Starry-eyed pupils are top of the class

Published: 23 Aug 2012 13:000 comments

A-STAR Collegiate Grammar School girls, Louise Houston and Laura-Jane Mahon went to the top of the class when the A-level results came out last Thursday.

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Each achieving four A*s in their chosen subjects they have more than secured a place in the courses of their choice this September.

Tempo girl, Laura-Jane is off to Queen's University, Belfast to take up a course in medicine following her high success in maths, biology, chemistry and physics.

Louise from the Shore Road, Enniskillen, meanwhile will travel to Cambridge for her land economy course.

She reached A* status in maths, physics, economics and geography.

It is just reward for the two 18-year-olds who readily admit that they had been cramming for their exams since the Easter break.

Despite the hard work though, the classmates say they were bowled over when they learned their results last week.

"I got my results on line at 7am because I couldn't wait any longer!" says Laura-Jane, "I didn't think I would get logged on in the first go because last year people were experiencing problems. But I did and when I saw the results flashing back at me from the screen, I couldn't believe it!"

Louise collected her results from her local Post Office.

"Mum and dad came with me. When I realised what I got I was so excited and they were thrilled."

The girls say the most they had hoped for was to secure the grades required to get on to their chosen courses.

"I did work hard," says Laura-Jane, "But as long as I knew I had tried my best I was happy. I do set high standards for myself, but I just wanted to get the results I needed to get on to the course -- I wanted to come away knowing I couldn't have done any more than I did."

Although Laura-Jane has always had her heart set on pursuing a career in medicine, Louise says her career aspirations have varied over the years.

"When I look back at what I have said in my career interviews each year it's quite funny," she says, "In fourth year I wanted to be an interior designer, then an engineer, a lot of artsy things.

"But in the last few years economics, geography and law have been my main interests and this course brings all three together. Cambridge is one of only two universties in the world that offer this course -- the other is in Ghana which is a bit too far away for me!"

Their stunning results should really come as no surprise though as both girls had already proven their worth at GCSE level -- Louise received 10A*s and an A while Laura-Jane secured nine A*s and two As.

Both with part-time jobs they say their studying technique is a balance between time management and commitment.

"I would write out notes into a book first and then go through a couple of pages at a time, learning it and memorising it over again until I know the entire book," explains Louise.

"I just study until I'm sick of it really," Laura-Jane adds, "Until I couldn't do any more!"

The A-star students say they tried not to let the pressure of the dreaded A-levels get to them, but it wasn't easy.

"Just before the results came out I heard the number of top grades had been reduced this year," says Louise, "It made me feel more worried! I had a dream a few nights before the results that I had no real Plan B, which made me even more worried!"

And Laura-Jane avoided buying anything for university before she saw her results in black and white.

"I didn't want to tempt fate!" she says.

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