the tables before carrying out the experiment so that you can record your readings in the table straight away during the experiment. Then, carry out the experiment by following the steps given in the question exactly. You need to apply your Physics practical skills when carrying out the experiment.
- Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Physics to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- When recording readings from an measuring instrument (except metre rule, vernier calipers and micrometre screw gauge), the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places.) For digital instruments (except digital stopwatch), the number of decimal places used should be the same as that shown on the display. The reading should be recorded to the nearest 0.1cm for metre rule, 0.01cm for vernier calipers, 0.01mm for micrometer screw gauge and 0.1s for stopwatch (both analogue and digital). In all cases, do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- In most cases, you should take each reading twice, then calculate and record the mean of the 2 readings. Ensure that you show both readings and the calculation of their mean. However, for the part in Question 1 which requires you to record readings in a table, questions that carry only 1 mark and questions which states that repeated readings are not required, you only need to take each reading once and record it straight away.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0. The scales should be chosen such that the points plotted on graph cover at least half of the graph paper. The markings on the scales should not be more than 3 large squares apart. Plot all points on the graph accurately. The points should be accurate to half a small square. For all the points, their diameter should not be larger than half a small square. Then, draw the correct straight line or curve. When drawing the straight line or curve, it should pass through all points on the graph if possible. If this is not possible, the line or curve should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line or curve should be almost equal.
- When determining the gradient of the line of graph, choose 2 points on the line and draw a triangle. The distance between the 2 points chosen should be at least half the length of the line. When determining the y-intercept of the line of graph, if the x-axis starts from 0, you can read it off directly from the y-axis of graph, or if the x-axis does not start from 0, you should choose a point on the line, preferably one of the points that you used to calculate its gradient, and substitute its x and y values as well as the gradient into the equation y=mx+c to determine the value of c which is the y-intercept.
- For any questions involving calculation, the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to or one more than the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures. You should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- For the part of Question 2 which asks you to estimate the percentage uncertainty in a particular value, in most cases the absolute uncertainty used to calculate the percentage uncertainty should be equal to twice the smallest division of scale of the instrument used to measure the value. This is because the measurement for this part is often difficult to be done accurately.
- For the part of Question 2 which asks you whether your results support the suggested relationship between 2 variables, you have to calculate the percentage difference between 2 values of a constant which is obtained in previous part of the question. The suggested relationship is supported if the percentage difference is 5% or less and not supported if the percentage difference is more than 5%.
- For the last part of Question 2 which is about limitations and improvements, I would suggest that you memorise my list of 20 common answers (see below) which are based on the mark schemes for past year questions. Usually, 3 of the 4 answers required can be found in my list. The 1st answer in my list can be used for all experiments, so you should always use it. Choose 2 other answers from my list which are most relevant to the experiment as your 2nd and 3rd answer. Add in any other relevant answer as your 4th answer. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so, marks may not be given for the extra answers, and marks may be deducted if any of them is wrong.

The List of Common Answers for the Limitations and Improvements Question:

1. Two/three readings are not enough to make a valid conclusion
- Take more readings and plot a graph
(This answer can be used for all experiments)

2. The value of x is small so the percentage uncertainty of x is large
- (The way to make the value of x larger)

3. The movement/oscillation of (something) is affected by wind movement
- Use a wind shield when carrying out the experiment

4. Difficult to determine the start and end of oscillation/movement of (something) because it moves too fast
- Use a video camera with slow motion feature and timer to video the experiment with scale, then view the video playback frame by frame.

5. Difficult to release (something) without applying a force
- Use a mechanical hand to release the (thing)

6. Difficult to shape the plasticine into the shape of (something)
- Use a mould to shape the plasticine

7. Heat loss through the sides and bottom of beaker/container (for experiments involving temperature of liquid)
- Use polystyrene container or insulate the beaker/container

8. The (measuring instrument) is not precise enough
- Use another (instrument) with greater sensitivity and precision

9. The length/diameter/thickness of (something) is not uniform
- Measure the length around/along the (thing) and calculate the mean

10. Difficult to measure (something) due to … (must state specific reason based on experiment)
- (Suggest a better way to measure it)

11. Parallax error when measuring (something)
(only for measurements that are difficult to make and are very likely to make parallax error)
- (Suggest a better way to measure it, such as use mirror scale)

12. (Something) moves
- (Way to keep it in the original position)

13. Oscillation does not occur in one plane only
(No specific improvement for this limitation)

14. Difficult to maintain (something) at a particular position / maintain ruler vertical
- Use a clamp

15. Difficult to zero the newton-meter when used horizontally
- (No specific improvement for this limitation)

16. Friction at pulley
- Apply oil to lubricate the pulley

17. Resistance of contacts (for electric experiments)
- Clean the contacts

18. Difficult to determine when (something) reach the maximum height because it remains there for too short a time
19. Difficult to take the reading of newton-meter immediately when (something) starts to move
because it moves suddenly
20. Difficult to start or stop the stopwatch immediately when (something) passes through (somewhere)
- Use a video camera with slow motion feature and (the measuring device) to video the experiment with scale, then view the video playback frame by frame (can be used for 18, 19 and 20)

- For all questions, you should use the correct experimental and Physics terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all experimental and Physics terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in experimental and Physics terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell other terms wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, especially for representing physical quantities or their units.

5. Paper 5 Question 1 (Planning Experiment)
- When answering, read the question given carefully. You have to design a suitable experiment based on the question, either to test whether the suggested relationship between 2 variables is valid or to determine the value of a constant. Your answer must include independent variable, dependent variable, variables to be kept constant, diagram of set-up apparatus, procedure, data analysis, safety precautions and additional details.
- For the independent variable and dependent variable, they can be obtained easily from the question itself and you should give one of each. For the variables to be kept constant, there is often more than one and you should give all of them that you can think of. Note that the term 'kept constant' or 'keep constant' must be used in your answer and no other terms are acceptable. You need not answer in complete sentences.
- For the diagram of set-up apparatus, show all the apparatus and material used in the experiment and label them correctly. If a diagram is provided by the question, you can use the same diagram, but it is usually not complete and you have to add other apparatus or materials to it.
- When writing the procedure, you must include the steps to measure the manipulated variable, responding variable and every variable to be kept constant. For each measurement, you should state the method and apparatus used. For some variables, you may have to measure other quantities in order to calculate them. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. You should also include other steps required to set up the apparatus if you did not show them in the diagram.
- For the analysis of data, you should explain how a suitable graph should be plotted that enables you to test whether the suggested relationship between the 2 variables is valid or to determine the value of the constant. Sometimes, the graph may be a log-log graph or ln-ln graph. You should also show a sketch of the graph. Then, explain how to determine whether the suggested relationship is valid or to determine the value of the constant based on the graph. This often involves the gradient, y-intercept and rearranging of equation.
- For the safety precaution, you should state at least 2 potential safety hazards when carrying out the experiment and the ways to avoid each of them.
- For the additional details, 4 marks will be given and examples of them are how variables are kept constant, calibration of the measuring instruments and additional steps to improve the accuracy and reliability. You may have already stated some of them in other parts of your answer and it is not compulsory to write them again in this part. In this section, you should state the additional details that are not stated in other parts of your answer.
- For all parts of the question, you are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are irrelevant but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts, marks may be deducted.
- You should use the correct experimental and Physics terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. You should spell all experimental and Physics terms correctly. If you can't do so, try to spell it in such a way where it sounds the same as the actual term when read out. Marks are usually not deducted for spelling errors in experimental and Physics terms as long as it still sounds the same and that it is not easily confused with other terms. If you spell other terms wrongly or if you make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted for as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. You are allowed to use suitable short forms in your answer, especially for representing physical quantities or their units.

