Prepping for your interview! 👩🏽‍🎓

Hello! February already?

I’ve just had an ‘on this day’ memory come up on my Facebook of me travelling back to the UK for my interview at Edge Hill. The fact that this was a whole year ago is absolutely absurd but here we are. Honestly, time flies.

All interviews are different, all courses have specific criteria or procedures to allow you onto the course. If you’re a prospectus trainee teacher and the Edge Hill liked your application, you should, if not already, have an interview date. Hoorah! Now, what to do?

Prep, prep, prep.  📝

The most important thing you can do is to prepare. The interview process for Primary Ed QTS can seem quite daunting at first, but as long as you know your stuff and breathe, you’ll be fine. There is a maths test, a short English writing task, a 10-15-minute one-to-one interview with someone from the panel, and finally a group task. It’s nearly a full day.

Revise your basic maths, quick tips and tricks for multiplication/division/number facts. They provide you with areas that the test will cover so make sure you go over these beforehand. The English task isn’t something you can really prepare for, just write from the heart with some good grammar thrown in and you’ll be fine.

 The interview is where you need to show your passion and enthusiasm, get your answers ready. “Why do you want to be a teacher” “What is the most important thing about teaching?” “What makes you make a good teacher?” – these aren’t guaranteed questions, but they’re likely to come up!

Relax. 💆🏽

I spent the morning, the entire day, and all evening throwing up and feeling nauseous. I very rarely feel nervous at all, but I’ve never experienced anything like that. I think I felt this sick was because this is something I wanted so badly, I didn’t apply for anywhere else because I didn’t want to go anywhere else. A risky move, but I was sure it was Edge Hill. If I didn’t get in, I didn’t have a backup – don’t do that, it’s not smart. I spent the night before practising maths, reading notes, researching interview questions – don’t do that either. Get all your prep done and go over it the week before but leave the night before to relax and chill out. This is so important.

Believe in yourself.  💕

You can definitely, undoubtedly do it. It’s okay to feel nervous, and don’t be scared to say “Sorry, I’m just feeling a little nervous.” They’ll help you and calm you down. That’s one thing I can truly say about my interview process was that all the staff I spoke to were so kind and calming and really helped to chill me out. Don’t worry.

Good luck to all and I hope to see you in September at Edge Hill (it’s the best choice!). Thanks for reading!

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Saving money by cooking as a pair! 🍲👩🏽‍🍳

Hey everyone! I’m currently on placement for my teacher training which lasts around 7 weeks. I’m placed up in High Peak and I’m living with three other students. I and another girl have decided we need to save some pennies while we are here and are buying our weekly shop together and cooking our meals together. Our shop last week came to  £10! Honest, it is possible!

Plan plan plan📝:
Before we went out shopping we planned our breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. We’re at school Monday to Friday now so it’s a little easier to be more disciplined with our food, no more snacking! 🙅🏽 We both like cooking and so take it in turns to cook each other food. Anna planned to make Thai red curry, jacket potatoes and I make a creamy mushroom pasta and a vegetable stir-fry. We are still managing to eat healthy which is the most important thing. We wrote down a little list on Anna’s phone and kept to it as much as possible.

The benefits✅:
It is so much cheaper. Our bill came to £10 each from the last shop and we got everything we needed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That included snacks! On the days when you don’t cook and someone else is doing it for you, you can come home to a lovely meal and it’s just like being at home! It’s also a lot easier knowing exactly what you’re having that day, instead of opening and closing the fridge and cupboards multiple times before settlings with a pot noodle. I can’t recommend it enough, even if it’s just for a few weeks to save some pennies.

Other info about living/eating on placement☺️:
If you’re looking at the Primary Ed course, they offer a regional opportunity, which is what I’m currently on, and the university provides £3 a day for breakfast. You can reclaim this weekly or as a chunk at the end of the placement. This works out at £105 for the entirety, which is really great for them to offer to us.

Hope you’re all having a great January and prepping hard for the interviews you may have coming up! Best of luck 💕

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Tackling those pesky assignments! 💪🏽📝

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After just handing in one of the hardest assignments of this year, I feel like I didn’t do too badly. If you put in the prep and don’t leave it until last minute you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll do. I’m going to give you an insight on what our assignments are like on Primary Ed , they differ per course, and some tips that have helped me stay a little ahead of the workload.

