Monday, 22 June 2015

A New Chapter

We're done! Two years of Science Academy has officially come to a close. It's still quite surreal for me, but looking back, joining this program was one of the best and most worthwhile decisions I have made. It was one of the hardest adjustments during high school, but the amount I have grown both academically and mentally is rewarding. Along with learning an abundance of material well over the high school level, I've gained many invaluable skills that are applicable to my future. Time management, commitment, perseverance, determination, study habits, and maintaining balance are only a few of the many.

One of the most important things I've recently learned is to start living in the present; the now. I spent the entirety of this year thinking about the future. Just trying to get through the now so I could enjoy the future. Until December, I was wishing for winter break. Until March, I was wishing for spring break. Until May, I was wishing for our AP exams to be over. Until June, I was wishing for summer! However, I never really realized that life is less about the final destination and more about the journey. I realize now how much time I had let go, dreaming about the future. From now, I've decided to stop focusing about how great the future will be, and realize how important right now is. It took me two years to realize that, but I'm happy that I finally did.

Another important thing I learned throughout these past few years is what a large part my friends, family, peers, teachers, and anybody else I interact with influenced my life. Coming into the program, I always thought studying was something you had to do alone. I went to class, did the homework, and studied on my own. Despite that, in Science Academy, I found a group of like-minded friends, where we all studied together, discussed the material, helped each other with problems, and provided support to. I wouldn't have been able to learn as much as I did or become as successful as I did academically if it wasn't for my friends.

On my very first post on this blog, I emphasized how learning was more important than grades. Looking back, I don't think I really knew the importance of this concept. Though grades are important in that they provide a sort of means for post-secondary institutions to evaluate us, in some aspects they do not show an accurate portrayal of learning. I have learned to find a balance between the value I place on my grades, in comparison to the skills, experience, and knowledge I learn. Accordingly, this year along with my academics, I immersed myself in my passions. Youth engagement, environment, and health science are three of my main passions. Over the year, I've conducted workshops, ran clubs, established programs, and even planned and executed a three-day leadership conference. These experiences have allowed me to become a dynamic leader in my school and community. I want to emphasize that even though Science Academy comes with a heavy workload, it is important to continue pursuing your passions and extracurriculars alongside it.

Now, I am moving on to bigger and better things! It's been a great time being a part of the Fraser Heights Science Academy, and I've enjoyed sharing my journey on this blog. Finally, if you are a prospective student who has any questions, feel free to leave comments or email me at I'd be happy to help out! 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Our Exams Are Over!

Our last AP exam was on May 7th, so now the hardest part of our year is over! Personally, the exams were more difficult in terms of time over content. This is the first year the AP Physics B exam was split into two exams, so we didn't know exactly what to expect. On the other hand, the exams were fair. Here are the main three tips I have for future AP exam-takers:

1. Be prepared: Start studying well in advanced. Plan out a schedule, and start doing the practice exams from a review guide at least a month prior to the exam. Studying over a long period of time is often more effective than cramming on the weekend before the exam.

2. Learn test-taking strategies: To write the exam effectively, you not only have to understand the material in depth, but also how the exam is formatted. You should also take plenty of timed practice exams, because time is a key factor for these exams. Finally, you should make sure you answer all of the multiple choice questions, even if you have to guess. There is no penalty for wrong answers! Read the first few pages of a study review guide, because they have important information regarding test-taking strategies.

3. Don't stress: Being prepared can help you feel less stressed. Further, make sure you sleep and eat well the day before the exam. Learn how to stay calm so you can concentrate and perform to the best of your abilities.

We are spending the next month or so wrapping up loose ends before the year is over, going on a few field trips, and working on our final Capstone project.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Home Stretch!

It's spring break, which means I am coming to the end of my very last semester at Fraser Heights! It seems so surreal, yet at the same time it feels as though I've been waiting for graduation for a while already. Nevertheless, these new few months call for my full focus as exam season rolls around.

These next two weeks are the calm before the storm; the storm being our SFU Finals, three AP exams, and in my case, a provincial exam, which all fall between April and early May. These tests will showcase our learning throughout the past two years, and hopefully leave us feeling accomplished.

With exam season comes the responsibility of studying (of course!). One of the most important things I have learned from Science Academy is finding my ideal study method. You may have heard of the common saying, "Study smarter, not harder." As most of us have probably experienced, at times I've seen my marks inaccurately reflecting the extent to which I thought I understood the material. I then began to realize that to excel on an exam, not only did I have to understand content, but I also had to be an effective test-taker. To elaborate, I had to be concious of my time, be able to maintain a clear, focussed mind, and also understand the format of the test. Additionally, I had to better prepare myself prior to the test. While I was studying for a good amount of time, my study methods were not working for me. Over time, I discovered that rewriting notes worked better for me than flashcards. Watching tutorial videos often helped me retain information more than reviewing textbook material. I also found out that studying with friends was beneficial after I revised individually. While I have yet to master my study techniques, I believe that I am more apt than I was in Grade 11.

One of my year-end goals is to be a better test-taker, and I see my upcoming tests as an opportunity to prove to myself how far I have come in my journey of learning. With this mindset I plan on studying harder smarter during the upcoming weeks!