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Advice on Exam Result Day

Advice on Exam Result Day – a few thoughts for anyone getting their GCSE results tomorrow:

First, a confession.

When I opened the envelope and saw the grade for my Religious Studies GCSE, I burst into tears. I was so disappointed. I felt like a failure. And yet I can safely say that that ‘B’ has had absolutely zero impact on my life since. Extra ridiculous as, of course, a ‘B’ is a really good grade.

Second, things are rarely as good or as bad as they first appear. If you received excellent grades in your exams you are not guaranteed a life of wealth, glory, and beautiful girls/boys. And if you are disappointed with your grades, you certainly are not doomed.

I did well in my GCSE’s. But I then proceeded to prat around through my sixth form years and only narrowly avoided complete collapse in my A-Levels through the time-tested technique of frantic last minute cramming.

So my advice to anyone receiving their results today would be this:

Do not overly despair or celebrate: exams are an important stepping stone, but they really do not matter enormously by themselves.

Commit now to try your best to do better in whatever you do next, whether that is A-Levels, IB, degree or a more vocational course.

Even if you are dreaming of adventure or entrepreneurship, I still recommend getting some more academic qualifications under your belt. They may or may not come in directly useful in the end, but I think the rigour, discipline, and brain-stretching is useful whatever route you choose.

Don’t go to Uni just because that is what everyone you know is doing. Think hard about what is the best route for YOU. (Note: ‘best’ does not equal easiest / most fun).

Don’t drink as much as I did on the night of my GCSE results and crazy-dance to Mr Vain in a futile effort to impress a girl.


– Slow down! I know it feels like life is racing by and you need to get started IMMEDIATELY, but there is plenty of time to learn your craft, to serve your apprenticeship, to start at the bottom building solid foundations and working your way up.

– Running up a hill or swimming in a river or lake helps solve most of life’s problems. It also is a great way of sparking creative ideas.

– Begin! Whatever your grand dream is, start now. You may not have the skills, the contacts or the cash yet. But if you don’t start you never will. Take the first tiny step towards where you want to be.

– Relax! Being successful does not equal being happy. They are very different and the latter is far more important. Succeeding at your ambition is unlikely to lead to bliss, only to new ambitions!

– Read more books, watch less TV.

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