Exams are rubbish. Exams are hard. They’re stressful, annoying, inconvenient, boring and ridiculous at times. They’re often just a memory test - how many bullet points about Shakespeare or how many theories about the family can you remember? Can you do long division? Do you remember the one specific scientific term for some obscure process that you were taught briefly 2 years ago? No? Then you fail, you won’t get a job, you’ll end up homeless and you’ll disappoint everyone.
Except that’s not true. Exams aren’t a good measure of your intelligence, in fact they’re an awful measure. You could be the fastest thinker, or really passionate about a topic, and most of the time you can’t show that in an exam. All of the ways that you are worth it can’t be shown in an exam. Whether you volunteer, whether you’ve overcome a huge mental health or personal struggle, or even whether you’re bullied, they don’t count in an exam. And I, for one, think that is ridiculous.
I’m in my second year of university and no one has even looked at my GCSE grades. My A-Level grades were looked at to get me into university yes, but that’s really it. I applied for a job recently and they didn’t want my CV, just to answer a behaviour quiz! I spent all that time working hard for no one to look at them? What?! Even my university application, my personal statement where I talked about volunteering and my hobbies seemed to have had more of an impact than my actual results. Things like volunteering with a local charity/organisation, helping out at school open days and even writing for TWE seem to matter more! Havi a part time job/volunteering show dedication and time management, as well as a good personality. All good exam results show is that you’re good at remembering things, or good at wording essays. These skills are incredibly important, especially at higher education, but not so much in the practical world.
I’m not saying grades don’t matter - they do. You should try your best for your exams no matter what. However, I will say that grades don’t matter as much as everyone says they do. The world won’t end if you drop a grade. The Earth won’t implode if you forget something on your exam. You won’t end up homeless if you don’t make the grades to get into your dream university. Many of my friends had to go through clearing because they missed their grades, and ended up happier for it!
If you’re worrying about how important grades seem, talk to someone! If you have an older friend or family member, they’ll be able to tell you all about their own experience and hopefully make you feel better. Don’t put yourself down or work yourself into a panic over results because they don’t matter as much as everyone says they do. Relax. Breathe. It’ll all work out in the end.
Teenagers With Experience is an online platform ran by teenagers for teenagers. We provide support through sharing our own experiences and providing advice based from this. If you need support, feel free to reach out to us on one of our social media platforms. We will do our best to support you and if we feel we cannot we will direct you to more suited, professional support.