Ask Sam letter


To Sam

A 15 year old shouldn’t feel like this

I feel like my family put an unnecessary amount of pressure on me and coming up to results on 25th they‘ll look past the amount of effort I've actually put in and give off if I don’t pass something or get less than a ’B’ but in reality I genuinely think I’ve worked hard for these exams and sometimes the stress I feel during exams causing me to maybe not do as well is because of the pressure they put on me. I feel like I’m constantly being compared to my older brothers and what they got in school, also because we play for the same hockey club there’s a lot more pressure than you think and a need to prove myself so much that I’ve showed up to 3/4 training sessions in tears. They says how I ‘don’t know what stress is’ and I feel like they won’t properly listen to me if I came to them and told them how what they do and say makes me feel.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Waiting for your exam results can be a stressful time. You might feel lots of pressure and expectation. Sometimes this comes mainly from other people, which can add to how you feel now and when you take exams too.

Pressure to do well can come from you or from people such as family or teachers. You may also feel compared to others, like your siblings.

It can be difficult when you have older siblings who have already done exams or attended the same clubs because parents, teachers and leaders can sometimes compare you. However, you’re all individuals and you and your efforts and achievements are what’s important, not what your siblings may or may not have done.

Sometimes, people are unaware they make these comparisons or just don’t realise how these comparisons make you feel or the stress they cause. It can help to talk about this. Finding ways to start a conversation can help you feel prepared to say how you feel and to help others understand.

This is also the first year since 2019 that all major exams have happened. Everything young people have been through during the pandemic should also be remembered.

While some people focus only on the actual results, the effort you put into your exams should also be celebrated and remembered, and it’s good to recognise your own hard work.

While you can’t control what people say or the expectations they put on you, learning to cope with this exam pressure is something you can control.

It can also be useful to find ways to help manage your stress too. This can be listening to uplifting music or podcasts, being active, speaking to people or learning mindfulness.

You may also find it helpful to have a phrase to say to yourself daily, such as “while grades can be important there can be many ways to achieve my goals”, “I’m good enough” or “grades don’t define me, I define me” or make a phrase of your own.

Childline’s message boards are a good place to speak to other young people to find out how they cope with exam pressure and waiting for their results. Remember you can also speak to a Childline counsellor about this online or on the phone.

Hope this helps. Take care.


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