6. Paper 5 Question 2 (Analysis, Conclusions and Evaluation)
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given and know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on the experiment and its observations and results. You may need to apply your Physics experimental skills to answer some questions. Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Physics to answer them.
- For the graph, plot all points on the graph accurately. The points should be accurate to half a small square. Then, draw the error bars based on the uncertainties of the values given in the question. After that, draw line of best fit. The line should pass through as many points on the graph as possible, all the points should be close to it and the number of points above and below the line should be almost equal. Next, draw the worst acceptable line. It should be either the steepest possible line which passes from the top of top error bar to the bottom of bottom error bar or or the shallowest possible line which passes from the bottom of top error bar to top of bottom error bar. The line must also pass through all error bars.
- When determining the gradient of line of best fit, choose 2 points on the line and draw a triangle. The distance between the 2 points chosen should be at least half the length of the line. For the uncertainty in gradient, you should also determine the gradient of worst acceptable line using the same method. The uncertainty in gradient is equal to the difference between the 2 gradients.
- When determining the y-intercept of line of best fit, usually you cannot read it off directly from the y-axis of graph since the x-axis does not start from 0. Instead, you should choose a point on the line, preferably one of the points that you used to calculate its gradient, and substitute its x and y values as well as the gradient into the equation y=mx+c to determine the value of c which is the y-intercept. For the uncertainty in y-intercept, you should also determine the y-intercept of worst acceptable line using the same method. The uncertainty in y-intercept is equal to the difference between the 2 y-intercepts.
- When calculating the uncertainty in a calculated value, use your knowledge in uncertainties that you learnt in Chapter 2 for AS Level. However, if the calculation is too complicating or if it involves logarithms, there is an alternative method. For this method, you have to determine both the maximum value and minimum value of the calculated value by using the maximum values and/or minimum values of the raw values used in the calculation of the calculated value. You have to be very careful to ensure that the maximum value and minimum value you determined are correct. The absolute uncertainty is equal to half of the difference between the maximum and minimum value.
- For any questions involving calculation, the number of significant figures of your answer should be equal to or one more than the number of significant figures of the raw value used in the calculation with the least number of significant figures. For uncertainties, the number of decimal places should be equal to the number of decimal places of the value. You should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.


Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html

Tips for CIE AS and A Level Mathematics

I got 4A for my AS Level in October 2013 and 4A* for my A Level in May 2014. One of the 4 subjects I took was Mathematics. My percentage uniform mark for Mathematics was 96% in AS Level and 94% in A Level. Do you want to know how to score in AS and A Level for Mathematics? Here, I am posting the complete tips for AS and A Level Mathematics. These tips are intended for students who are sitting for AS or A Level in October 2014, May 2015 or October 2015.

Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html


1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need reference books that are complete. I recommend you to use the following reference book for each paper:
Paper 1: Pure Mathematics 1 for Cambridge International A Level, by Bostock, L, Chandler, S and Jennings, T (Nelson Thornes, UK)
Paper 2 & Paper 3: Pure Mathematics 2 and 3 for Cambridge International A Level, by Bostock, L, Chandler, S and Jennings, T (Nelson Thornes, UK)
Paper 4: Mechanics 1 for Cambridge International A Level, by Bostock, L, Chandler, S and Lee, D A (Nelson Thornes, UK)
Paper 5: Mechanics 2 for Cambridge International A Level, by Bostock, L, Chandler, S and Lee, D A (Nelson Thornes, UK)
Paper 6: Probability and Statistics 1 for Cambridge International A Level, by Chambers, J, Crawshaw, J and Balaam, P (Nelson Thornes, UK)
Paper 7: Probability and Statistics 2 for Cambridge International A Level, by Chambers, J, Crawshaw, J and Balaam, P (Nelson Thornes, UK)
- When studying a chapter for the first time, read through the notes in the reference book. Make sure that you understand the concept for that chapter and relate them to what your teacher had taught in school.
- You need to know how to apply what you have learnt to solve questions. Go through all the example questions in the revision book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- Then, you have to do a lot of exercises. You can start by doing questions in the reference books topic by topic. When you have understood all topics, proceed with doing past year A Level questions. They are available on
http://papers.xtremepapers.com/CIE/Cambridge%20International%20A%20and%20AS%20Level/ . After doing the questions, refer to the mark scheme and do self marking. The mark schemes can be found on the same website as the past year questions.
- You should understand how the mark schemes are used. In the mark schemes for Mathematics, there are 3 types of marks, which are M, A and B. The A marks are always dependent on the M marks before them, which means that A marks can only be scored if the M marks before them are also scored. On the other hand, B marks are independent of any other marks, which means that they can be scored without other marks also being scored.
- When doing revision before exam, you should go through the example questions for all chapters in the reference book. If you have forgotten the concept for any chapter, go through the notes in reference book for that chapter again. You should also do some past year questions.
- A Level Mathematics also requires knowledge gained from SPM, IGCSE or equivalent, although it does not test on them directly. Make sure that you do not forget them.

