In the world of academia, various internal and external expectations from students have made their life stressful. Examinations are the gold standard of evaluation. Be it a student or an adult, exams have universally been a stressful affair for one and all. Everybody wants to perform well, and no one wants to fail, moreover due to the societal prejudice towards students who fail to perform well in examinations. The most vulnerable age group to academic stress are adolescents/teenagers because they undergo a multitude of changes on a personal and social level. Performing well in exams to fast-paced syllabus, strict deadlines students are constantly in a rat race. The impacts of performance pressure have far reached consequences.
Anxiety and Stress
Students’ constantly carry the weight of expectations of their parents, professors, or institution. These performance pressure lead to worsened physical, social, and emotional well-being of students. Anxiety is the body’s coping mechanism to tackle events that are out of its comfort zone. Academic performance pressure has negatively impacted the mental health of students causing various forms of anxiety: separation anxiety, fear of physical injury, panic attacks and social anxiety.
As per a study conducted by a researcher in Boston University, revealed several causes for academic stress: strict deadlines for crucial assignments, insensitivity towards a students’ learning capacity and vast syllabus covered in a short period of time.
Performance pressure primarily leads to worry and stress, what follows is social isolation. Students who are unable to perform and score good marks are often treated with disdain and looked down upon by teachers and subjected to special labels in classes. Anxiety of being cornered out by peers during group activities in school is followed by more social isolation and anxiety causing them to lose interest in their favourite hobbies, find reasons to bunk school or classes etc. This perspective requires an immediate shift since each student has unique strengths and limitations to consider.
The Eleventh-Hour Quitting
Throughout the examination students build up a strategy to accomplish their goals, last-minute changes might lead to anxiety and fear of failing. Students experience anxiety and undue pressure for the same reason be it board exams, JEE, NEET or UPSC. Students are so discouraged that they consider quitting which would ultimately prevent them from accomplishing their objectives.
It’s important to inculcate a healthy competitive spirit in students, both parents and teachers play a crucial role in developing a healthy sense of competition. If not the flipside of performance pressure is unhealthy competition or excessive competitiveness. Students subconsciously develop a belief that the only way to be treated well is by scoring high marks. They who perform under pressure often find it hard to handle failures in academics. Competition is healthy, when done in the right spirit.
Last-Minute Cramming Before Exams
Last-minute preparation does not guarantee a good grade, many students have a misconception that studying 24 hours before the exam will fetch them good scores. Last-minute cramming for an exam with a mountain of questions and doubts is an add on of maximum stress for students. Thanks to online education students have an easy access to instant doubt resolution. It is up to students to manage time wisely and prepare ahead of time.