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3 Revision Tips You Haven’t Heard Before

3-revision-tips-you-haven't-heard-before

You probably think you’ve heard every revision tip under the sun by this point. But have you?

We’ve found 3 revision tips that we bet you haven’t tried before…

Visual learner? Make use of your phone background:

  • This one is minimal effort for those of you who love to get all co-ordinated and organised with mind maps for your revision topics.
  • You’ve already got the mind maps so all you need to do is take a quick photo and set it as your phone wallpaper.
  • If you’re like us and probably on your phone more than you should be, the constant keyword reminder should work a treat – or at least remind you to get off your phone and back to revision!

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Kinaesthetic learner? Act stuff out:

  • If you’re a kinaesthetic learner then you’ll find it easier to concentrate and remember facts when doing something physical.
  • Not sure if this is you? Try pacing around the room while reading through your notes and make gestures with your hands when you get to a section you find tricky to remember.

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None of the above? Perfume could help:

It’s a similar line of thinking to the movement point above – some people find that scents will trigger memories. Ever smell a certain meal and immediately think of home?

Try wearing a particular perfume or aftershave while revising different modules and then wear the same one on the day of the exam corresponding to that module.

You can try this with sweets too if that’s more your thing!

3-revision-tips-you-haven't-heard-before-perfume

Happy revising!

The Oodles Team x

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Are You Secure Online? 7 Things To Keep In Mind

secure-online.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that cyber-security and internet safety are pretty hot topics right now.

It’s easy to think of these as large-scale issues to be handled by the authorities but there are plenty of  precautions that we as individuals can take.

So are you doing everything you can to protect your personal information in an increasingly digital culture?

1) Phishing/pharming i.e. hoax emails

Phishing is designed to trick you into sending personal info like bank details and logins over email.

These emails aren’t always obvious to spot and often claim to come from a trusted source e.g. your bank.

Along similar lines, hackers use pharming to redirect you to fake websites e.g. you might think you’re logging onto your Internet banking website.

secure-online-phishing

How to avoid:

  • Type links into your browser yourself instead of clicking within the email.
  • Check your bank’s website or contact them directly instead.
  • Check the website you’re on – secure websites (e.g. internet banking sites) use ‘HTTPS’ in the web address of their payment pages, not ‘HTTP’.
  • Secure sites also have a padlock icon or a green shading around the site’s mini-icon in the address bar.

2) Viruses, adware, spyware & malware

Adware, spyware and malware are pieces of software that secretly install themselves onto your device when you’re online, leading to things like annoying pop-ups, damaged computers and stolen passwords.

Viruses are programmes that can infect computers and spread.

secure-online-virus

How to avoid:

  • Think before you click – adware, spyware and malware infect your computer when you open spam emails, click on popups, visit dodgy websites or download certain software.
  • Install anti-virus software – reputable of course!

3) Hackers

Hackers use software that can easily crack your password…especially if it’s weak.

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How to avoid:

  • Use a strong password that is at least eight characters long and a mixture of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers.
  • Make sure your password isn’t something other people know e.g. pet’s name.

4) Pop-ups

Pop-ups want you to click on them. Most are harmless but some are more sinister in nature.

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How to avoid:

  • Don’t click on them (obviously).
  • Turn on the pop-up blocker settings in your browser preferences.

5) Unsecured Wi-Fi

Ever heard of wardriving? This is when people search for and illegally connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, either to download all sorts of things for free or to commit criminal acts undetected.

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How to avoid:

  • Secure your network with Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) – available on all recent Wi-Fi devices.
  • Turn off your internet connection when you’re not using it.

6) Software & app updates

Cyber criminals look for weaknesses in software to attack your devices and potentially steal your identity.

Software and app updates are designed to fix these weaknesses to keep your devices secure. and installing them as soon as possible will keep your devices secure.

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How to avoid:

  • Turn on automatic software updates on your devices.

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How to avoid:

  • Protect data that is really important to you, such as photos and key documents, by backing it up to an external hard drive or cloud-based storage system.

