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August 12, 2020updated 21 Jan 2021 12:08pm

Editor’s comments ahead of UK A-level results day

By Joe Pickard

Tomorrow, 13 August, A-level students in England and Wales will be receiving the results which will determine whether they have secured a place at university. A nerve racking time in any circumstances, let alone in the time of Covid-19.

Earlier this year, the government announced that exams would be cancelled due to the pandemic as schools closed to a majority of students whose parents were not considered key workers.

It was announced on 12 August by the UK government that there will be a ‘triple lock’ system in place for students in England and Wales, meaning that students will receive the higher result out of their calculated grade, valid mock grade, or autumn exam grade. No doubt that this measure was put in place just a day before results day with the aim of avoiding the same debacle, which many students in Scotland needlessly had to face.

The Scottish devolved government decided to make a U-turn early his week on a previous decision for the teacher-given results to be moderated, which saw thousands of Scottish student’s grades lowered. Before the U-turn, there were a number of student protests and accusations that the lowering of grades disproportionately affected students from less affluent areas.

UK education secretary Gavin Williamson said that the decision for the ‘triple lock’ system was made to ‘help provide reassurance to students and ensure they are able to progress with the next stage of their lives’.

How reassuring the government is to A-level students the day before they are due to receive their results is a matter of debate, however, PwC provided some case studies from recent A-level students, who received their results this time in 2019, which may provide some reassurance to any budding accountants expecting their results tomorrow.

University of Newcastle student Ellie Wilkinson, who is on the Accounting Flying Start degree programme in partnership with PwC which involves full time study at university, with paid work placements at PwC in years two, three and four, said: “Obviously I was very nervous the night before but – after forgetting my password for the UCAS website and frantically trying to log in for ten minutes – I actually found out I’d had my university offer fully accepted before I went into school. So, I knew I must have done okay but was still in shock and double checking I was reading the right results!

“My advice for students waiting for results this week and hoping to go to university is not to be nervous about making new friends – the course I’m on is the best for making friends as you spend so much time with your classmates and there are socials all the time – so it’s super easy. And once you’ve made friends, the rest is easy!"

Sham Datta who also received her results last year tells of her experience: “I called the course director just to check that I had actually gotten on the course because I had just missed my grades, and they said that I had made a good impression on my interview day so my grades were accepted!

“I knew I wanted to go to university, but with a course like Computer Science I knew I would benefit a lot from having some experience in industry.

“The advice I would give is that it is so easy to assume the worst and think that you’ve done badly. You’ve each done a lot better than you think you have – regardless you’ll be fine, if it happens, perfect! But if it doesn’t, I know plenty of people who have gotten really far into their jobs without degrees. If you build experience on experience, then you’ll come out with more knowledge of the real world. No matter what, you’ll be fine."

 

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