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Anna.Karenina
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I've been following the results day thread this year and have noticed so many people worried about the possibility of missing out on both their firm and insurance, so I thought I'd share my story to give you a bit of hope

I left school with very average GCSEs - A*A*A*AABCCCD. Don't always believe that an average set of GCSEs means you are doomed to fail at university admission - I never had a problem with my D in Chemistry when I was applying for humanity courses with A*s in humanity subjects.

I chose English Literature, English Language, History and Media Studies for my A levels, which the intention of having Media Studies as an easy AS. I originally got AACC respectively, with 100% in two English units, and after a Media re-mark, it went up to AABC. I was hoping to get AAAB, and again considered my results to be average. I decided to resit my summer History exam, as I had only got a D grade, in contrast to my A in January, in order to bump up my grade to a B.

For the 2013 cycle, I applied for English Literature and Language at Keble College, Oxford; English Literature and Language at King's College London; English at Queen Mary, University of London; English and American Literature at University of Kent, and English Literature at University of Westminster. I got offers for all except Oxford. I did have to sit the ELAT beforehand, which I got 79% for, and still like to think of that as an achievement.

I firmed King's, who were asking for AAA, and insured QMUL, who were asking for AAB. I had a look on Which?Uni, and found out only 26% of applicants got onto my King's course - you DO NOT need a string of As and A* right through from GCSE to A2 in order to gain entry to a top course at a top university.

I came to sit my History resit, but due to being concussed from an accident, a few days prior, I only improved by one mark. I needed to get about 94% in my History exam in the summer in order to get an A, and I knew that History was my weakest subject; I accepted I would probably end up at my insurance choice, but I never gave up believing that I could pull off a miracle. I had battled against a lot of personal circumstances and abuse during my time at college, and was determined not to let that get me down.

Results day came, and Track went live at 7:30am. King's had rejected me, and Queen Mary still hadn't made up their mind. I took this to mean I had achieved less than AAB, and QMUL were still making a decision as to whether to accept me or not. I went to get my results, and realised how much of a toll my circumstances had taken - I had ended up with BBC in English Literature, English Language and History respectively, having been predicted A*A*A. I honestly didn't know what to do. I had been top of the class in both of my English classes, and was totally unprepared for such an event.

I called Queen Mary and explained to them that once again, I had gotten 100% in two English units, and discussed some things from my Personal Statement. However, they were adamant I needed an A in English in order to study there. I even set them teacher references and samples of my work, but they suggested I just apply next year. Instead, they offered me Comparative Literature. I initially accepted, terrified at the idea of a gap year and not going to university, but realised the course just wasn't for me, and I dropped out after a week. This cost me £2,250 - don't go to university for the sake of it. It's a waste of time, money and effort. Take a step back, think about it, and act rationally.

So I was on a gap year. I hurried around looking for a job and managed to get one working for UK Parliament. I then embarked on a six month political campaign for the local elections, and also travelled to Scotland, Belgium, France and Germany. Whilst I was keeping myself busy, I came to the realisation that my interest in English extended beyond Literature, and that I wanted to apply for Linguistics. This was probably the best thing I could have got out of my gap year. I knew from the beginning I wanted to reapply to university, and registered at my college as a private candidate (which meant I didn't actually have to attend college) to resit my History coursework, and my English Literature and English Language exams. My teachers had enough faith in me to keep my predictions the same.

The UCAS deadline came around, and I'd been told by numerous sources I'd have no chance at a top university. I ignored them. I applied to UCL, King's and QMUL for two courses, and got offers from all of them, with one of the QMUL courses being an unconditional for Linguistics.

I firmed my unconditional and am ecstatic to be heading off to a fantastic Russell Group university in September. I am hoping for better results this year, and have been told that if my results increase to AAB, I might even be able to switch to English Literature and Linguistics on results day - my absolute perfect course. However, even if my results remain the same, I couldn't be happier with my university or my course, and am so happy I decided not to go to university in an act of desperation.

I hope this makes people feel a bit better. I just want everybody to remember not to panic and make mistakes you'll regret later on, and remember that fifteen A*s aren't the only way to get into top universities.

