We’ve all see internet posts from celebrities telling us about how they got a string of F’s in their exams and still made it big.

And the news reports every year on the increasing numbers of A grades, decrying the ‘grade inflation’ and how it merely reflects easier exams and not harder work.

In the heat of results day, it is easy to forget what our exam results really mean. Despite how it may seem, results days like these are not an opportunity to weed out the smart ones from the less able ones because ultimately none of us is good at everything nor do we all learn in the same way or are interested in the same things.

So not doing well at results day does not necessarily mean that you are destined to be a failure or are not able. Well then, what does results day mean and how do your exam results affect your life?


The first myth to bust is the one that says that the results of your exams will affect the rest of your life – they won’t. Your exam results, whether it is at your year six SATs or your university degree classification will not affect your whole life but they will affect the next stage in your life. Your results at every stage determine what you can or can’t do or maybe where you can do it at the next stage. For example, your GCSE results might affect what A Levels you can do and your A level results might affect what or where you can study at university.

Because these results typically affect the next three to four years of your life it doesn’t mean that you will be a failure for life if you don’t do well, nor do they promise eternal success if you do. This does not mean you shouldn’t try to do well because the better you do at every stage the more options will be available to you in the next stage.


Because these exam results primarily affect the next three to four years of your life,
it means that their shelf life is very small so they won’t be remembered for
long. Your GCSEs will not matter much after three years once you’ve started
University and by the time you graduate your A levels won’t either.

The exception is a few very competitive degrees like Medicine or lucrative graduate schemes. The good thing about this is also that every stage is a new clean slate, an opportunity to try again, so even if you did not do well at your GCSEs then A levels are a new playing field.


Just because your exam results might not be remembered long by others does not mean that they don’t mean anything to anyone because they will always mean something to you. Though your exam certificates may end up lost in your attic one day, you will remember the hours you slaved away over maths and only you will remember the grade you got in GCSE French.

When the hype of results day is over and a decade has passed, your exam results will only mean something to you so take this as an opportunity to make yourself proud.

None of this is to say that results day does not matter because it does but just that it does not determine your whole life. The habits and work ethic you learn from working towards obtaining good grades is something that you will take with you throughout life as will be the little nuggets of knowledge you pick up here and there from your syllabus.

. You might not ever remember the events of world war two as well as you do now but, hopefully, the love of learning and the ability to learn outside of school will be habits you utilise through life.