One in four secondary school students has rated tutorials outside school as the most useful aid in preparing for public examinations, prompting calls for teachers to liven up the way they conduct lessons. The finding was drawn from a survey released yesterday, which also found insomnia and feeling sick were among the main problems in the run-up to the examinations. The Education Policy Concern Organisation interviewed 1,077 Form Five and Form Seven students from 12 schools who were going to sit for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) and A-levels this year. Some 27.4 per cent of students said 'tutorial classes' offered the most help, followed by 'classmates' at 19.5 per cent and 'schoolteachers', 14.1 per cent. The organisation's Mervyn Cheung Man-ping said the results showed something was wrong with teaching methods in schools. 'I was shocked to learn that only some 14 per cent of students believed schoolteachers were helpful,' Mr Cheung said. 'Students do not think they can get much from classes, so they turn to tutorial classes outside school. 'Teachers may need to adjust their teaching methods to make school classes not so boring and help students learn better.' In the survey, 22.4 per cent described exam pressure as 'extremely big' and 34.8 per cent said the pressure was 'moderate'. Only 7.9 per cent said they felt no pressure at all. The top three commonest exam symptoms were insomnia (36.5 per cent), feeling sick (24.8 per cent) and feeling helpless (15.3 per cent). Mr Cheung said he was pleased to note that more than a third said they would seek help from their parents when they felt frustrated. HKCEE testing started on March 14. The core subjects will be tested in the next two months. The A-level exams will start next Monday.