Tag Archives: exams

January 1st / 2nd 1974

• “Day off – did nothing except revising really”
• “Revision in morning – not much rest of day”

Here we go then…. a brand new year and…..

Oh…… revision. Boooooooring!

I was cramming for the “mocks”.

My real GCSE O-Levels were looming in June, examinations that were supposed to ‘define me’ and show where my skill sets were. These mock exams were designed to inform both me and my teachers where my deficiencies lay.

As I have said before I have no idea what “revision” consisted of. Did I merely read the things I had been writing all year or did I pour over specific books or texts? It seems to be that in this age before the invention of the internet all this kind of stuff must have been far more intense and/or boring.

I wonder if Dad allowed me a Prog Rock backdrop to my revision?


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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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June 29th 1973

“R.E. <- Har Har”

I swear I am not making this up….

The comment I made in response to my Religious Education exam was….

Har Har

This despite going to church and despite everybody’s efforts to make me believe in all that bible palaver.

At least now my religious friends know that even back then I was already looooooooooooong beyond saving!

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June 28th 1973

“History <- Quite Hard. Went to meditation”

First time I read this I thought I’d written “went to mediation” – and wondered what trouble I had gotten into!

Meditation? I did meditation? Exactly where and with whom did I do meditation?

Did I need to calm down?

Answers on a postcard to “that angry teenager”

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June 27th 1973

“Geog Reg <- Hard. Done great amount of revision for istory in evening”

How did we ‘revise’ exactly?

I’m buggered if I can remember. Did we read through all our year’s notes, essays etc? Or did we read text books crammed with information that may or may not turn up as a question on exam day?

How do you revise for History (or istory, if you prefer) when there’s so bloomin’ much of it?… and being added to every single minute of every single day.

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June 25th 1973

“French <- Hard -> Eng Lit. Nig came up, we went out on bikes tracking over woods”

Comedian Jimmy Carr once said “the problem with Canada is that half of them speak French and the other half let them”.

I’m in agreement with that. French is a horrible guttural language – not the ‘sexy’ number many women coo over.

No wonder I found the subject hard today – I’m sure it fell into my personal ‘why bother?’ category…. plus I really didn’t like the teacher who taught it.

I’m surprised I found English Literature hard though – perhaps I had to read something more challenging than Melody Maker?

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June 22nd 1973

“TD2 <- Easy. Geog (Phys) <- Easy.”

Another day of exam cockiness. Technical Drawing and Geography both proving easy.

My wife will doubtless comment about me finding that second one ‘easy’

Let’s just say that after moving to America I have found myself almost permanently lost and am somewhat “geographically-challenged”

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June 20th 1973

“Economics <- Easy. T.D.1 <- Hard! – Went up Nigs + write stupid, idiotic, moronic letter to Sue”

Yes, I have usually found things to do with money – i.e. Economics – simple to understand. I’m pretty good with numbers and I’m a better ‘economist’ than I often give myself credit for these days, managing to strike the best balance of spend and thrift as well as hunting down the right bargains etc. I’ve always believed in the old adage that if you look after the pennies, the pounds/dollars will often look after themselves, and so I hate unnecessary costs, waste and/or the feeling of being ripped off.

TD – or Technical Drawing – was quite a hard subject to take but it felt related to my artistic side. There was a point in my life when I imagined being an architect or designer, but I suspect my aptitude for the subject told a different story.

My Tech Drawing lessons have however stayed with me – for life –  thanks to one simple day-to-day reason. Back then, we were taught to write any lettering with a ruler as a guide. This kept the text neat and tidy around the illustrations. As a result of that I find it VERY difficult to write anything completely freehand without it looking like a dog’s half-eaten dinner. I almost always have to write using a ruler or some kind of straight edge – even envelopes and fill-in forms etc. It’s now the only way my writing looks ‘grown-up’ (even if the process isn’t)

The downside to this is I unfortunately taught my wife the same skill after we met. She used to have nice flowing, easily readable, handwriting. Now, when you add a ruler to her mix, her it sometimes turns out pretty illegible. I have never forgiven myself.

I wonder if I used a ruler for the letter to Sue in the evening? If it was that stupid, idiotic and moronic, why didn’t I later sell it to the Farrelly brothers to turn into a hit Hollywood movie? Dashed opportunities again!

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