Almost two-third of students in FE say they feel “very” or “extremely” stressed about their exams, while a similar number say the pressure is coming from their teachers’ expectations, according to new research.
Manchester-based digital marketing firm PushOn surveyed 5,000 college students ahead of the summer exams season, as part of a study commissioned by stationery retailer Ryman.
Although 70 per cent say the biggest stress factor arises from putting pressure on themselves, 68 per cent say it comes from teachers and 39 per cent say parents are causing worry. One-in-20 college students turn to alcohol to deal with exam stress.
Six per cent of FE students leave all of their revision until the last minute, but two-thirds start preparing one-to-three or more months prior to their exams.
A spokesperson for PushOn noted a direct correlation between those who felt most stressed and those who did not start revising soon enough.
Liz Maudslay, senior policy manager at the Association of Colleges, said colleges across the country do excellent work in helping students to stay well and to support those with mental ill health. But she added: “A number have strong relationships with local NHS and mental health teams. However, this isn’t consistent.
“The government and the NHS need to target a share of resources to colleges, to provide consistent support to students of all ages across England if we are to stop the growing mental health crisis.”
Stress needs managing
Psychotherapist Ian Jenkins, who has a background of working in the education sector, said a little stress can help with motivation, focus and achievement.
“We need to focus on only those things we can control,” he added. “We need a good plan, thorough preparation, a heathy body and mind, a positive attitude and realistic expectations. Exams are our chance to show how far we have come.
“The results may open doors to new opportunities and exciting futures; but they are not everything, they do not define us, they do not limit our futures. We will always have choices, we always have chances, and we will always have a great future to strive for.”