A- level results day is upon us again! :S Does anyone else recall back to the anxious wait of their A-level results?
Does anyone else think about their A-level days?
It's been 10 years today since I got my A-level results! As a naive little 18 year old 10 years ago, I would never in a million years think that in 10 years time I would be finishing off a PhD and would still be within the university system! Does anyone else have similar thoughts?
My parents and my secondary school had basically no faith in me whatsoever. I used to put in all of the bottom sets at school and their view of my future was within retail or at tescos. It wasn't till I was at sixth form college that I received some positive encouragement from supportive teachers who believed in me did the good A grades start appearing. I'm a strong believer of the positive self fulfilling prophecy!
I would LOVE to go back to my secondary school and challenge all of the teachers who used to consider me a complete waste of space in comparison with the clever students in the top sets. I think teachers have a lot to answer for! But they haven't stopped me from going on with postgrad education. Lets hope that I'm able to get through and pass my PhD :)
Just wanted to share really!
======= Date Modified 20 Aug 2009 10:19:12 =======
Wow - it hadn't really registered until you said, but it has been 10 years since my A level results too. Wow.
Like you, I never expected to be here. My secondary school was useless and, apart from English Lang and English Lit, my GCSE results were mediocre. Like you, sixth form college (which was genuinely the best time of my life) was where I started to reach my potential. I'm not angry with my school teachers anymore, and I know other people did well in that school, it just wasn't for me - I was a bit of an eccentric and erratic little thing and I don't think they knew what to make of me! Apart from my English teacher who is still like a god to me.
So, 10 years and here I am about to finish my PhD. I think most of my teachers would be shocked, but the ones who really knew me wouldn't! Quite good motivation to get on with this, actually: nearly 10 years in higher ed! (with a year out somewhere) :-)
my sister in law is expecting hers today - I always feel sorry for them as all the papers etc say that they are getting easier. Put it this way, my parents wouldn't have a hope in hell passing my a levels! They said today that over 50% of those taking further maths will get an A - but what they didn't mention is that maths tends to be right or wrong! So you would expect anyone who got it right to get an A! They also forget to mention that as school leavers have been put through a barrage of tests since age 4, we all know how to take them. It is exam technique we are taught, not the subject, so of course results will be better.
I am hoping she chooses to go to uni - although she is saying she may defer - I wish someone would push her to take the chance to go as otherwise I fear she may still be working in shop jobs in 10 years. To get an admin job you are expected to have degree nowadays!
======= Date Modified 20 Aug 2009 11:45:13 =======
I was a mid-set/bottom student with average GCSE's and not particularly stellar A Levels (A,C,C) and it wasn't until undergraduate level that I began to start to do well academically. I got my results 8 years ago and would never have expected to be completing a PhD. Definately a late bloomer! ;)
I think - although have no idea whether this is actually true - that boys tend to be late bloomers, and then suddenly whoosh off and do really well! - maybe its cos they prefer a non-school environment. My brother was rubbish at a levels and all through school really, and then got a first at degree level.
I once did a very unscientific poll of History PhDs here (redbrick) and found that very few of us had got straight As at A level (I got ABBB, if we count General Studies!), only one or two (out of about 20 I asked) had. The funny thing about this is that most of us had got firsts at the same institution. Now the entrance grades for our subject area are AAA! We wouldn't get on to the course we teach on now! I don't think you can come to any proper conclusions from that, but I find it strange...
Also, I am female and a proud late-bloomer! But I do think some people are more creative thinkers than they are good at taking tests, and Uni just suits them better.
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======= Date Modified 20 Aug 2009 13:34:22 =======
Hi guys! I remember my A'level results day because I felt my life changed beyond expectation - the excitement and amount of alcohol consumed was off the scale!
I got 3 As, in Eng Lit, Film Studies and Media Studies, and a D in Art - bummer! I know the middle two are not exactly Physics and Biology, but they changed everything for me - I got into my first choice no problem, they'd asked for 2 As and a B. For me, who had been in remedial for English at school, it meant the world.
:-) There were quite a few on my degree with 3 As, and they did seem to do well at undergraduate level too, firsts or 2:1s. I didn't get a first though, and it's never helped me with PhD funding... :-(
Hmm - I actually had a dip in A levels, I went from GCSE all As and A*s to an AB and C in a level, which carried on and I only passed my 1st year at uni i.e. 40%. I never went to any lectures during my 1st and 2nd year, and then only went to about 10 in my final year, but luckily, I know how to pass an exam and got a 1st. I have pulled my socks up since!
Hi CeCeF: am not beating myself up! Just mourning the stress to my bank account... and the extra years of part - time study before I get my lecturing post.
Yeah, funding councils are a mystery to me too, but it's even worse now: under the new 5 year AHRC funding procedure, my department has one studentship in my subject, coming up in 3 year's time! All because it's a new department and they only had couple of their staff in place at last September's bidding deadline. My superb sup wasn't even an employee there then, spectacularly rubbish or what?
======= Date Modified 20 Aug 2009 14:42:19 =======
In a research assistant post a few years back I studied how research councils give their funding, and we found that 3 univeristies - manchester, newcastle and erm I forgot the last, had aboout 80% of all PhD funding. Bascially it was cos they knew how to play the system and write effective proposals. Although it may be different for different research councils.
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