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To Sam

11+ exam

i feel like ive got to be perfect and pass tests like my sister but i dont want to do the tests. i hate putting up a perfect image, why do i HAVE to do the test and try my hardest at something i dont want to do. i know i have to do it though otherwise i wont get a good school

Ask Sam


Hi there

Preparing for exams and tests can be hard, especially when you’re not sure what you want to do in the future. School entrance exams like the 11+ can sometimes feel more difficult when your choice of school depends on how you perform on the day of the tests.

Sometimes extra pressure can come from family and friends or you might put pressure on yourself to do well. Comparing yourself to siblings or friends can affect your confidence so it can help you to focus on your strengths and what you want. No one is perfect and some people are better at tests and exams than others. Some people are more creative or good at sports than they are at learning.

Making a diary or a schedule for revising and practising past exam papers can keep you on track with preparing for tests and exams. Aim to start two months before the exams begin so that you can pace yourself and make time to relax and do things you enjoy too. Keeping a balance of studying, relaxing and socialising will help you to stick to the schedule better and also reward yourself for the work you’re doing.

Remember that you’re unique and you don’t have to try to be perfect or be like anyone else. It’s okay to be you. Try to remember that everyone has their own strengths and weakness, likes and dislikes. Having high expectations of yourself can be a good thing but putting to much pressure on yourself can knock your confidence when you don’t achieve what you planned. No matter what your exam results, there are ways to feel better and be kind to yourself.

Exams can be stressful for everyone so it’s important to look after yourself and get support. You can talk to a trusted adult or a Childline counsellor for more help and advice about coping with exam pressure.

Take care and thank you for your letter.


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