2. Answering tips for all papers (Paper 1 to 7)
- You must show all workings for every question. You should not skip any important steps. You do not need to write down the formula used to solve the question. The number of marks allocated for a question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. Marks can only be given for the final answer if the marks for working are scored. Therefore, correct answer without working usually scores 0 mark.
- On the other hand, if your final answer is wrong but some of your working is correct, you may still be given some marks. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers for any question. If you do so and any of the answers/solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. When copying figures from the question or from your answer for the previous part of the question, be careful not to copy wrongly.
- When answering, read the question and information given carefully. For questions involving diagrams, mark any important details on the diagram. For some questions without diagram, sometimes it may be helpful to draw a diagram so that you can illustrate the information given in the question. Apply what you have learnt in mathematics in order to solve the questions and get the answer. Use the correct concept or formula for every question. Certain formula are provided in the formula booklet, refer to them if necessary.
- If the question does not state that you must or you cannot use a particular method, then you can use any suitable method to solve the question. You can also use methods that are not learnt in the A Level syllabus, if you know them. If the question states that you must use a particular method, then you can only that method to solve the question. If the question states that cannot use a particular method, then you cannot that method to solve the question.
- If the final answer is a number with infinite decimal places, you should round up to at least 3 significant figures, unless if the question states that you have to give your answer to a specific number of significant figures. You can also write your final answer as a fraction or in surd form if possible. However, if the question states that you must express your answer as fraction, as decimal or in surd form, then you must follow the instruction. If a number with infinite decimal places is involved in between the workings, you should take at least 4 or 5 significant figures (3 significant figures is not sufficient) or the value stored in the calculator to ensure accuracy of the final answer. Otherwise, marks may be deducted if the final answer is less accurate.
- For questions involving Pi, you should use the value of Pi from the calculator, unless if the question asks you to use Pi = 22/7 or Pi = 3.142 . You must also follow all other special instructions given in the question. After you have answered all questions, you should recheck your answers for mistakes. Leave at least 15 minutes to recheck your answers if possible. When rechecking, use a different method to solve the question or directly use the calculator if possible.


Tips for other CIE AS and A Level subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/09/complete-tips-for-cie-as-and-level.html

Friday, 5 September 2014

Complete Tips for CIE AS and A Level Examination

I got 4A for my AS Level in October 2013 and 4A* for my A Level in May 2014. The 4 subjects that I took were Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Do you want to know how to score in AS and A Level for these 4 subjects? Here, I am posting the complete tips for AS and A Level. These tips are intended for all students who are sitting for AS or A Level in October 2014, May 2015 or October 2015. Please click on the links below to view the tips for each subject.


AS & A Level Mathematics:

http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/10/tips-for-cie-as-and-level-mathematics.html


AS & A Level Chemistry:

http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/10/tips-for-cie-as-and-level-chemistry.html


AS & A Level Physics:

http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/10/tips-for-cie-as-and-level-physics.html


AS & A Level Biology:

http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/10/tips-for-cie-as-and-level-biology.html


For all other AS and A Level subjects, I do not take them, so I cannot give any tips. Ask someone else who scores well in the subject for tips.


If you are looking for tips for SPM examination, you can find it here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/06/complete-tips-for-spm-examination-first.html

Life After A2 Final Examination

Coming soon ......

My A2 Final Examination

Coming soon ......

Thursday, 12 June 2014

July 2013: The eventful month

Looking back at the year 2013, of all the months, I consider July as the 'eventful' month. The reason is because many incidents happened during that month. For me, July 2013 was the month of transition where I became closer to my college friends. Before that, I was quite antisocial and I seldom talked to many of my college friends. Some of the incidents on that month indirectly led to my '31 July 2013 revolution' which also happened on July 2013. (Read about it here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/31-july-2013-important-day-for-me.html ). Here, I am writing about the notable incidents that happened during July 2013.

1 July 2013 (Monday):

It was the last day of my college June 2013 holidays. I returned to Subang Jaya from Kulim one day before that. On that morning, my mother helped me to renew my expired L driving license at a post office. This was because soon I would be taking my final JPJ driving test, which requires a valid L license. After that, I went with my mother to a CIMB Bank outlet to create a new bank account. I needed the bank account in order to receive my monthly RM430 allowance provided by the Ministry of Education Bursary.

However, I was unable a create the bank account successfully. The reason was when the bank staff tried to scan my thumbprint to verify that it matches the thumbprint stored in my identity card, the verification failed. He retried several times, but none was successful. The bank staff then gave up and said that the problem may be caused by the faulty chip of my identity card since I was still using the old version of the identity card. He suggested that I go to the JPN to change a new identity card. My mother then took me to the JPN in Petalling Jaya to change my identity card.

At the JPN, the staff there told me that my thumbprint could not be verified not because of my identity card since the chip was functioning perfectly, instead it was because of the flaky skin on my right thumb. She suggested that I temporarily use my left thumb when scanning the thumbprint until the skin on my right thumb has recovered. She said that I still had to change my identity card since I was 18 years old. My new identity card would only be ready two weeks later and I could still use my old identity card until I collect the new one.

Then, my mother decided to take me to another CIMB Bank outlet to try again. This time, I told the bank staff to scan my left thumb. However, the verification still failed. Initially, the staff said that I could not create the bank account unless the verification was successful. Later, after I explained to him that I needed the account to receive my monthly allowance, he agreed to let me create the account using an alternative method without the need of verifying the thumbprint. The alternative method required my driving license so it was lucky that my mother had renewed my L license on that morning. He told us to wait for a while.

After some time, I and my mother were asked to go upstairs. There, another staff continued with the account creation process. Out of my expectation, this staff again wanted to scan my thumbprint. Again, the verification failed. However, this staff would not give up and he retried again and again. Finally, after trying for more than 15 minutes the verification was successful. So, my bank account could be created using the normal procedure. The staff returned my L license and said that it was no longer necessary. Later, my bank account was created successfully and I was given a debit card. That was the first debit card that I own. I returned home after that. Although I was tired after being out for the whole day, I was happy and relieved that everything was done.

2 July 2013 (Tuesday):

It was the first day of college after the June 2013 holidays. Our Physics teacher was changed because earlier I and my classmates made a complaint to the college office regarding our previous teacher who could not teach well. In college, my teachers returned our exam papers for the A Level Semester 1 Examination. I was not too excited about that because I already knew my examination results which was released on the Taylor's College Student Portal earlier. For Physics, our papers was marked by the previous teacher but our new teacher discussed the paper with us. He told us that there was a mistake in one of the questions in Paper 1, and as a result, some students including me could get an extra mark. Later, I realised that there seemed to be a mistake in another question and I informed my teacher about that. He said that I was probably correct so I could get another extra mark. During the Biology period, before the teacher entered the class, a girl in my class said to someone "Wah, now it is Bio." I replied her "So?" She and some others were surprised by my response because they thought I had no sense of humour. Due to that incident, I began to become closer to my college friends.

During the break, I and my closest friend wanted to go for lunch. Two girls in my class followed us. At that time, I was not close to the two girls. We went to Casamia Restaurant, which I had never been to earlier. That was the second time I went for lunch with a group of friends. During my first 6 months in college, the only time I had lunch with a group of friends was one day before the Semester 1 examination, other than that, I either have lunch myself or with my closest friend only. That incident also caused me to start becoming closer to my college friends. On that night, I posted a Welcome message on Facebook to welcome all the Taylor's College A Level July 2013 Intake students who would be starting college on the next day. A few of my secondary school friends who received the MOE Bursary would be joining the July 2013 intake. 

