Do Exam Results Matter In Life

The story line

A few days back the headline ‘Sundar Pichai is inspired by woman who scored 0 in quantum physics exam‘ was making rounds in social media. Next day, all major TD channels covered the same news.


The story is about a student, – Sarafina Nance by name – who is doing her Doctoral Research in Astrophysics in University of California (UC), Berkeley. UC is one of the top ranking universities in the world and her topic is supernova, which is one among the most enigmatic areas of astronomy for centuries.

Now the most interesting fact is that she scored ‘zero’ in quantum physics sometimes back and was thinking herself not fit to study physics. Her statement in twitter reads –

“4 years ago I got a 0 on a quantum physics exam. I met with my professor fearing i needed to change my major & quit physics. today, I’m in a top tier astrophysics Ph.D program & published 2 papers. STEM is hard for everyone — grades don’t mean you’re not good enough to do it (sic.),”

She is not alone. There are many who sometimes or the other scored low in exam and in personal life came out with flying colours. There are many famous personalities also in this list. Albert Einstein is one among them, who passed only in mathematics and failed in other subjects like, botany, zoology and language in polytechnic entrance exam in Zurich. Now, I hope Einstein requires no introduction.

This list also includes, the famous Steven Spielberg. According to, (referred to, Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film, and Television three times. He came back to earn his undergraduate degree after thirty five years. The contribution of Spielberg to international cinema is luminous.

What do we learn from this?

It is simple. Exam result is important, but not the end. So students should learn to accept the facts and work based on their interest. Ultimately, result is a number that rarely depicts the real capabilities of a candidate.

Contrary to this our education system, and job market primarily runs after marks. End result, every one looks at your score. The faces of students appeared for entrance exams or intermediate exam change radically as they approach result days. They know everyone, including those who never look at them will ask them their score. They may also whatsapp the score of their children if they score better than the others.

The important points to be remembered are,

  • If we know our strengths and work in the same strength areas, we will succeed.
  • Scoring low marks is okay, but accepting it as a failure is unacceptable.
  • If parents accept this fact and look at improvement areas of their kids, they may stop life threatening mishaps that young students comments.
  • Our schooling system and teaching methods need to refocus and fundamentally shift towards focusing on developing the base in an application oriented approach, rather than insisting for high scores.