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A-level results: So, how did you really get on?

Published 14/08/2015

Rionach McCarron (18) who went to Thornhill College got two A*s, two As
Rionach McCarron (18) who went to Thornhill College got two A*s, two As

Rebecca Black talks to students around Northern Ireland about their hopes for the future.

Thomas  Donaldson (18) Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Maths (A*), further maths (A*), physics (A*) and chemistry (A)

"I am relieved because these were the grades in exactly the subjects that I needed to get into Imperial College to study chemical engineering. I had my heart set on Imperial College since getting rejected by Oxbridge. A-levels were very stressful, and I was very worried about getting the grades I needed. At least now I can relax and enjoy the rest of the summer."

Ted Mackey (18) From Moira

Royal Belfast Academical Institution

English (A*), French (A*), music (A), Latin (A)

"I was hoping to get three A*s. I was just one mark off it in one subject, so I am going to get it remarked and see if it goes up. I have been accepted into Selwyn College, Cambridge, and am very excited to go there in October. I play piano and I sing - up to grade eight in classical singing. I have been in the choir and performed at several musicals. I think I would like to be a composer."

Ciara O'Connor- Pozo (18)

Oakgrove Integrated

A*, B, A

"I have been accepted to Glasgow University to study English literature with French. My long-term goal is a career in journalism, but I don't intend to stay here. My mother is from Spain, so I can speak Spanish as well as French, which will be useful. As soon as I can, my plan is to emigrate, which is one of the reasons I chose journalism, because it is the kind of job that will allow you to travel the world and work."

Ian Doherty (18)

Oakgrove Integrated

C, C, D

"I have a place in Stirling University to study film and media, which is what I always wanted to study. There is such an increase in the films being made here, like Game Of Thrones and Dracula, that there should be plenty of work for me once I graduate. I don't like the idea of moving away once I have my qualification, but with luck I shouldn't have to."

Jordan Thompson (19)

Belfast Boys' Model School

One A*, two As

I'm over the Moon. I did media studies and two-grade ICT. I was only expecting to get three Bs. Now I'm going to Queen's to do film studies. I started my own business recording music a year ago, and the film degree will give me an insight into video production. The business might also help me avoid running up too much student debt.

Curtis Hill (18)

Belfast Boys' Model School

Two Bs, one C

I did media, politics and history. I'm very happy as I didn't expect to do as well. I'm waiting to see if I've got into Queen's to do film studies, but I have an offer from Ulster University to study media and production. In April 2014 I spent a week in the Belfast Telegraph as part of the Youth Week Initiative, which was a great insight into how newspapers are put together.

Callum Sweetlove (18)

Belfast Boys' Model School

Two Bs, one C

I'm going to Ulster University to study media and production. After that I would love to do a post-grad in film. I did media studies, politics and history and also took part in the Youth Week Initiative and spent a week in the Belfast Telegraph. We got to interview the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. It was a great experience. Eventually, I would like a career in some aspect of the film industry.

Alex Browne (18)

Foyle College

Three As

"I have been accepted to study nursing in Queen's University, but I'm actually thinking about taking a year out now. I might wait until next year and apply again and do medicine instead. There is a shortage of doctors here, so I wouldn't have to move away, but right now I'm not sure what my final decision will be."

Jacob Galbraith (18)

Foyle College

Three As

"I am off to Newcastle to study dentistry. It is a five-year course and fees are £9,000 a year. My parents were reluctant for me to go there because of the high costs, but the way I look at it, dentists earn good enough wages that it won't take too long to get the debt cleared."

Kate Fahy (19)

Thornhill College

One A*, three As

"I have been accepted to Cambridge to study law and I have accepted, but I am waiting to see if Trinity will offer me a place. They don't send their offers out until Monday, so I will know for sure where I am going then. My father is a solicitor and he was my inspiration when I was deciding on what degree I'd do. He is pleased with my results."

Megan Halliday (19)

Victoria College Belfast

Two A*s, two As

"I'm really happy. I worked really hard and my results are more than I wanted. I did maths, philosophy, chemistry and Latin - which was the hardest. I won't know till Monday, but I'm hoping I've got into Trinity College, Dublin, to study maths and philosophy. I'm not sure what I want to do after that, but I'm considering teaching or further study."

Emma Gilmartin (18)

Victoria College Belfast

Four A*s

"Medicine runs in my family - my mum is a doctor and my older sister is studying medicine at Oxford. I'm so pleased that I got the grades, and my parents are really pleased as well. I'll be studying medicine at Queen's. I did biology, chemistry, maths and physics, and I worked really hard because medicine is something I really want to do."

Ben Taggart (18)

Coleraine Inst

Politics (A*), geography (A*), history (A)

"I'm delighted' I was shocked when I signed in online. I wasn't expecting to get anywhere near that, so it was a pleasant surprise. I want to go to Newcastle University to study law, but I am considering a gap year with a law firm. I would like to work in corporate banking and finance law. A-levels were fantastic. Inst was a good school and I will miss it."

Stuart Allen (18)

Coleraine Inst

Technology (A), maths (C), and physics (D)

"I didn't get the grades I needed, but I am looking at my choices and might go to Jordanstown to do accountancy. I feel it is a good career to go into. Outside of school I like karting and have raced at Nutts Corner. I would like to continue to do that, but it is not cheap. Maybe that is why I wanted to do accountancy - to look after the money to do it!"

