General Ramblings on my A Level Results

For my A Levels, I took Law, History, Use of Mathematics and (for AS) Business Studies. History, followed swiftly by Law, being my favourite with Use of Mathematics rather further behind (I enjoy maths, I’m just poor at it). I ended up with B’s in Law, History and General Studies and C’s in Use of Mathematics and AS Business Studies. I was about 2 marks off an A in Law and about 4 off a B in UoM.

Now, not to make excuses or anything, but that Law grade isn’t my fault; my Year 12 teacher mucked up dreadfully but I’m still bitter about that and don’t really want to rant about it. I thoroughly enjoyed my Year 13 Law class even though about 4 of the 6 students in the class didn’t really understand, or want to understand, the work – the teacher made concessions and worked for the best of everyone – the slowest and the quickest learners. History was also excellent; The Tudors, Vietnam, British Raj and the rise of Totalitarian Regimes (1900-35-ish) are all fascinating topics to cover and with the help of engaging teachers it made the classes immensely fun to go to. Use of Mathematics was another small class but equally with a passionate teacher who helped out a lot; I just wish I’d managed that extra few marks to get a B. I just never really ‘got’ Business Studies.

Anyhow, sometimes I look at my results and wonder what they could have been had I not spent the majority of the time playing Countdown and Risk on a SMART board in between card games….Then I realise the Countdown number rounds were probably more useful for developing numeracy skills than Use of Mathematics. After all, I can’t really remember how to differentiate or integrate, but I can remember how to add, takeaway, multiply and divide (and that was more than a slight dig at the British Comprehensive Education System).

I suppose what I want to say is that A Levels are not the end of the world. I was quite disappointed with my results I’m not going to lie. And I feel like they aren’t just impacting badly on myself from a personal point of view, but Law firms also use them to ‘cut the wheat from the chaff’ so to speak, and I lie on the edge. And that worries me. But, remember A Level students. you can always resit. You can always retake a year; you’ll have plenty more for working, one more won’t hurt. Make sure you get them right. 

Unless you’re a law student. In which case, please just give up. Competition’s hard enough as it is.

The Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

For those that don’t know, I hope to go into the Legal sector in the next few years after hopefully completing a degree in Law.

So, naturally I have been reading up on the two main careers that span from Law; Solicitors and Barristers. I must admit, I don’t have anything like a set opinion in my mind, but I have been very slightly leaning towards (attempting) to become a Barrister.

Anyway, this afternoon I wandered across this test called the BCAT (or The Bar Course Aptitude Test) which is around 60 questions to be answered within 55 minutes all to do with assessing analytical skill and critical thinking.

The RED Model
The test organises critical thinking into a “RED Model”:

  • Recognise Assumptions
    Noticing and questioning assumptions helps to reveal information gaps or unfounded logic.
  • Evaluate Arguments
    Analysing information objectively and accurately, questioning the quality of supporting evidence, and understanding how emotion influences the situation.
  • Draw Conclusions
    Bringing diverse information together to arrive at conclusions that logically follow from the available evidence is crucial when making a decision.

Personally I think it’s a really interesting approach which I can see as being useful to a career based on developing the skills.

So, I decided to take the test and see if I was anything like cut out for it.

“Your results were compared with a large group of people who have also completed the BCAPT.

Your score on the BCAPT placed you in the PASS CATEGORY. Individuals scoring in this band are likely to demonstrate or exceed the level of critical thinking necessary for effective analysis and decision making on the Bar Professional Training Course. Compared with other test takers, they are likely to be able to:

• Define basic and complex elements of problems and situations clearly and objectively

• Recognise the lack of obvious information and readily identify subtle information needed for effective decision making or problem-solving effectiveness

• Typically apply sound logic and reasoning when analysing information

• Consistently draw accurate conclusions from information in a variety of situations and circumstances

• Develop rational, strong arguments to support ideas”

By God I wasn’t half surprised!
I know the limitations of these tests, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a little pleased that I could supposedly pass a test I’ll have to take in four years’ time at the end of my hopeful degree.

For anyone wondering If they also have the analytical skill to become a barrister, check out the page below which provides a link to the test:

A day trip to Lancaster (University)

Today, me and about 25 other history students went on a trip to Lancaster University to use their fantastic library in order to do research from Undergraduate level textbooks for our Historical Enquiry. 

Considering the University was about 1 and a half hours away, it was a bit of a trek but was whittled away playing a History themed game of 20 questions – I was Pope Urban 3rd and Cleopatra of Egypt, others ranged from Madam Curie to Chairmen Mao. 

Just in case you were wondering – my enquiry is based on the British Raj during the period 1847 to 1947. Quite an interesting topic. But then again, stamp ‘British Empire’ on it and chances are I’ll find it at least vaguely interesting. 

Must just say, Lancaster was very accommodating for us – fantastic set of librarians and the library was lovely. Got down a bunch of titles which I’m going to look into further.
And they have a Greggs on site.

Doesn’t it just boggle the mind.

February? Already?!

So apparently it’s February again! Doesn’t time fly. Feels like just last week everyone was disappointed it wasn’t snowing over Christmas.

Made a promise to myself this morning that I was going to stop wasting my free time and knuckle down to do some serious work (because I don’t understand 70% of the stuff I take down in class).

Pity I promptly broke that promise this afternoon which I spent an hour of playing Countdown. I lost as well. Badly.
Not even the conundrum (which I’m normally pretty good at getting) could help me. And I got that wrong too.
Funnily ‘Diocese’ came up three times (although I thought I saw it a fourth time and got it wrong – I used two ‘e’s when I only had one).

Maybe its a sign I should start doing more work…..

Also left myself a rather uncomfortable amount of homework…..

Anyway. Pinch and a punch, first of the month!