Wizened Words For Those Receiving Their A-Level Results Today

Posted by Dan | Posted in Blog | Posted on 19-08-2010


Our school only brought in the interesting subjects like Philosophy & Ethics, Psychology, Sociology, et al once you reached A-Level, so naturally I dropped the subjects I’d spent my whole life forced to learn in favour of these new and interesting ones.

At some point in Year 12 I decided I wanted to read Creative Writing at university.  As universities accept people onto Philosophy degrees even if they have no prior knowledge of the subject, I imagined the same rule would apply for the much simpler choice of an English degree.  Turns out I was wrong, and as I hadn’t taken English as an A-Level I couldn’t take the course I wanted come university, and the teachers advised me to spend my planned gap year attending night school Eng Lit lectures instead of backpacking around Thailand.

Well fuck that, I thought.

Against the advice of the teacher, in Year 13 I took both AS and A2 English Lit together, primarily because I fancied a girl in the AS class.

I didn’t finish any of the books in time for the exams.  I didn’t even try.  I put in one sleepless night of hard work the night before Big Exam Day and bluffed my way through every paper, throwing in long and important-sounding words wherever possible and doing my utmost to sound like I knew what I was writing about.  As different schools studied different texts, the exam booklets contained questions for multiple books — we just had to answer the section on whichever book we’d studied.  In our case it was Jane Austen’s Emma.  As I hadn’t read it, found the lectures dull and didn’t feel like bluffing about old-fashioned women I skimmed through the other sections and found Death of a Salesman — at least I had seen the play — and proceeded to blag about anti-Capitalism and McCarthyism for a few pages.

And where did this laziness get me?  Well, I got an A.

I carried this technique of not giving a shit, writing essays on books I hadn’t read, and only putting a load of work in at the last minute over to university, where I got a First. 🙂

I know, I know, I’m a cunt.  But I’ve never once had to prove that I actually got the grades I did [and would be screwed if I had to, as I’ve no idea what my mum did with the certificates], so the moral of the story is: stop caring, enjoy life, and if you didn’t get the results you had hoped for, lie on your CV and no one will ever know.