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But do exams really matter?

STUDENTS who have failed their A-levels should take heart from famous faces whose successes have eclipsed their earlier academic failures.

Damien Hirst - possibly Britain's most famous living artist - scraped an E at A-level art and was rejected by St Martins's School of Art in London. He has since won the Turner Prize, directed pop videos, opened restaurants and made a fortune.

TV broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson was thrown out of his public school weeks before his A-levels. However, his lack of academic success at Repton in Derby has not prevented his fronting several TV shows and writing newspaper columns.

And Tory politician John Major became prime minister despite leaving school at the age of 16 with few O-levels.

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