The Exam Flow

Question: Hi I’m in grade 9 and I was wondering how the exams work. My teachers have told me about it but I’m still confused.

Daniel: I can answer that for you!! Exams in high school can seem very confusing at first but once you experience them, they’re not as complicated as you think.

To start off, be in gala uniform (shoes included) to prevent any complexities at the office and with teachers.

Once you get the school grab the supplies you need like pencils, erasers, water, and so on. Few things to keep in mind:
– Have a clear pencil case or ziploc bag works too. Or it’s simpler to not have one.
– DO NOT BRING YOUR CELLPHONE. If it happens to be in your pocket as you walk in, just give it to them and they’ll return it once you’re done.
– Make sure to have your student ID with you because that is your KEY to getting into that exam room (a.k.a the north gym).
– If you lost it, a learners license or any form of government ID works too. If you really want your student ID, go to the office (preferably a couple of days before) and they’ll print you a paper copy for the price of $5.
– Have a transparent water bottle with no plastic labels so you’re not suspicious for cheating.
– If you’re using a calculator, leave the case/lid in your bag to prevent any complications of removing it later

Once you got all your stuff, head to the North Gym which is where everyone will be waiting. At 8:30, that’s when you’re expected to be there and teachers will start letting students in. Have your student ID ready so it’s just an easy walk-in.
– The tests are arranged in alphabetical answer by last name so follow the signs at the front rows to find your seat.
– The exams start at 9:00. Once everyone is settled, the teachers will begin talking about the guidelines and expectations.
– Pay close attention because they’ll soon be going over all that sticker and filling out information work which you probably did for your LA writing final.
– Before you start, they’ll announce the first exit time for those who finish early. – There will be more later at certain intervals, so if you finish after that first exit time, you won’t be stuck for the rest of the exam.
– Depending on the exam you’re writing, you’ll have 75 minutes (Math, LA, Science) or 80 minutes (Social) to finish your test. Students in ESL get additional time.

I’ve attached a link to the exam schedule to help with the times and knowing when they are.

Once you exit the gym, you are welcome to quietly stay in a teacher surpervised classroom or go hang with friends off campus. If you take the bus, buses leave at 12:15.

Hope this clears up the confusion and may you do well in your PATs!!!

Sociology 20 + 30

Question: I took sociology as an elective but I got 50’s in sociology 20 and 30 and I know that that is a pass according to the province but it isn’t for FFCA so does that give me the credits still?

Aaron: Hello! I will be answering your question today! As you already know, the mark that you have received in Sociology is not a pass, in terms of FFCA standards. HOWEVER, the good news is that, with Ms.Geran’s wisdom, anything above 50, in terms of Alberta standards is a PASS. So you will be receiving credits for your course in Sociology. Teachers should not have marks at the 48 or 49 mark, and should be rounded up, but to answer your question, you will be receiving the credits for your course of Sociology. Continue to be encouraged as this is only one of the many courses you have taken this year.

Best wishes,

Physics 20

Ahhhhhh! I’m freaking out about physics 20. I love physics but I’m not that good at it. I don’t know what to do. Help me!

Sunvy: Hi there, I totally get your frustration in this matter. To be honest, I love physics too and I really want to excel in it. I am currently not doing as well as I personally want to ,but you see, every one is unique and each person has their own take on what “not that good” is be it: provincially failing a course (getting below 50%), FFCA failing a course (getting below 60%), a number an individual strives to achieve (personally I strive for a 90% in physics because then my mom would take me to the best Pho restaurant in Calgary) or even failing in the the respect of not gaining any experience. I took AP English in grade 10 and I was so close to failing (my report card that year said I got a 60%, however, later it magically bumped up to 64% on my transcript, but that’s besides the point.) If you look at this from a numerical perspective, one may argue that I “didn’t do so well”. True, and I also still think I didn’t do so well but it was a tremendous opportunity that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I gained so many valuable lessons, not just in English, but real life applications as well.

