PASSED/FAILED: Carol Vorderman
Thursday 10 July 1997
Pre-school? I went for one term to Vale View, a nursery which I think I didn't like - although my mother says that's not true. I then went for two terms to Meliden School, where my mother was the Secretary.
Primary? Then at four I went to Ysgol Mair Catholic School, Rhyl, where I stayed until I was 10. We had little sum books; I used to race through the sums, which I knew I would get right, to finish first; it was a speed thing, like racing against the clock in Countdown. I loved the school and was one of quite a few who were put up a year. Fred Jemmett was the headmaster, a very funny man and very strict. On a Monday morning we had to thank God if Manchester United had won on the Saturday.
Secondary blessings? Then I went to the school next door to Ysgol Mair, the Blessed Edward Jones High School. The next Catholic school along the coast was the Blessed Richard Gwyn High School; Richard Gwyn was beatified, so it became the Saint Richard Gwyn High School, which was most annoying to us. I hated PE; I couldn't see the point in being frozen in your navy blue flannel knickers and getting mottled legs. A lot of sadism going on there, in my opinion. My mother would provide me with sick notes - and if she wouldn't I wrote my own.
Exam score? In O-levels, I got nine As and two Bs. Subjects included maths, physics, computer studies - this was the first year you could do it as an O-level - Welsh and cookery. I also got an OE in a maths paper which included calculus. In A-levels, I got an A in maths, plus an S for the special paper, an A in economics and a B in physics.
University challenge? Nobody in my school had applied to Cambridge and I could not have done a fourth term for the entrance exam; I was very lucky to get a conditional offer to Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, which I'd picked because the Alternative Prospectus said it had a comparatively high percentage of state school entrants.
Head in the clouds? I picked engineering because I'd wanted to be an airline pilot and thought I'd stand a better chance with that kind of degree. I ran the Stephenson Society, the Engineering Club in Sidney. I was duped into rowing, but after a term of five 6am outings a week, I quit.
Countdown to a media career? I was never, at school or university, involved in the media or performing. I had no desire to be in the media; it was my mother who saw the article on Countdown - and on Countdown all that mattered was that you could do sums. I'd never heard of the Footlights; one of the disadvantages of coming from a school which hadn't sent anyone to Cambridge was that I didn't know what the place had to offer.
Final score? I could have worked harder. I got a Third in my first and second years. In my last year I thought I had worked rather harder and when the results were put up on the board, I looked first at the 2.1 list, then I looked at the 2.2s and next I looked at the Firsts. When I saw myself under the Thirds I was hugely disappointed, until two minutes later I thought: it could have been worse. At least I'd got a Cambridge degree, even if with three Thirdsn
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