Greetings fellow students.
I thought I'd share my A-level story mainly because I've seen many AS students almost enter depression because of their results and I've even seen tweets such as 'Well that's almost completely narrowed my career ambitions'. Before I start I feel the need to explain that I am in no way attempting to brag, and the main purpose of this is to attempt to give hope.
I'll start briefly by saying that my GCSEs were below average: I managed to get a B in Maths, a C in English, a C in science, and mostly Ds in everything else - I was a student who didn't do much work.
Then came my first year of A-levels and I carried over the same laid-back attitude as my GCSE days. That year ended catastrophically with my results being:
Economics & Business: U
English Language: C
General Studies: E
I'd been told to knuckle down and mature my whole life, but it wasn't until I myself came to the realisation that my life would probably be pretty bleak with those grades that I decided i'd try and change things around. after long negotiation with my Head of P16, she allowed me to retake the year (At first she was reluctant because who's to say I'll change? She tried pushing me towards slightly easier subjects but I stayed stubborn because I was determined, and proposed what might resemble a rehabilitation plan).
Then after my second year of AS, I achieved these results:
English Lang/Lit: C
Economics & Business: D
I was incredibly disheartened by these results because I thought I'd done enough work to achieve top grades. But the truth is I'd never worked hard at any academic subject and the amount of work I thought I'd be required to do for good grades was deeply out of tune. Before that results day I had all of these great ideas to head off to great universities to study English, but the same sense of dimness that I faced in my first year started to creep up on me.
I then went on to do my A2s and was still determined to study English at a good university. I realised that for this to happen I'd need my teachers to predict me good grades. After some difficult negotiation and persuasion with each of my subject teachers, I managed to get my teachers to predict me:
English Lang/Lit: A
Now, I knew that universities would look at these predicted grades, and then at my academic history, and laugh because it simply doesn't make sense. However, I believe I managed to combat this by spending a lot of time and writing a very thorough Personal Statement. And sure enough it worked - I received all of my offers to study English Literature (a competitive subject). (Queen Mary [interview], Royal Holloway, Reading, Surrey, Oxford Brookes)
All of this was great but I needed to achieve grades ABB with an A in English, which is an ambitious task given my AS results. Especially because 40% of my Drama grade was a group performance we had to produce from scratch and my two partners appeared not to care too much or put much effort in at all.
[I feel like at this stage of the story we should all imagine a montage like those in the Rocky films, as I spend hours revising, stressing, pissing teachers off with endless questions and forcing them to mark and remark all of my work and coursework]
Eventually my exams were over and in all fairness I truly didn't believe I'd done enough. On top of all of my A2s, I resat major AS units. I didn't think I'd worked as hard as I could have although my parents thought I'd done enough. I didn't even think I'd get into my insurance: Oxford Brookes (BBC). On the night before results day I constructed a whole A4 page of contingency plans, universities I'd ring through clearing, and alternate courses I'd perhaps settle for; I was even prepared to take another year out.
I slept quite well that night, having already accepted failure. Then I woke up checked Track and it said I had been accepted at my firm choice. I rang up the university (Royal Holloway) and asked if they could confirm it because it wasn't believable. They confirmed it, I went into school, opened my results and managed to get:
English Lang/Lit: A*
I couldn't believe it because I honestly didn't think I'd done enough work, but that's when I realised that all my life I'd revised by looking at a clock every five minutes, wanting to get as far away from my subjects as possible. However, this year (mainly with English) I'd learnt to love my subjects and would spend hours learning (without knowing) instead of the clock-conscious 'revision' I used to do. This also explains why my parents thought I'd done enough.
This account is as honest as I could make it. It's a cliche, but if someone told me at the beginning of my A-levels that I'd end up falling in love with my subjects, I'd have laughed at them. So being disheartened is understandable, and you may have a tough few years ahead of you, but if you choose to accept the challenge, you'll love it.
My A-level Story Watch
- Thread Starter
- 16-08-2014 14:27
- 16-08-2014 14:42
This is a brilliant post! I appreciate you sharing your story on TSR, and good luck for the future!
- 16-08-2014 15:02
Congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful future ahead of you!
Many thanks for sharing this with everyone here, its much appreciated as its given many some hopes not to GIVE UP and TRY YOUR BEST!