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That's what happened to Ben Clarke last year. He was upset when he opened his AS level results and got D's and C's.
Now he's an apprentice with Artificial Grass for Less and he says everyone should try the A-Level alternative.
ITV News Central reporter Wesley Smith spoke to three students at Newcastle-under-Lyme College, after they collected their A Level results today.
A Paralympic hopeful from a Nottinghamshire school has praised the academy for the help they have given him while he juggled A Levels and training.
James Shaw was accepted into the GB Paralympic squad in February, and was reclassified into the quadriplegic category.
He achieved an A and two Bs in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics respectfully, at The South Wolds Academy.
He is due to study Product Design at Aston University, and continue to travel to London for training.
Two Olympic hopefuls from Nottinghamshire have managed to combine training and education to earn high A Level grades.
James Shaw, who hopes to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro at wheelchair tennis, achieved an A and two Bs, at South Wolds Academy.
Sophie Coldwell already competes internationally in triathlons, gained two As and a B grade, at the same school.
Sophie managed to achieve her grades despite missing almost a whole term this year whilst competing in the World Championships in New Zealand, and the Youth Olympics in Australia.
The 'clearing' centre at Birmingham City University is a busy place at the moment, with many students still hoping to find a place.
Record numbers are today celebrating their A Level success at Newcastle-under-Lyme College.
More than 1,300 entries were made in 33 subjects at the college, by at more than 420 students.
The college has also had an increase in the overall pass rate, which stands at 96% this year. Across 20 subjects, a 100% pass rate was made.
In total, 432 students earned A* to B grades.
Leicester High School reports a 100% pass rate, and 89% of students achieved A* to C grades.
Latest ITV News reports
Thousands of students who do not get the results they hoped for still get places at university through clearing. Here's how it works.
Whether you are considering looking for a job, apprenticeship, course or a gap year, there is a website to help you.