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To Sam

GSCE Results. Make or Break?


I'm in year ten, but we did our gsce in english literature earlier this year.

I adored english lit, now english is my favourite subject. My target grade is an A, but i know after my two exams I have not achieved it. :(

If I get a B I'll literally be crushed, all the hard work amounted to nothing. When I do my GSCE's next year there'll be no point trying because I won't even do well.

If I get lower than an A, Im worried that I might do something that I'll regret.

I can't cope with retaking as I spent weeks revising. My teacher will hate me, and I will feel worthless

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how you’re feeling. I think that there will be other young people reading this who are in similar situations and you taking the courage to write could be helpful to them as well.

You said that you know that you’ve not achieved the A grade you were hoping for. I can tell that English Lit means a lot to you and you feel that getting anything less than an A would be time wasted. Studying for GCSEs can be an intense time and can make students feel under a lot of pressure. 

I can hear that right now, the idea of resitting feels overwhelming. It can help to take things one step at a time. Once you find out your results, you can think things through and make a decision about it in your own time. Sometimes people do better in exams than they think. 

Whatever your grade is, it’s important to remember that you always have choices about what to do. Getting a B grade is an achievement in itself and it can help to see GCSEs as a stepping stone to the next thing in your life. If you feel unhappy with any exam grade, you can always retake the exam at a later stage in your life. Sometimes people take GCSEs or A-Levels as adults, either by going to a college or doing a distance learning course.

It could help to talk to a ChildLine counsellor. They can be there for you when you want to talk things through and they can help you to think about the different choices you have.

I'm concerned to hear that you feel you might do something you’d regret and I’m wondering whether that means that you’d be in any danger. Remember that if you ever feel you need urgent help, you can call 999 for emergency help. If you don’t feel able to do that, ChildLine can always support you in getting help. You don’t have to do it on your own. 

You mentioned that your teacher might hate you and I’m not sure how things are between you and your teacher, but it wouldn’t be okay for him/her to treat you in a way that would make you feel worthless. Nobody has the right to do that. If you felt that your teacher was treating you badly because of your exam result, you’d have the right to make a complaint to school. You are worthy of respect and teachers have a responsibility to support pupils.

You’ve done well to express yourself in your letter to me and I can see that English is a real strong point for you. How would you feel about starting a diary so that you can let out some of these feelings? If you wanted to share some of your writing with somebody else, it might also help them to be able to support you in a way that helps.

I’m glad that you felt able to tell me about this and I hope that you get the help you need so you can enjoy your studies and feel better about yourself as well. Don't forget that ChildLine counsellors are always here for you - you can call on 0800 1111, send an email or log on for a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,

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