Do we put too much pressure on young people with exams? Watch

Rabbit2
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#21
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I hold a master's degree in electrical engineering from an accredited uni [here in the US]. Until i was half way thru graduate school, i had NO idea how to study for an exam. My dad never finished 8th grade, and me mum finished high school, and then took a secretarial short course. That was the extent of my exposure at home to academia. NOBODY, all the way through my school and uni years explained how to be a student. Nearly all of my classmates were in the same boat, except for a very few, who seemed to get straight A's, without working at all. I found out by accident, that the closest competitor in the 'all A's' group had an IQ that was 17 points lower than mine. I was getting C's and D's, and she was getting all A's. Inexplicable!!

I finally figured out, in the middle of grad school, that while i was studying and learning lots of stuff, most of what i studied was NOT on the actual exam - so i was wasting most of my study time - i might as well have been playing video games. The technique i developed was to target the instructor's lecture. I kept track of how much time they spent on each topic, and how much work they did - just talking about it, drawing on the board, prepared handouts, viewgraphs with an overhead projector. Each of these was more work, so i would assign a 'work factor' number. Just talking was a 1 to a 3 (for example). Drawing was a 4 to a 6. So if the instructor spent 3 minutes talking about it, and then 6 minutes drawing (medium complexity drawing), i would multiply the 3 minutes by 2 (medium complexity talk), and then add 6 minutes times 5 (medium complexity drawing. The result was 36 for this lecture section. I would add up the results for each time that particular topic was mentioned to get the 'total score' for that topic. I then ranked the topics in decreasing order - from highest to lowest.

The problems involved in these topics would take enough time to solve, that the average student could not do more than 4 or 5 in one hour - which was the time normally allocated for an average exam. I would take the top 7 or 8 topics in my ranking, and make up a problem for each one - trying to include everything that i'd seen in those types of problems in class and in the book. I then made sure that i could solve each of these problems without "breaking a sweat". The first time i did this, i hit the guy 100%. I had every problem on the actual exam on my "practice" exam. It took me 12 minutes to do the hour exam - plus another 5 minutes to check all my work 3 times. I used the same technique for the rest of my remaining graduate school courses (5 of them). The worst i ever did was hitting 70% of the exam questions. Several times i hit 100% again. On average, it took me about 15 minutes to do the 1 hour exam. Now, years later, i understand how my classmates in high school were getting A's whilst never seeming to study. Of course, they would never have told me what they were doing, because they didn't want me to start doing it too. Best of luck!!
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username3444162
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(Original post by Cubone-r)
Around a week ago a video went viral of a UK YouTuber crying after struggling with one of her exams: https://metro.co.uk/video/students-c...ssure-1705644/

This sparked a lot of debate in the media about whether young people are examined too much and how it's negatively affecting their mental health.

Or is it just the fact that young people nowadays can't handle pressure and wilt at the first time of trying?
Oh bull, people are just drama queens, it's an exam for pete' s sake, you revise for it, do past papers, and then most importantly manage your time well in the exam and you will be fine.

Did that for my GCSEs last week and I didn't shed a tear.
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Vikingninja
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I more view it that teenagers can't handle stress nowadays. People set themselves up for failure when they don't get what they want especially when they go way too beyond. I felt stressed during my exam periods in AS but not like breakdown levels, A2 I coped far better even with other stresses coming around such as my EPQ presentation and university applications. I had several breakdowns due to my EPQ research but that was because I set some unrealistic expectations for how much to do, came back to college after the holiday and I was the furthest ahead so my overstress was due to me trying to get too far or high in my work.

It's far worse at uni especially after first year because you have a load of courseworks dumped on you and still got exams. I myself had 3 courseworks due right before the easter break, had 2 weeks break and spent the next month dealing with 3 more deadlines with one being a very large then 2 weeks of intensive week courseworks and then my exams after, I had to deal with a coursework corrupting day before deadline and I never got close to my breakdowns that I had over my EPQ (I have asperger's so when I used to get overstressed I really couldn't handle it at all) because I didn't set myself ridiculous expectations even with leaving a load of my courseworks rather late.

