10 Steps To The Perfect CV

Do you want the perfect CV? Yes you do! I’ve put together this guide for anyone that may be struggling to write their Curriculum Vitae. Whether it be the layout or what you write, I (hopefully!) got yah covered!

Before we get started, I should explain (just in case) what a CV actually is. A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is essentially a record of your achievements, experiences and interests summed up on a sheet of A4. It is most commonly given to potential employers but can also be used in the college and university application process.

I’d say probably 99.9% of the time your CV will be typed up using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, Pages or Openoffice. When reading this guide, you can check out my example CV so that you can see what I mean, some of the things on there are what I’ve used on my actual CV. Though it is fake it gives you an idea:

Example CV – Jess Louise

10 Steps to the Perfect CV

STEP ONE

The first, and possibly most vital, step of creating your CV is putting your full name, address, contact number and email in the header of your document. Your name should be at the very top and be immediately obvious and the rest should follow in the next line. This is so the person receiving it know who it’s from and how to contact them

STEP TWO

The next bit will be the word-iest bit of the whole document- your personal statement. A Personal statement is a paragraph summing up YOU! Remember, you’ve really got to sell yourself and highlight your best qualities. It’s sosososooso important not to copy a personal statement from the internet because it’s got to reflect you, not anyone else. For university applications, UCAS use a screening tool to make sure no one has copied their personal statement from somewhere else. Better get into good practice now!

STEP THREE

Underneath the personal statement, you could list roughly 3 key skills you possess. For example: if you’re computer literate, you can drive (hold full driving licence), have good time management, flexible (not physically!!!) etc. It’s these things that can make you stand out against anyone else, which is the primary aim of a CV.

STEP FOUR

Then, you should list perhaps 3 key interests. This can be anything from purely recreational activities to interests directly related to your career/future career.

STEP FIVE

We’re halfway there now! Next is listing you main key achievements. This could be if you’ve completed a first aid course, to running the London Marathon! Anything you feel you’ve achieved, plop it down! They can be personal and work related achievements.

STEP SIX

Next you should list any previous work experience, be it paid or unpaid. This shows your future employer (or whoever) what experience you have. If you’re yet to gain experience, just leave this bit blank.

STEP SEVEN

Now, you should list any volunteer or charity work you’ve done. To be honest, I’m not completely sure why people do this but apparently it looks good!

STEP EIGHT

Step eight is to list your previous (secondary upwards) and current (if applicable) education institutions. The name, address and the years in which you attended will suffice.

STEP NINE

Qualifictions! That’s right time to list your GCSE/ALevel grades (or predicted) and any other recognised qualifications. This shows your potential employer how qualified you are to do the job!

STEP TEN

This step requires three words under the heading references: ‘Available On Request’. Job applications may require you to list specific people and contact details but this isn’t necessary on your CV. If they request it, then you can give them a name/contact. Your referee can be a previous employer, Head Of Year/Tutor at school/college or even someone you’ve known for a long time, but not family.

As for layout of your CV, what I’ve put together is a simple, easy to read document. You can customise it however you like, as long as it looks professional, is readable and all the information is there.

I hope this guide was at least a little bit useful. I had fun creating that fake CV so check that out. Also, yes, presshandstands@aol.com is a real email address that I own. I use it for my gymnastics accounts and things! Feel free to email me about anything gymnastically! Also let me know if you’d like to know any more about CVs.

Thanks for reading – Good luck writing your CV!

How To Prepare For College

It’s that time of year again, stressed Year 11s taking their GCSEs whilst trying to prepare for the next step of their education (most likely, college!). I know what it’s like, I was in their position only last year! I’ve decided to write this post for, firstly, the Year 11 that are about to embark on their college journey but also Year 9s and 10s wondering what’s to come! College can be a big step up from secondary school and so I aim to make that transition go a little bit smoother! This post will be about apply to college to complete A Levels, (Sixth Form) although I believe the process is vaguely similar for any college.

Preparing for college does vary from school to school, and of course, college to college. I’m going to give you a general overview of my personal experience of preparing for college and hopefully it’s quite typical of most! Anyway, here we are:

How To Prepare For College

ONE: Think about what GCSEs you enjoyed the most

You firstly need to have an idea of what subjects you wish to take on at college. As I mentioned in my College Q&A, typically people take three A Levels. If you already have a future career in mind, I’d do some research on the A Level requirements for that! It’s really important you take subjects you’re genuinely interested in, otherwise you won’t be motivated to keep up with the workload and assessments!

TWO: Research colleges in your area

Maybe your school has a sixth form, maybe it doesn’t. Whatever the situation, it’s always best to check out all your local options so that you can get the best out of your education.  If you already know what subjects you’d like to take, make sure you look at colleges that offer those courses. It’s super important to look at the details of the course because all the colleges might offer ‘History’ for example, but they could all use different exam boards (EG AQA, Edexcel, WJEC, OCR etc.) and so cover different content. Find the one that sparks your interest the most!

