Thursday, August 16, 2007


Today the internet will be abuzz with proud 17 and 18 year olds sharing their A-level results. I thought I'd share mine.
  • English: C
  • History: C
  • Economics: E
Down from a predicted A in English, which was a little disappointing, but the Economics was better than expected. The English prediction had been largely thanks to a pretty nifty essay in my mocks where I argued that Paradise Lost wasn't a tragedy but a comedy (in the classical sense of such terms, of course). Economics was saved from total failure by doing a course on Economic & Social History, i.e. waffly and essay-based rather than having to remember what economic aggregators are, how you calculate them, why, and who cares.

Okay, this was 24 years ago but I still remember it. We were having a relaxing post A-level family holiday in the Lake District, which would have been considerably more relaxing if we had chosen a different week to the one in which the results came out. Not only did I get my results a day later than everyone else but, given the serious down on predictions, it required some intensive phoning ... from a rented cottage with no phone. In the days before mobiles. Not such a problem as I could use the landlord's phone in the house next door, but that meant a clever thing called Advised Duration of Call. You phone the operator to say you're about to make such a call. You make it. You then wait for the operator to call you back and tell you what the call cost - for which service there is an additional charge anyway. You then pay the owner of the phone the total cost of the call.


But that was the only real down in a week of ups that included seeing a beautiful part of the country when it wasn't raining, and tasting milk fresh out of the cow and Kendall Mint Cake for the first time, though not together. And of all my original university choices, the only one I really wanted to go to was also the only one that would consider me without resits. So it all worked out.


  1. So... I've got to ask, Do You Think They're Getting Easier? Cos by today's standards, 2 Cs and E makes you a bit dim. And we all know you're not.

  2. You say the nicest things.

    Yeah, that's a hard one, as Eve said when she first saw Adam. I don't want to insult those teenagers who have worked their socks off for the last two years and feel rightly pleased with themselves. I also think a system of continuous assessment is more likely to reveal the actual level of skill than straight exams. But if the A's aren't getting easier ... well, I see no evidence in any field of life other than secondary education that people are getting cleverer.

  3. i got CDE. i didn't work at all during my first year but did indeed work my socks off the last year.
    i don't think it's getting easier, i think exams are different and some people are good at exams and some aren't. i personally am not.

    but it makes me feel better about my grades that you got about the same :) since i think you're very intelligent. just shows that exam results don't tell you everything.


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