Kate Longworth, a marketing management student at Manchester Metropolitan University, got caught up in last summer's marking fiasco. She had wanted to do business studies at Sheffield University, but an E in politics forced her to think again.
When I arrived at school, I was quite positive and queued up to get my results. The results come on several bits of paper, but it took me about three seconds to take in the bad news. I'd got an E in politics and needed an A. My other results were Bs in business studies and English language and a D in general studies.
I burst into tears and went to find my parents. When they heard the news, they were in shock. We went home and after an hour I'd stopped crying and started to think "OK, what are the options?"
I tried to ring Sheffield but they were engaged. When I finally got through they had my grades on their screen. I told them I suspected my E was due to the marking fiasco but they told me that they wouldn't take me with those grades. I rang Leeds University, my second choice, but they said no as well.
My dad said I could take a gap year if I wanted and re-take politics, but I'd set my heart on going to university that year.
So I got out all my prospectuses and started scanning them. I picked out the places I wouldn't mind going to and looked for courses in the business management/marketing management field.
I found Manchester Metropolitan, one of my original six choices, and saw they had a marketing management course. So I phoned them up and the next morning got a call saying they'd take me. It was a big relief. I filled in a Clearing form, which came back in eight days confirming my place.
Eventually, it's all worked out fine. I've made some fantastic friends and the course is great. It's a more specific course than politics, but at least I now know which direction I'll be going in when I look for a job.
But it still makes me sick to think of my E grade in politics. It will stay with me forever because I'll have to put that grade down on job applications.