VERY best of luck everyone
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hellodave5
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
I've been following the results day thread this year and have noticed so many people worried about the possibility of missing out on both their firm and insurance, so I thought I'd share my story to give you a bit of hope

I left school with very average GCSEs - A*A*A*AABCCCD. Don't always believe that an average set of GCSEs means you are doomed to fail at university admission - I never had a problem with my D in Chemistry when I was applying for humanity courses with A*s in humanity subjects.
Firstly not many people apply to Oxford et al.
Secondly, those are far from average lol - quite a positive skew!
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
I've been following the results day thread this year and have noticed so many people worried about the possibility of missing out on both their firm and insurance, so I thought I'd share my story to give you a bit of hope

I left school with very average GCSEs - A*A*A*AABCCCD. Don't always believe that an average set of GCSEs means you are doomed to fail at university admission - I never had a problem with my D in Chemistry when I was applying for humanity courses with A*s in humanity subjects.

I chose English Literature, English Language, History and Media Studies for my A levels, which the intention of having Media Studies as an easy AS. I originally got AACC respectively, with 100% in two English units, and after a Media re-mark, it went up to AABC. I was hoping to get AAAB, and again considered my results to be average. I decided to resit my summer History exam, as I had only got a D grade, in contrast to my A in January, in order to bump up my grade to a B.

For the 2013 cycle, I applied for English Literature and Language at Keble College, Oxford; English Literature and Language at King's College London; English at Queen Mary, University of London; English and American Literature at University of Kent, and English Literature at University of Westminster. I got offers for all except Oxford. I did have to sit the ELAT beforehand, which I got 79% for, and still like to think of that as an achievement.

I firmed King's, who were asking for AAA, and insured QMUL, who were asking for AAB. I had a look on Which?Uni, and found out only 26% of applicants got onto my King's course - you DO NOT need a string of As and A* right through from GCSE to A2 in order to gain entry to a top course at a top university.

I came to sit my History resit, but due to being concussed from an accident, a few days prior, I only improved by one mark. I needed to get about 94% in my History exam in the summer in order to get an A, and I knew that History was my weakest subject; I accepted I would probably end up at my insurance choice, but I never gave up believing that I could pull off a miracle. I had battled against a lot of personal circumstances and abuse during my time at college, and was determined not to let that get me down.

Results day came, and Track went live at 7:30am. King's had rejected me, and Queen Mary still hadn't made up their mind. I took this to mean I had achieved less than AAB, and QMUL were still making a decision as to whether to accept me or not. I went to get my results, and realised how much of a toll my circumstances had taken - I had ended up with BBC in English Literature, English Language and History respectively, having been predicted A*A*A. I honestly didn't know what to do. I had been top of the class in both of my English classes, and was totally unprepared for such an event.

I called Queen Mary and explained to them that once again, I had gotten 100% in two English units, and discussed some things from my Personal Statement. However, they were adamant I needed an A in English in order to study there. I even set them teacher references and samples of my work, but they suggested I just apply next year. Instead, they offered me Comparative Literature. I initially accepted, terrified at the idea of a gap year and not going to university, but realised the course just wasn't for me, and I dropped out after a week. This cost me £2,250 - don't go to university for the sake of it. It's a waste of time, money and effort. Take a step back, think about it, and act rationally.

So I was on a gap year. I hurried around looking for a job and managed to get one working for UK Parliament. I then embarked on a six month political campaign for the local elections, and also travelled to Scotland, Belgium, France and Germany. Whilst I was keeping myself busy, I came to the realisation that my interest in English extended beyond Literature, and that I wanted to apply for Linguistics. This was probably the best thing I could have got out of my gap year. I knew from the beginning I wanted to reapply to university, and registered at my college as a private candidate (which meant I didn't actually have to attend college) to resit my History coursework, and my English Literature and English Language exams. My teachers had enough faith in me to keep my predictions the same.

The UCAS deadline came around, and I'd been told by numerous people I'd have no chance at a top university. I ignored them. I applied to UCL, King's and QMUL for two courses, and got offers from all of them, with one of the QMUL courses being an unconditional for Linguistics.

