Tensions ran high in Hertswood Upper School this morning, as A-level students queued up to get their exam results.
And when the 18-year-olds finally saw their grades, worried whispers turned to screams of excitement.
Erin Sheehan said she could “not stop shaking” as she ripped open the envelope containing her results at the Thrift Farm Lane school.
The 18-year-old will be going on to study psychology at Brunel University after achieving three Bs in English, Psychology and History.
She said: “I was so tense and crazily nervous. I felt like a massive wreck last night and barely had any sleep.
“These exams define the rest of your life so they are really important – but now it is a massive relief and I cannot wait to study psychology at university.
“It still has not sunk in.”
Students have spent two years working towards around three or four A-levels, and for many of them, the results determine whether they have been accepted to their chosen university.
Head girl Paige Blackwell, 18, was all smiles as she collected an A in Sociology and C’s in Film Studies and Theatre Studies.
She will be starting a degree in dance Urdan College.
Still reeling with excitement, she said: “I am just over the moon, this is so fantastic. I knew I had been accepted for dance college in January but I am so proud of my sociology grade.
“I am so happy I can barely contain myself. I am going on holiday to Mauritius with my boyfriend tonight but I did not feel I could get excited before.
“I can start looking forward to my future now – this is so amazing.”
Head boy Chay Lewis said his grades were “unbelievable news.”
The 18-year-old achieved an A in History and Bs in Politics and Business Studies.
He will be starting a degree in accountancy and finance in Durham next month.
“It is a massive weight off my shoulders – I have been so stressed the last few months just worrying about it. I doubted myself after the exams.
“I am just feeling on top of the world now, and my Nan was crying when I told her the news.”
Demi Foster’s A in Law means she has gained a place at the University of West London to study the subject to degree level.
The 18-year-old also achieved a B in History. She said: “I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was ten years old and now my dream is a step closer to coming true.
“I woke up at 6am after having two hours sleep, I was just so panicked and was really worried that I would not make it.
“I am just so proud of myself.”