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Start early and get to the library! 📚
This year we have eight assignments that roll one after another, so you’ll always have your head in at least one assignment. Some people overlap the assignments and can do two at a time, those people are magicians. When I start a new assignment I get a gist of what it’s about and head to the library to get as many books out as I can on the topic. They want you to show wider reading so using books and journal articles are the best way to prove this, and also get a better understanding of what’s going on.

Know what you have to do before you start note taking. 📝
There’s no point taking notes without knowing exactly what you need to do. For example, the assignment title I’ve just submitted asked us to ‘evaluate’, meaning we need to find the strengths, weaknesses and any contrasting perspectives. I do two things. Either, take notes on different books and articles then grab four highlights and assign a topic to each colour like strengths are highlighted in pink, weaknesses in yellow etc. Then if you need to find any strengths you can look through all your pink highlighting. Or, the second thing I’ve discovered helps kill some time is to write all the strengths together (with the reference at the end so you don’t forget who said it) and just flick through those points when writing. I’ve used both of these methods and they both help speed up my actual writing of the assignment. It may feel like a lot of preparation but it helps if you know exactly what you want/need to say so you can write the assignment a lot quicker. 

Be disciplined, overlap if you can. 🔮
Like I said before, magicians. It’s hard for me to overlap assignments but it’s not impossible. I like to focus all my attention on one thing but if I absolutely had to I would work on another at the same time. Fortunately, they given you enough time between them, but only if you’re on the ball. If you leave everything to last minute you’ll be pulling all-nighters in the library, so try and be disciplined with your time management. Know how much time you can have to yourself but put time aside to get work your work done.

Write when you are ready. 🤓
Sometimes I’ve said to myself, just write your introduction then it feels like you’ve done something, but then it ends up being that much waffle you could pour syrup on it. It’s much better, like I said before, to write when you know exactly what you want to say.

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Edge Hill University offer workshops and services for students that are struggling with writing, referencing, note-taking and many more academic skills. They’re always around the library ready to answer questions. There’s a huge support system here at Edge Hill and I’m very grateful to be here.

Thanks for reading! Don’t hesitate to leave any questions ☺️

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Information and Preparation for a Regional Teaching Placement 👩🏽‍🏫📚

I’m not sure which other courses require you to go on placement but I know that for trainee teachers and trainee nurses it is compulsory. In your first year as a trainee teacher, placement is seven weeks. Last year it started in November, but this year we start in January. I think I would have preferred to get stuck straight in at the deep end, but I do feel more prepared now than I would have at the start of the year.

On the Primary Education with QTS course, you are allocated to a school by the university. You do have some say in this and they will do their best to accommodate you where you want to be placed. For me, I took a regional opportunity. This means I am moving away from home and from University to go and do my placement in the Peak District 🏔. The other choices were Cumbria and Barrow-in-Furness, but these may change. The University places you in accommodation that is paid for and any travel expenses are reimbursed. It’s a great opportunity and if you end up at Edge Hill and on this course, I can’t recommend it enough.

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I travel down on Saturday and I’m going to a very small sample school. I’m going to be co-teaching a KS1/2 combined class, which is something I hadn’t ever heard of before starting University. Whether you are staying on campus, moving home or moving to a regional place, prepping can seem daunting and it can feel nerve wracking if you’ve never taught before. 👩🏽‍🏫

You find out your school and year group, sometimes it can be just a Key Stage. You email the school and introduce yourself, hopefully, they give you lots of information that you can use to prepare. I’ve spent my time looking through the Year 2 and 3 curriculum and researching strategies for teaching combined classes. 🏫

A great thing about this course is we have people called SAMs (Student Academic Mentors), these are second and third-year students who are available to email or tweet and will answer any queries we have. I asked them for some advice on teaching combined classes and my Twitter direct message box was full of advice from students. 📫

I’ve done all I can to best prepare, I think. This profession is definitely about learning on the job and learning through experience so the first week will be observing the teacher and getting to know the class, the routine and the planning. I’ve got a notebook and pen at the ready and I’m so keen to get started. 📝

Please feel free to ask any questions about placements and I’ll do my best to answer! Thanks for reading ☺️

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House hunting tips! 🏡💸

As a first-year who ignored all advice given to me, I feel I have some important dos and don’ts when house hunting for the second year. It’s more of a ‘don’t do what I did!’ kind of situation, so here are some tips when looking for a house… and please take them on board.

