Education I unaccountably failed by English Literature A-Level. Well, I got an 'N' which isn't total abject failure but pretty close. I actually got into university on the strength of my 'B' in Art and 'D' in General Studies. I wasn't a good learner back then. But I can attribute my failure to my inability to take exams. Which is why the news that over a hundred thousand bright, good students may have been affected by the marking fiasco is all the more crushing. The exam boards themselves, despite having these kids futures in their hands are always very dry, talking statics as though the effects don't matter. But they don't seem to be look towards the future effects.

Fictitious hypathetical student Sarah Leopold worked hard for two years but because her English mark was suppressed she couldn't take her first choice at Birmingham or her second choice at Manchester. Because she's certain that once her mark is re-assessed she will have enough to lead the brummie life she takes a year out. Employers can see she's a bright girl so she gets a job doing admin for a shipping company. The job is hard work and largely menial, but it pays OK and she's still living at home so her personal overheads are low. The toruble is sheis out of practice with learning. She tries background reading, but by the time she gets in from work she's really tired and doesn't want to do anything which requires thinking.

Year goes by, she returns to University. It's a three years course and the final mark is based on all the course work done throughout. Because of the break she finds study difficult to get back into. Much of the time she finds herself going through the motions, and the fact that she could have been there a year early, that she feels like she wasted a year keeps playing on her mind. Also most of her course mates are a year younger and sometimes its difficult to mix so her social life suffers. Her job has made her more mature than they are. It's hard for her to relax and it's hard for her to work. She never really gets back into the swing of things and after three years ends up with a lesser degree. So when she gets into the job market, graduates younger than her are leapfrogging for positions. She had hoped that her year working might have stood her in good stead, but becuase of the number of other graduates in a similar position she's no better off. And all because of an A-Level statistician.

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