I firmed my unconditional and am ecstatic to be heading off to a fantastic Russell Group university in September. I am hoping for better results this year, and have been told that if my results increase to AAB, I might even be able to switch to English Literature and Linguistics on results day - my absolute perfect course. However, even if my results remain the same, I couldn't be happier with my university or my course, and am so happy I decided not to go to university in an act of desperation.

I hope this makes people feel a bit better. I just want everybody to remember not to panic and make mistakes you'll regret later on, and remember that fifteen A*s aren't the only way to get into top universities.

VERY best of luck everyone
This is just such an honest and nice post. I hope it makes everyone feel a bit better. I'm awaiting my AS results but I feel under so much pressure from everyone: my parents, teachers, even friends, who are expecting me to get amazing results. I think this post just shows that it's really not the be all and end all to get outstanding results. I really wish you all the best for university and I hope you're having a lovely summer reading lots of books!
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by ZeniB)
This is just such an honest and nice post. I hope it makes everyone feel a bit better. I'm awaiting my AS results but I feel under so much pressure from everyone: my parents, teachers, even friends, who are expecting me to get amazing results. I think this post just shows that it's really not the be all and end all to get outstanding results. I really wish you all the best for university and I hope you're having a lovely summer reading lots of books!
Thank you very much for your kind words

Very best of luck in your results - I really hope you get what you want/need What are you studying?
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
Thank you very much for your kind words

Very best of luck in your results - I really hope you get what you want/need What are you studying?
I hope they made you smile
And thanks, I'm starting to feel worried but hopefully I've done ok, I'm doing History, English Lit, Maths and Spanish. Applying for History at University.

And I love your username, by the way
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by ZeniB)
I hope they made you smile
And thanks, I'm starting to feel worried but hopefully I've done ok, I'm doing History, English Lit, Maths and Spanish. Applying for History at University.

And I love your username, by the way
They did - thank you

What exam boards for History and English Literature? Very best of luck! It's natural to feel worried - even I'm nervous to find out my results when I have an unconditional!

Such a good book - have you read it?
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
They did - thank you

What exam boards for History and English Literature? Very best of luck! It's natural to feel worried - even I'm nervous to find out my results when I have an unconditional!

Such a good book - have you read it?
AQA I think for both... English at AS is so annoying and formulaic, I can't wait for A2

And I read it last year, it was indeed an excellent book, I love the period too and we were studying Russia in history at the time. I was put off at first because it was so long, I thought I'd need a therapist to get through it but it was so good (after the first 150 pages). That's what I love about the summer holidays: I can just sit and read books and no one minds.
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by ZeniB)
AQA I think for both... English at AS is so annoying and formulaic, I can't wait for A2

And I read it last year, it was indeed an excellent book, I love the period too and we were studying Russia in history at the time. I was put off at first because it was so long, I thought I'd need a therapist to get through it but it was so good (after the first 150 pages). That's what I love about the summer holidays: I can just sit and read books and no one minds.
Me too Did you do specification A or B? English A2 is fantastic - just make sure to memorise those quotations! I studied the White Devil for Elements of the Gothic - it nearly rivalled my love of Shakespearian plays.

Have you tried War and Peace? I love Russian history - schools don't teach it enough!
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tnetennba
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What a lovely post. Thank you for giving hope to all the Y13s
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by tnetennba)
What a lovely post. Thank you for giving hope to all the Y13s
No problem at all - very best of luck to you Where are you hoping to go?
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
Me too Did you do specification A or B? English A2 is fantastic - just make sure to memorise those quotations! I studied the White Devil for Elements of the Gothic - it nearly rivalled my love of Shakespearian plays.

Have you tried War and Peace? I love Russian history - schools don't teach it enough!
I think we're doing spec B, we're doing the pastoral genre next year though, Brideshead and Tess are our novels, I love both but I'd have preferred Frankenstein! I might check out the White Devil this summer, it's on my to read list!
I definitely am considering War and Peace - even if just for the thrill of reading it on the train on the way to an open day or something and receiving strange looks from everyone around me... my friend was reading it when she had her 6th form scholarship interview, and when they asked her what she was reading at the moment she just came out with it. needless to say, she got a hefty award!

