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"Your whole life depends on it" - Leaving Cert Stress

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 28/05/2015. Tags: Parenting Education

Students are more stressed about their upcoming Leaving Certificate exams and fear that their whole future hangs in the balance on whether they get good grades or not, according to new survey.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) examined the academic stress among Irish Leaving Cert student in the months up to the exams. The authors, Joanne Banks and Emer Smyth, who surveyed 900 students across 12 schools, found that young Irish students were putting ‘enormous weight’ on themselves regarding the outcome of their exams.

The authors comment, ‘The role of Leaving Certificate results in deciding entry to higher education means that students see it as a crucial influence on subsequent life chances, with some believing that ‘their whole life depends on it’.

The report also found that girls suffered more stress than boys, with 40% of girls ‘losing sleep over exams and worry’ and 50% of girls felt ‘constantly under strain or pressure’. (ESRI)

The report also commented that students who had positive interaction with teachers ‘ who were praised and given positive feedback’ had a reduction in stress levels.

Subject choice too also influenced the amount of stress on students. According to the bulletin:

“Young people taking the Leaving Certificate Applied programme, which combines exams with assessment of coursework, had much lower stress levels than those faced with the high-stakes established Leaving Certificate exam. Those who reported being dissatisfied with their subject choices and who regretted taking some subjects reported higher stress levels, highlighting the importance of students receiving the guidance necessary to make well-informed choices at senior cycle level.”

This bulletin comes alongside new figures released by The Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), who found that 17,000 (one third of total figure) Leaving Certificate students will suffer stress around exam time. publish a range of resources to help suppport parents and students of leaving cert students which you can find here

Source: (ESRI)


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