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Why Your A-level Grades Don't Matter

15/08/2013 14:07 BST | Updated 15/10/2013 10:12 BST

My A-level grades weren't great. Nevertheless, I went on to university, undeterred, and graduated with a lower second-class honours (2:2). Do I think I'm any less capable than my more academically talented counterparts? Absolutely not.

If you didn't leave school with a shiny row of As this year, it might feel like the end of the world at the moment. You've spent most of your life in education, aiming towards good grades. You've grown up in an environment where you have to answer questions in accordance with how exam boards want you to and been scored on your ability to remember and regurgitate information. But here's something your education may not have told you: intelligence goes way beyond education.

I've been out of university for over two years. After graduating, I couldn't face putting my 2:2 grade on my CV. And when I eventually did, I got annoyed every time I saw job ads that specified candidates needed a 2:1 or higher to apply.

I tried to tell myself that my 2:2 didn't define me or my capabilities, but to begin with I was desperately trying to clutch to a beleif that made the disappointment in myself (and debt) more bearable. Now I wholeheartedly believe that my grade has very little to do with my intelligence.

Some brains can't be measured in the confines of an exam hall or in an essay. Do you take in the world around you? Are you curious enough to ask questions? Are you engaged enough to have strong opinions? Perhaps you prefer documentaries to Big Brother, or maybe you love Big Brother because you're interested in social psychology.

A curiosity outside of your own life is a good measure of intelligence, and one that will get you further in the real world than being able to remember an essay on poetry off by heart. Intelligence isn't fixed, you just have to find out how your brain works and use it to your advantage.

Whether you've managed to just scrape through onto your chosen university course, you've had to go through the clearing process (like I did), or decided university isn't for you - it won't be long before your A-Level grades are forgotten about. You might go on to university and, despite your best efforts, end up graduating with a disappointing grade - in which case, bookmark this article to read again in three or four years' time.

Not being able to breeze through school and university will instil in you the habit of trying harder, and not taking achievements for granted. Then you'll graduate and realise your brain can be used in a million different ways, ways in which cater to your way of thinking.

I'm immensely proud of my brain, and you should be proud of yours.