Dominique Groves (19) from Twinbrook

St Dominic's, Belfast

Politics (B), history (B), French (B)

"I had been thinking about doing PPE at Queen's University, but I have changed my mind and want to focus on languages. I am going to take a year out now and do an A-level in Irish. My grandmother is German, originally from Berlin, so I want to pick up some German and then apply for a languages degree next year. I don't see the point in rushing into something when I am not sure."

Niamh Bunting (18) from Belfast

St Dominic's, Belfast

English (A), drama (A), Irish (A)

"I am hoping to go to St Mary's University College and study English to be a teacher. I got three As in my AS-levels last year, but I was still a bit apprehensive, and wasn't sure what to expect. I found the English literature exam to be the most difficult. A-levels have just flown by. I feel like I blinked and it was the end."

Natasha Donnan (18) from Moneyreagh

Lagan College

Business Studies (A*), politics (A*), religious education (A)

"I am going to go to Queen's now and study law with politics. My dad came to school with me this morning and he is really delighted. I would hope to become a solicitor. Now I am heading off to do my theory driving test at 12pm. I hope to do some more lessons and pass my practical test too before the end of the summer so I'll have a car for university."


Eva Lennox (18)

Coleraine High School

Maths (A*), biology (A*) and chemistry (A*)

"I am really happy. I put in a lot of hard work into my A-levels. I am going to do dentistry in Sheffield, which will take me five years. I want to be a dentist because my late uncle was a dentist. I always wanted to go down the science route, but I thought that medicine was never for me, so I chose dentistry."

Tony Salami (18) from Belfast

Lagan College

Physics (A), chemistry (A), maths (A)

"I came into school to get my results with my mother, and we opened them up together. We are delighted and really proud. I am hoping to do chemical engineering at Queen's University, and then after that I would like to work overseas. I am originally from Syria, so it would be nice to go and do some work out in the Middle East. The A-levels were tough but knuckling down was worth it."

Stephen Hare (18) from Belfast

Lagan College

History (A*), English (A), RE (A), politics (A)

"I still have to wait until Monday to find out whether I have got into Trinity College, Dublin, which is where I want to go. I want to study law, and my aim is to be a solicitor advocate. Being head boy at Lagan College has been an amazing experience - the year has gone by so fast."

Hannah Bennett (18)

Banbridge Academy

Art & Design (A*) Health and Social Care (B), ICT (C)

"I'm pretty happy with my results. I wasn't too nervous. I just felt that I had done all that I could have done. It was quite a lot of work as most of my subjects were coursework-based, so I was very busy. I am hoping now to go onto Lurgan Tech college and study a foundation degree course in art and design. That would be for a year. Long-term I'm not too sure what I want to do. The foundation degree will hopefully give me more options for things I hadn't considered before."

Lily Spence (18)

from Dromore

Banbridge Academy

Spanish (A*), English (A), French (A)

"It was just such a relief as the night before I was up to high doh! As I was studying languages, the last two years were very intense - it was such a jump up from GCSE - but I really did enjoy it. I love languages. I now plan to go to the University of Glasgow and do a degree in English and Spanish. I don't really know what I will do after university. I think I might end up teaching languages as my mum is a teacher and she loves it. I'm just looking forward to starting university in September."

Niamh Lundy (18) from Belfast

St Dominic's, Belfast

English (A*), music (A*), history (A*) and psychology (A)

"I am really pleased. I'm going to go to Queen's to study English, then I hope to train to be a teacher. I had an idea that I would do okay, but there was still a bit of nervousness."

Jayne Boyd (18)

Banbridge Academy

Maths (A*), Spanish (A), English literature (B)

"I was just over the Moon with my results. I thought, if I had a good day, I would achieve an A*, A and a B. And I got it! I was just so happy! It was just about applying yourself and thinking, 'I can do this'. I'm just so relieved that it is all done now. I'm taking a gap year, but after that I hope to go and study maths and Spanish at university, probably at Queen's. I'm doing missionary work in my gap year, In September, I'll be going to Bible college for a month in Scotland, then I will head to a church in the UK after that for a while."

Emma Whitmarsh (18)

Coleraine High School

French (A*), Spanish (A), music (A)

"I was really pleased as I wasn't sure what I would get, especially with music as sometimes the marking in it can be quite difficult. I am going to university in Edinburgh to do French and Spanish, which is four years, including one year abroad. You get to go to any Spanish or French-speaking country in the world. Afterwards, I might teach. I am in the school orchestra and choir and play piano, violin and sing at Coleraine Baptist Church. It is something I enjoy, to serve God."

Emma Sloan (18)

Coleraine High School

Biology (B), health and social (C), ICT (D)

"I was relieved, particularly with my biology A-level as I wasn't expecting that. I am now going to study sports science in Manchester for three years. I have been there three times and just fell in love with it. After that, I want to do strength and conditioning coaching. I play football - I used to play for Coleraine Ladies and County Londonderry, and I hope to play for university. I am a striker, and if I am good enough I would like to join a team over there."

Rionach McCarron (18)

Thornhill College

Two A*s, two As

I am going to Manchester to study medicine. I have been accepted to Newcastle as well, but I chose Manchester because of the airport links. I am the first member of our family to leave home, and my mammy was in tears when I told her my results. She hates the thought of me leaving, but she is buzzing for me because I did so well. At least I will be able to fly into Derry Airport to see here now and again."

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