With A level results due out today, many students the length and breadth of the country will be looking forward with a mixture of excitement and dread to finally finding out their grades and whether they will get into the university of their choice. But for those who don’t get the grades they want or fail their exams, this is by no means the end of the road. History is littered with examples of people who all failed exams but went on to achieve world renown.
Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill are but four examples.
As a child Einstein was dyslexic and showed little scholastic ability, leaving school at 15 with no diploma and poor grades in history, geography and languages. The following year he applied to the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich and failed the entrance exam.
Newton graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge without honours or distinction, whilst Darwin was such a poor student that his father took him out of school saying “You are good for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching. You will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family”.
Meanwhile Churchill failed not once, but twice, the entrance exam for the Royal Military College.
More contemporary examples include Simon Cowell Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson who all left school when they were 16, or Russell Brand who failed all his A levels.
So, if you don’t get the results you want today, or you failed an exam, it’s not the end of the world. Whilst it may be raising expectations too high that you will grow up to become the father of theoretical physics, establish the science of biology, become a world statesman, pop mogul or multi-billionaire businessman, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a long and successful career.