The Exam Result Spectrum
You’ve celebrated the end of an era already, the forthcoming summer of freedom and as you turn the page on the calendar to welcome August, you gulp and now the sense of freedom that has fulfilled you for the past month slowly dissipates as the familiar awareness of insecurity creeps in. Yes, the dreaded exam result wait has landed.
I have experienced both ends of the exam result spectrum. I was thrilled with my GCSE results, in fact I was downright surprised at how well I did despite my anxiety of having “totally flunked” some of the exams as I used to say. It made me feel fantastic and my reward was a big family celebration lunch and a much anticipated night out with friends that evening. Life felt great.
Two years later (plus two years added pressure I had put on myself to achieve big), came the A-Level results. I was predicted two B’s and a C which would ensure my space on my chosen degree subject at my first choice University. I opted to be abroad on the A-Level results day (all sorted beforehand with my college of course), at least then I could avoid the endless, “what did you get? What did you get?, questions from peers at a time when my insecurities and anxieties about exam results and my future was at its peak. My dad phoned that morning with my results, followed by my new options. Three C’s…clearing….Mandarin…socio-… MANDARIN? These were the words swirling around my head in the blur of the exam results revelation. I had achieved three C’s, not two B’s and a C as expected which meant that I was unable to do my chosen degree subject of American Studies, and I so badly wanted a sandwich year in the USA. I could have chosen other degree subjects at other Universities but I so desperately wanted to go to my chosen University that the only options available to study there were Mandarin and Sociology. It didn’t take much thought to opt for the Sociology route! After the rush of the life changing events and decisions of that morning when the dust had settled, I felt a little deflated and very anxious about my future.
What I know now that I didn’t know then was that I had achieved something great. I had nine GCSE’s and three A-Levels under my belt and a secured place at a top University. I may not have achieved the results that I was predicted but I went on to achieve a lot more than I could have ever imagined including completing a year living and working abroad in the USA as I had always dreamed of. I had put far too much pressure on myself which led to my confidence being slightly bruised. What I learned was that my exam results weren’t the sole indicator of what I was capable of achieving, what I was capable of achieving was somewhere deep rooted from within, and once I realised that, life was great again.