The effects of achievement goals and social comparison are diffuse and potentially damaging to students'. The present study investigated the role of social comparison in achievement goals and their relation to stress. The participants were 107 (69 male 38 female) secondary school students. Their achievement goals, social comparison orientation and perceived stress were simultaneously measured in natural academic settings using three questionnaires. Achievement goals, except for males' performance-avoidance goals, were unrelated to stress. The use of social comparison was moderated by gender. Social comparison was associated with mastery goals for males but not females'. It is recommended that future conceptualizations of mastery goals include the use of the normative, social comparison standard for males.