Monday, 19 May 2014

Taking GCSE's and A levels

I know from some of the posts I have seen floating around and from some rants on Twitter that the time is coming up for many bloggers when they do their final GCSE and A level exams. It's this time of year that I reminise about my time when I did these qualifications. It's so weird to think that this time last year I was doing my A levels, stressing in copious amounts and of course, the frightening thought that I had no idea where I would be in 4 months time in September. It's even weird to think that three years ago I was doing my GCSE's, revising like it was the most important thing in the world, like the whole world would blow up if I didn't.

I thought it would help those stressing and perhaps panicking at the moment to hear from someone whose gone through all that. I know I needed someone just to reassure me it would be fine last year.

GCSE's are tough, I agree and it annoys me a lot when I see middle aged men in the Government saying GCSE's are easy and need to be toughened up. Probably if I did my GCSE's all over again now, I would find them easy but we have to remember I'm currently at university, of course I would.
The best thing I can say about GCSE's is that although they seem and ARE important now, by the time you get to college and focus on A levels, they won't be. I got 3 A*'s and 9 A's in my GCSE's which I am immensely happy about, but, honestly, no-one asks me about my GCSE's now. GCSE's are considered easy in the sense that really there is no analysis or depth as it's all about showing and identifying things be it a certain type of language in a novel, or a certain aspect of a plant cell. As long as you do that, you'll be fine.

It's when you get to A level, it's more difficult. The step from GCSE to A level is massive and I found myself struggling a lot in the first few months on college especially as I had some less than brilliant teachers. There is another slight jump from first year of A level to second year but it all slows back down when going onto university I think.
It's at A level that the difference between this level and GCSE's is clear. A level is about analysing and interpreting things rather than stating it. Whether that's analysing the effect of a character to a novel or bringing your own Marxist interpretation to the events of the War of the Roses, as long as you continue to do that, it's answering the question.

A levels are important also and even though I put myself under so much pressure last year to the point of nearly having a breakdown, it was worth it in the end. I wasn't entirely happy with my A levels in fairness but I did what I could under the conditions and under the dreadful college I was attending. It got me into university, the university I really wanted to go to, and that's the main thing.
A levels are hard. They really are and I certainly don't miss them at all now. But I think as long as you learn the different techniques for each subject, A levels should fly by.

1 comment:

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