A survey has shown that candidates sitting for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination this year are suffering greater stress compared to the students who took the exam in previous years.
According to the study by Hok Yau Club, an independent non-government organization, the average stress level of students has reached 6.99 points on a scale of zero to ten, marking an increase of 0.16 point from a year ago.
An alarming 14 percent of respondents showed a maximum score of ten, meaning that they were highly stressed out and could be on the verge of a breakdown, the Hong Kong Economic Journal noted.
Forty-six percent of students surveyed said the major source of pressure was self-expectations, while 19 percent cited peer competition and 9.6 percent identified public opinion as the reason why they were under pressure.
According to the findings, 45 percent of respondents said expectations from parents also put pressure on them.
For its survey, Hok Yau Club interviewed in January 1,236 students who were preparing to take the 2016 HKDSE exam, which began on Tuesday.
Students found English to be the subject that causes most pressure, followed by Chinese Language.
Ng Po-shing, director of Hok Yau Club’s Student Guidance Centre, said students with higher self-expectations tend to equate admission to a university to success, or even the key elements for landing a dream job later.
Students take it hard when they can’t gain admission despite the addition of more university places in the last few years, he said.
Meanwhile, the media buzz surrounding candidates who secure straight A’s also makes students think that the results of the open examination will decide one’s personal success.
Hok Yau Club advises parents not to compare their children’s exam results with those of others and to avoid setting unrealistic expectations.
Parents should never resort to abusive or insulting remarks on their children, it said.
Psychiatrist Ivan Mak Wing-chit says parents should monitor their children’s emotions and attitudes, and offer appropriate counseling.
They should instill a belief in the children that any result is acceptable as long the kids have given their best.
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