Given the fact that it was A-level results day a couple of weeks ago, I thought it seemed fitting to do a post about my experiences of A-level results day(s). I have experienced three in total (not including the revealing of results following January exams). The first was to be given my AS results, where I actually did pretty well considering my stress levels and the deeply rooted idea that I’d failed everything. The second was up there as one of the worst days of my life (dramatic I know). And the final was up there as one of the best.
I think the jump from GCSE to A-level is quite a severe one, which students aren’t wholly prepared for. I’m speaking here from experience with science and maths subjects, after seeing a shocking amount of my peers getting Us and Es at AS for subjects they had got As and A*s in at GCSE. Being a sixth form student requires a lot more independent study and self motivation, something that comes as a bit of a shock for students who have sailed through school just memorising sections of a text book.
As for my experiences (and the whole reason I’m writing this post): I initially needed ABB in my A-levels to go off to university to study biochemistry. When I opened my brown envelope, I saw ABC. Unfortunately, I’d missed a B in chemistry by a few marks. At the time, it honestly felt like the end of the world. All of my friends were skipping off to university, whilst I was stuck going nowhere. I decided I didn’t want to find a place in clearing on a course I wasn’t really interested in, at a university that wasn’t necessarily a specialist in the field; probably the best decision I could have ever made. So I went back to sixth form for a year to improve my chemistry grade. Alongside this, I also took AS biology (which I probably should have taken initially for an A-level). I hated being back with none of my friends, but I put everything into learning as much as possible of those subjects, and working part-time at a supermarket to save up some money. It paid off, as a year later I was accepted into the University of Leicester to study Medical Biochemistry, with a scholarship towards my tuition fees thanks to my AAB grades. I also got an A in AS biology, meaning I left for university with a collection of As and Bs under my belt in both AS-levels and full A-levels.
Coming to university after an extra year meant I had matured a lot and I guess realised what I wanted to gain from going to university. I am a June baby so I’d always been one of the youngest in my year, meaning I wasn’t really too much older than everyone in my year at uni. You’d be surprised how many students do actually take a year out before university. So although at the time it seemed like the worst day of my life when I didn’t get the necessary grades, it probably turned out to be the best thing that happened to me. I know that I would have struggled with the course and adjusting to living away from home if I had gone the first time around.
To all of you out there in a similar position, I’d like to leave you with a cheesy yet relevant point that I was told when I was feeling sorry for myself: ‘Everything happens for a reason’. To all of you starting at uni this September, good luck! And to all of you taking a gap year whether it was planned or not, good luck and perseverance is key!
Any questions, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.