I confess the experience of my friend has really coloured my views on that particular process so am pleased to hear of anyone who has had good (and recent) experiences. I hope my friend's experience was a one-off.
The one thing I didn't mention is that he is now a very successful business man. He was quite a "driven" person before his 12+ experience (or 13+ as it would have been then) but we have since discussed over a beer whether the experience made him want to "prove something" in later life. It clearly remains a bad memory for him and probably didn't help at the time that a few friends including me just passed first time.
And yes I'm getting on it a bit! The username should really be DadAged40 (well, 41 - you see I've even started lying about my age !)
PS: Great forum!