I once got a Grade 5 for CSE maths. In the 60’s and 70’s the Certificate in Secondary Education was in the tier below ‘O’ levels. It was primarily taken by kids who didn’t pass the 11 Plus to go on to grammar school, and I was one of them. CSE’s generally, and the exams in mathematics in particular, were a bit…basic to say the least. “John has two apples, and Susan then gives him one apple. How many apples does John have? Please show your working out.” After I got Grade 5, I steeled myself to retake it. At the resit, I failed completely and was even ungraded.
It was a black day anyway.It had been announced earlier that morning, that Freddie Mercury had died, so I wasn’t particularly bathing my colleagues in the joy-bringing light of my sunny-disposition. I was sitting in my surgery at lunchtime, reading a newspaper (This was the early 90’s, when YouTube was merely a glimmer in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye), when four glum-looking nurses trooped in.