Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How I study - Part 2 (Business Studies and Commerce)

G'day matey

haha I was lying in bed the other night, and I realized I've accustomed to the Malaysian slang and accents.
Not that I've gotten a Malaysian accent, but I'm starting to sound more neutral.
Oh, and of course, I've added some of their slang to my vocabulary.
Such as lah, bah, ish?
Like before, I would use ish like:
"Are you feeling better?" "ish." as in kinda/a little/around there.
But now. I use it like:
like omg it should be self-explanatory.

SOOOOOOO I've been delaying this post for way too long.
I was supposed to post this before May? haha. But yaknow...

Okayyyyy So here's how I study for:

Business Studies and Commerce (O Levels)

Some of my business and commerce notes and past years!

Thankfully, Business Studies and Commerce come hand in hand with each other.
Like they're literally a pair.
Business Studies(BS) is the pants in the relationship.
Get your foundation right with BS, and you'll get along well with Commerce.

So firstly, just to inform you about my school and studying habits.

I go to a homeschooling centre - well, used to.
I get several people asking me over a period of time, how it feels like, would I recommend it, etc.
Most people think that homeschoolers are hardworking and independent.
The truth is, majority of the people who ends up in my school don't actually study.
Or at least during my time there, that was the case.
But long gone are those students. They've scattered elsewhere, or decided to graduate too.

It is however, true that homeschooling requires a whole lot of self-motivation.
No one is gonna push you other than yourself.
You'll be the one to choose whether you want to excel or not.

I did not rely on my school teachers for these two subjects.
No offence, but they did not help me at all.
And I won't put the blame on them, I just couldn't study at school either.
So pretty much, majority - no, ALL of my study time for these two subjects were out of school.
What a waste of expensive school fees. *sigh.

So let's get started!

I won't go in depth with the individual subjects;
Because like I said earlier, these two come hand in hand.
I studied the Business Studies and Commerce textbooks at the same time, and they pretty much have the same base. The notes I made for BS, I could use for Commerce. And Vice Versa.

It has eveeeeerythaaang.
Like no joke, it has the terms, the diagrams, the explanation, examples, etc.
PLUS, it is much much much more interesting than the Commerce textbook.
In fact, the book itself can be your tutor.
I highly recommend it!
Don't neglect your Commerce textbook though.
As boring as it is, you still have to read it at least twice!
Once, read-through with brief understanding. Second time, highlight points and summarise!


I wasn't as studious in the early months of preparation.
In fact, I was a bit lazy.
But exams are coming up, what do you have to do?

A page of Business terminologies.
Business Studies has tons and tons of terminologies. Like woah, there are several pages of business terms you HAVE to know. When you take a look at the past year papers, you'll notice that they have questions that require you to explain a definition of a business term. eg. What is meant by the term 'recession'? or What is meant by the term 'sole trader'?

Use different coloured pens! I personally recommend STABILO point 88!
They're a bit pricey compared to normal ball point pens, but that's because they have a very fine tip and many attractive colours to choose from! You can buy them individually at any stationary store, such as Popular or AA. 

This is the pack that I use! :)

Cue Cards come in handy for on-the-go study and when you don't feel like staring at your textbook for hours! I use it for my 'lazy' study time. So I go through the terms and get someone to test me. It's super useful to begin your preparation for these two subjects!

In fact, it also benefited me after my exams. A friend (and school-mate of mine) offered to buy them off me. TEEHEE. I made Rm 10 just for my cue cards! Some people are lazy to make their own. But it's really not that hard!

Maybe I should make a post on 'How to make your own cue cards' or 'How to make your own notes' for my next study session! (I plan on re-studying these subjects again before A level begins :D)

3. Try different ways to learn and understand

Both Esther and I study differently.
We also study different things.
Esther is in the Science stream, and I'm in the Commerce stream.

Esther is really good at taking notes as well - in class and at home. (I don't study at school :x)
When it comes to studying outside of school, Esther likes to read her notes out loud.
Over and over and over and over.
For her, she is an audio learner. I used to be more of a visual learner, but I'm leaning towards kinesthetic now.

Try to combine all three;
Audio, Visual and Kinestethic.
Adjust to which kind of learning styles you prefer.
Try a bit of writing, listening, drawing..

On the above, I copied the visual diagrams from my textbooks.
They make a good summary. And definitely look much more alluring.
But I prefer things more explained and listed.

Such as this. I like things looking neater, like a list.
They help me memorise better and identify and refer to individual terms easily.


Majority of the past years that I completed
My dad once told me that it is extremely vital to look and DO past year papers.
Now, my school provides past year papers for our mocks, and a bit more for preparation before our exams. But that's not enough. You need to take it up a notch.

The exact url for O level students are here:
You need to take it to an extreme. (See what I did there?)
YES, this magical website is absolutely useful and helpful for you!

Many students don't take advantage of such a useful website!
My principal gave it to us awhile ago, but not many students were efficient on checking up on it.
And I found a pot of gold.

The website provides past years from the very beginning of time 'till the most recent year.
They even have revision notes for O Level and A Level Subjects!
The website is suitable for O Level, A Level, EdExcel, IELTS, SAT, etc.
Check it out yourselves!
They also have additional information like the syllabus explanation, frequently asked questions, etc.
(These are usually at the bottom of the past years. You'll have to really dig well to find the gold :D)

So this is the website where I print all my past year papers.
I try to complete as many as I can. Usually from the year where the marking scheme is fixed.
So for some subjects, they updated the marking scheme at 2006;
So I will print all the past years starting from 2006-2013.
Now, it can be slightly complicated, as they don't state it all down in words.

