I received my results about two years ago, did relatively well (by my own standards, I suppose), and have made the conscious decision to further my studies in Singapore (here). Nevertheless, I just wanted to speedily articulate some perspectives about the examination; opinions which would hopefully resonate with a number of people out there.
If you have done well:
– Congratulations, you deserve the praise and celebrations. The pressures and stresses associated with these examinations have always been – and will continue to be – tremendously immense, so you have done well to attain those grades.
– Cherish the moment! But, do recognise that it may not turn out as well for everyone else (especially some of your friends), so don’t get too carried away with your celebrations.
– Give thanks, to people (friends, parents, teachers, mentors) who have been there with you every step of the way. I flunked my Mathematics consistently; and had it not been for a wonderful teacher (Mrs. Koh, I hope you see this!), I would not have been able to eke out a decent result for that paper.
If you (think that you) have not done well:
– Who are you comparing yourself against? It is wonderful to have lofty aspirations and dreams, but they should be rooted in pragmatism. This is something I felt has been particularly poignant for me (though I do struggle to keep my cynicism in check).
– Relax, and breathe. Some might need some alone-time, while others might find it helpful to have someone to talk to. Don’t give yourself additional pressure.
– This is a life of multiple chances: the examination is not the be-all and end-all of one’s life. With major standardised assessments, the inconvenient fact is that not every individual would do satisfactorily, or up to their personal expectations; nonetheless, what is more important is to reflect, take stock, contemplate options, and move on.
– You are not your results, and your results – ultimately – do not define you as a person. Idealistic? Maybe so (if you think about the academic-scholastic rigidity of our education system). However, from a practical point of view, wallowing in (purported) failure is hardly sustainable; opportunities don’t come knocking, so you have to pick yourself up, and chart your own direction in life.
– Smile! Life is too short to be miserable all time (I tell myself this all the time, still).
Good luck, and all the best!