DIFFICULT as it may be for those clutching disappointing Form Five results to accept, but some things in life are more important than exams. Bad grades are no bar to a successful career. Some of Hong Kong's top tycoons never completed school, while British Prime Minister John Major hardly has an academic record to speak of. Yet, tragically, the importance of good results is so deeply ingrained in the local psyche that every year some students prefer to take their lives rather than risk poor grades. What has long been a serious problem has been tragically highlighted by the unhappy coincidence that this year's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination results were released just as the inquest was being held into the suicide of star pupil Shirley Chuang So-hung, who found the possibility of failure too much to cope with. Since study-related suicides soared to record levels a few years ago, educators have begun to give the problem the attention it deserves. Counsellors try to detect those at risk, help-lines comfort those for whom the stress is too much, and one university department is considering rewriting its curriculum to try to ease the workload. Yet the real solution lies in a deep change in social attitudes. It is entirely understandable, in such a socially and upwardly mobile society as Hong Kong, that parents do everything they can to give their offsprings the chance of a better future. Education is the best route to achieve this and it would be wrong to underplay the importance of exam results in this respect, particularly given the importance of skills for Hong Kong's continued prosperity. But every parent must remember that there is more to bringing up a well-rounded child than simply swotting - there are, indeed, times when too much studying can be bad for health and mental balance. Not everybody can get brilliant results. Those who are less gifted academically should not be shamed or made to feel that they have no useful role to play in society.