Being a student is stressful. We have heard time and time again how exams can affect the mental health of today’s youth. But most of us haven’t considered just how young the people who being affected by exam stress are.
A poll of more than 1,000 children, some as young as ten, has indicated that they are turning towards junk food and energy drinks to try and cope with the exam period, and becoming unable to sleep due to nerves.
Schools are encouraged to push pupils as far as possible because of the consequences that the exams results have as children progress onto high school. Students are lead to believe that their futures depend on a mark at the end of an exam, and, with the way the education system is structure, to an extent it does.
Furthermore, according to the poll, the effects of the overall school league tables have been used as an encouragement method to try and get students to work harder at their grades. 60 per cent of the children polled reported that teachers had told them that their marks would affect the overall performance of the entire school.
Almost 70 per cent said that they felt pressured to do well in their exams, and over half felt worried about their results and whether getting a low mark would set them up for failure in life.
Doctor Claire Halsey, a child psychologist, commented “It’s troubling that children are expressing so many worries about their exams.
“It’s natural to experience some pressure to perform before any test, even at age ten and eleven, but these results show that SATS have become more than a little nerve-wracking.”
It seems that stress not only can destroy the lives of people in the workplace, but also their children who are sitting SATs. The issue is that it sets children up for stress throughout their lives, and can turn them towards unhealthy eating habits. Down the line, there is no telling how much of an effect this could have on them, possibly, for example, leading to reliance on unhealthy food, and consequential obesity, later in life.