Why Exams Don't Matter: Advice From a Straight A Student

by - 26 May


I was your classic A grade student who sweated it out for her grades and thought that my life would be over if I didn't get into a top uni. Of course, I got the grades and went to the university I so longed for. Two years since graduating I have now looked back and wished I hadn't worried so much. I stressed an awful lot and thought that if I didn't get good grades I would be less of a person and my future would be doomed.


Reason 1: You'll forget everything you learnt

Unless you're training to become a doctor, lawyer or teacher and need to rehash what you've learnt for the rest of your career exams are useless! English exams were the bane of my school career but I went onto to do them right up until university. I had to memorise quotes from 19th century novels! What use is that going to be for my future?

Reason 2: Your results don't define you & don't predict your future

When I was at school I was told by many teachers for years and years that if I didn't do well I'd make a life stacking shelves at Tesco. Ok, first off, what's wrong with stacking shelves at Tesco? This idea that you'll be stuck in menial jobs for the rest of your life is a lie and puts pressure on young adults. It's basically a statement that in other words says 'If you fail your exams you're doomed for the rest of your life'. So an obvious reaction to that would be, 'Oh my God, my life is over if I fail this History test!'
Retail experiences make you personable, patient and provide understanding of the market. I'd say that is better education than a History exam. I want you to remember that even if your first job is stacking shelves at a supermarket you could use that experience as a stepping stone to your dream job.


Reason 3: What's the point of an English degree?

You don't need to specialise in a subject for each and every job. You don't need a business degree to own a business. You don't need an English degree to get into journalism. You don't need an Art degree to become an Artist - you already are!
If academia isn't for you, take short courses and small jobs that can help you get to where you want to go.

I think it's very unrealistic for society to place so much importance on exams. It's killing the next generation of singers, actors, scientists and business owners. Einstein said that 'if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid'. We are all different and have our own unique offering for the world. Education comes in all shapes and sizes. You can learn everyday while out and about, on holiday, in your part time job, or on the internet for free.

There's so much more yet to come. You'll succeed in many things beyond your academic life. You just can't see it yet because you're stuck in that tiny bubble of 'If I fail it's the end'. I want you to know that it's never the end. If you fail, don't think this is the end. Never give up on your dreams, don't let exam results define your fate.


Photo Credit: Green Chameleon 

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