Well, well. I’m writing this in the week before my older son gets his GCSE and given that he is almost exactly 30 years younger than me, I though it would be as good a time as ever to write this post.
Without getting into the whole GCSEs are much easier / harder / about the same as O Levels debate I know for a fact that my lad worked a hell of a lot harder than I did all those years ago. But anyway, I said I wouldn’t go into all that!
I studied for a total of eight O Levels. I did exams for seven of them and a set of 15 essays for English Literature. When the dust had settled, I ended up with an A in Geography, 6 B’s (Maths, English x 2; Physics; Chemistry and German) and, zut alors!, a C in French.
Now I know that this is supposed to be a celebration, but in many respects this was also the high water mark of my academic achievement. Certainly in terms of the fulfillment of my potential at least.
Yes, I’ve got (3 out of 4) A Levels and a Degree in Civil Engineering (2ii). I’ve also got Certificates and Diplomas in Water and Environmental Management and last but not least a PGCE, oh and a couple of OU modules too. Trouble is, I was a lazy-finish-assignmnets-cram-revision-at-the-last-moment kind of student.
I have to say that it always gives me an enormous sense of pride when I recount that I have 8 O Levels. And they were more difficult than any exam that any sixteen year old since has ever or will ever have to face. Probably…