If you don’t know what subjects you want to do, read up about a few you think might interest you on some of the local college websites.

THREE: Open Days/Evenings are your best friend

Of course, every college is going to make itself out to be amazing online. You never really know a place until you’ve been there. Make use of the college open days/evenings and talk to staff and students and don’t forget to attend the talks and pick up a prospectus!

You can then begin to shortlist your favourites and eventually make a decision.

FOUR: Apply!

Once you’ve chosen your ideal college/course combination it’s time to make it official! Some colleges have online application systems whereas others have a physical form you have to fill out. Make sure you know which one your college uses! You CAN apply to more than one if you’re unsure, or if you think one of your options is a bit ambitious etc.

After applying you will probably have to attend an interview just so they can get to know you and your plans a little bit better. The interview may even be held in your school library if your secondary school and college are linked. Other times, you may have to go to the college itself. The interview isn’t too scary, they just want to make sure you’re making the right decisions!

You may also have Induction Days to attend some time before getting your GCSE results!

FIVE: Try and focus on hitting any mandatory entry requirements

If you need at least a 6 in English, Maths and Chemistry to do the course you really want to do, then make sure you work super hard to hit it! Most colleges allow for if you narrowly missed the requirements or if there were unavoidable circumstances that may have affected your grades. We all know results day in August can go one of two ways, but both can have positive outcomes, don’t panic:

If GOOD on results day:

If you got all the GCSEs you were hoping for (see mine HERE if you’re interested!!) and you hit or exceeded your entry requirements you should just look forward to starting your next step! Maybe you should start reading up on your course and get ahead of the game!

You will probably have some kind of welcome/induction day if you haven’t already. Make sure to attend these as there might be taster lessons and insight into your college life! Don’t forget to work hard and have fun when you start in September!

If BAD on results day:

If Results Day doesn’t go completely as expected, it is not the end of the world! You’ll probably need to call up the college and explain your situation. They SHOULD be completely accommodating and supportive. They may offer you alternatives or suggest a L2 course (which means that you may have to stay an extra year but you can still do your course!). Most colleges offer resits in English and Maths should you fail to get a Grade 4 and you can usually do them alongside your A Level choices!

You should still make sure that you attend all the induction/welcome days! Oh, an have fun!

I hope that this little guide was useful to anyone that needs it! I certainly would have benefited from something like this this time last year! However, my school was very good at preparing us. We had colleges come in and speak to us during assemblies and PSHE lessons!

My friend Ellen wrote a similar post on her blog too that you might want to check out HERE. It’s mainly about the application process if you’re stuck on that! I planned to do this post before she even started blogging, but she beat me to it!!

I finallllllllllllly caught up in my blogging schedule! Hopefully things will start to return to normal now!

Thanks for reading – Good Luck in applying to college!

Quizlet Review

My exam is finally over and done with, so I thought that I’d review a nifty little tool that aided me with my revision. It’s a computer and smartphone app called Quizlet, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention it before! It’s a clever little thing actually. Of course, it’s flashcards, but there’s also other modes you can use as well (more on that later!). It’s also FREE but you can upgrade to Quizlet GO and Quizlet PLUS to get additional perks (more on that later too!). What did I think of it?

Quizlet Review

As aforementioned, I think that this is quite a clever revision tool and works for thousands, I imagine, students across the country and even more possibly across the globe! You can write up study sets of key words, questions or anything you like and categorise them by topic or subject.

Modes

Now onto the ‘modes’, aka the things you can do to study once the sets are written up! Firstly there’s the ‘Learn’ mode which think is pretty amazing. It starts of easier and gradually gets harder, and it also goes over the same thing over and over again so that you learn it essentially!

Next there’s ‘Cards’, which is exactly what it suggests. You can use what you’ve written up as digital flashcards! You can even set a cool background (called a theme).

Then there’s ‘Write’. You are literally given one half of your flashcard and you have to type out the other side! I think that this is so simple, yet can be really quite effective for your memory!

‘Match’ is the next mode you can use. It’s basically a game of pairs! Your flashcards are scattered across a grid and you have to match the question and answer (or key word and definition!) as fast as you can! It’s a fun way to test your knowledge!

Then there’s ‘Test’, which basically tests you on all your flashcards in a multitude of questions! This is good for finding out where you are least confident!

All of the above is available on the mobile app for Quizlet. On a laptop or computer, there are two additional modes, ‘Spell’ and ‘Gravity’. In ‘Spell’, you are given half of the flashcard and then the other half is spoken to you and you write what you hear! If you spell it wrong, it spells it out to you as well! ‘Gravity’ is another game, you are given half of the flashcard and it comes down in an asteroid and you have to type the answer as fast as you can to stop it colliding with the planet! Fun!