3 July 2013 (Wednesday):

It was the orientation day for the Taylor's College A Level July 2013 intake students. They had their orientation program at the Multi Purpose Hall. There was a name list outside the hall showing all the July 2013 intake students. I went to look at the name list to find the names of my secondary school friends who joined the July 2013 intake under the MOE Bursary. However, I was disappointed because I could not find any of them. The name list seemed to be quite short compared to the name list for January 2013 intake earlier. There were two girls previously in my college class who switched to the July 2013 intake after receiving the MOE Bursary. I noticed that their names were also not in the name list. Therefore, I believed that there might be a separate orientation day for the students who received the MOE Bursary.

During the Physics period, my teacher told us that there was a mistake in another question of the examination paper. At first, I thought that he was referring to the question I told him on the previous day but it turned out to be another question. I thought that I could get another extra mark which was the 3rd one, bringing my marks to 99. However, this mistake turned out to cause me to lose a mark. Then, when I asked my teacher about the question I told him on the previous day, he said that there was actually no mistake and he explained to me why I was wrong. I then realised that I was too careless in that question. As a result, I was added only one mark and also deducted one mark, so overall there was no change in my original mark which was 96.

During Biology period, my teacher also told us that there were mistakes in 2 of the questions in Paper 1, so I and some of my classmates could get 2 extra marks. I was very happy about that because that would bring my Biology marks to 91 and I would be able to get above 90 marks for all subjects in that examination. In the actual A Level examination, 90 marks and above is an A* grade. Originally, my Biology marks was 89 and Biology was the only subject where I did not get above 90 marks in that examination. This would be the first time I got above 90 marks for all subjects in one examination, because in Form 4 and Form 5, I never managed to get straight A+ for any examination, including the actual SPM, because of either English or Bahasa Melayu.

4 July 2013 (Thursday):

On that day, I received a letter from Taylor's College which invited me to attend a program for the students who received the MOE Bursary on 13 July 2013. However, I would be taking part in the Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan on the same day. The program seemed to be mainly for the July 2013 intake MOE Bursary students so I thought that it might not be compulsory for me to attend it. I decided to go to the college office to ask about that on the next day.

5 July 2013 (Friday):

A boy formerly in my college class switched to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) after receiving the MOE Bursary. He had to switch to Taylor's College Sri Hartamas because IBDP is not offered at Taylor's College Subang Jaya. On that day, my college classmates organised a farewell lunch for him after class at a restaurant near our college. At first, I did not want to join them because at that time I was still not close to my college friends and I used to return home straight away after class every Friday. Moreover, we had a walk quite a distance from the college to the restaurant and at that time I was not used to walking so far. However, my group members for the MPW Malaysian Studies subject would be doing the drama for our group project after the farewell lunch. I had to be involved in the project because it contributed marks for the Malaysian Studies subject. Previously, for the MPW Moral Education subject, I did not join my group members to do the project, so now I did not want to repeat the same mistake. So, I had to join the farewell lunch. Most of my classmates went for the farewell lunch.

During the lunch, the boy said that he would not forget me because a few days earlier I said to him "Bye bye forever" and everyone was amused by that. When the lunch was about to end, I and my group members decided to leave first because we had to do the drama for our Malaysian Studies group project. We did the drama behind Wisma Subang Jaya. The drama was about pickpocket. In the drama, I acted as someone who was carrying a stack of books. Then, someone knocked on me, causing all the books to fall on the floor. As I was picking up the books, my friend who acted as the thief took away my purse from the pocket of my trousers. The drama was recorded by a girl in our group. We had to repeat the drama once as the first one was not satisfactory. The second one was better, but it looked a bit fake. After the drama, I went to the scholarship department of the college office to inform them that I could not attend the program for the MOE Bursary students on 13 July 2013. The staff said that it was alright since I did not require accommodation. I also asked about the orientation day for the July 2013 intake students under the MOE Bursary and the staff told me that it would be on 15 July 2013.

After I returned home on that day, I happened to go to the Examination Results page of the Taylor's College Student Portal. I noticed that the results for the MPW Moral Education subject earlier was out. I was very disappointed that I got a F grade, which meant that I failed. The obvious reason was because earlier I refused to join my Moral Education group members to carry out the group project and community service. Earlier, I thought that I could still pass it by scoring well in the final written examination and other aspects such as online test and attendance. However, now this proved that I was wrong. Later, I posted on the Facebook group of my class to ask if any of my classmates also failed. Both my friends who commented on my post said that they passed.

7 July 2013 (Sunday):

I attended the refreshment class for JPJ driving test at Metro Driving Academy. It was the last driving lesson I attended before the JPJ driving test. In this refreshment class, it was the first time where the engine of the car I drove did not go dead even for once throughout the whole lesson, except that at the very end of the lesson I forgot and released the clutch petal too quickly after stopping the car at the parking lot, causing the engine to go dead. Previously, for every driving lesson I attended, the engine of the car I drove always went dead at some point during the lesson.

8 July 2013 (Monday):

During the MPW Malaysian Studies period on that day, I asked the teacher regarding my Moral Education results since my teacher for Moral Education and Malaysian Studies were the same. He told me that I scored quite well in my final written examination but I had no marks for the group project and community work. He said that I needed just a few more marks to pass it. He also said that he earlier tried to find me by telephoning the class rep but it was the Semester 1 examination at that time. He heard from the class rep that I seldom mixed around with my classmates and therefore I did not join them doing the group project. According to him, all my other classmates did the group project and they passed. He then suggested that I do a written assignment, and if it was satisfactory, I could pass the Moral Education. He told me to think of a suitable topic for the assignment and let him know on the next day.

9 July 2013 (Tuesday):

During the Malaysian Studies period, I told the teacher that I chose the topic "Social problems among teenagers" for the assignment. However, he said that the topic was too general and he then suggested the topic "Pre-marital sex among teenagers". I did not want to do an assignment on that topic because I thought that it was a sensitive issue. My teacher then suggested the topic "The dumping of babies in Malaysia" and I agreed with that. He said that I had to pass up the assignment by 14 July 2013. When one of my friends knew about that, she said that I should have chosen the topic "Pre-marital sex among teenagers" because she previously did an assignment about that so she could help me. I did not change the topic but I told her to send me her previous assignment because some of the material might me relevant to the topic "The dumping of babies" since pre-marital sex is one of the reasons that cause the dumping of babies. On that night, she sent me the material through Facebook.

10 July 2013 (Wednesday):

On that day, I had lunch with 3 classmates at Pontian Restaurant near my college. This was another occasion where I went for lunch with a larger group of classmates, unlike previously during the first 6 months where I only went for lunch myself or with my closest friend. When the college was over, while I was waiting for my mother at the college gate, I met one of my classmates. She asked me why I failed Moral Education. I told her that I did not not join my group members to do the group project because I was not close to them. She said that I was antisocial and I should change. It was this incident where I learnt the word 'antisocial', which later I often used. Then, I also met my classmate who sent me her assignment about pre-marital sex and I thanked her for that.