So some things I suggest are: asking Ms. Sebring or your physics teacher for help, get a tutor, make learning fun, do your homework and get lots of sleep. Ms. Sebring is an awesome teacher and honestly, she does her very best and often steps out of her way to help her students. She loves each and every one of her students so much it is ridiculous. One time she even got us “physics socks” in order to motivate us to be successful. She would gladly help you if you are struggling. She honestly appreciates it when you come and find her to work through things that you need help with. One other thing that I would like to suggest is getting a tutor. They would be able to give you one on one help on physics. But I suggest going to Ms. Sebring first. She is literally always around. She stays after school all of the time.

Another thing I did this year to help me get better is that I had a competition with a fellow classmate. We made bets with each other in who would get the better mark before the term started and it looked something like this: Whoever got the lower grade on the report cards would pay the winner some money. This really helped motivate me as I wanted to win some extra cash and not pay someone else my own money. I’m a poor “university student” for Pete’s sake! I’m even in debt to myself. That’s how broke I am. So if you choose to do something like this to help motivate you do your best, I recommend that you bet against a friend or fellow student that you know will be a challenge in beating. Not necessarily the top student in the class, but one that would challenge you to work hard.

Another thing is that my opponent and I encouraged each other and called each other up a night if we were struggling on a problem We did not become mortal enemies at all. Make sure to still care for the person you are competing with.

One thing that I wish I could have done in order to be more successful is to actually do the homework and sleep more. I admit it, I do not do my homework and I really regret it so much. Don’t leave all your homework to do on the last night like I do. I literally feel so stressed out when I do that to myself. Also, make sure you get lots of sleep every night so you are able to concentrate in class, because I find that more often than not, most of the theory questions are super easy only if I had paid more attention during class. If I could take physics 20 and 30 again, I would definitely do the homework every night and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Oh and did I mention that I’m half cat? I need 10 hours to function properly so I should work on getting more sleep. I’m so sorry that this response is so very long, but I honestly want you to be able to do your best and if you have any other questions regarding anything I’ve said, please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me in person.

Ejaaz: A lot of people are generally afraid of physics because they think it involves a lot of math or they’ve heard rumours from seniors. But the best thing to do is go off your preference. If you LOVE physics, and the idea of it then I say go for it. Physics 20 (from what I remember) builds off what you learned in the physics portion of science 10. And from my personal recollection is hella fun.

And speaking to the mark portion, as long as you put in the work, do the homework daily, and read the notes, YOU WILL BE FINE. Physics is all about reading, under standing the concepts, and knowing how to apply the calculations. Just study daily and you should excel. And the teachers you could get (Seibring or Nayak) are awesome! They will work their best to make sure you succeed. If you have any questions they are always open and willing to help.

All in all you need to ask yourself this question, Do I want to go into a field that will involve physics? (Some possible fields are teacher engineer, physicist etc.) That question is vital when choosing courses especially when you make the transition from grade 10-11. If physics is something you love doing and want to pursue, by all means go for it, just make sure you:
1) Put in the work
2) Ask if you are having difficulty

Overcoming Shyness in High school

So, I’m a really shy person, how can I excel in high school? 

Arshnoor: In order to come out of the shell of shyness, you could take the drama course to open up more with your peers. Not only this, you could also join the empowering minds camp next year, which happens once in a year. After coming back from the camp ( which is about three days), you will feel more confident and being able to fully express your thoughts. I have seen many students who have attended that program become more open and participate in discussions. One thing for sure which I can say is that these skills are going to beneficial in your senior years in the high school!

Julianna: Expanding on what has been mentioned about empowering minds. It is a camp that 3 days long. In this camp you learn how to break out of your shell by doing a series of activities with people you may not necessarily know prior to the camp. In the camp you learn how to get uncomfortable and expand your personal comfort zone. I have been there as a student and I have been back 3 times as an on team volunteer. I can personally say with my own experience (as I used to be painfully shy) that this camp is VERY effective, not only for shy people but also those who are more out there and open! I suggest you look into signing up for this opportunity of a life time!

Iffy: Being a person who has been shy for almost all my life, it has been difficult for me to deal with school. But what I can say is that being shy doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Something that has really helped me open up and feel more confident and comfortable was joining choir. The atmosphere is just so welcoming, and people will welcome you with open arms and help you to feel more comfortable with yourself and with the people around you because it has really impacted my life in such a positive way.

