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In-Depth Jobs

Volume-6, 11 - 17 May 2019

What to Do When One Fails To Score Good Marks in Examination

Shree Prakash Sharma

A boy in his dishevelled clothes and with unkempt hair and depressing face, returns home and hands over a letter of the headmaster of his school, addressed to his mother, which read as, “Respected lady, your son is very dull in study and does not possess even ordinary talent to continue his study in our school. It really pains me to inform you that it is quite difficult for me to retain your child here for the further study. Better would it be if you please get him shifted to some other school which well takes care of the children of his ilk. I will look forward to hearing from you soon.” Having read the letter, the poor lady gets very disappointed and tears well up in her eyes.

“What is written there in the letter of my headmaster mom?” very innocently asked the boy to his mother. Having instantaneously wiped tears from her eyes, the lady embraces her son, clings him tightly to her breast, taps on his head affectionately and says, “There is something special about you my son in this letter which has overwhelmed me with happiness. Your headmaster has written that you are the most extraordinary student of the school. None of your friends is as intelligent as you. So the school administration finds it difficult to teach the whole class in your presence. Your headmaster wants me to get you admitted in the school where the children of your high intelligence get education.”

The boy gets relaxed but not his mother, “Do not get scared my son nor worried about all these things. You need not go to any other school. I myself will teach you at home”.

And the rest is history. Do you know who that boy was? Yes, you have guessed hundred percent correctly…He was none other than Thomas

Alva Edison, the greatest US scientist and thinker of his time, and who has been credited with the honour of having the most of patents of inventions across the globe. But this is not the end of the story which made Thomas Alva Edison globally the most famous and talented scientist. The anecdote has the climax yet to be unravelled which is so motivating.

After years, when Edison’s mother died, one day he chanced upon the letter of headmaster of his school his mother had hidden from him. For Edison, it was the most startling moment and he could not believe his eyes, especially when he read the message of the letter. He could not hold back the tears and cried inconsolably. He reminisced his mother’s indomitable courage and vital contribution more than ever and felt so indebted to the lady who played life-changing role transforming him from the most ‘stupid boy of the school’ to the “the most talented and renowned scientist of the world”. He wrote about his mother, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

Do you know Thomas Alva Edison had got only three months’ formal schooling in his entire academic life? You may also be surprised to know that as a child, Edison had suffered from the hearing problem at an early age. He had also to suffer a lot due to abject poverty and so to financially help his mother he was forced to sell newspapers. His quotation about failure in life has become the source of inspiration for millions of those unfortunate young people who fail in their endeavours despite their best efforts, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

One may inadvertently be tempted to ask a very soul-searching question from the afore-mentioned story of Edison’s life: where was the mystic halo of marks and grades even in the absence of which a very slow-learner boy like Thomas Edison reached out to the climax of the historical achievements the whole world looks forward to achieve even today? Where were the schools and the great teachers to teach the poor boy to make him what he ended up becoming in his life the sole credit of which went to his mother who had an unyielding faith in herself and in her child?

Students’ craving for good marks in examination is nothing but natural. This is arguably the most common pre and post-examination ambition of the examinees. The old adage goes that nothing succeeds like success. Who can deny that high percent offers not only a good socio-individual recognition but also proves to be the golden passport of the admission to reputed colleges and universities? So having failed once in scoring good grade and high percent of marks is erroneously considered as having failed almost in all aspects of human life. And this failure turns out to be so ignominious that its repercussions in majority of the cases prove to be very discouraging and heart-breaking.

But are really the charms and halo of good marks of so far-reaching, decisive and pervasive impact? Does a single failure and inability to rise up to a particular standard of the marks augur what we may proverbially call as the holocaust? Is it the end of the beginning of realization of all the beautiful career options you might have ever planned in your life? No, certainly not.

“The world’s great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men”, so said the famous US physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. It simply means that it is quite impossible to establish a flawless and universal correlation between the greatness and intelligence of a person. However, the greatness and intelligence to some extent may be concomitant and interrelated to each other but they cannot be called as corollary of each other.

The world history is replete with numerous examples of the  luminaries and professionals of their domains who in spite of having no high and formal educational degrees and diplomas succeeded incredibly to achieve what have now been established as the milestones. But it does never mean that educational qualifications, marks and grades do not play any significant role in the making of people and their careers but it is not the only criterion to realize one’s choicest dreams either. Therefore, failure to achieve distinction marks or superb grades in an examination does never mean the end of the beautiful odyssey of both the career and life. That may be one of the pauses, one of the intermissions but never the permanent blockade of the golden path leading to the professional growth and realization of personal ambition of life.

