Results day is a stressful day for all students, but this year the day was particularly nerve-wracking for many students across the UK. With the limitations of physical and online exams, they were cancelled. This left students on-edge about their futures and receiving the grades they needed to attend university or other forms of higher education.
To hear about Ben's experience of his results day, and everything leading up to to, keep on reading.
Hi, I’m Ben and I’ve just finished my A-Levels this year. I studied Biology, Chemistry and Geography with an AS in mathematical studies in year 12. I enjoyed all of my subjects however, Geography, with its practical outdoor nature, is my absolute passion and I hope to have a future in this field. I was voted in as Head Boy at the end of year 12, leading to me supporting my fellow students by heading up the school council and representing the school at various events throughout the year.
The week beginning March 16th was very strange and unexpected. The college common room was full of mixed emotions; mainly due to the uncertainty of whether the school was going to close or not. No one at all expected exams to be cancelled. As a college, we were told by staff that a worst-case scenario would mean missing 3 weeks of learning and that the government simply COULDN’T cancel exams. “Exams will never be cancelled; they may just be done online or at home. So, continue to study hard – your exams are only 8 weeks away.”
Even though this was said, our last day at school that week was treat like our last ever. We had a leaving assembly, breakfast put on by our teachers, dressed up in our leavers ball outfits (the only chance we would get to wear them) and had the day off timetable to play rounder’s and get home-made year books signed.
After leaving on the Friday we were very uninformed about the situation and the next few weeks were extremely difficult. There was so many mixed messages – teachers saying one thing, meanwhile we hear the government say another. When the government announced the cancellation of exams, our teachers continued to give us work, check up to see how we were getting on with it and continued as though we were still doing exams. Confusing, I know. Finally, we were told we could stop working when the education sectary declared that our teachers would provide the grades for our final results. This was good for me – or so I thought.
The build-up to results day was the worst feeling I have ever had – way worse than the wait for getting GCSE results. I expect the reason for this is that it was completely out of our control. It felt like it didn’t matter how much effort we had out into revision before the lockdown and finished coursework wasn’t even used. It felt like our whole time at college was a complete waste of time. Up to the point where we received out results there was absolutely nothing we could do to change the outcome, nor predict the outcome which was worse. The worst-case scenario was getting grades so low that I wouldn’t be able to get into university. Before results day I got an email from Hull University explaining that if I got my predicted grades (which are lower than my required grades to get onto my course) then they would still accept me and I wouldn’t have to go through clearing. This was a great relief, however I still had a funny feeling about my results. But that’s me all over – expect the worst, then you can’t be disappointed.
The morning of the 13th August came around very quickly and before I knew it I was on my way to pick my friend up and head into school – having left rather suddenly in March it was nice to be back, but if only it was for another reason.
I opened up the envelope and… was completely shocked, terrified and pretty angry. I’m not going to go into detail about my results, but to paint the picture all together I was 4 grades short of my predictions. I hit a state of panic but tried to look relaxed and “pleased” on the outside – to be honest I was pretty embarrassed by what I had got. My friend instantly knew something was wrong, and when she saw my results she had a state of shock on her face too. I was angry because I wondered why my teachers had sent off these grades for me: why don’t they think I deserve better? Did they think I wasn’t working hard enough? But also, why were these grades lower than my mock results!
One thing was on my mind and that was getting my university place. After much refreshing of the online page I finally got into my UCAS account and spotted the word “CONGRATULATIONS”. This was a massive relief and a real smile grew across my face. I was one of the lucky ones – thank God Hull University was lenient.
About a week later; after studying the news daily, it was announced that our final result would be either our mock result or the result our teacher sent off in the first instance. I was later told that my results were not what my teachers had sent off and that there were just as shocked at my grades as I was. Two of my grades were increased which was quite a relief.
However, I know if I did the exams myself I would have got higher – it would have been in my control. Never in my life did I think I would say this but I really wish I could have sat the exams as normal.