AS-Levels: 'It's been very hard work - but it will be worth it'

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The Independent Online

Moya Lucas, 16, is at Our Lady's Catholic High School in Lancaster. She gained 2As, 6Bs and 2Cs at GCSE and is now doing AS-levels in English, history, religious studies, computing, and general studies. She has also done the Key Skills certificate

"I expected AS-levels to be hard work because they are a big jump up from GCSEs. But it has still been much harder than I expected. I picked religious studies, English and history because they were the subjects I did best in at GCSE. I didn't really want to do anything else, but we had to choose another AS-level, so I picked computing because I thought it would be useful. I'm glad I did because I've really enjoyed it and I haven't enjoyed history. I had planned to take history as an A2 in the second year but I'm dropping it and will do computing instead.

"I've had to do three and a half to four hours of homework every night of the week. On Saturdays and Sundays I have worked from about 12 till five on school work just to catch up. I've been a lot more tired this year than I was in my GCSE year.

"I am really, really interested in horse riding and I used to go riding every weekend but I've had to drop it; there just hasn't been the time. On Tuesday nights I play the flute in a school concert band in Preston but I've had to miss a lot of these because of school work; I miss the social bit more than anything.

"It's also been hard to see my friends – to find a time when no one's doing school work. I had hoped to be able to get a job to make some money but it wasn't worth tiring myself out. Two girls I know who did take on jobs suffered really badly in their school work.

"It would have been better if the teachers had known more, but when we started the courses they didn't have the syllabus so we were actually taught old A-level stuff. And the teachers didn't know whether to mark our work at GCSE or A-level standard.

"I did nine papers – six of them back to back. A lot of people had exam clashes and we weren't allowed to talk to them if we had taken an exam they were taking later.

"I hope to go to Queen's University in Belfast; I would like to do law or media, depending on my grades. It has been very, very hard work but it will be worth it. It is just something you have to do."