Secondary School: An Exam Factory

Test anxiety has become a large source of stress, more so than concerns around body image, the UK government’s former health tsar has said.

The new, tougher, more rigorous GCSE qualifications have caused worrying levels of anxiety among teenagers, according to parents, teachers and experts.

Natasha Devon, the Department for Education’s former mental health person, has seen a rise in secondary school students asking for help to cope with “academic anxiety” over the past two years.

Top tips for coping with academic anxiety

  • Regular exercise: a Harvard university study showed that a regular exercise routine can decrease mild to moderate depression, and even yoga can help ward off depression and anxiety.
  • Revision timetables: draw out you need to study and when you plan to do it. But remember to schedule in some down time- you will not work at your best if you do not take a break.
  • Talk to people: you’re not on your own. Teacher’s can offer advice, as can parents. However, your peers can also offer a friendly perspective. Surround yourself with positive people who have positive outlooks, as they may help you relax. Avoid the negative, moany people, as they will only be a drain on your energy.

We spoke with some students and asked them their thoughts on the new GCSE programmes.

“They are really pressurising because they are all exam based and your grade is mostly based on that one day rather than what you did for the last two years.”

For more insight into this topic, check out our clip below.

Managing Teenage Pressures

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