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Don’t rush 🙅🏽 .. well, not too much:
We were told not to rush as the housing fair would be in a couple of weeks and there, you can have a look around, ask questions and gather all the information you need to know about housing for the next year. We didn’t do this, we found one that we liked and booked an appointment. This was a mistake as I’ll explain shortly. I would say wait until the housing fair but then definitely get gathering mates and start looking at what’s available. The McCombe apartments go quite fast but if you have booked viewings and are looking at contracts before Christmas, you’re on the right track. There’s a list of off-campus housing lettings agencies on the Edge Hill website here.

Don’t be pressured into anything💪🏽:
There can be some pressure from certain letting agencies about their first-come-first-serve system but my advice is: do not be forced into signing anything without properly reading the contract, understanding the payments and knowing the contract length. We were caught out here as we rushed to get back to a lesson and we skimmed over the contract, signed it and got out of there, now we’re paying a large amount over what most people are… so be careful! Ask if you can take the contract away and read it closely.

It’s not all doom and gloom! 😁
Luckily, Edge Hill has a great support system if you are unsure of anything. You can take your contract to student services and they will look over it for you before you sign anything and they hold housing workshops that you can attend if you are still unsure of anything.  Apart from that, find some cool people you want to live with and get house hunting.

There are some amazing houses around although ours is costing a little more than we’d like, it’s absolutely stunning and I’m looking forward to living there next year. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, I’m here to answer any you may have! Thanks for reading ☺️

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Living in halls or living off campus? 🤔🚗🛌

First things first, Merry Christmas! 
Why I’m writing this post on Christmas day is as baffling to me as it is to you, but here we are!

So I want to talk to you guys about the decision you may have to make about whether to live in halls or to live off campus. This could be an easy decision for some, but if you’re like me, it can be tough and may take a while for you to come to a decision. 🤔

Coming to university as a 22 year old and having the third years still be younger than you is amusing as it is saddening. So the idea of halls for me was a huge NO 🙅🏽. However, everyone I spoke to really urged me to live in halls for the first year. Their reasons were:

  • It’s close to your buildings, classes and the library.
  • It’s way more social living on campus and you’ll meet so many more people than you would living off campus.
  • It’s nice to move away from home for a little bit and learn to be independent.

I’ve already lived away from home and living away from my family is really nothing new to me, so being independent is something I’ve been for a long time. But it is a great way to learn some independence!

I was so against living with people aged 18-20 but I can say with all my trust and confidence it is the best decision I could have made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely the Mum (I prefer ‘older sis’) of the flat, but everyone was right, it’s far more social and you meet some great people. 🥂

It’s nice if you start to feel homesick, or a little trapped, that you can wander into the kitchen and have a cup of tea or watch a movie with someone who is in the exact same boat as you. It really helps.

 It’s also only a 10 minute walk to my building and it’s a great feeling leaving a lecture or seminar and knowing you’ll be back in bed in no time. It’s a short walk to the library or The Hub if you need to get out of halls and need a little time to yourself. 🍃

The decision is, of course, up to you but as someone who struggled with deciding, I would urge you to try it. You have the ability to be put on a transfer list if you’re not happy with your halls or if you wish to change to off-campus, but I would say, try it.

I hope this has helped in some way in making your decision. It’s a hard one and I have to say if you are leaning towards living off campus, there are student houses that are lovely and really close to the University, but living on campus definitely has more pros! Thanks for reading ☺️

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My first term at University 👩‍🎓📚

Hello!

It’s very strange to think that I’ve been at University for thirteen weeks now. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. We broke up the Friday just gone, I don’t think it’s the same for everyone but the Primary Ed guys have all finished for the year. My parents flew back from Saudi and came to pick me up from University, we’re having Christmas at their UK house this year! Of course, I over packed. We have an assignment due over Christmas and lots to do before placement in January so I feel like I’ve packed the entirety of my uni work.

If you’re a prospective Primary Ed student then this post is for you. This post is a little insight into how the first term went in my first year and what I’m doing over Christmas to plan for next term.

The seminars, lectures and the workload👩🏽‍🎓:

The timetables change each year so what my timetable looks like this year may well be different to yours but this will give you a gist of what an average week looks like. Firstly, we have Mondays off – I know, it’s the best. Then we have our Minor seminar for 2 hours on Tuesday, Foundation Subjects seminar for 3 hours on Wednesday (sometimes with a FS lecture after), Thursday and Friday are the longest days with English, Maths, Science, Computing and APD seminars mixed in.  It’s a nice balanced timetable that gives you a long weekend to chill and spend some time socialising but then also gives you a lot of time to get some work done.