Over to you:

More tips to add to our list? Let us know here or get in touch through Twitter 🙂

The Oodles Team x

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How To Make The Most Of Your Work Experience

work-experience

So you’ve been lucky enough to secure a work experience placement – now what?

Well we’ve put together a few tips for you to use, to help you get the most you can out of your work experience.

Why should I read these work experience tips?

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It’s easy enough to float through a work experience placement, particularly if it is only for a few days or a week.

Chances are, you will be given relatively menial tasks (at least some of the time) and it can be all too tempting to quietly carry these out for the duration of your placement.

There is nothing wrong with this per se and you may get a nice reference…but will you be memorable?

Make an impression (a good one)

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  • We all know that first impressions really count. It may sound obvious but make sure you turn up to work on time and are dressed appropriately.
  • You can’t usually go wrong if you dress smartly but of course your clothing will depend on the type of work you’ll be doing and the culture of the organisation.
  • Present the best version of yourself – if you’re professional, friendly and reliable, hopefully more opportunities will come your way.

Get involved!

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  • A great way to demonstrate enthusiasm is to offer to help out colleagues where you can.
  • Use initiative and try to go above and beyond whatever is asked of you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It shows that you care about doing things properly.

Ask for feedback

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  • If possible, try to gain feedback from your supervisor as you go along, meaning that you’ll have a chance to improve throughout your placement.
  • Once you’ve finished your work experience, it’s important to reflect on your time. Did you enjoy it? Why/why not? Think about writing a short summary of your time, stating what you have gained as a result.
  • You never know, you may even be able to use your new contacts when it comes to job hunting in future!

Team Oodles x

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Driving Test Changes 2017 – How Are Your Sat Nav Skills?

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The government is bringing driving tests firmly into the 21st Century with four major driving test changes for 2017…so what’s new?

1. Independent driving to increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving segment is arguably one of the most relevant parts of the driving test – you’re told to follow signs to a location without being given step-by-step directions by the examiner.

The government has decided to double this section, so that it will now make up approximately 50% of the test.

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2. Following sat nav directions

Following on from this, candidates will now be provided with a sat nav for the independent driving section and asked to follow directions. Don’t worry, you won’t need to set the route, so it doesn’t matter which sat nav you practise with in the lead-up to the test.

Given that the use of sat navs is commonplace for most drivers nowadays, the introduction of this driving test section should be good preparation for ‘real-life’, modern driving.

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3. Changes to reversing manoeuvres

Although you’ll still be taught the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres by your driving instructor, you won’t actually be tested on these anymore.

Instead, you’ll be asked to perform one of 3 possible manoeuvres:

  • Parallel park
  • Bay park
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and then rejoin the traffic.

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4. Answer a vehicle safety question while driving

The driving examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – also known as ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving.

You’ll now be asked the ‘show me’ question while you’re driving e.g. demonstrating how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.

 

Take a look at the video below for a neat re-cap:

 

So what do you think of the driving test changes? Let us know by leaving a comment below or dropping us a tweet 🙂

Team Oodles x

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Autumn Budget 2017 – What’s in it for Young People?

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The government has not necessarily had the best track record when it comes to appealing to younger voters but Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget does detail some benefits for us…

Travel card for millennials:

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It’s about time!

Previously available to young people aged 16-25, the discount railcard will (as of spring next year) be available to people up to the age of 30.

For £30 a year, you’ll be able to get 1/3 off rail travel – certainly worth the money if you travel quite a bit.

Housing: no stamp duty for new buyers:

autumn-budget-stamp

Buying a house might seem like a pretty long way off but for those of you who are starting to (or thinking about starting to) save up for that deposit, it’s not all doom and gloom:

  • Stamp duty will be abolished immediately for first-time buyers.
  • This applies when buying a home of up to £300,000.
  • If you’re looking at properties costing up to £500,000, no stamp duty will be paid on the first £300,000.

This could potentially mean that the younger generation will be able to own their own homes sooner – although bear in mind you’ll still need to pay a deposit.

Driving:

autumn-budget-drive

Not such good news for diesel drivers –  many drivers of new diesel cars will see an increase in the road tax they pay in the first year of owning their car from April.

