Am I a failure if I don’t get 4 A*s?

What is success?

Getting 4A* for PSLE, earning tons of money, living in a mansion, having a happy family or doing what you really want?

Everyone’s definition of success is different and we are often pressured into wanting to achieve certain stuff in our lives, just because “that’s what everyone else wants.”

What do you want?

It is the release of Singapore’s Primary School Leaving Examination results today. Naturally, there will be people who are happy and students/parents who are disappointed. Students may lose perspective because of the limited life experience they have. This is where parents/teachers play an important role- to help them see the bigger picture, let them know that PSLE isn’t everything.

It really isn’t.

Sure, it decides whether you go to a so-called “good” school. However, I hope you realise you can still have a good future if you are in a neighbourhood school.

It’s not the end of the world.

I repeat the following story every year and I will repeat this again.

I have a good friend who didn’t do well for her PSLE. She got into Normal (Academic). Undeterred, she worked hard to get into Express stream in secondary school, proceeded to get 3As for her A Levels to pursue NTU Accounting (one of the faculties that’s most difficult to get into in Singapore.) She is now a banker in London, with offers for her to work in New York and other countries.

My point is- don’t despair.

If you didn’t do well/did not meet your own expectations, this is just one of the many failures that you will face in your life. I am sorry to break this to you, but yes, life is not smooth-sailing. There’s always obstacles ahead and it’s these challenges that mould us into the people we will be.

If being successful is equivalent to being rich, fret not. I have lots of friends who don’t even have degrees but have achieved much in life due to their risk appetite, perseverance, grit and attitude. Similarly, I know of people who graduated from Ivy League universities but don’t earn as much as the people I mentioned earlier. Education isn’t a guarantee for the amount of wealth you have.

If success to you means having a happy life, keeping in touch with your friends, leading a fulfilling life, then all the more you should stay positive.

As long as you have the right attitude towards life, you can’t go wrong. Life is a series of moments and all these moments add up to your exciting life, including this PSLE, regardless whether you did well. At the end of the day, as long as you had learnt something from the exam– it could be the Maths formula or the true meaning of friendship or simply how strong you are mentally– this is considered a wonderful experience.

So now, all the young adults who had received your results today, wipe away the sadness if you did badly, don’t be over contented if you did well, it’s just a small part of your life ahead.

Tomorrow is a brand new day.

Move forward, think about what you want to achieve in secondary school, decide the school you want and continue to live a happy life. 🙂

Wei is a co-founder of Study Room. Study Room teaches English, Maths, Science through fun and games and believes students learn best when they enjoy the process. and

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