Completely agree about Russia, out of four modules over the a level course, two are on britain and it's so limited! Russia has such an interesting and varied history and no one knows about it

By the way, you should try (if you haven't already) 'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt. I have a feeling you might like it
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tnetennba
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
No problem at all - very best of luck to you Where are you hoping to go?
Southampton for English Lit. Nerves are killing me for results day... Had a sort of existential crisis during my English exam.

I had a conditional offer for QMUL as well, but rejected it because I wouldn't be able to get into halls (I live in London). It was a really nice friendly uni, you're lucky to have an unconditional
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by ZeniB)
I think we're doing spec B, we're doing the pastoral genre next year though, Brideshead and Tess are our novels, I love both but I'd have preferred Frankenstein! I might check out the White Devil this summer, it's on my to read list!
I definitely am considering War and Peace - even if just for the thrill of reading it on the train on the way to an open day or something and receiving strange looks from everyone around me... my friend was reading it when she had her 6th form scholarship interview, and when they asked her what she was reading at the moment she just came out with it. needless to say, she got a hefty award!

Completely agree about Russia, out of four modules over the a level course, two are on britain and it's so limited! Russia has such an interesting and varied history and no one knows about it

By the way, you should try (if you haven't already) 'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt. I have a feeling you might like it
Tess is a very good novel, but you are quite correct - not as good as Frankenstein

When I had my interview for my sixth form, I told them I was reading War and Peace; they didn't believe me and I had to answer a raft of questions to prove that I was!

I studied British Prime Ministers for A2, but that was the only novel out of the four that I enjoyed!

You're right - I've already read it
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by tnetennba)
Southampton for English Lit. Nerves are killing me for results day... Had a sort of existential crisis during my English exam.

I had a conditional offer for QMUL as well, but rejected it because I wouldn't be able to get into halls (I live in London). It was a really nice friendly uni, you're lucky to have an unconditional
AAB offer? Oh no - what happened?

Aww thank you - I really love it! I have friends who study at Southampton - they say the social side of it is a scream!
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rhiannon277
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(Original post by Anna.Karenina)
I've been following the results day thread this year and have noticed so many people worried about the possibility of missing out on both their firm and insurance, so I thought I'd share my story to give you a bit of hope

I left school with very average GCSEs - A*A*A*AABCCCD. Don't always believe that an average set of GCSEs means you are doomed to fail at university admission - I never had a problem with my D in Chemistry when I was applying for humanity courses with A*s in humanity subjects.

I chose English Literature, English Language, History and Media Studies for my A levels, which the intention of having Media Studies as an easy AS. I originally got AACC respectively, with 100% in two English units, and after a Media re-mark, it went up to AABC. I was hoping to get AAAB, and again considered my results to be average. I decided to resit my summer History exam, as I had only got a D grade, in contrast to my A in January, in order to bump up my grade to a B.

For the 2013 cycle, I applied for English Literature and Language at Keble College, Oxford; English Literature and Language at King's College London; English at Queen Mary, University of London; English and American Literature at University of Kent, and English Literature at University of Westminster. I got offers for all except Oxford. I did have to sit the ELAT beforehand, which I got 79% for, and still like to think of that as an achievement.

I firmed King's, who were asking for AAA, and insured QMUL, who were asking for AAB. I had a look on Which?Uni, and found out only 26% of applicants got onto my King's course - you DO NOT need a string of As and A* right through from GCSE to A2 in order to gain entry to a top course at a top university.

I came to sit my History resit, but due to being concussed from an accident, a few days prior, I only improved by one mark. I needed to get about 94% in my History exam in the summer in order to get an A, and I knew that History was my weakest subject; I accepted I would probably end up at my insurance choice, but I never gave up believing that I could pull off a miracle. I had battled against a lot of personal circumstances and abuse during my time at college, and was determined not to let that get me down.

