Reflecting on GCSE results day - 7 stories from our Staff and Tutors
Aug. 23, 2017, 1:17 p.m.
The summer is flying by, and this time tomorrow, Action Tutoring pupils will have received their GCSE results. These are the grades they have worked so hard for, being encouraged and supported by their tutors – some for the entire academic year!
Programme Coordinators will be heading into schools to celebrate with pupils and give them our best wishes for their next steps. Ahead of the day we’ve all been working towards, Action Tutoring staff and tutors share their memories of receiving results.
John Drummond (maths tutor, Connaught School for Girls, 2016/17):
My experience is somewhat different to that of today for a number of reasons, mainly because it was a long time ago.
My exams were GCE, not GCSE. They had not yet amalgamated the GCE with CSE. I had three sets of results, and we just received them in the post. We didn’t all go in to pick them up at school.
The actual results days were not especially memorable. I can’t even remember anything special about ‘A’ level results day. I think that was also just a letter in the post. Getting the offer from Uni was more significant. I went on to Manchester University to study Mathematics for three years, which was a real change from living at home and going to school every day. I made some good friends there and met the girl who became my wife. I had wanted to study Computer Science but my teachers and career advisers though that might limit my options in the future. How wrong they were, but at the time there were maybe 50 computers in the country so you can’t really blame them.
After university, I went to work for a Computer Bureau, and the whole of my career since then has been with computers. I worked in the design and programming for many years, then I moved over into the support operation answering phone calls and fixing faults reported by customers. The last decade or so I concentrated on testing software to try to eliminate as many faults as possible before the system was foisted on to customers. That is not everybody’s cup of tea because there is a lot of repetition of the tests to check if you really have fixed it but I enjoyed it.
I had two older sisters who had both got brilliant GCSE results so felt nervous not to let the family down. I didn't want the Martin family to be discussed as "you know the Martins? They have three daughters, two really clever ones and the idiot youngest child".
The plan was to walk to school get the results, find a quiet spot by myself and have a look. My head of year 11, who loved a bit of drama, had other ideas. She leapt on me as I entered the library. "Hannah, Hannah, have you seen your results?". As I had just entered the library where we were to collect our results, she must have known I hadn't. She urged me to pick them up and sit down with her as I opened them. I thought this must be a bad sign. I nervously grasped the envelope and slid open the top. Drawing out my results the first thing that caught my eye was an F. An F?! An F?! I didn't think I had done that badly in anything. What must have been the most fleeting of moments of horror but felt like an eternity was ended when I saw this F was next to "Gender".
In the end, it turned out the Head of Year was just there to congratulate me - my good results meant I staved off the idiot tag for a little while longer.
Emma Hooper (London Programme Coordinator):
My results day also happened to be the day that I was going with all my friends to Reading music festival. I was worried about my results but my feelings of concern became intertwined into my feelings of excitement for the festival and the weekend ahead. My dad was driving me and my best friend to the festival and I did not want him chastising me for achieving poor results for the whole journey. In the lead up to exams, my dad always said to me that the worst thing that could happen is "I get what I deserve" due to the bulk of my revision being done at the very last minute.
I remember opening my results, breathing a sigh of relief as my results were even better than I expected, and then running straight to the car with my best friend so that we could get to Reading as fast as possible. My dad saw my smiling face as I approached the car and gave me a thumbs up. It was the start of a very good weekend…
Fleur Nicholson (Marketing and Communications Manager):
I remember my friends wanted to go in together to open our envelopes. They were long sleepers so by the time we got in to school (I'd been pacing around the house all morning!) the rest of our year group had been and gone! I had a massive sense of relief and pride when I saw what I'd achieved, particularly in maths when all I had was bad memories from the non-calculator exam! My results meant I could stay on at my school's sixth form for my AS and A Levels which meant a lot to have another two years with my friends and teachers who knew me.
Hannah O’Neill (Liverpool Programme Coordinator):
I had a bad case of food poisoning (not that there is ever a 'good' case...) on my GCSE results day, meaning it was difficult enough to drag myself to school. Staring at the ominous brown envelope, my stomach did even more somersaults. Opening them, I just hoped I had the grades to get me in to my desired college. Staring back at me was a really good, strong set of results (most proudly my B in Mandarin Chinese, albeit a distance memory now - but it's not every day you get a GCSE in that!) and I knew my hard work had paid off. Rather than celebrating, I went home and was violently sick in to a bucket. All in all, that days holds a lot of memories for me - good ones and ones that still make my stomach churn!
Ali Choudhury (maths tutor, Connaught School for Girls, 2016/17):
My GCSE results day was quite nerve-wracking, as one would expect, and I never knew what sort of grades to expect for myself. GCSE exams are the first time most of us sit qualification exams that are significant for our future. It was quite a stressful day too as I dreaded disappointing my teachers and most of all conveying the results to my parents. These were also the first exams I had actually worked hard for and revised for properly using a timetable. In the end I was pleasantly surprised with what I achieved. I had thought getting high grades was a near impossible task and that only a select few students could get them. Being realistic I had thought getting a mix of B and C grades was the most I was going to achieve. But after getting my results I was quite happy and realised that focus and hard work can pay off. I went on to choose Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths for my A levels. This led on to studying a Neuroscience BSc at King's College London and then transferring to Dentistry BDS at Cardiff University.
Blessing Emeribe (Recruitment and Communications Assistant):
My results day was not good at all. I don’t think I have cried as much as I did that day. I laugh about it now but back then I thought it was the end of the world. All my grades were not what I expected. I still passed all and got 7 A-C grades. However, in the family I come from, B and Cs should not be in your results at all. It didn’t help that my older brother got 5A*s and 4 A’s. I felt like the idiot in my family. However, looking back now I realised I let the pressure get to me which affected my results. My secondary school even suggested I do BTEC, but I refused. This experience taught me a lot about myself. I ended up doing much better at A level and now go to one of the best universities. This experience also taught me the importance of being confident in your ability and how negative reinforcement can become a self-fulling prophecy if you let it get to you.