A-level Exam Results – Celebration time after years of Sacrifice by young people and their parents!

There is a lot to celebrate after another year of good A-level results. For many families all over the country, there is great sigh of relief and great optimism for the future. Really, there are three parties involved in achieving educational success – the student themselves, their parents and their teachers. There is a great sense of feeling of achievement when the student opens that envelope and the results are excellent, as they feel rewarded for years of diligence and sacrifice.

Irrespective of various developments in the modern era, such as the reduction in the amount of content taught, teachers being under more pressure to deliver improvements in examination results, and the fact that parents fork out a lot of money for private tuition and give up their time in all sort of ways – it is still success well-deserved, and so we should celebrate.

As results have actually dipped slightly on last year, we ought to bear in mind that sadly, many families made all the sacrifices but the results are still not what they expected.

Commiserations to those who have not done as well as expected in their A-level results. Having gone this far it would be a shame to give up at this stage; after all A-level is a very challenging qualification, despite the points I mention earlier. I will speak about that later in this blog.

As for those who have achieved the grade they need to gain admission to the university of their choice, they should make the best of the opportunity presented to them. There are of course, many challenges such as tuition fees, leaving home and coping in a new and environment; an environment in which young people are left to their own devices.  The perception of all these should not be to view them as obstacles – instead the view should be reversed and they should be seen as opportunities.

Below are just a couple of key suggestions that I have for the young people who are going to university this year:

a.     Make the best use of various opportunities at university, such as joining clubs and making new friends. Good employers value your social skills and your emotional intelligence as much as they value the class of degree you end up with. Word hard but play hard too! You may regret it in the future if you do not try to engage with and enjoy university life.

b.     University is a place of learning and discovery. Don’t rely on your lecturers to spoon-feed you, as this is not GCSE or A-level. Have an inquisitive mind and be willing to explore and to learn independently. If you have questions for your lecturer, research possible solutions before you approach them and instead of asking for answers, ask for their view on various possible solutions. This way, they’ll enjoy your company and want to help you. Remember, there are there to facilitate your learning and not to teach you everything. Actually lecturers are rewarded more for the success they achieve in their research and not for the quality of their teaching.

c.      Just one last point: for most courses, the university you graduate from matters more to future employers than the course you study there. I suggest you opt for the university with a greater reputation unless you are studying medicine or the less reputable university is particularly good for the course you are applying for. Please make the effort to make those telephone calls in your grades are borderline. Make the most of the clearing system and do not just accept anything. Call all the universities you need to contact in search of the best one. Strive for the best for you.


The job of us parents, apart from doing the occasional laundry they bring back home and ensuring that the fridge is full for their visits – is to be there for them, encourage them and ask questions, without being seen to be too nosey!

As for those young people who have not quite achieve the grades they need, I’ll suggest the following:

a.     Make use of the clearing system to try and get yourself into a decent university. This year the government are encouraging universities to accept more students with slightly lower grades for certain courses. Contact the universities and present your grades to them

b.     If you have to take a year out, do that and retake one or two A-levels; however, bear in mind that it is harder when you have taken a year out and you are working. It is a challenge to combine work with studying and not everyone has the discipline and the motivation to make a success of it. I must say that a university education is a wonderful experience, and so do not give up too easily!

c.      Weigh all the options that are available to you before you make a final decision. A university education is highly valuable; however, there is no guarantee of a good job at the end of it. Not that I think this matters, as the experience itself – despite the debt – is worth is weight in gold! Remember however: the ex-prime minister John Major, Karen Brady – a very successful business woman;  the leader of Microsoft – Bill Gates, Richard Branson and many other successful business people do not have a university degree. However, they all worked very hard and are determined to succeed. It is your decision after all. Speak to people around you but make sure you spend time thinking about it and I’m sure your parents will support you whichever decision you come to.


There is a useful article on the Guardian website today about making successful calls for clearing: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/aug/14/clearing-how-to-stand-out-phone-admissions-tutors

For a round up of the national results, see the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-28772974

Incidentally, my thoughts on good habits apply just as much to university life… http://excelinkeysubjects.com/turning-good-habits-ritual-aid-success-good-start-new-academic-year/ 


Next weeks blog is for GCSE/IGCSe – watch this place

Please feel free to comment on this blog and do contact us if you need any advice on any issue relating to secondary education.