Upgrades

Those are the modes, let’s talk about upgrades! As I said, it is free and it can stay free forever! But I have Quizlet Go. Quizlet Go is ad free, allows you to use premium themes and you can use night mode which is kinder on the eyes for that late night cramming! Guess how much it is? Go on, guess! Oh ok, I’ll tell you. Quizlet Go is abbbbbout 20p a month! Which isn’t very much at all considering how useful it is! Quizlet Plus is a bigger upgrade. You have access to everything in Quizlet Go (and free of course) as well as the ability to add images to study sets, create sets from scanned texts, studying offline and more! Quizlet Plus is £1.62 a month!

Accessing Other People’s Sets

Finally, I know that writing up ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL your key terms can be quite tedious, but you can search other people’s sets and diagrams too to aid you in your study! This is good when you don’t have time to write everything up! You can also search your friends via username!

Conclusion

Overall, I thing Quizlet is such a nifty and useful tool for students everywhere and I kinda wish I used it a bit more for my transfer exam! I definitely will use it more running up to my A Level Exams! If you’re interested about what I’ve written up on Quizlet, you can search my name: @jessbrodie

RATING: 5 Stars!

RECOMMEND? Definitely

I hope you enjoyed my Quizlet review and I also hope that I catch up with this whole blogging thing very soon! I mean I am going away next week and the week after but that’s not gonna stop me!

Thanks for reading – happy studying!

(Sorry for the definitive lack of images on this post!!)

Study With Me: EXAM EDITION

My Psychology Transfer exam is TOMORROW (Monday 14th May) and so I’ve been cracking down and revising, around being unwell! I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some of the things I have done and some of the revision materials I have been making and using. For reference, I do AQA A Level Psychology and I’m currently in Year One:

Study With Me

Although the exam is only recently fast approaching, I’ve been making and using revision materials all year round – of which I’m very thankful for! I’ve mainly been using my Whitelines Notebook, which I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about by now! I love using them for revision materials because it’s like you’re using plain paper but you have the lines to guide you! I like using my squared notebook for tables, diagrams and mindmaps. My A5 one is used for more ‘written’ notes. I use lots of colour to make them appealing and aesthetically pleasing to look at so that the information will hopefully stick in my head better! I enjoy making these revision materials and I believe that they make studying a bit more fun than just sitting and reading a textbook.

In addition to that, I’ve also being using an online flashcard program called Quizlet. I believe that I have mentioned it before! I’m going to do a full review on it after I’ve done my exam so that you can learn a little bit more about it! I particularly love the new ‘Learn’ mode, I think that it’s very clever and effective!

I’ve also been looking back over my in-class tests as well at looking at past/specimen papers (it’s a new specification). This is useful because you get to see exactly what kind of questions they’re going to ask you. I also always think that the more I look at the more likely I am to come across a repeat/similar question. I guess there’s only so much they can ask you!

Finally, I have been looking over my teacher’s PowerPoints which she kindly puts in her Onedrive for us to access. I’ve also used flashcards a bit, but probably not as much as I should. However, I have been doing some of the practise questions that I found in the textbook and the app that connects to the textbook!

I hope you enjoyed my post and I hope that I’ve given you a little bit of study motivation!! Don’t forget to check out my study instagram (@jess_studies_). I think that my favourite subject at the moment is actually Psychology – what’s yours?

Thanks for reading

College Q&A

Hey hey, time for a Q&A! This time round my Q&A is themed and I have chosen the theme of ‘college’ as I thought that it’d be very fitting for current Year 11s about to sit their exams and wondering what the next step will be like! I didn’t get an awfullllllll lot of questions (because I’m unpopular) so I added in a few that I thought would would be helpful. If you have any more college related questions, feel free to DM on my study instagram @jess_studies_, my studyblr on Tumblr @BeyondTheBooks or comment on my Telloym (@jessstudies) or Sarahah (studywithjess.sarahah.com). Anyway, here are my answers to the questions I received:

College Q&A

Question One: What subjects do you study and how many do you have to do?

At my Sixth Form College, and most other colleges in the UK, the standard program includes 3 A Levels or equivalent (BTEC etc. etc.). If you’re an extremely high achieving student (8s/9s, all that!) you may have the option of doing four, but this might vary from college to college. When I first started, I was on a standard three A Level Program doing A Level Combined English Language & Literature, A Level Photography (a ‘branch’ of Art & Design) and BTEC L3 (A Level Standard) Health and Social Care. However, I have since switched from English to A Level Psychology and due to circumstances was forced to drop Health and Social Care. Thus, now only doing 2 full A Levels, which is called a reduced program. Luckily, I have been allowed to take up AS Level Biology and an Extended Project Qualification as additional subjects starting from September. This means I will still leave college in 2019 which the equivalent of 3 A Levels which I need to get into University.