The workload is manageable but challenging. As long as you organise and manage your time well and do your best not to miss any seminars or lectures you’ll be fine. I’ve really enjoyed my first term and I’ve managed to pull myself to seminars when I was exhausted and just didn’t want to get out of bed, but I always did because they’re always so fun and engaging. I’m not in university now until placement and I know I’m going to miss it! ☹️

The assignments📝📚:

I’ve handed in three so far. The next one is a whopping 3,500 on APD that’s due in January. This scared me to start with but the my biggest tip for you is to get in the library! They have so many books available and I managed to get a load before I came back so I’ve been reading through them and I feel a lot more prepared and ready to knock this out over the Christmas period. They vary from 750 words to 3,500 words and they’re all set in a different kind of style which I love. They are challenging but not at all impossible, they also make me feel very intellectual and academic 🤓!

Placement 👩🏽‍🏫:

Out first placement starts in January, last year it started in November so yours could be a different time too. I just recently found out where I’m going for mine this year and I’m really excited. I took a regional opportunity and I’m heading down to the Peak District. With the situation I’m in I honestly didn’t care where I went but my heart felt this was the right place and luckily I got it. They can’t always guarantee you what and where you want but they do their best!

So over the Christmas period, as you can see, I have some work to do. They encourage you not to work over the two weeks the University is closed for, and I’m sure some people will, but if you’re like me and you want to be as prepared as possible, I’m sure your desk will look like mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! See you next time 💕

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First Year Room Tour – Chancellors South

Hello again! ☺️ Today I’m going to give you a little insight and into my room here at Edge Hill and some tips for living comfortably at university. I’m in my first year so I’m on campus living in Chancellors South. The accommodation is absolutely stunning, all over campus, and I feel very lucky to live here.

I’ve always tried to make my space as comfortable and cosy as possible and my uni room was no different. A lot of the stuff you can see is from a shop called The Range – this is a great place to get some cheap decor for your room to make it feel a little more homely. Primark is another good place, I got my bedding and hot water bottle from there and they sell really nice reed diffusers to keep your room smelling nice! 💕

One thing I will suggest is to bring a fan, those rooms are wonderful in the winter because they’re so insulated but in the spring and summer months it can get hot and having a fan definitely helps. I use the door to the bathroom  as a whiteboard which is really great to keep on top of your to-do list, just make sure you don’t buy or use permanent markers 😖! I’ll note here, Chancellors South provide a full length mirror – I nearly bought one until I saw a YouTube video explaining that they provide one!

Due to the wonderful Catalyst, we don’t have computers in our rooms but we still have the TVs ☺️! The desk is nice and spacious and the space behind the TV is all cork-board so get some pushpins to hang the important stuff up. I brought my printer but the ink can get expensive so it’s easier and cheaper to just use the Catalyst, if I’m honest. The draws are also really spacious, I’ve added a picture to show you my ‘work’ one:

The little pot in the bottom right hand corner is where I keep all my paracetamol, antihistamine, blisters and flu stuff – bring this, you are bound to get the fresher flu! I also brought a little sewing kit that you can see in the middle near the top, I have used this a handful of times now so it’s good to have around. ✂️

In Chancellors South we have a designated house keeper that comes in Mon-Fri to give the place a little dust, hoover and mop. She doesn’t do our rooms, just the kitchen and hallway, so I keep a little box of cleaning products in my room for when I need to give my place a dust or clean my bathroom. 🚿

The bathroom is set out like a wet room so I keep my towels on the back of the door using this over the door hanger I got from B&M. I also got a cheap standing wire storage holder to put all my shampoos and body soaps in! B&M have some really good products for storage. 😊

The accommodation is really stunning and it’s no surprise that it is award-winning. The wardrobe space is great and it includes a mini fridge to hide all your chocolate or expensive food. There’s storage under your bed to keep boxes, shopping bags or shoes. The storage in the kitchen is excellent too but that’s for another post 😃. I hope you have enjoyed this and I hope it has given you a better insight into the accommodation for Chancellors South. See you next time! 💕

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My favourite spots on campus! 😍🌲

Hey everyone!

