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To Sam

Feeling Guilty about cheating in a test

Dear Sam,

I recently did a science test and didn't know one question, I knew I had to finish the test so i looked at the kid next to me's paper and copied down his answer. I found out the results to the test today , full marks and though im super happy, theres a small voice in my head telling me i dont deserve this and i feel guilty. What do I do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Wanting to do well in tests and exams is natural but it’s not always possible to get full marks or know all the answers. It’s okay if you don’t get a perfect score – getting questions wrong helps you and your teachers know what areas you need to improve on. Cheating will usually leave you feeling empty and guilty and usually isn’t worth it in the end.

You might feel happy to get a good mark but if you feel guilty at the same time the happiness probably won’t last. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Sometimes being in an unusual or stressful situation can make you do something that you wouldn’t usually do so it’s okay to forgive yourself for making a mistake. Doing something you’re not proud of can help you do things differently in the future.

Doing something in the moment often means that you haven’t thought about the consequences of your actions. Once you realise that what you did was wrong there are things that you can do to make the situation better.

It can be difficult, but being open about your mistake might help you to feel relieved and less guilty. You could start by telling an adult who can help, like a parent or carer, what you’ve done. Let them know that you didn’t plan to do it, that you’re feeling guilty and you want to make things better. You could ask them to support you to tell your teacher so that you can apologise and the correct score can be recorded

You can contact a Childline counsellor to talk more about your feelings and what to do next.

Thank you for your letter

Take care,


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