What we need to understand is the fact that failure to score high percent of marks is never the end of life. In fact, low percent of marks may sometimes turn out to be the launching pad of a metamorphosed and blissful life, may turn out to be the beginning of a host of promising careers if we sincerely go through the following steps without losing patience and perseverance -


Who says that marks do not matter? But it does never mean that marks make everything of a student’s career and life. One must understand that a certain percent of marks is not necessarily the outcome of sheer talent and diligence of a student. Achievement of marks in an examination is also considerably influenced by a student’s bent of mind and his or her liking for the particular subjects. So even if you fail to score at par with other students’ scorers you must not underestimate yourself. Do not give in to the self-guilt. Nor fill yourself with the fatal feelings of remorse. Stop considering yourself less-gifted and unfavourably privileged. Always keep up your confidence level high and handle the unwanted difficult situation with great aplomb.

The famous American author Helen Keller once had said, “No smile is as beautiful as the one that struggles through tears.” So even if you find yourself in great trouble and suffering, do always believe that only from those struggles and sufferings would come out the results that would end up making you one of the most successful persons on the earth Examples of such people are galore who rose to the excellence in prestige and pay package even after having failed to score relatively good marks in various examinations which they took in their lives. They ignored the percent, class, division, rank and grade. Only thing that they kept in mind was the fact that, no doubt, marks percent and grades do matter but they are not as serious as the matter of life and death. Failure to achieve good marks and grades does never mean the end of the beautiful career and meaningful life. One can start afresh anytime to bring about the much-wished revolutionary changes to make life professionally promising, materialistically superb and pragmatically meaningful.


Getting upset is easier and nothing can be more natural than this when a student fails to achieve the kind of results which he or she had ever expected of. But getting disturbed and depressed would not do any good to you. This has now been established that failure is the foundation stone of a series of successes which crown only those people who do not leave struggling for fulfilling their dreams. Failures teach us the inevitable tricks to overcome an array of problems to ultimately become successful in life.

For this what is urgently required is to make a serious and honest self-introspection to fix the reasons of failure in your life. When reasons of failure are crystal clear and you confess them sincerely then it entirely depends upon you how intensely and promptly you take steps to correct them. They say that the longest journey of the world starts with a single step. And this single step of knowing your Achilles’ heel may prove to be the harbinger of progress and prosperity in the life.


The much-perceived opinion rules that examination is the test of knowledge of a particular subject and achievement of percent of marks is the evaluation thereof. But what happens that despite pretty good knowledge of the subjects, students sometimes fail to score good marks. The reason is that scoring good marks is absolutely the matter of fastidious planning, flawless and strategic preparation schedule, impeccable time management, calibre of coping up with the adverse socio-familial conditions and many other factors which directly or indirectly affect the mental status of an examinee.

It is also the impeccable art of writing your answers very lucidly and as per the demand of the questions. Sometimes, lacuna of not sticking strictly to the do’s and don’ts of examination also badly affects the level of performance and these factors have very little to do with the level of knowledge of an examinee.


Fleeing away from home and committing suicides by the students are usual phenomena, which are widely reported in the media, as a reaction to bad results or the failure to do excellently in the examination. In fact, this is a very dangerous trend which calls for serious soul-searching. Examinations, results, marks, grades et al are transient things which can be corrected, cured and modified repeatedly as per our choice and preference but what about the universally transient and uncertain nature of life? Examinations may come and go; results may wait this year and next year - but what about the life? Can we regain life even at the cost of entire wealth of the world? No. So we need to seriously think over the beauty and boon of life in case we fail to get the results most-expected and most-cherished.

Do always remember that good results and marks are the matter of hard labour and consistent practice. We need to be true to ourselves. Struggle hard and take pain for the realization of what you have dreamt for your life. A single lapse does never mean permanent failure.

The great Chinese philosopher Confucius had very rightly said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” If we keep on moving in right direction with right aim in life, we are bound to be successful and ultimately reach out to our destination sooner or later. So, one failure to keep pace with others or to come up to a standard does never mean the end of a beautiful life and promising career.

Life gives us ample opportunities to realize our dreams. They say that when one door shuts up, the Almighty God opens yet another myriad of doors. Have courage to consistently move in the right direction with patience and hard labour until the goal is achieved.

(Image Courtesy : Google)