I’ve seen a few people on Twitter today saying they’ve had offers from Edge Hill, and on campus today people have been graduating. Full circle! If you’ve been offered a place, congratulations! Today I wanted to share my favourite spots on campus, and to try and persuade you that Edge Hill is not only the best university but also the most aesthetic! 😋 

Catalyst (The library) 📚 :

 

The Catalyst is where I spend most of my time, if not in bed sleeping or in lectures. It’s only just opened for this academic year and I don’t know what I would have done without it. It’s stunning and is a great place to study, on your own or with friends. They have isolated booths if you want to block everyone out or group rooms if you want to work with your friends. It caters for everything and everyone. (There’s a little clip here to show you a more detailed view of the inside!) It’s amazing to have this comfortable space to go to if on Tuesdays (student night) you have to work and the accommodation area is a little noisy.

The Hub 🏢 :

I don’t spend enough time in this place. Every time I pass through there always seems to be something on in there. I walked past the other day and captured the picture above – I loved this idea! 💕 There’s an abundance of places to get and grab food in here but they also have people come in on certain days and set up stalls selling food from Asian street dishes to homemade treats. Not only this, the real winner here is the fact they serve Starbucks! ☕️

The Lakeside and the duckies 🦆 :

I’m lucky enough to live in an area of campus where I get to pass these beauties every day. It’s adorable in the mornings when they’re all on the grass nestled into themselves. It just starts your day off the right way seeing such beautiful nature, literally on your doorstep and it’s a lovely stroll in the morning. As you can tell by the pictures above, it’s hard to get near them. You can usually find me in the mornings trying to stroke one, probably shouting something along the lines of: “Please come here and let me love you!” 

My room 🙋🏽 :

The Edge Hill accommodation is truly amazing. It, of course, differs on price range. I live in Chancellor’s South and it’s a perfect size, so cosy and the view from my bedroom window is amazing. I’m really lucky with where I was allocated. I spend the majority of my time here and it’s a great workspace. Make sure you try and look around the halls of residence if you come to visit!

 

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed a little insight into some of my favourite spots at Edge Hill. The university campus is stunning and I feel very lucky to live in such a nice place. Thanks for reading, see you in my next post! 👋🏼

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My journey to Edge Hill and some tips for yours! ✈️👩🏽‍🎓📜

The Proclaimers may be willing to walk 500 miles, but what about 4,056 miles? Granted I didn’t walk from Saudi Arabia, but with it being my home for so long, moving across the world was pretty daunting.

Hi, I’m Amy! 😊 I moved to Ormskirk all the way from Saudi Arabia, it’s been my home for almost 13 years so it’s quite a big change, in routine, culture but most importantly, weather. ☔️

Moving away from home can be scary, even if you only live down the road. I’ve moved around a lot in my life so I’m kind of used to it. However, this was the biggest move so far for me, as I was moving away not only from home but from my family.

It feels like yesterday I was panicking about my personal statement and UCAS application and now I’m 8 weeks into the course and loving it. I miss home every now and again but I love what I’m doing and that makes it worth it. It’s hard in the first couple of weeks having to adjust to the new life and routine but once you get settled in and you meet lots of great new people you’ll start to see why people love uni life so much. It is very unique and something you have to experience. 🍻

Here are some little tips to keep in mind:

1.  Stay calm. 💆🏽 Your personal statement and application are, of course, important but trust in yourself and you will be fine. Try and get to an Applicant Visit Day or Open day and if your desired course requires an interview, make sure your prep for it! The interview process I went through was challenging and I was the most nervous I’ve ever been but stay calm. The staff at Edge Hill are so supportive, you will be fine.

2. Be organised. 🗂 The to-do list is never ending and there’s so much paperwork coming from all over, it can get on top of you if you let it. Grab a file and make sure you keep all the paperwork together. Make sure you meet deadlines for conditions and student finance and any pre-summer work you may be set. It’s good to get a head start on your organisation so you don’t feel too overwhelmed before you even get here!

3. Save and budget. 💰 Try and get in the hang of budgeting before you come to uni. You may save up a nice bit of money during the summer but it goes, fast. There is luckily a lot of work around Ormskirk, as there are so many little cafes and restaurants. Getting a job will be a big help but remember to budget. You may feel like a celebrity when your loan goes in but if by the second week you’re eating noodles three times a day, you need to look after your pennies! Before you move, maybe start to budget so you can get the hang of it!

Well, that is it for the first post of the year.
I’m excited to share my experiences with you all.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions,
we’re here to help!  💕

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