Ask Sam letter


To Sam


In May I'm going to be doing my SATs. I'm feeling a bit nervous and don't want to talk to anyone about it, incase they think I'm dumn.  I try to act like I'm not bothered, but when I get home I'm scared that I won't do well and when I'm in high school everyone one will think I'm not smart. Since I got in to a Grammer School, I'm trying to get the best possible score. I think I'm quite smart, though I think my nerves will get to me and I won't do as well as I should
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to write to me.

I can hear that you’re worried about doing your SATs in May. It sounds like you think other people would look down on you for that, but it’s really common to feel nervous about exam time.

Taking exams and tests can be scary but you don’t have to cope on your own. You may find it helpful to start by reading the page on exam stress in Explore. Some people find it useful to make a revision timetable. This is a way of planning what time you are going to study, what you will study and for how long. For example, you might decide to do 30 minutes of science and 30 minutes of maths every Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Perhaps this is something you can try? There are more hints and tips on revision at the BBC Schools website.

Teachers understand that revising for and taking exams can be a difficult time for students. You could try speaking to a teacher you particularly like or trust so they can help support you through this. Perhaps you could ask them to help you set up a revision group, with other people in your class? It’s important to try hard with revising, but you need to make sure you don’t overdo it. Give yourself time to relax and have fun too, because that is a good way to help get rid of nerves.

On the day of the exam, it’s important to look after yourself, both physically and emotionally. Try and get a good night’s sleep, have a good breakfast, and spend time before the exam doing things that make you feel positive and hopeful, such as relaxation techniques, or spending time with helpful friends. You might like to have a look at the page on Anxiety in Explore for some more tips.

Finally, whilst doing well in exams can be important, they are not the only key to a success. SATs feel incredibly important at the time, but even if you don’t get the mark you would like, there will be other chances to do well in the future.

Many young people speak to ChildLine about exam pressure and you may find it useful to visit the school and college message boards to get support from other young people in similar situations. If you want to speak in more detail about how you’ve been feeling, you can contact the counsellors at ChildLine on 0800 1111, log in for a 1-2-1 chat or send them an email.

Take care.


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