Do School Systems Put Too Much Stress on Students?

There is no doubt that school is very important; however, with school comes homework, assignments, studying and of course exams. And with all of these comes stress, a lot of stress. A lot of people believe that school is the main source of stress for teenagers as not only do they have to worry about their future but they have to spend what seems like an endless amount of time studying for their exams. Researchers have previously thought of the pressure as “good stress” and believed that it better prepares you for the world of work.

But new research from New York University shows that a growing number of high school students are developing ‘chronic’ stress which could be having a negative effect on academic success and can cause serious mental health problems. It’s believed that the average high school pupil today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s! I believe that school puts too much stress on teenagers because of the importance placed on exams.

The constant worry about having a plan for the future can cause high levels of stress as well because not everyone knows what they want to do, but they are constantly being told that they need to make a decision.

School systems should be focused on limiting the amount of stress that they put on students. One key reason why they should do this is because stress can negatively affect learning ability. It doesn’t take long for these effects to take place, short-term stress, lasting even as little as a few hours, can impair brain-cell communication mostly in areas associated with learning and memory.

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A number of researchers have discovered that psychological stress affects the thinking skills and brain development of students. It can also affect decision making and creates impulsivity. This will impact the learning ability of teenagers as they will struggle to memorize everything they need to for exams so students’ scores will not reflect their true capabilities. Hence why school systems should be focused on limiting the pressure that they put on students.

Stress can affect the sufficiency of sleep which doesn’t just affect school performance, but it can also have a serious effect on teenagers’ health. High levels of stress can cause insufficient sleep which can impact students’ physical health, emotional wellbeing and academic success. This will not only impact exam results but it can also have a massive impact on everyday life. As it has an impact on their physical health, students will find that they will not perform as well in any after school sports or activities that they enjoy doing. Short-term effects of sleep deprivation include: decreased cognitive function, memory, performance and alertness. If students are continuously lacking sleep then the short-term effects could turn into long-term effects. This won’t just affect academic success, but also their health. Up to 90% of teenagers don’t get enough sleep on school nights due to the amount of studying caused by the desire of getting high results in exams to be able to go to a good college/university or to get a good job. Teenagers should be getting up to 8-10 hours of sleep to allow important body functions and brain activities to occur. However, only 15% of teens have reported to sleeping for 8and a half hours. On average teenagers only get 7 hours of sleep. This will have serious effects on their health because the body will not have sufficient rest so the immune system will weaken and all the necessary bodily functions will not be able to take place.

Personally, I believe that school is the main source of stress for teenagers, as 83% of teens have reported that their main source of stress is school. And 69% of teens have reported that they’re stressed or worried about the decision of what to do after school. (College/university/job etc). This is mostly caused by school as from as young as first year, schools are already telling students that they need to start thinking about what they want to do after school and that they need to start making decisions now. Although this may seem like a good idea so students aren’t feeling rushed in their last few years of school, a lot of people find that it is too young to start making these sort of decisions as you don’t really know what subjects you like yet and what each job involves.

By looking at students’ stress levels throughout the year, we are able to see what the main cause of stress might be. During the school year, on average, teens stress levels are at 5.8 on a 10-point scale. However, during summer, teenagers’ stress levels drop to a 4.6. This proves that stress is mostly caused by school and even during the summer some of the stress will still be coming from school as students tend to worry about their exam results and what the next year will be like, either moving up a year in school, going to college or university or starting a job.

In conclusion I believe that school is the main source of stress for teenagers and all the pressure can cause a lot of mental health problems (short term and long term). Overall stress has a negative effect on everyday life: school, work and day to day activities. This is why I feel that school systems should be trying to minimize the amount of stress that they put on students. Although I understand that we sit these exams so we can show our ability to understand and memorize for future jobs. However, when people have to carry out tasks in the world of work, they are most likely going to be allowed the internet and won’t be asked to memorize everything and then write about it without any notes. This is why school systems shouldn’t stop exams but they should think about the rules and regulations that the pupils must follow.

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Do School Systems Put Too Much Stress on Students?. (2019, Dec 08). Retrieved from

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