All I'm getting from this video is that she felt like **** after not doing as well as she expected she should have which well... everyone would.
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Tom M. Riddle
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What, you think students haven't cried over exams in the whole history of exam taking up until now?
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Lala~
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Well exams for us are a LOT harder compared to exams from 10 years ago. People get smarter and smarter and everything’s waaaaaay more competitive. It has nothing to do with us having ‘weak’ resilience. Everyone wants to be the best nowadays and achieving A*s and As is definitely not easy for our generation.

Older generations will never understand our struggles. They had it easy when it came to A levels and GCSEs whereas for us it’s a battlefield. Take maths exams for example, getting an A in the 2010 paper would be equivalent to a C in the 2016-2018 papers. Guarantee that if I took the same exams as my parents when they were my age, I’d definitely would have 0 breakdowns.
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Decipher
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Kinda they've made tests and exams harder these days......less coursework and your grades are based of one 1-3hr paper..........whereas any work and other stuff you've done before will not count for anything. This ultimately decides that persons future, also with the added pressure of parents and other people, not surprised kids nowadays suffer a lot more stress and feel depressed due to school.
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MyGEMJourney
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I think so, I have a degree in Biomedical Science which don’t get me wrong was difficult but for different reasons. Put it this way, I got a U in one of my biology A-Level exams but an extremely high 2.1 in my degree.
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Lala~
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(Original post by Oneiropólos)
Oh bull, people are just drama queens, it's an exam for pete' s sake, you revise for it, do past papers, and then most importantly manage your time well in the exam and you will be fine.

Did that for my GCSEs last week and I didn't shed a tear.
Um you took GCSEs not A levels...
I never once cried during GCSE exams but A levels are on a whole different spectrum. Legit doing past papers and time management is never enough unless you revise (minus homework) everyday or atleast 4-5 days a week.
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black1blade
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I mean the exams were definitely easier in the 2000s but in the 70s and 80s most exams were much harder and more rigorous. However back then much fewer people passed let alone got top A grades. Also there were much fewer resources available in the forms of past papers, mark schemes and examiners reports so it was harder to prepare/ over prepare back then. Also as other people have pointed out, there was less pressure to achieve extremely high grades to be able to get on back then.
I reckon the standards of the "smartness" of cohort each year is pretty similar though, just the newer papers are harder otherwise the grade boundaries will go up to ridiculous heights. This is because most people do lots of past papers so each year students are increasingly well prepared. Honestly I'd rather they made the papers harder than just keeping them at same standard because otherwise you get cases like edexcel fp2 last year- 72/75 for an A* and 70/75 for an A.
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username3444162
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(Original post by Lala~)
Um you took GCSEs not A levels...
I never once cried during GCSE exams but A levels are on a whole different spectrum. Legit doing past papers and time management is never enough unless you revise (minus homework) everyday or atleast 4-5 days a week.
Well that's just customary, ofcourse I will up my game for my A-Levels, I will adjust all my techniques from my GCSE days and upgrade them to suit my A-Level standards.

The reason people get all teary eyed is because they fail to make the correct adjustments.

I understand your point but honestly speaking I believe if you leave an exam room unhappy, it's your fault and no one else's, don't go blaming the government on what is actually the pupils fault, they made it harder so you have to up your efforts, simple.

If you fail to do so then you're just not cut out for academia.
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Tom191
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It's not too much pressure and I cannot think of another way we can be assessed really.
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lemonkidd222
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I took the exam the Youtuber was upset about myself last week. Let me tell you, around 30 pages of exam questions, 91 marks in 2 hours. That’s 2.5 Minutes per page according to Twitter, three pages of which have 5/6 mark questions on Too which u need to think about your structure. And this wasn’t just knowledge recall which is easy, you can revise for it no harm done, it’s reading a long paragraph they give you and suggesting answers from this paragraph, multiple times. You can revise for it sure, but there’s only one set of past papers for that exam and one sample assessment paper - you can’t revise for individualised ‘suggest’ questions based on a text you’ve never seen before. And this Youtuber cannot be to blame for this - she got all A* at GCSE and revised effectively and meticulously - she was prepared. You can say it’s the student’s fault for failing to prepare, but when they prepare all the can and the exam is still stacked against them it’s a fault in the institution. And the stress people feel during exams isn’t solely exams: it’s the top grades at uni, it’s thinking about what your family/peers will think, it’s people on sites like who did their exams years ago telling kids that they shouldn’t be stressing and that’s it’s easy
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Chlo270315
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(Original post by Cubone-r)
Around a week ago a video went viral of a UK YouTuber crying after struggling with one of her exams: https://metro.co.uk/video/students-c...ssure-1705644/

This sparked a lot of debate in the media about whether young people are examined too much and how it's negatively affecting their mental health.

