In this unprecedented year for A Levels, some of Benenden’s top performers share with us their experience on this strangest of results days.
Minna Moody-Stuart leaves Benenden with six A Levels – four A* grades and two As.
She said: “I’m very happy and relieved and excited. It was quite nerve-wracking not having done the exams. When you sit an exam you can always gauge how you’ve done but without that you have no sense.”
She said her A* in Further Maths was her most pleasing result because she put a great deal of effort into it, saying: “It’s a tricky subject and I worked hard in all ten hours of Maths lessons I had a week, plus all the extra stuff I did after school. I was doing Maths practice on my own, probably about eight hours a week. For Maths I think it’s all about practice, you can’t just cram. Luckily, I like Maths!”
Minna - who last year won the Young Economist of the Year competition, run by the Royal Economic Society (RES) in association with the Financial Times - is now weighing up her options for her future.
Of her final year at Benenden being disrupted by coronavirus, Minna said: “I feel we probably didn’t have that sense of closure that people get at the end of school but I guess you just have to adapt. There are people in worse situations during coronavirus.”
Anna Chan is heading to Cambridge after achieving a clean sweep of five A* grades.
She said: “This definitely wasn’t how I was expecting to get my A Levels, none of us were expecting it to happen like this. However, I am really happy with my results, I wasn’t expecting to receive all A* grades but I was definitely hoping for them!
“I am going to Cambridge to study History, there is of course some uncertainty around how classes will take place, but I am really excited to start university.”
Lily Phillips was delighted with her four A* grades, saying: “The last few weeks have been so stressful - I thought waiting for my GCSEs was bad enough but this week I have been almost pacing up and down waiting for my results.
“UCAS kept crashing so I wasn’t able to see if I had secured my university place and I actually cried with relief when I finally saw my results - when I saw the grades that I got I just couldn’t wait to celebrate. I’ll be celebrating with my family today and seeing some friends later on this evening.
“I’m going to study Chemistry at the University of Oxford which is amazing, I am so excited. I have loved Chemistry forever, so I am so excited to study it at university. It will be slightly strange because the social aspect of university has kind of been postponed, but I will just go with the flow and see how it goes when I get there.
“I really am so grateful to all of my teachers at Benenden. I’m grateful for how much faith they had in me, I wouldn’t be going to Oxford without them.”
Helena Emery, who got four A*s, said: “I was shocked when I first saw my results, I didn’t think I would get all A* so I was very surprised but of course really happy. I did really put the work in this year in all subjects and worked really hard on my prep and the tests that we did have, which I think made all the difference this year.
“My brother also just graduated from university a few weeks ago so we are all going out for a celebratory family lunch today which will be lovely. In September I am going to Lancaster University to study History and Spanish, while the university experience won’t be quite the same this year and freshers’ week definitely won’t be the same, I am really excited to get started.”
Antonia Webb, who secured five A Levels all at A*, said: "I am very happy with my results and look forward to studying Classics further at Cambridge."