11 July 2013 (Thursday):

My final JPJ driving test was on that day. Therefore, I could not attend college on that day. There was physics practical lesson on that day and I missed it. I considered that day as a lucky day for me because it was exactly one year after my "7-11 Revolution" which happened on 11 July 2012, and I hoped that would allow me to pass the driving test. I went to Metro Driving Academy early in the morning. I was the first person in the 2nd group. So, I had to wait some time for those in the 1st group to complete the driving test first. Among all the candidates, one of them was a European foreigner. I was quite worried of the test and I was only hoping to pass either Part 2 or Part 3 because I was not confident to pass both. Part 2 consisted of Hill Climbing, Parking and Three Point Turn, while Part 3 was about driving on the road. I went for Part 2 first.

When I was doing the Hill climbing, I was too nervous. As a result, I stopped the car too soon before the tyre reached the yellow line. The instructor told me to go back down and try again once more. Luckily, this time I was managed to stop the car at the right position, otherwise I would fail Part 2 of the test. Then, I was successful for the Parking and Three Point Turn. The tester told me that I passed Part 2 and told me to sign my name. I proceeded with Part 3. When it was my turn, I was asked to enter the car. However, there was no tester in the car and I waited for some time. Then, I saw a tester nearby so I asked him "Saya kena tunggu lagi kah? (Do I still have to wait?)". He was actually supposed to be in charge of me.

Actually, I just wanted an answer for that, but the tester thought that I was scolding him. He was angry and he complained to the head tester about that. Luckily, the head tester was considerate. He told me that he would change another tester for me. Later, I was asked to go to another car to take Part 3 of the driving test. I was told to use the 3rd road which was shorter than the 1st and 2nd road but more difficult because it involved making U-turn. I tried to drive as good as possible. Somewhere on the road, there happened to be many lorries. I avoided the lorries and the tester told me to be careful of them. At last, when I arrived back at Metro Driving Acedemy, the tester told me that I passed Part 3 and my score was 18/20. The minimum score required to pass was 16/20. I was very happy that I passed both Part 2 and Part 3 in my first attempt, several months after I started to learn driving in December 2012. I was told that I would get my P license after a few weeks. Later, my mother came and took me home.

12 July 2013 (Friday):

I did parts of my written assignment for Moral Education but I could not finish on that day. I would be taking part in the Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan on the next day but I did not make any preparations for it because I did not know what to prepare and I did not take it too seriously since it was just a competition and not examination.

13 July 2013 (Saturday):

The Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan (OMK) 2013 competition was on that day. It was held at Universiti Malaya. 3 of my classmates also took part in the competition and we were in the same group. However, the results of the competition will be based on individual performance. Early in the morning, my mother took me to college. On that day, there was a program in the college for all the MOE Bursary students. I did not take part in the program because of the competition. Later, 2 of my classmates arrived at the college. We waited for other participants to arrive. I suddenly remembered that I did not bring geometrical instruments which was usually required for competition. My classmates also forgot to bring it. So, I and my classmates went to the book store opposite our college to buy it.

Meanwhile, many of the July 2013 intake students under the MOE Bursary arrived at Taylor's College. Many of them came with their parents. It was the first day in Taylor's College for them. After a while, I saw 2 of my secondary school friends among them. Both of them called me first. I told them that I went to college on that day not because of the program, but because of the OMK competition. One of my college friend saw one of my secondary school friend and she later told me that she felt that my secondary school friend was very beautiful. Later, my Mathematics teacher who was the teacher in charge arrived. When all the participants arrived, we boarded the school bus. My classmates said that our other classmate taking part in the competition would be going to Universiti Malaya by himself.

Universiti Malaya was very large and consisted of several separate buildings. We registered at one of the halls there. Before the competition started, I discussed with my friends and gave them some tips about the competition because I had previously taken part in the same competition during Form 5, Form 4 and Form 2. The competition started at 10:00AM and it lasted for 2 and a half hours. The questions were divided into 2 sections. Section A had 6 short questions while Section B had 3 long questions. The difficulty of the questions were similar to that of the questions in year 2012. I could answer all questions in Section A and 2 questions in Section B, and I was confident that I answered correctly all questions in Section A and 1 question in Section B. I hoped that I could be in the top-95 again like the previous year. After the competition ended at 12:30PM, we were taken back to the college. I then had lunch at McDonalds near my college before returning home.

14 July 2013 (Sunday):

On the night before that, I had a strange dream. In the dream, I was a doctor who was carrying out a brain surgery on someone whose life was in danger. At last, the surgery was successful and the person was saved. Then, I woke up from my dream. Coincidentally, on that day my parents took me to visit the International Medical University (IMU) which at that time was my top choice of university to study medicine after completing A Level. The reason was because I told them that I went to Universiti Malaya (UM) on the previous day, so they wanted me to compare IMU with UM. The IMU campus was located in Bukit Jalil. My parents and I were a bit disappointed because the IMU campus was small and did not look attractive. Therefore, my mother preferred that I study at Monash University Malaysia instead. There was a career talk at IMU on that day but it was for Pharmacy so I did not attend it. I was supposed to pass up my written assignment for Moral Education on that day. However, I only managed to complete it on that night. Then, I sent the assignment through e-mail to my teacher just before midnight.

15 July 2013 (Monday):

It was the orientation day for the July 2013 intake students under the MOE Bursary. Their name list was displayed in front the college office and I went to have a look at it. I saw the names of a few of my secondary school friends as well as my former college classmates who switched to the July intake. One of them initially registered at Taylor's College but later decided to give up the Bursary and accept another scholarship to study Canadian International Matriculation Programme at Sunway College.

During Biology period, my teacher called me and some of my friends. Earlier, we were given 2 extra marks for the Semester 1 Examination due to some mistakes in the questions. My teacher told us that he did inform the college examination unit, but they forgot about that and they had printed the results slip. Consequently, our results slip would show our original marks without the 2 marks added. He apologised to us about that and told us that in return, he would give us 2 extra marks for our oncoming AS Trial Examination. I did not feel disappointed about that because in reality I still got 91 marks for Biology and the 2 extra marks could be helpful for my AS Trial Examination which would be difficult. After that, during the Malaysian Studies period, my teacher asked me if I had completed and sent him the written assignment. I told him that I had sent it to him before midnight.

16 July 2013 (Tuesday):

During the Malaysian Studies period, I asked my teacher about my written assignment. He said that he had seen the assignment and it was alright. He told me that I should be able the pass the MPW Moral Education subject. I was relieved about that. There would be a Mathematics class test on the next day which would test on the topics of Modulus Functions, Polynomials, Partial Fractions and Binomial Expansion which were all A2 topics. On that night, I did some revision on those topics. However, I did not revise much because I thought that I had fully understood those topics.

