Belfast Telegraph

Three-quarters of secondary school students stressed by exams, study finds

Exams are the biggest source of stress for thousands of teenagers, a study has found.

Almost three-quarters of secondary school students feel either "very stressed" or "stressed" over exams and less than half are satisfied with their school's support services.

The So How Was School Today report, carried out by youth organisation Comhairle na nOg, canvassed the views of more than 3,200 young people aged between 12 and 17.

The findings found that 67% of students felt too much focus was placed on terminal assessments, such as the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert.

Almost 80% of Leaving Cert students and 81% of Junior Cert pupils reported that exams made them feel stressed.

Other sources of stress included comparing progress with other students, homework, speaking in front of others and the number of subjects they had to study.

Many of the students (75%) agreed or strongly agreed that they learned best through active learning such as quizzes, learning games and role play.

The subjects they felt needed the most improvement were maths, Irish, English, French, science, history and geography.

Just under half of those quizzed said they were satisfied with the availability of careers guidance in their schools.

The report was supported by the departments of Education and Children and Youth Affairs, and was jointly launched on Monday by ministers Richard Bruton and Katherine Zappone

Ms Zappone said the report proves there are changes needed in the education system.

"It is really important for young people, teachers and government parties to study and respond to this extensive piece of research as it explains what young people need, and want to change, to make their journey through education better," she added.

Mr Bruton said: "The results of this survey will feed into a growing body of research providing insight into the student experience and will most definitely lead to better outcomes for all."

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