Tag Archives: exam results

July 4th 1975

“Came home at 3 o’clock. Had to do speech in assembly. Got 43% in Art”

Now, was I doing a speech to the outgoing students, to the possible newbies, or to the BP ‘student body’ as a whole?

Whatever I had to do, it looks like I was able to skive off early and get home by 3 o’clock in the afternoon. (“Skive” being a british slang term for avoiding responsibilities and/or work)

Is 43% good? I know if I had 43% of my mother-in-law’s lemon pie left that would be very good indeed, but I can’t be certain it represents a ‘pass percentage’ as far as my exams go.


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January 20th 1975

“Economics ‘O’ level retake”

Regular EFA70sTRO readers will recall that I pretty much crashed and burned in my GCE O-Levels back in August 1974.

Amongst the subject I failed at was Economics.

Seems like I was allowed to retake it?

How would I fare this time?

I don’t think my diary ever reports it so I will ease your intense unrelenting curiosity to inform you that…

I passed!

(OK, with another infernal ‘E’ grade…. but hey, it was still a pass!)

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August 20th 1974

“Got 5 ‘O’s including Spok. English”

Let’s review these results shall we?…..

Economics: Grade F FAIL
E.Lit. Syll.B: Grade E PASS (English Literature Syllabus B)
Physics: Grade F FAIL
Eng. Language: Grade E PASS (English Language)
Geography: Grade F FAIL
Rel.Studies: F FAIL (Religious Studies)
Spok. English: C PASS (Spoken English)
History: E PASS
Tech. Drawing: E PASS (Technical Drawing)

The back of the actual certificate (shown below) states “Attainment in an Ordinary level subject is indicated by a Grade A, B, C, D, or E of which Grade A is the highest and Grade E the lowest……. Grade E is the lowest level of attainment judged by the University to be of sufficient standard to be recorded

I think it’s fair to admit I was…. a somewhat less than an average student who somehow managed to barely SQUEAK by in some of these important examinations. It feels astonishing to me now that I could apply myself quite admirably the year earlier and take/pass Mathematics quite easily (albeit also with an “E PASS” grade) but then when the rest came around I was phenomenally sloppy and without any personal application.

I’m surprised in retrospect that I failed Economics (it being something I dealt with quite successfully later in my career) and amazed that I completely stumbled in Physics when, just 2 years earlier, I was flying high in the subject and was first in my class.

No surprises regarding Geography (my wife is nodding her head as I type) or Religious Studies. I don’t think the *ahem* things I was ‘studying’ during my church retreats were necessarily likely to turn up on the exam paper?

I’m afraid I can only be flippant about all of this 36 years after the event. I can’t be convinced that passing more of these O-Levels would have changed my life that much so there’s no point in being regretful after the event is there?

In a nutshell I seemed to adopt ‘slackerdom’ at an early age?!


Filed under 1974 Diary Entries

September 3rd 1973

“Got ‘ome at 11 – went to School and found GOT ME O-LEVEL!!”

Got off boat, got on train, got off train, got in taxi, got out of taxi, got in train, got out of train, got in taxi and…. home!

Then to my school to evidently found that all my hard(ish) work in my recent examinations was not for naught. I indeed passed my mathematics o-level a year early!

I must have officially been a clever little smart-arse!

(Please note: Past tense)

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January 10th 1973

“1st Maths Mock O’level – multiple guess choice – VERY HARD!” / “Decided to buy Moving Waves by Focus by selling ticket” / “I think I have got the flu – have got very bad frote”

Ah, that was why I was doing all that swotting!

I think I have already said that I had been chosen as one of the BP pupils who was going to be permitted to take their maths O-level exam a year early.

In order to take the O-level proper in June, I first had to be pre-tested in the January “mock exams”. In these, we were given examples of previous tests, after which we were, presumably (but I can’t be certain) educated further in whatever areas we fell short.

Of course, it may also have been the case that anyone who failed the mocks were then NOT allowed to take the real thing. (You’ve guessed it, it can’t remember)

It would seem that the multiple choice paper was somewhat on the difficult side?

Maybe that’s why, later, my ‘fear of failure’ materialised into the flu?

In other news – potentially more important for the 15-year-old me – it looks like a new slab of 12″ vinyl was in my future?!

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The 1972 Diary (III)

I wrote my school year exam results on one of the “notes” pages. I presume these were for the year ending in the summer of 1972.

The first thing is the subject, the second my ranking in the class, the third my score on (presumably) whatever test we were given (I can’t remember how the scores or percentages were calculated)

• English Literature • 12 • 47%
• English Language • 12 • 55%
• Maths 1, 2, Comm • 11 • 50%
• French • 21 • 34½%
• History • 18 • 37%
• Geography • 13 • 49%
• Physics • 1 • 54%
• Chemistry • 30 • 26%
• Biology • 11 • 39%
• Religious Education • 24 • 37%
• Art • 14 • 50%
• Technical Drawing • 4 • 40%
• Woodwork • 5 • 59%

It’s weird, but I had totally forgotten that we did R.E. (Religious Education) at school. These days I really despise that kind of indoctrination of schoolchildren, feeling it is entirely up to parents if they desire their kids to learn about all that god fearing mumbo jumbo. The fact that everybody took R.E. back then – completely regardless it would seem of their faith or upbringing – says a lot about how cultural diversity has changed teaching practises during the ensuing three decades.

I’ll guess there were around 30 to 35 pupils in my class, a pretty much equal mix of boys & girls. (Funnily enough I can STILL remember – and recite – the surnames of all the boys. I always found the list – which was read out loud alphabetically during every morning registration – somewhat poetic in construction… so maybe that’s why it has stayed with me?). The same class wandered from room to room taking the different lessons. I can’t remember fraternisation being encouraged with other classes in the same year, but it’s peculiar that it’s with people from those other classes where many of my later ‘lifetime’ friendships grew.

The only thing I can recall with any level of clarity about what appears to be my worst subject – Chemistry – was our teacher, “Boris”. It was not his real name of course, but I can remember we all silently sang the refrain from The Who’s “Boris the Spider” a lot during his lessons … doubtless whilst some of us also snorted the unlit gas coming out of the bunsen burners bolted to our desks. Aaaah, my first high.

I’ve recently discovered during one of my trips back to “blighty” (the U.K.) that the now-retired “Boris” lives just three doors away from my Dad. As comedian Steven Wright once said “It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it”

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