It struck me the other day that it must be exactly 50 years since I did my O Levels, age 16.
It’s so long ago I am not sure I remember what I did. Let me think: French, German, English Language and Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. That makes nine, which sounds correct. I passed them all. I tell you that not to boast, and I certainly only scraped History which has always seemed a pointless thing to me, but to highlight that, in those days, we all did ‘traditional’ subjects. No Japanese, DT, Philosophy, Domestic Science. I think the grades were numbers. I am pretty sure my only ‘1’ was Maths, but there would be many threes. Middling. I probably have my certificate somewhere.
I was always reasonable at Maths. We didn’t have calculators, nor slide rules, but we did have books of log tables and trigonometric functions. I imagine that of all those subjects, it would be the only one I could tackle sensibly now.
Coursework was just not a thing. I have a vague recollection that multiple choice exams were just coming in.
We did something called the General Paper. And a University Entrance Test in English. And for my A Levels, Maths, Physics and Chemistry.