Making friends was something that I really struggled with in high school, but know that your not alone. Many people deal with shyness, but in the end it’s so worth it, to put yourself out their, to show people the kind of person you really are, and even if you don’t have many friends, a small group of close friends is what can really help you be successful in high school.

Summer School Troubles

Question: Why is summer school so opposed at this school?

Hey, this is Ashley. I’ll be taking your question today, and I’ll start off with my own.

Why do you want to go into summer school?

If your answer is to:
a) Learn the contents of a course beforehand in order to do better in the course in school
b) Take a necessary course due to a full schedule

Then I would say to go for it. Have that chat with Geran. Be successful!

However if your reason is so that you can get a SPARE, you are going to be disappointed. As quoted by Mr. Pichard, “FFCA High School is designed for in-class explicit instruction. Students have a higher rate of success when they take classes here, and develop excellent work habits and character by being in classes all day.” Even if you take summer school (like I did), you are still required to take a full load of courses (4 courses each semester) in the school year. Additionally, if you can’t change your schedule once you get back, you’re going to have to keep your courses, even the one you took over the summer.

So to answer your question, honestly, FFCA is just looking out for us and they want the best for us in terms of education. When I took summer school, it was to take Science 30, as I was pretty sure at that time that I was going to go into Psychology and that Science 30 would be my mark booster to get in. I had taken all 3 sciences at the 20 level, and hence I thought I was thoroughly prepared for the course. Lo and behold, I was apparently overly prepared for the course and due to my love for science, I finished with a 95. Not everyone is like me, though. Summer school is tough (you get a week’s worth of knowledge and homework every day!) and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are diligent and you have a good reason for being there. No need to waste your money if all you’re going to do is mess around.

All in all, just make sure you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, just as you would anything in your life. Do things that will contribute to your success, and make it worthwhile. You have a limited time in high school, after all. Make it count while you still can.

Troubles Before University

Question: if you failed every single math, english, and chemistry course from grade 9-12 what can i do in post secondary. Also where is room ENA 101 in the u of c building

Thank you for your inquiry. This was a tough question for us to answer (as you can tell, as this was posted later than the 9:00 deadline).
So, we are assuming you are either:

  1. In grade 9 we would like to say: don’t give up. You still have 3 good years ahead of you to work on your academics, and improve on your grades, or
  2. If you are in grade 12 you still have a lot of options. You could upgrade your courses, or learn a trade.

Ashley (in response to #2): Sorry, but I’m going to be your reality check for the day. I noticed that you asked for an Engineering room specifically, and if you think that you’re failing the core classes you need to be accepted into University, much less Engineering, I do not think that you should rush your decision. You’re still in high school, so you still have the option of upgrading and summer school. If you really believe that you are doing poorly, then you need to speak with Ms. Geran ASAP about what your plans are for the upcoming years. It depends on your definition of failing, however, if it is by the definition of provincial failure, then you may not only be in danger of not only making it to university, but passing high school, especially if you are failing English. Take the time, upgrade your marks if you must, and make sure your skills are adequate. That, or choose another path, such as a trade, as said above, where you may or may not need certain classes.

Sunvy (in response to Ashley’s definition of failure): Well, you see, every one is unique and each person has their own definitions of different terms. One of the most controversial terms used in school is “failing”. Different people have different takes on this term be it: provincially failing a course (below 50%), FFCA failing a course (below 60%), a number an individual assigns one’s self (for me personally anything below an 90% in physics) or even failing in the the respect of not gaining any experience. I took AP english in grade 10 and I was so close to failing (my report card that year said I got a 60%, however, later it magically bumped up to 64% on my transcript, but that’s besides the point.) If you look at this from a numerical perspective, one may argue that I “failed the course”, however, I perceived it as a golden opportunity that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I gained so many valuable lessons, not just in English, but real life applications as well. So, one thing that I would like to ask you to do is: evaluate your own definition of the term “failing” and not just look at it from a numerical perspective, but from the priceless experiences and life lessons you get out of it as well.

