Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Doing Well

Lately I haven't been doing well in physics, chemistry or English. (In other words, I am only doing well in math).

For physics, it's mainly because of my lack of effort: I spend almost all my time doing my English assignments, and as a result, I rarely complete my homework or do any studying. That's why so far all my test and quiz scores are in the 80s.

For chemistry, it's also because of my lack of effort. Yes, even though I know it is a grade 12 course, I haven't been putting a lot effort into it because I always thought the material was pretty easy. Also, all of a sudden the teacher started giving us difficult tests (in grade 11 I used to be able ace all the tests pretty easily), and started being extremely picky when marking communication questions.

As for English, even though I do put a lot of effort into it, I haven't been getting very good marks because I still don't know what the teacher expects of me. As a result, my writing and reading marks— which really should be pulling my mark up— are not very satisfactory. Also, there is an surprisingly huge amount of work for the course, so even though in total I do spend a lot of time on the assignments, the time spent on each individual assignment isn't as much as it could be.

I hope I will do better from now on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Macbeth Comprehension Questions: Act 1 Scene 5

1. Who wrote the letter to Lady Macbeth? What does the fact that he wrote it indicate about their relationship?

  • It was Macbeth who wrote the letter to Lady Macbeth, and this indicates that they have a close relationship.

2. Whom does the letter not mention? What does this suggest?
  • The letter does not mention Banquo, and this can have many implications. For example, it may suggest that Macbeth does not care about Banquo; that in Macbeth's mind, Banquo is not important

3. What does Lady Macbeth almost immediately start to plan?
  • She immediately starts planning the killing of Duncan.

4. What does Lady Macbeth criticize about her husband?
  • She criticizes that her husband is too nice, that he is often too afraid to achieve what he wants.

5. What does Lady Macbeth reveal about her own character and personality?
  • She is evil, ambitious, cunning, and cold-hearted

6. Where do things stand at the end of the scene?
  • Lady Macbeth is ready to kill the king at night, whereas Macbeth is still wavering. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Macbeth Comprehension Questions: Act 1 Scene 2

1. Who is Macdonwald? What happened to him?
  • He was the former Thane of Cawdor, who betrayed the Scotland. He was killed by Macbeth, sliced open from his navel to his jaw.

2. What does the description of Macbeth's action emphasize?
  • It emphasizes on his courage and bravery; how valiant he is

3. What other captain is fighting alongside Macbeth?
  • Banquo

4. Point out the irony in the captain's response to the king's question about whether Macbeth became dismayed by the army from Norway
  • The captain first responded that Macbeth was as afraid of the new troops as sparrows are afraid of eagles and as rabbits are afraid of lions. However, Macbeth was not scared at all, and he fought valiantly against the Norwegians and won. Therefore, the captain's first line of response was ironic. 

5. Who's the thane of Cawdor? What does the king say about him? How is the king going to reward Macbeth?
  • The thane of Cawdor is MacDonwald, and the king wants him executed. Macbeth is going to be awarded with the title thane of Cawdor

6. Based on what you've read, what are some of Macbeth's personal qualities?
  • He is brave, courageous, loyal, and merciless.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Strategies for Proving Trigonometric Identities

From all the trig identity problems that I have solved, I have come up with these strategies:
  1. Convert everything to sine and cosine. In other words, get rid of the tangents, cotangents, cosecants and secants.
  2. Work with the more complex side first: it's often easier to simplify expressions that are complex than to make the more simple side equal to the more complicated one.
  3. Use common denominators: if the two sides have different denominators, how can they equal to each other?
  4. If the sines and cosines have 2 or 4 as their exponents, then try to use the identity sin2 θ + cos2 θ = 1 to simplify.
  5. Don't just work on one side: unless one of the sides is a simple value like "1" or "sin θ", it's usually a good idea to try to make the two sides meet in the middle.
  6. Factor: A lot of times it is important to factor, as this would often help simplifying the sides

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Seventy-Seven Percent

Today I got my English essay test back, which was a 17/22 (77%). However, as low as this mark was, I actually felt quite happy about it: I could have gotten a lot worse.

For the test, I basically had to read this article, identify the thesis and the methods of developments, and answer a variety of questions such as "why does the author find the happiness of Canada's teenagers disturbing?" And although this does not sound particularly difficult, it was.

For me, it was very hard to find the thesis, and even after reading the article for about five times, I still could not be sure about what the thesis was (and I got it wrong in the end). Also, for each question— opinion-based or not— we were required to provide evidence from the text. This actually made me a lot slower because then I had to find specific lines in the article, and copy them down to my answer sheet. In addition, the last question was an opinion-based paragraph worth five marks, and I found it difficult to make my arguments clear and strong.

So when I finished the test, I knew I did terribly: I was not sure on many questions, and the teacher could easily take one or two marks off of each question. I felt so afraid that I was going to actually fail the test, to the extent where I even had trouble sleeping well!

So when I saw that my mark was a 17/22—0.5 higher than the median— I felt extremely relieved and, even, happy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Magnesium Oxide?

Today, when cooking lunch, I accidentally turned the wrong knob on the electric stove. As a result, in the few minutes that I was away, a cooking pot cover was being burnt.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Goals for the Rest of The Year

So, as the title has indicated has indicated, here are my goals for the rest of the year:

  • Exercise at least two hours every week
  • If nothing special comes along, memorize 20 vocabularies every weekday
  • Do all physics homework
  • Study properly before each physics and chemistry test
  • Perfectly solve each problem encountered in the programming team
  • Finish each English writing at least a day before it is due
  • Study the following topics for math:
    • Euclidean and analytic geometry
    • Trigonometry, including functions, graphs, identities, sine and cosine laws
    • Exponential and logarithmic functions
    • Functional notation
    • Systems of equations
    • Polynomials, including relationships involving the roots of quadratic and cubic equations
    • The remainder theorem
    • Sequences and series
    • Simple counting problems
    • The binomial theorem
    • Elementary number theory, including tests for divisibility, number of divisors, and simple Diophantine equations
  • Learn harder algorithms for programming
  • Make sure that I get a good sleep before each test

Blocking Websites

In grade ten, I often had to stay up late at night to finish assignments or projects that were due on the next day; I had poor time-management skills. And upon reflection, I realized that it was all because of the Internet: I simply spent too much time surfing the Internet or playing online games.

Therefore, in order to prevent myself from wasting too much time on the Internet, I have recently disabled—or blocked—websites such as youtube or online game sites by using hosts file.

The effect was instantaneous. Immediately, I found that I could do close to nothing on the Internet, and as a result I would either sleep (replenish my energy) or actually work on my assignments/projects. And ever since I have done so, I have never had to sleep later than 12:00.

I hope this would be enough to solve my problem of Internet addiction...