Twenty-Two Stars in Their Eyes… Izzy and Anna Reflect on Their Sparkling GCSE Successes

Every year the national press carries tales of delighted looking pupils whooping with joy as they gleefully open their GCSE results envelopes. For two of Princethorpe College’s less demonstrative pupils: Anna Harper-Lawrence and Isabel Meade, there was a mixture of tears and muted astonishment on Thursday 25 August. Between them the girls defied expectations and were awarded with a total of 22 A*s (that’s 11 each) 4 short course A*s, 3 As and one B. By anyone’s standards these results are exceptional. Yet chatting to them both and you couldn’t wish to meet two more modest, self-deprecating young ladies.

Reflecting on the possible reasons for this outstanding achievement Anna ruminates, “My advice to any Year 11 pupil would be to work really hard for your mocks and let that be the starting point of your revision.” Izzy, who takes a similar view, agrees, “Revise hard for the January exams and just keep going.” Both girls concur that it is vital for each individual to set their own targets and goals. “Don’t be competitive,” advises Izzy, “Work on what you know you can achieve, because everyone’s different – and go for it.”

Anna’s pin point mastery of self-organisation helped her enormously. A busy sportswoman she found it a release to have fixtures there as something different to focus on away from the GCSE grind. She’s also a self-confessed lover of mind-maps “I respond really well to colour and I basically mind-mapped everything!” Whereas Izzy found flashcards a big help and mini whiteboards, “I’d write facts down then rub them out, then write them again.”

Both girls also described teamwork as playing a big part in their success. “Being in a class of really well motivated pupils makes life so much easier,” explains Anna, “you can work off each other and share ideas.”

Izzy already has her sights set on a career in Medicine and will be studying Maths, Chemistry, Biology and History at A-Level whereas Anna has yet to decide where her future will lead her. Her chosen A-Level subjects: Psychology, History, English Literature and Language and Biology will allow her to choose which door to eventually open.

Further special commendation must also go to the seven Year 11 pupils who achieved 8 or more A*s as part of their results package: Laura Baskerville, Emily Gibb, Alex Tubb, Zainah Darr, Luke Baldock, James Fletcher and Miriam Isaacs.