Question Two: What Exam Boards does your college use?

Psychology use AQA, Photography use WJEC (Eduqas in England), Biology will use OCR A and I believe EPQ is awarded by AQA (though it’s also offered by Edexcel, OCR and WJEC).

Question Three: How do you keep up with your social life as well as all your work?

I don’t have that much of a social life, to be totally honest. I see my friends occasionally, I do gymnastics 2 or 3 days (3-4.5hrs) a week and I volunteer at my gymnastics club 3 days (4 or 5 hours) a week. That’s a maximum of probably 10 hours a week! However, if I were to give advice I’d say plan exactly when you are going to do your work and what you’re going to do in each ‘session’, ensuring of course that you meet all your deadlines. I would also, as sad as it sounds, perhaps turn down your friends if you have too much work to do and arrange to see them when the load is more manageable. It’s a case of some nifty planning really!

Question Four: How do you stay motivated?

I wrote a post HERE on a similar concept. I’m not that good at staying completely motivated. I tend to try and think about my end goal and what I am going to get out of doing my revision/homework/classwork. I know that I need good grades in order to go to university. I also love a good piece of stationery, me!! That occasionally sparks motivation!

Question Five: What are your best revision tactics?

I wrote a post on this HERE a while back! I’m going to try and write an updated version of it at some point and some related posts including: Preparing for college, Writing CVs, All About GCSEs, other tips & tricks and of course my study with me posts! What other ones would you like to see? My best top tip would definitely be revise as you go I think. Don’t leave it alllllllll to the last minute. I’ve been ill and I’m soooooooo thankful I’ve already made so many revision resources because otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. I’d be dying a very slow and painful death!

Question Six: Do you have to stay at college all day and do you get free periods?

At my college, no. We have what is known as an open campus. We’re free to come and leave as we please from about 8am to 6pm most days. We have to be in lessons though as they are registered and our attendance is tracked by staff. The college prefer us to be on site most of the school day, but we don’t have to be as long as we’re not in lessons. Most students at my college congregate into the park or into town as they’re only 10 minutes down the road, though now it’s exam season everyone LIVES in the library. Not all colleges are like this. My friend for instance must be at college from about 9 to 3 every day unless she is told otherwise. Her college is attached to a secondary school and so there’s not as much free movement. I really depends on the college!

Regarding free periods, yes you will get at least some free sessions whatever college you go to I imagine. My timetable looks as followed: I have 29 gaps on my timetable, 19/29 are free (but remember I’m on a reduced timetable), 9 of 10 remaining blocks are registered lessons and the remaining one is a weekly one-to-one session I have with a member of the support team. 4 of my ‘free’ blocks are timetabled study periods but you don’t HAVE to study then, you can study in any free block you like. You can do whatever you like in your free blocks. My friend at the other college can also do what she likes but she can’t always leave the school grounds. Does that make sense?

Question Seven: Do you get a form/tutor group?

At my college and I imagine at most colleges, yes! I have an assigned tutor who I see with the rest of my tutorial group (there’s about 15 of us) every Monday. We also have a Head of House (the college is divided into six houses and each HOH gets a few tutorial groups each) who is a bit like a Head/Director of Year in secondary school. My friend at the other college also has a tutor and tutorial group but I don’t know how often she sees them.

Question Eight: How much work do you get in a week?

This year, I received less work than the ~average~ student at my college due to timetabling. But to give you an idea, every Monday I get set Psychology homework and it’s due for the following Monday. It usually consists of making notes on one or two double pages in the textbook and occasionally doing some extra research, watching a video or filling out a page of a booklet we were given. Due to the obscene amount of free periods I get, I can usually get it done by the next day or so but I think it’s quite realistic for anyone on an ordinary timetable too. For photography as it was 100% coursework we weren’t set ‘homework’ as such but they’d give us a shoot to do or a piece of research to do that was due in for a specific deadline, usually the following Wednesday. It really depends on the subject/teacher though!

Question Nine: How often do you have tests/assessments?

In Psychology, throughout the whole year, I had 10 in-class assessments and one mock exam. I had the in-class tests every two weeks, usually when we completed part of a topic. I was never tested in Photography as it’s 100% coursework. Again, I think it depends on the subject.

Question Ten: What are you doing after college?

I don’t want to say too much as I want to do a separate post on it, but I’m hoping to go to university! I’m currently looking at three universities, Sussex, East London and St Mary’s (Twickenham). I’ll keep you updated on my progress nearer the time.

I hope you enjoyed my College Q&A! I enjoyed writing it! If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask and perhaps I’ll answer them in another post! I should probably stop now, this post is now very long (just over 1360 words)!

Thanks for reading!