It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get those grades

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For hundreds of students across this area, today is almost certainly the biggest of their young lives.

If not the biggest then certainly the most nerve-racking.

A-level results day has become a ritual.

Pictures of sixth-formers glowing with happiness as they collect and open their results will be plastered across this paper and its website and most others in the country in the coming days.

The signs are good if those schools which have so far published their results are anything to go by.

And our congratulations go to all those teenagers who have achieved the grades they needed.

But failure is not so fashionable.

Spare a thought for those who get good results, say two Bs and a C but who had been predicted to get three As, and therefore lose their longed-for place at their first-choice university.

They will feel devastated and possibly ashamed.

Disappointment can taste very bitter to teenagers who have been publicly predicted excellent exam results and drop even just a grade or two.

Many young people define themselves by their academic achievement, using grades as a marker of self-esteem.

If you add reinforcement, even if it was inadvertently applied, by schools and parents, it’s hardly surprising some students are hit hard when they do worse than they had hoped.

For those who feel their dreams have been dashed because they did not get the results they needed, there are many real options still open to them – and many successful people who go on to reach their goals even if it is via a zig-zag route.

Disappointing results are not the end of the world.

There is more to life than A-levels.