This site is intended for health professionals only

Home / Blogs / ‘The Government’s A-Level system crippled my chances of achieving the grades I needed to study pharmacy at university’

‘The Government’s A-Level system crippled my chances of achieving the grades I needed to study pharmacy at university’

exam hall

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

By Sahal Mohamed
Student

18 Aug 2020

Last week, as a result of an incompetent government, I lost the opportunity to study pharmacy at both my firm and insurance university choices. I had worked very hard all year round to make sure I had the necessary grades. My UCAS predicted: A*AA, and my teacher predicted: ABB.

The results given to me on Thursday 13 August were CDD.

This was a very inaccurate representation of my achievements throughout the year, as I had to work hard and achieve my UCAS-predicted grades multiple times in order for my school to grant me those grades.

In my view, the whole system put into place for dealing with the A-Level results was absolutely shambolic. The ranking system has not only crippled my chances to achieve A’s and A*s, but also the chances of many others.

My results certainly didn’t take into account the long hours that I had dedicated daily to revising. I would start my day at 6am and would have to catch a train and two buses in order to get to school, I always aimed to arrive an hour before registration to revise and I would stay two and a half hours after school without fail, to maintain my performance. I had set aside my social life and sacrificed numerous hours of sleep and some meals all for the sake of aiming for 3 A*s.

Finding a university place

With the algorithm failing me, I wasn’t left with many options. I was turned away from every university that offered pharmacy, my only option was going to Kingston University where I was offered a place on a Pre-Pharm course. Although there is nothing wrong with taking a foundation year, I had already taken an extra year at my sixth form because I had moved from studying humanities subjects to science subjects. This was all done so that I would be able to study pharmacy at university.

The choice followed the realisation I had that pharmacists are such key cornerstones in the world of health, as there is an ongoing demand for worldwide medication. I also took part in numerous weeks of work experience at pharmacies, where I was really able to demonstrate my aptitude for this career. Both of these factors aided me in making my decision to study this great course.

My headteacher was disgusted by the six-grade drop that I had faced and was going to personally appeal on my behalf. Thankfully, following the Government’s decision to take the U-turn, I am now able to go to the University of Nottingham to study pharmacy, as they had reserved a space for me until 7 September, pending the outcome of my appeal process.

Although things have worked out for me in the end, us students should not have been given grades that we would never attain if we were to sit the exams. Decisions like this by incompetent governments can really add to the anxiety of some students, and while I was lucky enough to find a place through clearing, there are thousands of other students who may not have had the same luck.

Editor’s note: We wish Sahal and all the other students who have secured places on pharmacy courses all the best with their studies.


Want news like this straight to your inbox?


Latest News

Pharmacy and Covid-19: How can we support one another when we’re in crisis?
Danielle Hunt, chief executive of Pharmacist Support, discusses how the charity has been supporting pharmacists...
How can pharmacists help mothers meet their breastfeeding goals?
A tired father or a worried grandmother asking for ‘just one small bottle of formula’,...
‘I faced a GPhC inspection in my second week as a prov-reg pharmacist’
It’s fair to assume that the idea of ‘a provisional licence or registration’ to practice...