17 July 2013 (Wednesday):

There was a Mathematics class test on that day. It was the 6th class test we had for Mathematics in the entire A level. The test consisted of 6 questions. Most of the questions were moderately difficult, except that Question 3 was tricky and Question 6 was very difficult. I did not know how to do the Question 6, so I simply used a solution to attempt to solve it. At the same time, I was confused with Question 3. I also had to rush to finish the test because I had not enough time. Worst of all, Question 6 carried the most marks. During the test, someone entered my class and told my teacher to inform me and one of my friend who received the MOE Bursary that we had to attend a briefing on the next day. During the 2nd Mathematics period, my teacher said that she had marked the first 4 questions of everyone's test paper and I had made a mistake in one of the questions. I was sure that Question 3 was the question she referred to. I was worried that I might score poorly because I was also unable to answer Question 6.

18 July 2013 (Thursday):

On that day, the Taklimat Penajaan Program Bursary Pelajar Cemerlang SPM was held at the Multi Purpose Hall of Taylor's College Subang Jaya. It was organised by the staff from the Ministry of Education and all Bursary students in Taylor's College attended it, both January and July 2013 intakes. Students in Taylor's College Sri Hartamas also came to my college. There, I met a few of my secondary school friends and my former college classmate who switched to the July 2013 intake. I sat with my classmate. During the program, all of us were given the Bursary offer letter. They told us all the important details and information about the MOE Bursary. They also talked a little about the JPA scholarship. There were 2 things they said which surprised me and many others. First, they said that we had to maintain a CGPA of 3.5 in every college examinations, otherwise our bursary could be withdrawn unless if we could give a strong reason. However, the offer letter only stated that we cannot fail. Second, they said that Bursary students would not be given any priority over non-Bursary students when we apply for the JPA scholarship. Many students were worried about that.

After they finished the talk, there was a questioning session. Those who wanted to ask questions were given the opportunity to speak through the microphone right at their place. Many students asked questions regarding the MOE Bursary as well as the JPA scholarship. They answered all the questions regarding the bursary, but they were reluctant to answer questions regarding the JPA scholarship, saying that MOE and JPA were different entities. There was a student who asked them if they could increase the monthly allowance because RM430 per month was not enough to spend due to high living cost in Subang Jaya. They then said that RM430 would be enough if one spends the money wisely. Suddenly, someone's father who attended the briefing spoke through the microphone "Itu dekat kampung mah!" He meant that RM430 per month would only be enough in village areas but not in cities like Subang Jaya. Later, he requested to speak.

He did not ask any questions. Instead, he made some complaints to the staff from MOE. First, he complained that they mostly mentioned about A level only, although some of the students there were taking International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), one of them was his daughter. Next, he said that his daughter wanted to study Dentistry, but all the top-10 universities in the JPA list at that time did not have dentistry course. Besides, he said that they should be willing to answer questions regarding the JPA scholarship and not give the excuse that MOE and JPA were separate entities, because they should be responsible and all the students were academically excellent students. Personally, I agreed with most of what he said. However, he was a bit fierce and I was worried that the staff from MOE might tell him to "Listen! Listen! Listen!" and take his microphone away, which might lead to a fight. Moreover, I was quite sitting quite close to him.

Luckily, that did not happen. I secretly recorded part of his talk using my phone. He spoke quite fluently. After he finished talking, the MOE staff thanked him for his feedback and said that they would try to improve on what he pointed out. Towards the end of the questioning session, I thought of something I wanted to ask. However, I was too late as the questioning session just ended when I raised my hand. After that, I walked to the front of the hall to ask them the question personally. Many others also did the same. I asked the staff why the offer letter did not state that we must get CGPA of 3.5 and above in every college examinations to maintain the bursary, but only stated that we cannot fail. She said that it was because there are many forms of failure, such as disciplinary problems, and not getting CGPA of 3.5 is considered as one of them. After the briefing ended, I went to have lunch with my friends. There was Physics practical lesson on that day and I missed it because it was during the briefing. This was the 2nd time I missed the Physics practical after the 1st time on 11 July 2013 due to my driving test.

19 July 2013 (Friday):

On that day, one girl in my college class accepted my Facebook friend request. I had sent her the friend request a few months ago. Maybe she was not aware of the friend request earlier.

21 July 2013 (Sunday):

Two days ago, one of my classmate accepted my Facebook friend request. I wanted to add all my college classmates as my Facebook friend. So, on that day I went to the Facebook group of my class and viewed the members list. I found out that all my classmates were already my Facebook friends except 2 girls. So, I sent them the friend request. Later on that day, both of them accepted the request.

22 July 2013 (Monday):

One of the girl whom I added as Facebook friend on the previous day told her close friend about that. She said that she was surprised that I sent her the friend request. I then told her that I added her because I wanted all my college classmates to be my Facebook friends and that I also added another girl in our class. This incident also brought me closer to my college friends.

23 July 2013 (Tuesday):

One of my college friend was good at singing. At that time, he often sang openly in the college to collect donations from the students. He was the member of a club which was raising funds to help the unfortunate. On that day, during Biology period my teacher asked him to sing in the class for us to listen. While he sang, I recorded it with my phone. However, my phone made a sound when the recording started. My classmates heard that and they laughed. My friend sang quite well, except that I did not really like the song he chose to sing because it was an English song while I preferred Chinese song.

24 July 2013 (Wednesday):

My Mathematics teacher returned our papers for the Mathematics class test earlier. Before giving me back my paper, my teacher told me that she was shocked because I only scored 21/30 (70%) for the test, which was the lowest she had ever seen. She hoped that I could learn a lesson from this incident that I should not be overconfident in Mathematics. I already expected that because I could not answer 2 of the questions correctly. I scored 0 out of 4 marks for Question 3 and only 2 out of 7 marks for Question 6. Question 3 tested on Modulus function. It looked easy but was tricky because a graph must be drawn to solve it, while I attempted to solve it by algebra. Question 7 tested on Binomial Expansion. That kind of question was quite common in past year questions but I did not do any of them so I did not know how to solve it. Instead, I tried to use long division of polynomial to solve it. Many of my classmates got about the same marks as or slightly higher marks than mine. 2 of my classmates obtained full marks. Our teacher said that soon there would be another class test. I told myself that I must score full marks for the next class test.

25 July 2013 (Thursday):

The 3rd Physics practical lesson for semester 2 of A level was on that day. I could finally attend it for the 1st time after missing out the previous 2 practical lessons in the past 2 weeks. The Physics practical lessons were only on every Thursday. I wanted to carry out the experiment on the same table as my closest friend but someone already sat there because I went to the Physics lab late. My teacher asked me to do the experiment on another table where 2 of my classmates were using that table. Every table could be shared by either 2 or 3 students. We carried out the experiment individually. The experiment was quite easy to do and I could record the results. However, some of my friends later realised that they did the experiment wrongly because they misunderstood the question so they had to restart the experiment from the beginning. Luckily, I did not make the same mistake.