Or is it just the fact that young people nowadays can't handle pressure and wilt at the first time of trying?
I have just finished my A levels and if you know how the new A level system and GCSE system worked you wouldn’t doubt for a second that exams are becoming too stressful. Let me tell you it’s not just exams that are too stressful, it’s the whole education system, my 12 year old sister is learning algebra, she’s in year 7???? To me that’s so bizarre because I didn’t start algebra until year nine. If anyone can validate putting 2-3 years worth of content in a 3-4 week period they’re crazy. One bad grade and that determines everything. In regards to university’s giving out more unconditionals now that may be true but it depends on the school you come from, or atleast that’s what I’ve noticed.
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maskedrtt
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Having gone through the 2018 GCSE exams, I can say that the people that were the most stressed out and having panic attacks would be those that didn't revise or have some sort of serious anxiety because the exams aren't really that hard 😂😂
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Nihilisticb*tch
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As someone who's just done GCSEs, I think it's a combination of reasons. For a start, the reason mental health issues have been more prevalent this year is because of the new system. I have no idea what grade I will get in most subjects because no one knows what the grade boundaries will be like for the new 9-1 grades. This amplifies the stress levels a lot. Not to mention that there's no course work so our entire grade is solely based on exams. So obviously the changes are going to raise stress levels.
The second reason is because I think people are just more bothered about GCSEs than they used to be. When I talk to my parents who did O levels back in the day, they don't really remember being stressed about them whereas nearly every young person nowadays is stressed at least to some extent about GCSEs. I think this is due to the fact that OFSTED and league tables exist now. Schools and teachers are judged on exam results so they will obviously put pressure on students. I also think the increasing number of people who wish to go to university has an effect as well, more students want to go to unis (and preferably prestigious ones) so there is more pressure to do well in exams.
And thirdly I think that this level of stress is more visible nowadays because of social media and some other factors. I think people are more open about mental health so are more likely to report mental health problems relating to exams and to discuss them openly.
I don't think young people are any less resilient, I don't see how we as a collective generation have been through any less hardship than previous generations.
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Taffyboyo
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A review of the literature informs us that generally speaking, most students are stressed and that this stress leads to anxiety and depression. However, the literature also informs us that when students engage in pursuits such as various sports including swimming, tennis, and surfing; their stress is abated. These students, generally, do not suffer anxiety or depression. The answer? Let them all know about the need to do some non-drug and non-alcohol related past-times that include exercise.
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Panda_Child
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(Original post by Oneiropólos)
Oh bull, people are just drama queens, it's an exam for pete' s sake, you revise for it, do past papers, and then most importantly manage your time well in the exam and you will be fine.

Did that for my GCSEs last week and I didn't shed a tear.
Yh but have you seen how hard jade works- and you’re saying that if she just works harder she wouldn’t cry?

Exam are a major pressure on young teen- it’s made out to be that your life depends on these exams
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Taffyboyo
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Take it from one who was not allowed to engage in GCE's because he was told he was too dumb! The examinations, the course work in today's schools and universities is no harder, no more difficult that it was back in the 1960's. It's just different. You might think, "what does he know"? Since that time I have gained an undergrad in education and taught secondary school for twenty years; three post grads in psychology, and a Doctorate in nutritional science, and have been a Chartered Clinical Psychologist for many years. Be reassured, I know!
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AKB2000
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Yes
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Maid Marian
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I'm 24 and count my results at school to be one of the greatest achievements in my life, to the extent that I want them stamped on my grave.

Admittedly, I didn't actually find A Level or GCSEs that stressful. But I will always look back and be so glad and proud of myself that I worked so hard. No one can take that away from you! You can tell everyone proudly how hard you worked, you can tell your children etc etc.
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