Posts Tagged ‘A-levels’

choices choices choices

October 31, 2012


Here is a question from reluctant philanthropist Jess:

For about six months, I have been volunteering in a charity shop on Saturday afternoons; however, now I am thinking about quitting in the near future. This is mainly due to it taking up my time, which could be better spent doing school work, which I am starting to be overloaded with, having just started my A levels, and doing three subjects which revolve around essays, and one foreign language.

Because it is on a Saturday, it also eats up the time that I could be spending meeting up with friends. Not to mention, the work is incredibly mundane and monotonous, and I really don’t enjoy it. The situation is complicated because I know the assistant manager well, and see her at least once a week, so it’s not like I can just stop turning up and pretend the shop doesn’t exist. What would be the best and politest way to quit without antagonising anyone?!

Erm, the truth? At least the bit of truth that isn’t about the work being boring. Tell the manager that unfortunately you don’t have time because you need to study for your A levels. Why would anyone bother arguing with that?

Since we’re on the subject of A-Levels, here’s a question from Johnny from Brighton:

My friend wants to be a doctor, but thanks to some dodgy lecture at our school about ‘what employers REALLY want’ he thinks that he should do RE as well as his medical stuff to add some ‘range’.

Now, normally I would only feel kind of wonky about this but he’s only doing it because he believes it will be easy. Surely at A-Level you should do what you want to be able to do for the rest of your life? Unless he’s got some hidden urge to become a pastor he hasn’t told me about, I feel he’s making a huge mistake!

Answer me this, should I try and get him to change his mind or should I just not stick my nose where it doesn’t belong?

Well, Johnny, you do seem unusually concerned about your friend’s subject choices. The real question, I think, is why do you instinctively wish to control him? If you can’t face examining yourself, suggest he take Psychology A level instead, so eventually he may be able to explain your negative urges to you.

Anyway, have you discounted the notion that perhaps he is actually interested in theology? And given that wannabe medics have to do several hard-to-bluff subjects such as advanced maths and sciences, sitting an exam that is slightly less demanding is quite a pragmatic decision. Maybe the RE would even be a complementary choice, as he would be able to perform the last rites over his patients if he turns out not to be a very good doctor.

His other option is to ‘add range’ by enjoying a variety of extra-curricular activities (such as working in a charity shop like Jess!). However, I can’t speak for employers of medics, but I don’t how important ‘range’ is to them rather than ‘excellence at medicine’. By the time he has completed his seven years of medical training, I doubt they will be particularly interested in what he did at school. If he doesn’t appear to be a well-rounded individual by then, they won’t be convinced that he is one because he did Duke of Edinburgh, swimming and tap dance when he was sixteen.

Lastly, I must dispute your assertion that your A level choices will necessarily have anything to do with the rest of your life. I had to decide mine when I was fourteen! It is a mercy that none of the decisions I made then proved binding at all.

That said, had there been A levels in podcasting or self-employment, I certainly would have been tempted. Frankly, Russian hasn’t come in particularly handy. YET.


EPISODE 188 – it’s Savage Garden-awful, not Vengaboys-awful

August 18, 2011

This week, listeners, we delve deep into one of the darkest mysteries of our age: the T&C of Pizza Hut’s ‘Don’t Open Me‘ wheeze. So tantalising! What could possibly be within the mystery envelope? Without even looking, we can guess a) heart attack b) disappointment c) spelling mistakes. Find out what else in Answer Me This! Episode 188:

This classic episode is available to BUY NOW for just 79p at the Answer Me This! Store, through a secure server, without DRM restriction. CLICK HERE to find out more and support our podcast. (This helps keep our most recent episodes free)

Today’s conversation features:

autotuned ocarina
diet and fitness messiahs
James Morrison vs. Radiohead
pseudo-hedonistic parties vs. Butlins
the Milky Bar Kid
Chuck Jackson
a frozen shark’s head.

Plus: Olly prefers M&Ms to be faceless, voiceless, nameless and unopinionated about film; Helen challenges you to match the member of The Wanted to her descriptions (ideally without having to expose yourself to their current single); and Martin the Sound Man doesn’t want to win a year’s supply of anything, thanks, although we suspect that if you offer him a new guitar every day, he wouldn’t kick you in the box.

This week’s Bonus Bit of Crap on the App includes some precautionary advice from Ashley from Atlanta regarding last week‘s questioneer who was intent on having sex atop a washing machine. Try to guess how this results in a story about Rome Police Station, Olly’s arse, and a leaking Nissan Micra. You can’t! So you’d better fire up your iPhone, iPad or Android to string this tale together.

So that we may string next week’s podcast together, you should send us your QUESTIONS: voicemails go on the Question Line (dial 0208 123 5877 or Skype answermethis), and aim your emails at Or, if you bump into us at Green Man or Edinburgh over the next week, you could questions in person! That’s a less reliable method than the usual phoning and emailing, but hey, we’re feeling risky.

See you next Thursday,

Helen & Olly