Results day came, and Track went live at 7:30am. King's had rejected me, and Queen Mary still hadn't made up their mind. I took this to mean I had achieved less than AAB, and QMUL were still making a decision as to whether to accept me or not. I went to get my results, and realised how much of a toll my circumstances had taken - I had ended up with BBC in English Literature, English Language and History respectively, having been predicted A*A*A. I honestly didn't know what to do. I had been top of the class in both of my English classes, and was totally unprepared for such an event.

I called Queen Mary and explained to them that once again, I had gotten 100% in two English units, and discussed some things from my Personal Statement. However, they were adamant I needed an A in English in order to study there. I even set them teacher references and samples of my work, but they suggested I just apply next year. Instead, they offered me Comparative Literature. I initially accepted, terrified at the idea of a gap year and not going to university, but realised the course just wasn't for me, and I dropped out after a week. This cost me £2,250 - don't go to university for the sake of it. It's a waste of time, money and effort. Take a step back, think about it, and act rationally.

So I was on a gap year. I hurried around looking for a job and managed to get one working for UK Parliament. I then embarked on a six month political campaign for the local elections, and also travelled to Scotland, Belgium, France and Germany. Whilst I was keeping myself busy, I came to the realisation that my interest in English extended beyond Literature, and that I wanted to apply for Linguistics. This was probably the best thing I could have got out of my gap year. I knew from the beginning I wanted to reapply to university, and registered at my college as a private candidate (which meant I didn't actually have to attend college) to resit my History coursework, and my English Literature and English Language exams. My teachers had enough faith in me to keep my predictions the same.

The UCAS deadline came around, and I'd been told by numerous sources I'd have no chance at a top university. I ignored them. I applied to UCL, King's and QMUL for two courses, and got offers from all of them, with one of the QMUL courses being an unconditional for Linguistics.

I firmed my unconditional and am ecstatic to be heading off to a fantastic Russell Group university in September. I am hoping for better results this year, and have been told that if my results increase to AAB, I might even be able to switch to English Literature and Linguistics on results day - my absolute perfect course. However, even if my results remain the same, I couldn't be happier with my university or my course, and am so happy I decided not to go to university in an act of desperation.

I hope this makes people feel a bit better. I just want everybody to remember not to panic and make mistakes you'll regret later on, and remember that fifteen A*s aren't the only way to get into top universities.

VERY best of luck everyone
Hope you have the most fantastic time. In a few years all those results will be forgotten but your determination and experience will still be with you, and that is what will make you stand out.
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by rhiannon277)
Hope you have the most fantastic time. In a few years all those results will be forgotten but your determination and experience will still be with you, and that is what will make you stand out.
Thank you so much - that really made me smile
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NikolaT
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Wow, I'm glad everything worked out for you during your gap year.
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themorninglight
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Oh wow thank you so much for this post! I also did English Literature and History A-levels and firmed King's for English Literature and Language and insured QMUL for English, although I'm pretty worried about getting into King's :/

One question, can you explain (grade wise) how went down from an two As in English and History at AS to 2 Bs at A2? Did you think your exams had gone badly at the time? Also, did you do AQA for English and Edexcel for History by any chance?
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by NikolaT)
Wow, I'm glad everything worked out for you during your gap year.
Thank you
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Anna.Karenina
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(Original post by themorninglight)
Oh wow thank you so much for this post! I also did English Literature and History A-levels and firmed King's for English Literature and Language and insured QMUL for English, although I'm pretty worried about getting into King's :/

One question, can you explain (grade wise) how went down from an two As in English and History at AS to 2 Bs at A2? Did you think your exams had gone badly at the time? Also, did you do AQA for English and Edexcel for History by any chance?
Best of luck to you Both are excellent universities, and I'm sure you will thrive wherever you end up!

I did AQA for English Literature, but not Edexcel for History. I went from two As to Bs because I had so much going on in the year. I never apply for mitigating circumstances, because I don't like to blame others for my shortcomings, but before my exams I was taken away from my family home, and had my wellbeing took priority over A levels. In my mocks I was getting full marks, but unfortunately circumstances weren't kind to me. I didn't think my exams went badly, but I never thought for a second they were excellent.
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