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GCSE students 'experiencing extreme reactions to exam stress'

09/06/2017 Joanna

A large percentage of students taking their GCSEs are experiencing severe negative reactions due to stress over their exams, according to a new survey.

The National Citizen Service polled 1,000 16 and 17-year-olds about their feelings of stress and anxiety in the lead-up to their GCSEs, finding that many are having difficulty coping with the pressure that these important tests can exert.

It was shown that 51 per cent of students have felt so anxious before an exam that they feared they would not be able sit the test at all, with 39 per cent of boys feeling this way and 63 per cent of girls. Meanwhile, 48 per cent of students - 34 per cent for boys, 61 per cent for girls - said that pre-exam stress made them feel they were going to be sick.

The poll also revealed that 51 per cent of students have cried as a result of exam stresses, with 29 per cent of boys and 73 per cent of girls saying they have done so.

The National Citizen Service has published these figures to coincide with the current exam season, and is working with a mindfulness expert to produce advice and practical support resources to help students and families to better manage the pressure that comes with standardised testing.

However, the findings also underline the importance of teaching staff making sure that students are properly supported in the lead-up to exams or results publication dates, particularly given the awareness how vital it is to provide robust mental health support within schools.

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