Student exam stress is a concern according to new data by youth mental health service ReachOut, with almost two thirds of young people experiencing worrying levels of exam stress, and one in 10 suffering extreme exam stress.
Its national representative survey of 1000 people, aged between 14 and 25, also found that despite these high levels of exam stress, 66 per cent of students said they do not seek external help to manage their stress.
Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut, said the organisation is encouraging young people to have plans in place to manage exam-related stress this year and to seek help early if they are struggling to cope with exam pressure.
“Preparing for exams is about doing your best and working towards achieving a result that you are happy with. While some study stress is normal and can help improve performance, it can grow into a major problem. So, whilst trying to get the balance right between studying and self-care can be tricky, it is key to keeping stress at a manageable level,” he said.
“We want to encourage students feeling like their stress is at an unhealthy level and affecting other parts of their life to seek support, and that could be talking to a trusted adult, their GP or visiting ReachOut.com.”
The survey also showed that internal pressure to succeed and concern about the future are key drivers of exam stress. Sixty-eight per cent of young people said exam stress was driven by a self-generated pressure to succeed. Almost 40 per cent said that worrying about finding a job was also increasing stress and one third were concerned about securing their preferred tertiary course.
While most young people do not seek external help, the past two ReachOut surveys show a positive trend in the number of students calling on others when stress levels rise. The number of students seeking external support has increased from 28 per cent to 34 percent in the last two surveys. Of those that did seek help for exam stress, two-thirds of those surveyed sought this help from their parents.