Messed up your A-levels? So did these successful people

If they can make it, so can you


So, you haven’t done as well in your A-levels as you’d hoped. You didn’t get into your first choice uni, but this could be the thing in your life that makes you stronger and more ambitious than ever and you’ll go and become rich and famous. If that’s your plan, then take some tips from these celebs that managed it.

Jon Snow, Channel Four presenter

This news reading legend had to take his A-levels twice and didn’t do very well in either. The first time round, he got a C in English and failed Geography. After a second attempt he managed a D in Economics and and E in Law which meant that he had to go through clearing to get into Liverpool to read Law. He was subsequently rusticated for taking part in an anti-Apartheid protest. All of this, and he’s still very successful and a national treasure, with great choice in socks and ties.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Actor

Despite doing terribly in his A-levels, he still managed to get into the University of Manchester and become a film and television star. He once said: “I did sort of blow my GCSEs out of the water. I couldn’t believe it and neither could my teachers. And then there was a lot of pressure on me to achieve an Oxbridge level of brilliance at A-levels. But then adolescence came late and I discovered girls, pot and all sorts of other things, so I got a bit lazy. That stagnated my growth a bit as far as being academic.”

Clare Balding, television presenter

After not achieving the grades she needed to get into uni, she took two years out and got herself into Cambridge. Now she gets to present animal favourites like Crufts and Channel Four Racing, and basically every important sport thing that happens.

J.K. Rowling, author

After failing to get into Oxford to study languages, she went to Exeter and was inspired to write one of the most successful and popular book series of all time. She even became their chancellor.

Jeremy Clarkson, ex-Top Gear presenter and journalist

He recently tweeted: “If your A Level results aren’t great be cheered by the fact that I got a C and two Us. And I’m currently sitting in a villa in St Tropez.” That says it all really.

David Miliband, politician

Despite getting a D in his physics A-level, David Miliband went on to have a fruitful career in politics. He’s the far more likeable brother, who still actually has an important career. And a better haircut.

Ben Fogle, TV presenter

Last year, he tweeted: “For those getting their A Level results today. I got an N in my economics. Don’t despair. It’s what you do with your results that matter.” He still managed to go to the University of Portsmouth and the University of Costa Rica, proving that your first choice isn’t necessarily the one that will take you to the top.

Sarah Millican, comedian

She once said, “To A level students getting their results today: much luck to you. But if you don’t get what you need, it isn’t the end of the world: You can always resit. Yes, good exam results are useful but not the be all and end all. (I got 2 Ds and an E) Take care. Hugs and love.” Failure makes you funny, if you’ve fucked up your A-levels you can always become a comedian.