The reasoning behind this is that diesel cars have a more damaging environmental effect than petrol cars.

The road tax will amount to approximately £20 for smaller cars, and £300 for larger cars, according to the Treasury.

Lower income tax:

autumn-budget-tax

Personal allowance – the amount earned before income tax is paid – will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 in April.

This will effectively shave £100 a year off a basic rate taxpayer’s annual bill 🙂

Over to you:

We want to hear your thoughts on the budget announcements – too little too late or a step in the right direction?

Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet 🙂

Team Oodles x

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Which Degrees Pay The Best?

which-degrees-pay-the-best

Of course there’s no guaranteed salary that comes with each degree but there’s no denying that some subjects have a better track record for earning potential than others.

We’re not saying that money should be your sole or principal motivator when it comes to choosing a degree subject but in the current economic climate, it’s an undeniable factor to consider.

So which degrees pay the best?

Highest-earning graduates:

  • We found a very handy chart from the BBC and Institute for Fiscal Studies which pretty much sums this up – you’re welcome!

which-degrees-pay-the-best-chart

Think about where you want to study:

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  • It’s not just about the degree subject you choose; the institution you decide to attend will also often make a difference to your eventual earnings.
  • Those who graduate from a Russell Group university, earn – on average – £33,500 after five years. This works out to about 40% more than those who study at other universities.
  • This contrasts with the average earnings of alternative institutions such as dance and drama colleges, which tend to equate to around £15,000 after years.

Other determining factors to consider:

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  • Unfortunately, it’s not quite as black and white as choosing the right degree at the right university and watching the money roll in. Equally there are many alternative career routes which pay very well.
  • Whilst attending a Russell Group uni does often result in a higher salary, these university entrants tend to start their degrees with better exam grades to begin with, for example.
  • Gender is another big factor, with males earning approximately 8% more than women within just one year of graduating. This gender pay gap only increases as careers progress.

So all in all, the subject you choose and the university you decide to study at could play a part in the salary you go onto earn.

Whilst salary is not the be-all and end-all of job satisfaction, life goals, etc, this is something to bear in mind when you start to think about what you want to do after school or college.

What do you think? Have we got this right? Let us know via live chat, Twitter or leave a comment below!

Team Oodles x

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Tuition Fees Update: Saving Us Money?

tuition fees

We’re going political with this week’s blog post and discussing Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge at the Conservative party conference.

Let’s get into it!

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Tuition Fees: what’s changed?

Well, Theresa May has pledged to save individual students up to £15,700 over the course of their working lives by raising the threshold for university tuition fee repayments.

Currently, the repayment threshold stands at £21,000. This means that university students need to start repaying their tuition fee loans once they reach a salary of £21K.

It’s now been proposed that this threshold will rise to £25,000 per year instead for students, as of next year. We don’t have all the details yet but it is believed that this new threshold increase will only apply to university students who attended from 2012 onwards.

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May has also announced the cancellation of plans to increase university tuition fees from £9,250 to over £9,500.

Fees will be ‘frozen’ to remain at the current amount.

So what does this mean for students?

Typically, this will mean that graduates will pay back, on average, £15,700 less over the 30 years before unpaid loans are written off.

It has been estimated that 83% of graduates will not need to pay back all of their debts.

tuition-fees-graduate

Can the government afford these changes?

This is certainly up for debate…

The IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) warns that long-term government costs will increase by over 40% as a result of the changes to student finance.

Overall, it is thought that the changes will cost the government an extra £1.2 billion between 2018-19 and that this will increase year on year.

The question many are now asking is, how much will this cost taxpayers?

More changes could be on the way over the next few months, as the government plans to look at the entire student finance system.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts on the latest changes! Drop us a tweet or leave a comment below.

The Oodles Team.

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GCSE Results Day 2017: The Lowdown

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You might have pushed it to the back of your mind, been worrying about it all summer or simply have forgotten about it completely. Well, fear not because we’re here to give you the lowdown on GCSE Results Day.

When is GCSE Results Day?

