I knew this was going to happen, that’s why I kept all my university prospectuses. I somehow just knew that I’d fail Chemistry and that I’d have to look for something else to do at university apart from Biochemistry.
I’ve taken enough exams in my time to know when I’ve failed one and today was a prime example of me failing an exam. What’s really annoying is the fact that for all the past papers I did for Unit 4 Chemistry I was getting As and Bs, but the exam I sat today was just something else entirely. Also, I’m pretty sure there was at least one mistake in the paper and when the exam paper’s wrong, you’re screwed. Firstly, I’m pretty sure there was a typo in the name of one of the compounds, which was an ester. When you write out an ester’s name it’s always [something] -thyl [something] -oate, for example methyl propanoate, but in the paper today they’d named an ester as “methyl 2-methyl propenoate”. I’m pretty sure the “e” in “propenoate” is wrong.
Also, for one question we were asked to draw a reaction mechanism, but they’d only given us one reagent and I was just sat there thinking “I can’t draw a bloody reaction mechanism if there aren’t reagents for the reaction to happen.” It really screwed me up. Also, the buffer calculation question we got was nothing like we’d ever done before and the questions on benzene and nitrification were at the front of the paper, instead of at the back like they’d been for all the past papers.
If AQA were aiming to confuse people with this year’s exam, they sure achieved it. Most people said it went awfully when we came outside, so hopefully the grade boundaries will be low.
BUT, onto why I know I’m a failure.
So, if today’s exam went awfully – let’s say I got a D – then next week’s Chemistry exam is going to be even worse, because I simply cannot do Unit 5. So, if I get, say, a D in next week’s exam, that means that I’ll probably get a D or an E overall and my two universities will probably not give me a place. So, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come up with a contingency plan for if I get rejected by both my firm and insurance university.
In England, how the university application works is this: after midnight on exam results day (the 14th of August I think) the universities you’ve applied for will send you an automated response, based on your results, on whether you’ve got in or not (they receive your results after midnight). Most of the time, because it’s an automated response, if you don’t quite get the required grades and ring them up they’ll still give you a place anyway, because it’s too much hassle for them to reject you and search for another applicant. If, however, neither of your two universities accept you even after you’ve called up, you have to options: take a gap year, or go through clearing. Clearing starts the day after results day and it’s where you can put your application out there for any university that’ll take you, or you can apply for a different course altogether, provided you’ve got the qualifications for it.
So, my plan is this: I reckon I’ll have the qualifications to get into either Law or Philosophy at practically any university in the country. I’ll have the qualifications to do Evolutionary Biology at Exeter, but that’s hassle. So, my plan is if both Sheffield and Cardiff reject me for the Biochemistry course, then I’ll go through clearing and apply for Law. I honestly would love to do Philosophy, but my Mum’s forbidden me because there’s no career prospects.
Applying for Law will be a bit on the hairy side because my knowledge of Law is very limited. Well, at the moment. I could of course read a tonne of books over the summer on various aspects of Law and re-write my personal statement in preparation for clearing, but it’s all so much effort. But, who knows. If, for some miraculous reason, Chemistry goes well next Monday then I’ll re-think my position, but at the moment it’s looking pretty grim.