Hello readers (or random people who happen to stumble upon this blog), sorry for not updating for ages (8 months, I think) – but this time, I do have a new excuse: GCSEs.
For the last two years, I have been studying for 12 GCSE subjects – of which I took exams in this May/June – and without seeming dramatic, they basically consumed my whole life. Clearly, I’m no expert at a healthy work/play balance.
Anyway, not all of these were your run-of-the-mill, A* to G grade GCSEs – my year was the first to undertake the new 9-1 GCSEs in English Lit/Lang and Maths, thanks to the ingenious whims of Michael Gove (cue eye roll). So these new exams not only used a completely different grading system (which literally NO-ONE outside of Year 11s and teachers understands), they are much harder than the legacy GCSEs, and with no past papers to practice on (only measly specimens), getting good grades this year seemed like an impossible feat (spoiler alert: I did it!)
First things first, if you don’t know what the 9-1 grading system entails (and that seems to be 90% of the population), here’s a quick rundown. The new GCSEs are graded from 9-1, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest. In terms of comparison, a 4 is equal to a ‘standard pass’ (low C) and a 5 a ‘strong pass’ (high C) – and the other grades follow in accordance eg. 6 = B, 7=A, 8=A* with a 9 being above the old A* grade. All very complicated stuff, as if education wasn’t already difficult enough.
In the past couple of days/weeks, there have been countless misleading yet slightly worrying headline articles about these new GCSEs (obviously, I was quite nervous enough for The Independent).
Clearly, my outlook was rather optimistic this morning. Making the 40 minute car journey to school this morning was rather nerve-wracking – I was simultaneously trying to predict my results from grade boundaries, not think about my impending results AND belt out the lyrics to Khalid’s ‘Location’ to distract myself from the whole palaver (my mother was not amused).
Soon enough, I arrived at school and met the rest of my peers, the room buzzing with excitement, nerves and trepidation. Within 10 or so minutes, I had the white A5 envelope within my grip: it was time. Walking out to the foyer of the hall, I quickly opened the envelope and looked at my results, my heart pounding furiously. Then I breathed a deep sigh of relief, and a smile erupted onto my face. I’d done well.
I walked back into the hall, where I was congratulated and hugged by the headmistress (which was surprising for her) and quickly interviewed by someone from the local newspaper, which was a bit overwhelming. Then I saw my Mum (who had been parking the car in the meantime), and ran over to give her a big hug.
“I did well!”
After that, I congratulated my friends, took lots more pictures and finally went over to the school that I want to attend next year to give in my results (quick update: I was accepted! Hello, sixth form!).
Then I went to Zizzi with a bunch of friends (and devoured a vegan gluten-free Margherita pizza with extra peppers) for lunch, before finally heading home – exhausted, but happy.
Anyway, I’m sure someone is wondering what I got for these GCSEs (coming up next!). Obviously, I’m really pleased with my grades – but I’d honestly be happy with any grades that allow me to do the subjects I want to do for A Levels. Here we go:
Mathematics (AQA) – 9
English Literature (AQA) – 9
English Language (AQA) – 9
Biology (AQA) – A*
Chemistry (AQA) – A*
Physics (AQA) – A*
History (AQA) – A*
Further Mathematics (AQA) – A^ (A* with distinction)
French (Edexcel) – A*
Spanish (Edexcel) – A*
Religious Studies (Edexcel) – A*
Geography (CIE) – A*
Next year, I will be studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French – and I can’t wait! More updates on that soon. To everyone else who received their results today, I want to say a huge congratulations – they were even harder this year, yet everyone has performed extremely well given the circumstances. Good luck for next year!