GCSE results day

Apparently, it’s GCSE results day today, but as I’m 29 and don’t have kids, I only found this out via Twitter.
Yes – today’s the day when everyone seems to get A* results, girls do slightly better than boys, and the newspapers are full of rehashed reports that exams are getting easier.

But who wants to know about Jonathan getting his 15 A*s, really? Nobody. I think it’s much more interesting to look at the other end of the spectrum, and see what the worst result was.

Take me, for example. My worst GCSE result was an F in Art. I’ve told people in the past, that this means it says “F..Art” on the results sheet. This probably isn’t true. I bet they list the subjects first, THEN the results. It’s been so long since I looked at the official paperwork I can’t remember. I’m not going to look now, in case it actually is “Art..F” and ruins what is the only perk of totally flunking a subject.

I’d say the reason why I got an F is something of a selection of bad choices. I hated art, but I had to choose art, drama or music from a kind of “arts” section.
My inability to play an instrument in music would probably have involved some singing, and I didn’t want that. And I couldn’t take the public performance aspect of drama. I know you only put on shit plays in the school hall that nobody really watches, but even still – no.

So art it was.

It did have some perks.
For one, it was in two floors of a separate building, probably half a mile’s walk from the rest of the school. This meant you could get to your next lesson late and use the excuse that you “didn’t get let out of art early enough”.

They had the radio on for every lesson. And if you get bored, there’s always a reason to get up and wander about – whether it’s sharpening a pencil or getting more clay. Other people would come in and start work, whereas I’d come in, look at a blank sheet of paper for two minutes, then plan what I was actually going to do for the rest of the lesson. Most weeks, that was cocking about, chatting to my mates, and checking out a lot of girls I didn’t have the slightest chance with.

One of the slight downsides is that one of my best mates, who tended to sit on the same table as me, did spectacularly well at art. He’d borrow his dad’s industrial equipment to weld a broken flower pot onto a broken bicycle wheel, and get himself an A-grade. Every other week. It’s all subjective, see. I might think he’s taken two broken bits of old crap and glued them together, but not everyone did.

The larger downside is that I suck at art. My drawing resembles that of a 3 yr old, and paint just goes horrifically wrong. I have no ability to do detail, with a brush. I can paint a garage (I’ve done two, now), but not a Gauguin.
I tried making things out of clay too. The most successful of which was a series of books with a worm/train emerging from a hole through the middle. The First Great Western, it wasn’t. It probably looked a bit like a penis, but never mind.

Think multiple books, and worm is a train/worm. It didn't look this good.

And finally..

So for my final exam, 10 hours of timed work went into…well…erm..a painting. It’s fair to say that lack of planning meant I finished it quite early, and wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of my time. I started adding things to it – like additional trees and stuff. I changed it from sunny to cloudy to grey sky about eight times.
After all this, still with 3-4 hours remaining, the question came up about how I was planning to mount/display my backup research work.

Erm…what? What research work?
Apparently everyone else had been doing this throughout the year. Riiight.
I cobbled together some other poor pieces of work, which included aspects of my final piece. It looked shit, obviously. You can’t make up for a year’s slacking, in a few hours.

All of this brings me nicely onto the biggest perk of taking art as a subject you obviously suck at. You know when you go into a school, and they’ve got pictures up by GCSE/A-level students, that are really good, showing detail? Light and shadows? Textures? My work will never be shown there. It might be shit, but at least nobody else gets to see it.

And thankfully, I did much better in English Literature (B), English Language (C)  and Maths (C).

So would any of my readers like to share? What’s the worst GCSE (or equivalent – CSE/O-level, etc.) result you got?

5 thoughts on “GCSE results day”

  1. Another F in Art here too! Although I actually enjoyed and was “good” (predicted B/C) at it when I chose it. But my teacher left at the end of my third year, and I /really/ didn’t get on with the new one. I suspect subjectivity plays a part too.

    I did also manage an ungraded for AS Maths, but as I took that at 16, I’m not too bothered by that one…

  2. I got Ds for History and French, which didn’t bother me at all until I had to retake history to ‘fill my timetable’ at sixth form. Got a C second time around. I’ve always found that bad results are directly correlated to uninspiring teachers. Or perhaps that’s just my excuse.

    I remember hearing an interview with Noel Gallagher in which he said that he explained his string of U grades to his mother by telling her it stood for ‘unbeatable’. Apparently she believed him.

    My A level results were A, D, E which disappointed me. Having ‘ACE’ on the results slip would have been a lot better.

    1. A part of me wishes I’d taken French. Doing German had a teacher I didn’t like, and I ended up in the same group as two of my mates, meaning I spent most of the lessons giving them the finger in a variety of creative ways.
      And one of our French teachers was fired (and outted in the papers, etc.) for telling pupils the answers during exams. I might have got a better grade, if I’d been in her classes.

      I was terrified of my English teacher for the first year, yet still managed to get detention from him at least twice. He was quite a nice guy, but his ability to shout really loud (without prior warning…sometimes mid-way through a sentence) scared the shit out of me. Good teacher though. He used to regularly start a lesson with a game, especially if people were half asleep or there was a negative feel in the air.

      Bad luck on the ACE.

  3. Lowest O’ Level result was a C. I got 1A, 2Bs and 6Cs.
    I also did an O’level course in Music where my mates and I pretty much larked about for 2 years. The teacher only entered us for CSE music and not the full O’level as he thought we were useless. To prove him wrong we did some serious swotting and all got Grade 1’s (the highest grade). Huzzah.
    Pity that the rest of my results were mediocre. I stayed on to do A levels studying Physics, Mechanical Maths and Chemistry. At the end of year 1 in an maths assessment exam I got 0%. I realised then that pursuing any more educational studies was not for me and was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship with Texas Instruments which did actually include 2 further years at college and the acquisition of an HND.

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