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To Sam

Missing an exam

i have an exam in the morning in a subject i’ve tried to get the school to let me drop , i even got a lefter from my dad talking about the stress its giving me and my school knows i receive counselling outside of school and they generally know my mental state the principal however didn’t to the extent of my head of year, and wouldn‘t let me drop the subject but my dad said if its stressing me out alot i can skip the exam. only thing is i dont want it to affect me getting into A-level ( my grades are good enough even without that subject) can my school do anything about me not showing up? and would they able to make me resit it ?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

It can be difficult to know what to do when an exam's making you feel stressed. Whatever problems you're having with a particular exam or subject it’s always okay to talk to your tutor about how you’re feeling and what you’re finding difficult.

No one can make you sit an exam but there may be consequences if you don’t attend - especially if it’s a subject that your school or college have decided you need to continue studying there. You’ll probably be given a fail grade if you don’t have approval to not attend and it’s also possible that you could be asked to pay the exam entrance fee for not attending.

Some subjects, like Maths and English are needed for most jobs and it will be important to get support to retake any subject that you’re going to need for a particular job or for another qualification in future.

If you’re finding it hard to cope it’s often best to give as much notice as possible that you don’t want to continue with the subject or that you’re feeling worried about taking an exam. You could talk to the Special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) as there may be support you can get if you have a disability. If you don’t think you’re getting the help you need you can speak to your Head of year or the Head teacher and you can ask an adult you trust like a close family members, your GP or your CAMHS worker to support you.

If your mental health is affected by your school work or your exams it’s important to talk to your GP or mental health worker. It can help to have strategies for managing anxiety and coping with panic attacks that can support you at exam time and other times that you feel overwhelmed too. It can sometimes take time to find what works best for you so try different distractions and breathing exercises to help you to feel calmer. It can help to practise them even when you’re not feeling stressed.

Remember, you can always talk to a Childline counsellor about this or anything else that’s worrying you.

Take care,


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