Failing My A-levels & What I Learnt From It
I’m sure a date all A-level students will have ingrained in their memory… 17 August, A-level results day.
With A-level results day fast approaching I wanted to address a topic which had a huge impact on me. What do you do if you don’t get the results you wanted and worse still you don’t get the results needed to go to any of your chosen Universities. Unfortunately, this does happen but from my experience I can honestly say it can sometimes turn out for the better.
I should begin with my experience three years ago now (which is crazy to think how time flies) on the 14 August 2014, my A-level results day. My results day was slightly unusual for a few reasons, firstly I was working for my school on results day which ended up with me being situated in Lyme Park. For this reason, when I heard of my disappointing results, I could not get back to school to discuss my options until 3pm, when most places had been filled. I do not blame my school for this in anyway as teachers had hinted that I should stay to open my results before heading to Lyme park where at that point I realised my results didn’t go as planned, but part stubbornness part fear made me not want to accept this and I went regardless. Once I got back to school, teachers and my parents advised me to consider clearing options as I had not been accepted into either my First Choice or Insurance University. I have included a link below which goes into clearing in more detail but succinctly put clearing is a process where you ring up Universities explaining your situation, your grades and your desired course and they will let you know if they have any places available for you.
Clearing can be a great option and is something to seriously consider, however, I knew the grades I achieved were not a reflection of my true ability and as such I made the difficult decision, against the advice of teachers/ parents, to take the year out, get a part time job and resit my exams the forthcoming year.
Fast forward to a year later, after stacking the bread shelves of my local ASDA more times than I could possibly remember, I had the results day which I hope you all have in a few weeks’ time. I had been accepted into my first choice, University of Warwick. Strangely, my first choice when I first took my A-levels was Sheffield (a great University nevertheless) but it is interesting to consider how life would have been different.
So, what did I learn from my experience:
I have no idea what life would have been like if I had chosen to go through Clearing and gone to another University. I can only say that I have met some incredible people at Warwick and the department here is amazing, aside from all other things considered I think it’s the staff that the department hires that truly cements the department as one of the best in the country.
I was encouraged to go to another University through Clearing as teachers/ parents worried that if I was not able to achieve the results required with the help of teachers for two years how would I increase them by myself. However, for that reason I say you must trust your gut. Listen to those around you and those you trust as they only have your best interest at heart but at the end of the day, as my personal tutor will always advise me, it is YOUR decision, you need to trust in yourself that you’re making the right decision for you.
Revise Your Approach
I learnt that personally I am no crammer. Having to self-study for the year made me realise how I best learn and digest information. This is in the form of small bitesize chunks slowly and continually throughout the year. ‘Slow but steady wins the race’.
By now most reading this will have realised how they best learn, but for those who unfortunately do not achieve the grades required then I seriously recommend taking some time and trying out different learning styles and I’m sure one or a combination of a few will work best for you.
As an additional point, if you do find yourself in the same situation as me, please do not rest on your laurels. I knew a few people who also took the year out but ended up achieving the same results second time around.
My take home message from this blog would be that you have the responsibility to decide if you will see a hump in the road as a bad setback or good start.
Good luck to those receiving results in a few weeks and as always feel free to drop a message if you have any questions.