The stress level felt by students taking the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE) is on the rise with 18 percent of respondents in a recent survey saying the pressure is unbearable, four percentage points higher than last year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The survey was conducted by the Hok Yau Club, a non-profit, non-governmental organization providing counselling and learning-related services to students.
The club interviewed about 1,700 students taking part in this year’s HKDSE, which starts today.
Ng Po-sing, the director of the club’s Student Guidance Center, said the survey results were worrying as recent cases of student suicides can be associated with mounting pressure on their studies.
According to Apple Daily, the average rating the respondents gave for the stress level from the exams was 7.12, or 0.13 point higher than the results last year.
Respondents were asked to rate their stress levels from zero to 10, with 10 meaning the pressure was unbearable.
Among the main sources of pressure were inadequate time to prepare for the exams, 51.5 percent; concerns on career prospects, 47.2 percent; and self-imposed expectations, 39.7 percent.
The survey showed that 46.3 percent of the respondents wished their parents would stop comparing them to others, while 39 percent said they wanted more positive encouragement.
As to the amount of stress from individual subjects, the respondents gave Chinese an average of 6.75 marks; English, 7.1; Mathematics, 6.53; and Liberal Studies, 6.44. They considered English “the most stressful subject”.
According to the HKEJ, 40 percent of the students surveyed thought the pressure mainly came from their parents, with 30 percent of them saying parents have exerted negative pressure, up 9 percentage points from the previous year.
Ng, from the Hok Yau Club, said while parental expectations were a significant source of stress for students, parents could also play a positive role by showing empathy for their children and putting themselves in their children’s shoes.
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