Only a third of pupils who took the Diploma of Secondary Education examination are confident of getting into university, although more than half believe a bachelor's degree is a necessity, a youth group's poll has found.
The phone survey conducted by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups last month found that only 34 per cent of the 628 DSE pupils polled were positive they could secure a place in university with their results. Fifty-four per cent did not think their results would be good enough.
More than half - 56 per cent - believed they needed at least a bachelor's degree to do well in society, while only 19 per cent thought a secondary school education was sufficient.
"Students should not aim to get a degree for the sake of getting a degree," said Hsu Siu-man, who supervises the federation.
The pupils' desire to advance their studies was clear, but it was also "important that they cater to their interests and abilities, or it would not be beneficial in the long run", she said.
Almost 80,000 pupils took the DSE exam this year to compete for some 15,000 publicly funded university places. The results will be released next Monday.
The poll also found that almost 30 per cent of those polled experienced high stress levels over the exams.
"I'm worried my exam results will be worse than my mock exams at school," said pupil Yip Man-ying. "I haven't been able to sleep well and suddenly want to cry sometimes for no reason."
Clement Ng Po-shing, vice-director of student guidance centre Hok Yau Club, said parents should have reasonable expectations. "Parents have to keep an eye on their children's emotions and provide concrete support such as going with them to get their results," he said.
Both groups have set up hotlines to offer emotional assistance and education advice for pupils. Students can call 2777 1112 to reach the federation or 2503 3399 to reach the club.