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To Sam

The GCSE exams

Dear Sam, People say that year eleven is the best year in secondary school but for me, it has been one of my worst in education. It is safe to say year eleven has broken me. This four day school week (first week back after Easter) alone as the exams drift closer than ever before, I have had two panic attacks and my heart rate (resting - according to my fitibit) has skyrocketed. Honestly? I don't know if I will be able to do the exams or revise because I procrastinate because it keeps me calm and not panicky for the exams which are literally looming over my head. The confliction I feel is immense and I just don't know if I can do this anymore...

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

When things get on top of us it can seem like there's too much to be able to handle. It can be easy to put things off, but facing up to a problem is the first step to getting it solved. You're not alone in feeling anxious about your GCSEs - lots of young people feel stressed about exams. But with careful planning and some small changes, the things that seemed impossible before can suddenly become easier.

Feeling panicked and anxious can make a problem seem too big to overcome, but it's important to remember that there's a solution to almost every problem you can think of. Your exams and revision might seem like they're impossible, but if you face the problem head on you can start to make some progress. The first thing to do is to try to stop procrastinating.

Procrastination is when we do other things to avoid a task or work that needs to be done and it's something a lot of people experience. One thing you can try to stop yourself from procrastinating is to set up a work space that's free from distractions. Separating work and play is important because when you're relaxing, you need to feel able to switch off and not feel like you should be working.

Having a timetable and a plan is also really helpful. There's a fixed amount of learning you need to do and a fixed amount of time before the exam. Making a revision timetable will boost your confidence because you'll see you've planned time to get through everything. It's important to be realistic about what's on the timetable - you need to make sure it's achievable, otherwise if you may feel anxious if you start falling behind.

You should also make sure you plan time to relax and have fun. This is really important so that you can come back to your work with a fresh mind.

I hope this helps. If you'd like to talk to someone about this or when you feel stressed, our Childline counsellors are always here for you. You can also get support from other young people on our message boards.

Thanks for the letter, take care.



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