Ejaaz: For those in grade 9-11 facing this problem, many people who get under a certain grade will get recommended for a -2 course (mostly math and ELA). What most people don’t understand is how much -2 will help you.

Personally, as student who has taken ELA-2, grades 10 through 11, I can honestly say it has been a blessing in disguise. I went into it feeling very pessimistic and against the whole idea, but I came out of it with greater abilities than when I started. I feel as if my writing progressed significantly, and I would not be where I am today in terms of my writing.

Ashley: In conclusion, our three main takeaways are:

  • Talk to Geran.
  • Reevaluate your definition of failure;
  • And based on your definition, choose the course stream/future best suited for you

Side note:
This may help you find rooms within the University:

Interactive room finder: This is a link to an interactive room finder at U of C. Basically, it is a map of the buildings, in which you can search for a specific room and it will show you where it is, and which building it is in. Furthermore, you can book a campus tour of the university where they will also show you where every building is and what is taught there.


Leadership 25 and 35

Question: I was wondering what kind of things you learn in leadership 25 and 35 and what the course is like.

Arshnoor: The leadership program offered at our school during grade 11, prepares us to learn the different ways to function well as a team. Not only this, through numerous presentations, it builds public speaking skills, along maintaining proper communication in a team. Additionally, the students get a chance to do the aptitude tests, which signify which careers you will be successful in. That test acts as a way to open up the students’ minds to the many different career paths.

In grade 12, students have the opportunity to apply the concepts which he or she learned in grade 11. As well, in that year, students learn to take the charge on themselves, be independent, and act as team leaders. In the end of the course, students do a legacy project, either for the school or a selected grade. Throughout the process, students learn to how to create a win-win situation within his or her team.

Iffy: Well, you probably hear people saying how boring and useless leadership class is, but it is something that has really helped me with boosting my confidence, and contributing my ideas in class. The things we learn in leadership 25 are very game based which allows people to take on a leadership role and be able to guide people to what they need to do. Their are presentations that are also tied into leadership 25, talking about and learning from people who you consider to be good leaders.. In leadership, you always need to go back to the PALM model: trust, communication and collaboration, roles and responsibilities, focused action, accountability, and finally, results. If you don’t have one of these pieces, than you and your team won’t be successful, so anything you do has to fit with all of these pieces so that everyone is successful. There are also aptitude tests that you take to see what you’re good at and what kind of career you’d be successful in, and it will determine where your passions lie. It doesn’t fully determine what you will go into, but the base of where your passions lie, and sometimes people’s passions and likes shift, so this is not something that will officially determine what you should go into.

Leadership 35 is quite different from leadership 25. In leadership 35, you will still be doing activities, but you will also be put into groups that will be leading the class for 3 days, with your chair, co-chair, secretary, and co-secretary. The main focus of leadership 35 is focusing on your legacy projects, such as this one, which will either impact a certain grade/grades that you decide to choose, if that’s the route you take, or something that will have an impact on the whole school.

All in all, we are a character school, and being able to have a class that focuses on building character, and confidence will be beneficial for when you leave high school, and will make you a very successful leader.

Art in Grade 10 or Not

Question: I was wondering what the art elective was like. I took it in grade 9 but not sure if I wanna take it in grade 10? Is it worth it?

Good question.

I took art throughout high school, and its been a great experience because every year you get to learn new techniques, and try out different art forms. It also helps you to improve in your artistic abilities.

I guess it depends on three questions: Are you passionate about art, did you enjoy art 9, and are you planning on doing something in the arts after high school?

I believe that it is definitely worth it to take art 10, because you get to experience new art each and every year, and you get to try things that you have not tried before. Art 9 is getting into the basics of art , but when you go into art 10, you get to go way beyond the basics, and into something that is truly unique and magical.

So if you said yes to all three questions, than yes, it is so worth it. It will definitely open your eyes to the many new perspectives and ideas on the different art forms, and using different tools and techniques to make you and your art successful. Hopefully that helped to answer your question.



An Effective Legacy Project

Question: How do you see this being an effective legacy project?