This year, Results Day falls on Thursday 24th August – save the date! You can collect your results from your school or college on Thursday morning. For exact timings, you should contact your school directly or check the school website.

Unable to collect your results in person? Request to receive them via post or have a friend or family member collect them on your behalf. This should be arranged in advance.

gcse-results-day-paper

How will the new GCSE system affect me?

This year, the 9-1 grading system will only apply to three subjects: Maths, English Language and English Literature, with 9 being the highest grade.

The rest of your subjects will still fall into the A*-U grading system.

Be sure to get clarification from your teachers on Results Day to avoid any confusion.

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I just missed out on my grade!

Your teachers will be at your school on GCSE Results Day to give you all the help and advice that you need.

If you narrowly miss out on a grade or feel that it doesn’t reflect your ability you can ask for your paper to be remarked.

Please note: You will have to pay a fee for any remarks which will only be reimbursed if there is a grade change.

So how can I apply for a re-mark?

You should organise GCSE re-mark applications through your school or college.

If you think that your result could be incorrect, you should speak to a teacher asap and they can submit an ‘enquiry about results’ (EAR) to the relevant exam board.

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It looks like I’ll need to re-take…

Didn’t get the grades you were hoping for? You will be able to re-sit some GCSE exams in November but it’s best to check with your school for exact re-sit options for your specific subject.

If you think you’ll need to re-sit several subjects, you may have to wait until the following June.

It’s worth that noting that if the re-sit isn’t in a required subject for your chosen courses, you may be able to start your A-levels in the meantime.

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I didn’t get the grades I needed for Sixth Form/College – now what?

You’ll probably already know that most Sixth Forms or Further Education colleges require you to get specific grades in order to gain a place.

Just missed out on a grade? The good news is that your Sixth Form or FE college might still accommodate you with the lower grades.

Find out if this is the case or if it’s possible to study a different subject or course at your chosen college.

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Alternative options

As important as they are, GCSE results are not the be-all and end-all. Look into the other options available to you if you do not get the grades you need to study A-Levels:

  • BTECs – A vocational qualification where you obtain skills through practical, work-related activities.
  • City & Guilds – Vocational and technical qualifications/apprenticeships, helping you to develop skills for career progression.
  • Apprenticeships – A combination of practical training and study to achieve an end qualification. You will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

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Remember, whatever your results, there are plenty of options available to you 🙂

Best of luck!

Team Oodles x

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A Level Results Day 2017: What To Expect When You’ve Applied For Uni

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So 17th August 2017 marks the all-important A Level Results Day and we’re going to give you the lowdown on what to expect.

You’re welcome!

A Level Results Day – when exactly can I get my results?

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Well this depends on whether you’ll be looking online or heading to your school first.

Not everyone realises that you’ll actually be able to view your university confirmation when UCAS Track goes live at 8am. So while you won’t be able to see your exact  A Level results, you will be able to see if you’ve met the requirements of your university offer.

Just be warned that a lot of people will be trying to access this at the same time so you may need to try logging in a few times intermittently.

UCAS’ social media team will be around from 6am and the phone-in centre opens at 7.30am.

To find out your exact results, you will still need to collect these from your school or college. Make sure that you know what time you should be at your school to collect your results. The timings can vary between schools but most should have these listed on their websites.

I’ve got my grades, now what?

Happy with your results? Go and celebrate with friends and family!

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Not so happy?

No need to panic, you have plenty of options:

  • If you didn’t miss your grades by much, you should definitely speak to your university right away – they may still accept you! Some universities also offer alternative courses instead, which you’ll need to accept or decline in UCAS Track.
  • Check your status on Track to find out if you are eligible for Clearing. You can read all about Clearing on the UCAS website here.
 Done even better than expected?
  • It’s a nice problem to have that’s for sure!
  • Consider applying through UCAS Adjustment, which could see you trading up to a ‘better’ university/course without losing your current offer. Find out more about Adjustment here.

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The most important thing to remember is that the decisions you make now are important. Think about what is right for you and try not to feel pressured by anybody else. The more well-informed you are the better.

Good luck!

Team Oodles x