As students across the country anxiously await their A-level results, several celebrities have taken to social media to share their own stories of academic setbacks. These famous figures want to remind students that bad grades or not taking exams at all doesn’t have to define their future.
Let’s take a look at some of the rich, famous, and successful Britons who didn’t excel academically:
The 62-year-old former Top Gear host is no stranger to sharing his disappointing A-level results each year. He famously tweeted a picture of a yacht and reassured students that a mediocre A-level performance didn’t prevent him from enjoying a luxurious vacation.
While Dragon’s Den business tycoon Deborah Meaden may have three honorary degrees, she left school at 16 without completing her A-levels. However, she started her first business at 19 and is now estimated to be worth around £49m at the age of 63.
Music mogul and talent show judge Simon Cowell left school with just three O-levels (now GCSEs). After finishing his education, he started as a runner on a horror film and eventually found success in the music industry, with a net worth of over £350m.
Rapper Tinie Tempah may not have performed as poorly as others on this list, but he has encouraged students to surpass his own academic achievements. Born as Patrick Chukweumeka Okogwu, he received two Bs and a D in his A-levels but still found success in the music industry.
Comedian Russell Brand is known for speaking openly about his lackluster academic performance. Despite attending a performing arts school, he never pursued A-levels and has since built a successful career in comedy and entertainment.
Richard Branson, the 72-year-old entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, left school after his O-levels. He has spoken publicly about his learning difficulties, including dyslexia and ADHD, but has still managed to achieve remarkable success.
Former Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow faced challenges during his A-level studies. While he achieved a C in English language, he failed in geography and biology. Despite his academic setbacks, Snow managed to secure a place to study law at the University of Liverpool.
Alan Sugar, known for his role on The Apprentice, grew up on a council estate and left school at 16. He sold car parts before establishing his own computer company, Amstrad. Today, the 75-year-old has become a member of the House of Lords.
Jo Malone, who grew up on a council estate and battled dyslexia, left school at 13 to care for her mother after she suffered a stroke. Despite not having any formal qualifications, she taught herself about cosmetics and founded Jo Malone, a successful business later sold to Estee Lauder. Malone then went on to establish another company called Jo Loves.
Chris Evans, a radio presenter, passed his 11-plus exam to attend grammar school but left at 16. Despite leaving formal education early, he went on to become one of the BBC’s highest-paid stars with his popular Radio 2 show.
Tim Peake, known for his achievements in space travel, aeronautics, and the military, admits that he didn’t perform as well as he had hoped during his school years. Though he hasn’t revealed his A-level results, he has humorously mentioned their mediocrity on social media.
Sports presenter Jake Humphrey experienced disappointment when he failed all three of his A-levels in Norwich. However, he wants to remind students that exam results don’t define their potential, as he went on to have a successful broadcasting career.
These stories serve as a reminder that academic success is not the sole determining factor for achieving greatness. Regardless of A-level grades or even the decision to forgo exams altogether, individuals can still pursue and achieve their dreams.