Your question might not have met our criteria, but I’m a nice person. I’ll make an exception, partially because I’m a good person, and partially because I am intensely invested in this project.

When considering legacy projects, we wanted something that could influence the entire school.  This idea was something that I’d been working on since last year. The idea behind this was that we, as grade 12’s, have had so many experiences, and the one thing that we can give back to FFCA that would leave an impact, are our stories. Who better to answer questions like “What are classes like?” and “What’s it like being a part of a school sports team?” and such and so forth, than students who have had these experiences?

As for how effective it will be as a legacy to carry out, we have already arranged for students to take on the website for the following years. It will be a multi-grade group, which will allow for different students to share their experiences. When we leave, the plan is to add in another website, “Ask an Alumni” so that we can continue to spread our influence and stories.

Thanks for your question,

Choosing Classes for Grade 11

Question: Hi there I am in grade 10 and Idk what to take next year. I dont know what I want to do in Uni nor do i have any hobbies. I dont have many friends so i cant ask them. My parents are always working so i cant ask them. I dont have any siblings. I like to eat apples. I like feathers, there very soft and it calms me down when i touch them.Please help me out. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

Ejaaz: First of all, our hearts go out to you. My main piece of advice would be to have a long thought about what you want to go into. I have a few friends who were in an identical situation to you, and what really helped them were:

1) Talking to Ms.Geran- she has been doing this for many years now, and in my personal opinion is best suited to help you decide where it is you want to go. I would recommend setting up a meeting with her in which she will ask questions, that will then help you decide which path would be the best for you.

2) For grade 10, the main conflict is over which science(s) to take. From there, my best piece of advice is, to ask yourself, “do I want to be doing physics, and/or chemistry and/or biology for the rest of my life.” Based on these answers you can pick the science(s) that would be bet suited for you. And if you answer “no” to all, you still do need 1 science in order to graduate so I would personally recommend taking general sciences. (which, just like science 10, is a mix of all 3 sciences).
Just a warning, if you do so decide to take chemistry and get Mr.Dawe, be prepared for some puns, but they only happen periodically 🙂

Iffrah: When choosing courses, taking all 3 sciences is not the best way to go, especially when you don’t need all 3 sciences in the program you decide to go into. Electives are a great way of balancing your schedule so you have something that can destress you, and don’t choose an elective that you aren’t passionate or interested in.

Sunvy: You’re not the only one who’s had this problem. Lots of people don’t know what to do with their university life while they’re in high school, or even in University. What I would recommend is choosing classes that you are passionate about, and just go where it takes you, even sciences. Don’t restrict yourself. Try new things. A great idea would be to join a sports team/drama team. Not only will you make new friends but you will also meet people with similar interests. Even if theres a team that you don’t know much about, try it, who knows, you could end up with a new passion, and even a new idea of where you want to be in the future. The more you’re exposed to things, the more you know what you like.

Julianna: There’s a community that is built within our school: the drama community. You can head over to the drama room at lunch and people will welcome you with open arms! You can definitely get some advice from people in there, and you can also probably make a lot of friends that way! Additionally, through Leadership 25, you should be doing aptitude tests, which will let you know what you’re good at and what you’re interested in pursuing.

Arshnoor: Like Ejaaz said, you can also talk to Ms. Geran for career advice and planning. Ms. Geran is well-known, experienced, and very friendly to talk to. In fact, if you want, you can take a green slip from the main office to fill out your name to talk to Ms. Geran. When meeting Ms. Geran, she can guide you to take courses that will be beneficial for you in the upcoming years. In fact we all recommend that everyone does this at some point – especially in their Grade 12 year!

Ashley: I should mention that any opinions you get should not be what defines yours, as you are in charge of your own future, not somebody else. That said, take everyone’s opinions into consideration. As to address the issue with your parents, leave them a note or something, asking them to arrange a time to talk. Parents tend to be very impressed when you come out to ask to talk, and by booking in a time with them, you know for sure that this talk will happen and that they’ve made time for you. Oftentimes, parents know what they’re talking about, and hence you’ll eventually piece together a plan. Oh, and some advice for next year: You’re gonna need a lot of feathers 😉

Let’s Talk, FFCA