Exams are a rite of passage for many people. They are stressful and daunting, and it’s easy to feel like your entire future is riding on them. But what happens when you fail an exam? Does that mean you’re a failure? Not necessarily.
Exam failure comes down to 3 important factors, and they are listed in importance as;
- Picked the wrong subject. You did it because you think friends/family/future employers will approve. You should have picked something you are interested in. Why do Maths, when your heart is in art?
- Lacked discipline and hard work (see above). If you do not like or enjoy the subject, there is no amount of pep talks or focus will get you to study in something that does not hold your interest.
- Outside influence. Most students start relationships, have family issues, health concerns or some other Devine intervention. Again refer to the first point, if there is something more interesting or distracting, you will focus and work on that instead.
In fact, there are many successful people who failed exams, or at life at some point in their lives.
- Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because he was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” I’d bet he was just in the wrong job.
- Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. He also failed his entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School. They would call him a late bloomer, but without his scientific understanding, where would we be?
- Steve Jobs was rejected by Stanford University twice. Although some might say this was just a vanity cause?
If you believe you’ve failed your A-levels, or any exam, don’t give up on your dreams, just learn from your efforts and keep moving forward.
The Importance of Failure
Failure is a valuable learning experience. I completely bombed on my A-Levels, dropping maths a few months before the exam, sucking at my Law A-Level and just scrapping a pass on my Government and Politics exam. It taught me what I needed to do differently next time. I picked a subject I was interested in and smashed it. It also helped me to develop resilience and determination, which came in very handy when I joined the police. When we fail, we have to pick ourselves up and keep going, life is more than a mark on a piece of paper. Failure and rejection is a valuable experience that you can develop skills from, and these will serve us later on.
How to Make a Difference Despite Failing Exams
If you need a boost, here are a few ways to make a difference in the world, even when you don’t have exams do something worthwhile. Be ‘that’ person, that people like and respect, for who you are, not what letter you have.
- Volunteer your time to a cause that you care about.
- Start a business or social enterprise, start small and enjoy the entrepreneurial journey.
- Don’t like business, use your creative side and produce art or music that inspires others.
- Be a mentor or just a friend to someone who is struggling.
- Stand up for what is right. Step in, when other’s won’t and don’t waver.
No matter what you do, make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about. When you’re passionate about something, it’s easier to overcome challenges and setbacks.
Failing exams doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you were either not ready, or made a poor choice. We all need to learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward. There are many successful people who failed exams at some point in their lives. So don’t give up on your dreams. Just keep learning and growing, and you’ll eventually achieve a goal.
If you’ve failed an exam, don’t worry. It has happened, nothing can change it, dust yourself off and start from where you are. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. And remember, you can still make a difference in the world, even if you don’t have a perfect academic record. So get out there and start making a difference!