I'll summarize it for ya.

To find O Levels Subjects:

1. Click 'Papers' - The second box next to 'Home'.

2. Click 'CIE' (The 3rd one down)

3. Click Cambridge International O Level (The 4th one down)

4. Click on your chosen subject; They are listed in alphabetical order.
Business Studies (7115) Commerce (7100)
The numbers in the brackets are the code for your past years/Subject code

5. Now, you'll see a whole lot of files. This is when things can get slightly complicated.
The more you use the website, the more you'll get the hang of it.
(eg. Business Studies)

You'll notice the files are pretty similar, and can only differentiate the type by the differences.
Eg, File name:


These files are the 'additional information'.

7115_s03_er.pdf (Shows your the examiner's comments for year 2003)

To find the past year,


To identify the past years, qp 1 stands for Question Paper 1.
qp 2 stands for Question Paper 2.

You'll see a whole bunch of the same thing.
Notice that they don't put down the date either.
So from the first encounter with 
' 7115_s03_qp_1.pdf '
I suggest that you click on it, check the year of this paper.

It should say M/J (May/June) 2003
Start counting the years from then.

So the next ' 7115_s03_qp_1.pdf ' after the one above (qp1- 2003),
it means it is the M/J 2004.

' 7115_s03_ms_1.pdf ' will be the marking scheme (answer sheet) for the year.

This file will usually be listed after the past year for the same year.

Usually, I dismiss the first few files. So I don't use the first few years provided because the marking scheme has changed. You'll know why if you start to examine each past year one by one, you'll notice that the first few years don't matter.

So let's take the eg for year 2007:

7115_s03_qp_1.pdf     - paper 1
7115_s03_qp_2.pdf     - paper 2
7115_s03_er.pdf     - examiner's remarks
7115_s03_ms_1.pdf     - marking scheme for paper 1

So yeah, pretty complicated huh?
But it gets a bit more complicated.

The past years are sometimes repeated.
You'll know this when you see:


This shows that the three are all paper 1. But there's a paper 1, version 1. Paper 2, version 2. Paper 3, version 3. This also happens for paper 2 and the marking schemes.
The contents are usually the same, just shuffled around.

Oh, another thing!

You'll notice the files listed in such a manner:

M/J 2003
M/J 2004
M/J 2005
M/J 2013
O/N 2003
O/N 2004
O/N 2005
O/N 2013

So the past years are listed in what comes first;
The first half of the files, May & June Past Years from 2003-2013.
And the second half, October & November Past Years from 2003-2013.

The end of the files are additional information.

Hope I explained it as clear as I could!

5. Multiple Choice

This is for Commerce and perhaps any other multiple choice papers you have!
REPETITION - that is the main thaaaaang.
I know multiple choices are usually looked down on and assumed to be easy.
But because it's multiple choice, the questions are more likely to be tricky!
Don't be fooled and actually study hard for this.
Each. mark. counts.

Round 1, I do the printed past years.
For Multiple Choice, this will be in Commerce Paper 1.
After doing several past years, you'll notice your mean score.
Now, it's most likely you didn't get 90% or more for it, so that's where practice makes close to perfect.

So repetition. How?
The past year papers are on xtremepapers.
Instead of wasting paper and ink to print out more papers, you go on the website.

Round 2. You write the answers on your exercise book or a piece of paper.

For example, like the above. You write the date of the past year, and the Q. numbers.

Round 3: You do it again. Yes, you repeat the past years, again. Total up your marks and compare them these time. Identify the questions that you seem to get wrong frequently.
You'll notice after doing tons of papers, they actually repeat a few questions!

YES, your examination paper will likely have one or two repeated questions too! And several that are very similar. And a few that are completely unfamiliar.

When you compare your score, make sure you go through each question individually.
Take a look at why you got the answer wrong, and why the other is correct.
This helps you apply your knowledge of the subject.

Round 4: Now, you think you learned well?
I think not. This time, write out the questions and answers that you got wrong.
YES, write them out. and then, do them.

Like so, target the questions you got wrong and write them out.

Writing your questions and answers out will help you remember which one are you likely to get wrong. You can start to see the pattern and your weakness in the multiple choice paper.

Round 5: The ones that you get wrong from the questions your wrote out, write it another time and do it. You'll probably start to get a bit frustrated at yourself. And in order to prevent yourself from writing it another time, you'll put more effort and thought towards understanding the question and finding the right answer.

What I do is that I will continue to write out the questions I get wrong, until they become correct.
Do this until the day you go for exam, and you will likely score well for your multiple choice.

I know friends who take multiple choice really lightly.
Now, to ensure top marks, you need to get only 2 or 3 wrong at max' for your paper 1!
So why don't you lower the chances of getting more wrong?


YESSSSS, study music sets me in the mood to study.
I make a private playlist on youtube for studying.
At first, I would listen to my personal favourites for studying.
But I realised that I start to sing to the lyrics, or the lyrics of the songs get me distracted..
So I found some awesome study music on youtube, and I think it's very enjoyable!
(Although Esther hates it)
It's instrumental, most of the study music are.
Click below to hear my favourite study music:

And ta-da!
That's it!

Six of my tips to how I studied for these two subjects.

happy studying!
All the best :D

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