26 July 2013 (Friday):

My Physics teacher taught us the topic Gravitational Potential. During class, he asked us a question "The gravitational potential of the moon depends in the mass of the Earth or the Moon?". I quickly answered "Moon". Actually, I was confused and the actual answer was "Earth". My teacher said that the answer should be "Earth" and he was disappointed with my answer. He then asked me "Do you have a girl friend?" I answered "No." He said to me "You looked blur and confused recently". Later, I thought back about that. My Physics teacher always had high hopes and expectations on me because my previous Physics teacher told him that I am an excellent student. At that time, my teachers had completed the AS syllabus for all subjects and they began on the A2 topics. I could understand all the AS topics very well, but I seemed to have problems with the A2 topics. I could not really understand the A2 topics for Physics, and that was why I was confused on that day. Besides, it was the same for Mathematics, and that was why I scored poorly in the Mathematics class test recently. The main reason was because I did not pay much attention on the A2 topics since the AS final examination in October 2013 would only test on the AS topics, while the A2 topics would only be tested on the following year. Due to that incident, I told myself that I should be more serious about my studies and pay more attention while in class so that my teachers would not be disappointed with me.

27 July 2013 (Saturday):

The list of the students born in year 1996 who were selected for the PLKN (National Service) was out on that day. On Facebook, I wished good luck to all those born in 1996 that those who did not want to take part would not be selected and those who were interested to take part would be selected. Although it did not involve me, I simply went to the PLKN website and keyed in my identity card number just for the fun of it. Instead of giving an error that I was not born in 1996, the website stated that I was not chosen for the PLKN. On Facebook, some of my friends posted about that. Some were selected for PLKN while others were not. Many of them preferred not to be selected. According to rumours, more students were selected on this year compared to the previous year.

28 July 2013 (Sunday):

On the night before that, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was taking the JPJ driving test for motorcycle. I woke up from my dream when the test was about to end. In reality, I never went for any motorcycle driving lessons and I never wanted to own a motorcycle license. Coincidentally, on that day Metro Driving Academy informed me that my P driving license was ready. At noon, my mother took me to the office of Metro Driving Academy. I got my P license and I also got back my L license. My mother also paid the fees for the refreshment class earlier. It took me more than 7 months to get my P driving license after I first attended the Kursus Kurikulum Pendidikan Pemandu on 26 December 2012. 

29 July 2013 (Monday):

On that day, it was the last day of the MPW Malaysian Studies class. After that day, I no longer need to attend any classes for Malaysian Studies. When the class ended, I said to the teacher "Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!" before leaving. After the class, there was a Malaysian Studies test which was conducted online at Edmodo.com . This test would contribute some marks to the overall marks. I and my classmates decided to cooperate and answer the test together in one of the classroom because our teacher would not know about that. All the questions were objective questions. My closest friend volunteered to let everyone use his account to answer the test, while all others would later answer using their own accounts with the same answers. The questions for everyone were the same, except that the order of the questions were different.

I wanted to contribute by giving the answers, but I could only answer some of the questions because I did not do any revision for Malaysian Studies. For the other questions, my classmates gave the answer. There were some difficult and confusing questions where we had to discuss with each other or search on the internet before we could get the answer. After submitting the test, the results was known immediately and it was 17/20. However, we could not know which were the 3 questions we got wrong. We were satisfied with that and my classmates began answering the test using their own accounts with the same answers . They used either their mobile phone or iPad to access the website where the test was conducted. However, I did not have an iPad at that time and my mobile phone was too slow so I could not answer the test. At first, I thought of answering the test using the computer in the library later. 

When someone was answering the test, he suspected that our answer for one of the questions was wrong and thought of changing it so that he could get get 18/20. However, he was also worried that it might actually be correct so changing it would cause him to get only 16/20. I was also quite sure that the answer was wrong. He tried to search on the internet but could not find the answer. Then, a girl offered to lend me her iPad so that I could answer the test. I then volunteered to change that answer when answering the test with my account to see the outcome. He waited for me to finish the test before he answered that question. At last, I got 18/20 after using the new answer for that question. He and a few others who had not answered the test used the new answer when answering the test. So, all my classmates either got 17/20 or 18/20 for the online test. That experience was quite interesting and caused me to be even closer to my college friends.

30 July 2013 (Tuesday):

The final written examination for the MPW Malaysian Studies subject would be on the next day. At first, I did not want to do revision for it because I planned to start revising for the AS trial examination which would begin soon and I thought that the AS trial exam was more important. I did not revise for the AS Trial examination earlier because I was going through the A2 topics in the textbooks. However, I later decided to still revise for the Malaysian Studies as I did not want to fail it like the Moral Education. I went through the short notes given by my teacher. It was not difficult to revise Malaysian Studies as I had studied some of the topics in SPM Sejarah previously and I need not memorise much since all the questions would be objective questions. I finished doing revision on that night.

31 July 2013 (Wednesday):

On that day, it was the final written examination for the MPW Malaysian Studies subject. There was a two hour break before the exam started so we could use that time to do revision. During that 2 hours, I and some of my classmates stayed in the classroom. Initially, I wanted to revise the Malaysian Studies. Then, one of my friend who was not very close to me at that time asked me "What are you going to do during this 2 hours?" I replied "I will do revision for Malaysian Studies." He then said "No need lah. You are so clever already." I said "Not actually. That day I could not answer our Physics teacher's question correctly even though it was actually easy. He was disappointed with me and even thought that I was confused because I had a girl friend". He then said "Well, then do you have a girl friend? I mean during secondary school." I told him "No." Then, he said "For so long you never told us about your secondary school life." He and the girl beside him started asking me questions regarding my secondary school life and I answered all their questions. We were talking loudly so other students in class could hear our conversation.

