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What should I be doing this month?

What to think about this month - April 2015

In this month's newsletter: revision, offers and just about everything in between...

Are you starting to feel the pressure of exams? If so asking that question, probably doesn't help. But healthy pressure is a good thing to get the right grades to for the uni or job you want. Whatever it is, you know these ones count. Luckily Push has revision tips and advice to get you through this tough time. It's all going to be ok.

If you're in year 12

If you're in year 13

In the news

If you're in Year 12

Unless universities start using the eenie-meenie-miney-mo method of trawling through applications, we’re stuck with grades, exams and revision. No fair.

However, the up-side is that you have complete control over getting these right, right? So don’t just work hard, work smart. One of our top tips for revision is to work out what works for you personally. What gets your cognitive cogs ticking? It all depends on what kind of learner you are. To put it bluntly, are you a seer, a hearer or a doer?

 • Seers: Not fortune-telling witches from Harry Potter, seers benefit from images instead of endless pages of text. Think you’re a seer? Make posters of key points and put them up around your house where you’ll see them regularly. We recommend gluing them to the front of the fridge, on the wall opposite the loo and directly over the TV screen.

 • Hearers: A hearer remembers notes by reading them out loud or hearing them. Pester your family or a friend to sit  and read your work to you. If you can stand the sound of your own voice – then you’re weird. Only joking, you’re very lucky, because you can make recordings and listen to them while you’re out and about.

Doers: Learn by practice, practice and a bit more practice, otherwise known as doing, doing and more doing. Doers are itching to stop listening to the teacher and give it a go themselves. Doers are going to get the revision into their heads by doing exercises, or trying the theory out for themselves. A great way of doing this is by teaching a friend what you’re trying to learn. It’s a win-win, they learn about biology and you remember the facts. Don’t expect them to be round yours for a sleepover in a rush again though…

If you have no idea which of the above you are, try them all. Want more revision tips? Check out more expert advice here.  

But getting into uni is about more than just grades. Entry requirements are only a rough guide. Some people with the right grades don't get a place, while others who don't get the results, still get in (often because they've got something else to offer).

Some unis advertise lower grades than the ones you actually need in practice (to make themselves seem more accessible). Others bump up the necessary grades in public, perhaps to try to attract a higher achieving kind of student. 

Many unis will take a creative attitude to the qualifications of students from non-traditional backgrounds (such as mature students), especially if you've got other experience that counts for you, like a job or volunteering. And most will use your personal statement as a way of filling in the gaps between your grades and allows them to get a sense of your personality. A few do interviews or even have their own entry exams. The possibilities seem endless.

If you're in Year 13

If you’ve heard from all your unis, have made your decision, and told them: Then you’re done with the application process for now and you can put all your effort into making sure you get your grades or meet any other conditions your acceptance choices unis may have asked for.

If you’ve heard from all your unis and still have to make your decisions, you naughty little devil, playing hard to get. Seriously though, you've got just a few weeks to weigh up your options and accept the best for you (one 'firm' first choice and one 'provisional' back-up) and tell the rest thanks, but no thanks. The deadline is 6th May. If you missed any of our tips on sorting through offers, you can catch up here.

If you’re still waiting to hear from some of your unis: don’t panic. You should hear from them very soon. If you applied on time, they're supposed to have let you know by the end of March, but sometimes, they just take a bit longer. At this stage though, you're well within your rights to give them a nudge and ask them what’s taking so long.

What's New?

Money, money, money…

Now you’ve got the majority if not all of your offers in, you’ve probably started thinking about how you’re going to pay your way through the next 3, 4 or even 5 years. All a bit confusing? Not quite sure where to start? Eek. You could start to calm your nerves by taking a look here to see if you could get any free money. Yes, free money.

The European funding guide helps students across Europe find out if they are eligible for a grant (the free money we were talking about) and how to go about getting your grubby mits on it. If the finances are still troubling you after that, check out advice from our friends at Bright Knowledge. Better still, tell your teacher to get one of us from Push to come in person for one of our Student Money and Budgeting presentations that put the fun into funding. Maybe not, but they are a laugh.

Compare unis around the world. Your way.

League tables tell you very little about what different unis would be like for students to study there — especially the international ones. They usually just look at how good their research is and for first-time students that's very much a side issue.

For the past couple of years, Push has been working with a number of partners from all over the globe on a major international project called U-Multirank that allows you to compare the world's unis according to what matters to you. Because everyone else's idea of best may not be yours. This month new data's been released and now U-Multirank has over 1,200 universities to compare.

Free courses to explore subjects or buff up your personal statement

Push's friends Future Learn are the UK's platform for MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses). A MOOC is a free  course, run entirely online, with no pressure. You just study want you want, just because you want to. If you study and stick with a MOOC, it shows real passion for the subject and marks you out from the other faceless UCAS or job applications.   

The subject range is brain-boggling: the Secret Power of Brands, Fiction Writing, Causes of War, Football, World War I,  Introduction to Dutch — you name it. Courses range from 3 to 7 weeks long and 3 to 5 hours work per week and at the end you get a certificate to show you finished. They run outside term-time so they won't interfere with your studies. And the best part? They're completely free. 

Seriously, take a look and see if there's anything you want to sign up for starting in June.

In the news

Revision driving you up the walls…?

Have you ever really wanted to pass an exam? Worried that if you fail, that’ll be it, the end of your educational career as you know it? Ever thought how much easier it would be if you could just find a good way of cheating? Probably not as much as these students and their parents.

These parents in India climbed the walls of their children’s school in order to pass the students answers to their test. Their happiness and relief was short-lived, when police showed up to arrest the parents and students.  All a bit extreme, perhaps. Make sure you don’t need acrobatic parents with the help of our revision tips.

Your vote adds up

With the next election looming, you’ve probably been taking a look at the stops being pulled out to secure your vote — such as Labour’s idea of cutting tuition fees to £6,000 a year.

Some argue it won't make a difference, because the only people who'd end up repaying the difference in debt between £6,000 fees and £9,000 fees are the graduates who end up earning the most. Even so, Labour argues, it'll mean a lower debt against your name and, even if you can't repay it all, it'll be less of a burden on the taxpayers of the future.  

Unis worry though about whether the money they'd lose in lower fees will be made up by the Government. Labour says it will and the unis will definitely be trying to hold them to it. 

For more money tips and advice, have a look here. And if you're going to be 18 on May 7th and haven't registered to vote yet, don't miss your chance. Register by 20th April.

Resist the resit? Why?

If all this talk about exams, revision, results, blah, blah, blah, has got you a teeny tiny bit worried, you aren’t the only one. First, remember you’re already one step ahead of some because you have us. Push and their revision tips to the rescue. And secondly, we’re also here to help if it all goes wrong, and for a lot of people, resits are the way to go.

However, re-marking costs up to £48.60, parents, students and teachers have been speaking out against the charging of resit examinations. A pretty worthwhile cause, when you consider those who can’t afford remarks could be missing out on being part of the 45,000 students whose grades get bumped up.

Last updated on: 14 April 2015

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