Liverpool Echo

Time to examine the exams

STRESS levels have taken an up-swing in our house of late.
There have been moody silences punctuated by banging doors, sleepless nights and snappy responses. And that’s just me.
Yes, after the blessed tranquility following season in June, things have kicked back into gear big-time at the prospect of A level results day next week.
The trouble is that these results – that little piece of paper on which a few letters are printed – have come to represent the be-all and end-all.
Achieve the right set of letters – A, B, C – and you’re off to your dream university course or job. You’re a bona fide success.

Get the wrong set and a

exam celebration
Get ready for more of this …

t best it’s crushing disappointment – followed by a mad scramble to try to salvage what you can of your education – and at worst an unmitigated disaster.

None of the above is accurate, of course. Grade As don’t guarantee a successful life – however that’s measured – and an E in Geography won’t mean you’ll end up homeless on the streets.
But that’s how our kids are made to feel, isn’t it?
Every. Single. Year.
Why does it have to be this way? Why are parents and teenagers put through this stomach-knotting uncertainty, every 12 months?
There has to be another way. And of course there is.
Much of Europe operates a different system to access higher education whereby students apply for their next steps in life AFTER receiving their results.
No relying on predicted grades and less of an all-or-nothing Doomsday scenario every August.
It’s not perfect but it does help to ease the terrible tension of results day.
For now, though, let’s wish all those youngsters awaiting results the best of luck.
If it all goes to plan then well done. If not – it really isn’t the end of the world.

A new report from university boffins reckons too much sleep can be bad for us.
Research has revealed that people who snooze for 10 hours are 30% more likely to die prematurely than those who slept for eight.
I don’t know about you but after weeks of being denied a full night’s kip thanks to the heat I’m willing to take the chance.

First published in the Liverpool Echo, 11 August 2018