Exam Results don't Determine Success in Life

Exam Results don't Determine Success in Life

Hastily placing your pen down for your last exam and knowing that your work is done – no more revision, no more sleepless nights, no more dissecting a paper post-exam – the feeling is priceless. The satisfaction that your exam period is complete and now all you have to do is sit back and wait.

In the meantime, you can throw yourself into fun – I had the best as a teenager - until reality started to kick back in. RESULTS DAY looms. My heart goes out to all of those who will have a sleepless night before the dreaded day.

I’m sure that many of us can cast our minds back to those tentative few weeks spent eagerly awaiting exam grades. These newly gained qualifications will be your passport onto a new pathway; whether it be a university course, a place at college, a secondary school placement, a job or an apprenticeship. Whatever the outcome, the pressure is definitely on.

The pressure comes from all angles; from parents, friends, school, college, and most of all from yourself. You want to do your best, make everyone proud, and hope that what’s inside the results envelope is a dream come true – and not a complete nightmare.

For many, results day will be a traumatic experience, young people are under such an enormous amount of pressure and expected to make huge decisions at very emotional times. For those heading to university look at how you made this decision, it may have been made almost a year ago and it doesn't have to define you. Life changes with circumstances and you have to be adaptable, it’s survival of the fittest.

Be brave, if results aren't what you expected or you have changed in the last year and now want something different, then do it! Defer entry, travel, change your course just don't feel trapped into doing something that isn't right for you.

Exam results do not define you as a person and they certainly don’t define the rest of your life. Sometimes you work hard, and sometimes you don’t get the results you wanted or hoped for. But it doesn’t mean it was a waste of time. Grades aren’t the only factor for happiness or success. They become so important because we make them important. Success or happiness has various definitions, but ultimately, they are what we define them to be. So, if being successful means having a degree, then that is your definition. Another person’s definition of success could be having a nice house or owning a car. As I said, it is what you make it to be. 

Over the past years, with an increased emphasis on results and getting high grades, some have lost sight of the true purpose of education. The truth is that schooling is about educating and nurturing the whole pupil and not just getting good exam results. It is about instilling pupils with attitudes and behaviours that will prepare them for life. It is about allowing pupils to believe in their own potential and enabling them to see that there is a world of opportunity open to them. It is about nurturing children so that they leave school with a strong sense of self-worth, hope, and a zest for life. 

Stop comparing yourself to other students. By comparing yourself to others, you can never win. It is a simple fact that there’ll always be more successful students and there’ll always be less successful students than you. So, if you recognize this habit within yourself, make a commitment to yourself today and shrug off the mindset. Instead of comparing yourself to others, seek to compare and improve upon your own previous best. Focus on you. Focus on your results and on how you can make things better in this new academic year. Your path leading to amazing things does not have to be conventional. Carve it yourself. Work hard. Stay focused. Be positive. You are shaped like a human being, not a single letter. You are not A, B, C, or D. You cannot be reduced to a digit. You are a person, and you are capable of so much. Your exam results do not define you. 

The fact is though, exam assessment is not the best measure for everyone, yet unfortunately, it’s the only benchmark used in today’s education to value someone’s success and worth.

Einstein hit the nail on the head with this quote:

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Students have different skills, knowledge, and attributes so if we only judge them from a simple grade on a piece of paper, are we missing out on the big picture? Most importantly, are we losing valuable future talent from the workplace?

Good luck to all young people collecting their results soon. Have belief in your ability, confidence in yourself, be ambitious in what you can achieve and go for it. The future is yours!

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