Students taking GCSEs in ancient languages reported the highest levels of stress in the recent round of exams, according to a new report.
The finding comes from Access Education’s analysis of posts made in May on The Student Room, the UK’s largest online student community.
Research by the educational software specialists analysed which subjects were creating the most debate – such as exam sitters asking for help and guidance, or venting their frustrations with fellow students – and then ranked them per capita.
Design and technology – a subject renowned for being coursework heavy – was found to be the second most stressful subject, followed by computing.
The least anxiety-inducing courses were the more vocationally-based physical education and food preparation and nutrition.
At A-level, the most stressful subjects for exam takers were maths, economics and law.
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Higher than usual levels of stress had been reported across the board for this year’s GCSE and A-level exams.
More than four in five (82%) of headteachers said that this year’s students were reporting greater levels of anxiety than pre-pandemic cohorts, according to a survey in May by the Association of School and College Leaders.
Almost as many (78%) had received a higher number of requests from pupils to complete their papers away from the main exam hall.
“With pupils across the country sitting exams for the first time in three years this summer, monitoring stress and anxiety has been a key focus for schools,” said Emma Slater, Access Education publishing director, and a former English teacher.
“Following the disruption of the past two years, it’s not surprising that students were feeling the pressure, with reports of panic attacks, angry outbursts, self-harm and disengagement on the rise.
“Revision is equally as daunting, especially for students who are unfamiliar with sitting exams and it’s essential that students can work with teachers to effectively track and monitor their progress.”
The 10 GCSE subjects found to be causing the most stress were as follows:
|Course||Uptake||Number of GCSE-specific posts on The Student Room||Index|
|Design & Technology||82,505||457||95|
|Social Sciences Subjects||39,395||47||21|
At A-level, the top 10 list reads:
|A-Level course||Uptake||Number of A-level specific posts on The Student Room||Index|