They were interested in our conversation so they joined. They too asked me many questions and I answered them. It was the first time where I had a close conservation with my college friends. As a result of our conversations, I did not revise for the Malaysian Studies at that time but I already did the revision one day earlier so it doesn't matter. For the examination, the questions were not difficult and I could answer quite well. In this incident, I realised that I could actually communicate well with my college friends, only that never attempted to do so earlier. So, I told myself that from that day onwards, I should talk to my college friends more. That incident was very important to me, because after that incident, I became much closer to my college friends and I was no longer antisocial. I call this incident as my "31 July 2013 revolution". Therefore, 31 July 2013 was the most important day for me throughout year 2013. I have written in detail about this incident on my blog earlier. You can read it here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/06/31-july-2013-important-day-for-me.html

1 August 2013 (Thursday):

On that day, when I walked into the college class, I said to all my classmates "Hi everyone!". Most of them replied me "Hi, Daniel!". That was an obvious change after my "31 July 2013 revolution". There was Physics practical lesson on that day. It was the 2nd time I attended it in Semester 2 of A level. I did the experiment on the same table as one of my close friend. The experiment was slightly more difficult compared to the previous week. When the practical lesson ended, my friend realised that his iPhone was missing. He was still using it when carrying out the experiment. Soon, our classmates knew about that. I and some of our classmates helped him to look for his iPhone but we could not find. He also did not activate the "Find my iPhone" function. Later, one of our classmate called us to tell us that a girl in our class had taken his iPhone and placed it in someone's bag. I was rather surprised because I never expected that the girl would do something like that as she was excellent in her studies. Someone said that the girl had previously did the same thing to her too.

I and my 2 close friends decided to go for lunch at Jojo's Kitchen first since we already knew where was the iPhone. While we were having lunch, our other classmates happened to also come to the same restaurant for lunch. My friend then got back his iPhone from the person whose bag the iPhone was placed in. He also did not know that my friend's iPhone was placed in his bag. Actually, the girl who did that had no bad intention and she just wanted to disturb my friend. There would be a Mathematics class test on the next day which would test on the topics of Exponential, Logarithm Functions and Trigonometry which were all A2 topics. On that night, I did revision for those topics. I told myself that I must get full marks for the class test because I scored poorly in the previous class test.

2 August 2013 (Friday):

It was the last day of college before the one-week holiday for Hari Raya Aidilfitri started. When I was on the way to college, there was a very bad traffic jam. So, my father decided to use another way to the college to avoid the traffic jam. This way was longer and still had some traffic jam. Eventually, I arrived at the college late. Luckily the first period was not Mathematics because there was Mathematics class test on that day. When I walked into the class, many of my classmates said "Ponteng!" because I used to say that whenever someone was late. A few of my classmates was also late on that day. The Mathematics class test on that day was quite easy and I could answer all the questions. I even had time to recheck all my answers. I was very confident of getting full marks in that test. It was the 7th class test for Mathematics in the entire A Level.

On that afternoon, when I was sleeping, I had a strange dream. It actually consisted of 5 different dreams that were interconnected together. 2 of the dreams were bad while the others were neutral. The whole dream seemed to be very long although in reality I only slept for about 2 hours. I was a bit worried that the 2 bad dreams might be a sign that something would happen. On that night, I had pizza at home for dinner. After dinner, my parents took me back to Kulim because on the next day I would be taking the SPM Chinese Language oral test in Alor Star.

3 August 2013 (Saturday):

I woke up early in the morning. My father took me to Alor Star to take the SPM Chinese Language oral test. My grandparents also followed along. The oral test was held at Hotel Seri Malaysia, Alor Star. After I registered my name, I waited for some time before the oral test started. There were some other private candidates there who took the oral test for either Chinese Language or Arabic Language. Some of them were adults while others were like my age. The oral test consisted of 2 parts, individual and group test. I did the individual test first. I was given the topic "青少年通过教育可以成为谦恭有礼的人. 提出你的看法. " (Teenagers can become polite person through education. Give your opinion on this). It was a difficult topic and I did not have much ideas. I was given 10 minutes to prepare before the test. I partially agreed with the statement but I also stated that there are other ways to educate teenagers to be polite. However, I could not speak well. Luckily, the examiners were helpful and they helped me by asking me questions. There were 2 examiners.

After that, it was the group test. There were 2 other candidates in my group, one boy and one girl. We were given 3 topics to choose. I and my group members chose the topic "谈谈旅游业对我国的影响." (Explain the effects of tourism industry on our country) because it was the easiest one and the teacher in charge also suggested that we choose it. We were again given 10 minutes to prepare before the test. I discussed with my group members. I and the boy contributed many ideas but the girl mostly kept quiet and spoke very little. During the test, I could speak much better compared to the individual test. The boy also spoke very well but the girl again spoke very little. The examiners tried to help her by encouraging her to speak and by asking her questions, but she still did not speak much. At the end of the test, the examiners said that I and the boy got grade A while the girl passed. They did not tell us our marks but I accidentally saw that I got 26/30 for the individual test. Since I spoke much better during the group test, I assumed that I got higher marks for the group test. Only the higher of the marks for the individual test or group test would be taken into consideration. The oral test contributed 30 out of overall 230 marks for the SPM Chinese Language.

After the oral test, I, my father and my grandparents initially planned to have lunch at either Alor Star or Sungai Petani. However, I then had a bad diarrhea, most probably due to the pizza I ate on the previous night which might not be fresh. As a result, I had no appetite to eat, so we decided to go home without having lunch. On that night, I and my family went to a western food restaurant in Penang for dinner. At that time, I had the appetite to eat so I could finish the dinner. On the way home after dinner, my mother was talking to me about the iPhone which my grandfather bought recently. This reminded my brother about something which happened earlier and he brought up that issue again. He claimed that my mother had earlier promised to buy him a Samsung Galaxy S4 but she did not keep her promise. He was again unhappy about that. As a result of that, the atmosphere in the car was ruined. I was angry with him in my heart although I did not say it out.

After 3 August 2013, there was 1 week of college holiday. After the holidays, it was the AS Trial examination.

Conclusion:

It was clear that July 2013 was an eventful month for me because several notable incidents happened. My 31 July 2013 Revolution which was a very important incident for me also happened during July 2013. As you saw, I wrote about the incidents which happened on almost every day in July 2013. I also added the first 3 days of August 2013 because some important incidents happened on that 3 days and they were continuation to the July 2013 incidents. The reason why I could remember all the dates and incidents on each date so clearly was because I wrote diary everyday at that time. However, July 2013 was not the most interesting or most important month in year 2013 for me. The reason was because at that time, I was still antisocial and not very close to my college friends. I only became very close to them after the 31 July incident. Besides, July 2013 was a rather unproductive month for me. I had difficulties in understanding the A2 topics taught by my teachers as I mentioned above. I was also lazy to revise the AS topics because I was overconfident after scoring above 90 marks for all subjects in the Semester 1 examination. This later adversely affected my AS Trial examination in August 2013, where my marks for all subjects fell compared to the Semester 1 exam.

For the Olimpiad Matematik Kebangsaan 2013 competition which I took part in 13 July 2013, the results was out in October 2013. I managed to be in the top-95 and get the "Sijil Sanjungan Kehormat" again like in year 2012. In December 2013, my Mathematics teacher gave me a certificate for that. For the Mathematics class test on 2 August 2013, my teacher only gave us back the test paper in September 2013 due to the AS Trial examination. I got full marks (25/25) as I expected. One of my classmates also got full marks.

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