How Failure Leads to Success

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jack over at Study Upgrade, a relatively new YouTube channel that aims to transform the way students learn. 

A month before my maths GCSE, my maths teacher asked me to stay behind. I had failed the mock. My teacher pointed out, quite logically, that my A level choices of Maths coupled with further maths were at best ill advised. I left that room with a tear in my eye. I have never been someone that failed. This was in my eyes a total failure.

This was possibly the most important conversation I have ever had. The next month before that exam I learnt how to learn. I stayed up night after night. I worked through every single past paper there was available. I even used some from other exam boards. My scores rapidly increased to 50% then 60%; 70%; 80%; 90%. I was so in love with the process that I carried on going until there was not a single question type that I could not do. I got 194 /200 over two papers. Not only that, I went on to get the highest scores in my school both for an optional additional maths qualification and in both Maths and Further Maths AS and A levels.

I did this, not because I am particularly talented at maths, but because of the attitude I had. The attitude that, no matter what, I could do it. I pride myself on the fact that I struggle with everything new I start. I am a normal human being. Unlike most other people, I don’t pretend or aspire to be a robot.

Those scores have got me into the University of Oxford. Like everyone else here, I am most certainly making it up as I go along. I am human, like everyone. The work is hard, initially you drown in confusion. Then you go through the process of learning something and it becomes simple. Yet every day I realise that most people stop at that first hurdle. They see that something is hard, then accept that as a sign of their limited intellect compared to others.

I am a firm believer (as you can probably tell already), that if anyone propels themselves head first towards great success academically, they will succeed! I have even set up a youtube channel to build the foundation for this journey and make it easier. Imagine a world in which everyone believed they would get straight A*s. Everyone believed that their brain could do that. They would all chase toward that goal, discover a greater interest in learning, discover more about themselves. Imagine a world full of people with the immense self-confidence academic success gives you. How many more people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerburg would there be?


Society has this idea: ‘’people’s IQ’s are decided at birth’’. Assuming that, school purely exists to segregate us into our predefined social lanes. Education is an opportunity to learn how you learn. Take it.


Don’t use the excuse of your intellect.


Think of your work a year ago. It was easy right? So simple. Yet then you struggled. Since then your brain has developed, it has learnt how to learn! The quicker you jump over the initial hurdle of difficulty, get stuck into a topic and then make progress into it, the quicker you will develop your learning skill and become the brightest person that you can


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