Lana Crowe, a sixth-form student at Raines Foundation in East London, writes:
Walking out of the hall at the end of an exam, surprisingly little thought is given to results day. It is almost three months away and your essay is yet to be crunched into the single letter that you feel is to define the rest of your life. As the day begins to loom, you think back to the little you can remember of exams and attempt to place trust in your former self – who you pray managed to do a good job.
The anticipation of exam results is undoubtedly stressful. I have developed an overwhelming sense that I’m reaching a point where there are many possible routes that my life could take; on this day I get to find out which I’ve been given. After analysing my past year’s performance and concocting a variety of reasons and excuses as to why my grades may not be what they are expected to be, I am now ready to brace myself to find out whether I am to take on an attitude of self-achievement or punishment in the year to come.
Ultimately, results do not depend on whether you have written a ‘good’ answer; they depend on whether you have written an answer that conforms to the various assessment objectives and key points that the mark scheme outlines. Michael Gove’s linear A level could offer students a chance to be more independent in their study. Personally, to be able to read around a subject and get a heartier feel for what I’m learning would make some aspects of the current modular system – memorise for the exam and then discard – pale in comparison.
AS results are very much a time when Ucas is on the agenda. I have come to the conclusion that top universities will not accept me if I cannot show that I think beyond the current A-level curriculum, which, although evidently important for my university education, will apparently not prepare me for it. Linear A levels could encourage this, benefiting most those who thrive in a traditional educational environment. However, by making the format more difficult in an attempt to reduce the number of top grades, many students could be left without focus and disheartened, particularly without the push that adverse grades at AS often provide.