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To Sam

Post exam anxiety in between exams

I've just come out from my first two AS exams and for the lack of a better term i would say they were an absolute nightmare. The trouble is that I know what silly mistakes I made and I know where I went wrong and because of that I'm just going to end up beating myself up about it and lose confidence in myself and feel like I can't do anything right. I known I shouldn't be but can you give me advice about not letting my anxieties and insecurities disrupting my performance in the exams I have left? The obvious thing to do would be to stop worrying about it and move on because what's done is done but i say they're both easier said than done really.
Your help and advice would be appreciated x
Ask Sam


Hey there,

Thank you for your letter.

The pressures to do well in exams can be very stressful and this can sometimes feel difficult to overcome.

You aren’t alone in feeling stressed about your AS exams – lots of young people feel anxious at exam time. Bottling up stress and trying to deal with it on your own can sometimes make it feel even worse. I’m really glad that you decided to write to me.

It sounds like you realise that what’s happened is now in the past and there’s nothing you can do to change it. However that doesn’t make things feel any easier right now as you think about the remainder of your exams.

When we feel anxious we can often give ourselves negative messages. Sometimes you may feel sure that you’ll end up beating yourself up about the mistakes that you think you’ve already made. When we hear the same negative messages over and over we can start to believe that they’re true and this can then knock our confidence.

I can hear that you’re worried that these negative feelings will impact on the rest of the exams you have left to do. Thinking about what you could do to stay in the present and not worry about what has already happened may help you to feel calmer. We have a page that has some useful tips on homework and revision and another on coping with exam stress which you might find useful. You could also look at our anxiety section.

Picturing how you would like things to go can help you to feel more positive. Perhaps you could try to imagine what it would be like to walk into your exam feeling calm and confident. It can sometimes feel like your whole future depends on the grades that you get but there are always options available to help you to decide what you could do next.

If you’re worried that you might need good grades in a particular subject it’s important to remember that you can probably take it again.

It might be helpful to look at the message boards too – there’s lots of support around exams and revision and it can really help to read what other young people say in similar situations.

Talking to an adult that you live with or a teacher about how you feel could really help. Your teacher is there to support you and may not be aware of the pressures that you feel.

If you don’t feel ready to talk to a teacher or someone that you live with you can speak to a Childline counsellor - either by ringing our free phone number 0800 1111 or having a 1-2-1 chat.

I hope we hear from you again when you’re ready.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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