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HKDSE - Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education

Exam stress down for Hong Kong students, but pushy parents are still a problem

Students feeling more at ease as demands of DSE exam become familiar

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 9:50pm

Exam stress levels hit an all-time low for Hong Kong’s Secondary Six students this year, but more feel under pressure from their parents than before.

Hok Yau Club, an NGO which provides support and guidance to students, questioned 1,538 secondary six students preparing to take the Diploma of Secondary Education exam about the stress they faced.

Survey respondents put their pressure level at 6.75 out of 10, with the highest point indicating it was too much to cope with.

Officials attributed the drop in this year’s figure, which is 0.37 points lower than last year, down to a growing familiarity with the exam, which was introduced in 2012. Previously, most school-leavers took A-levels.

The main source of stress for students concerns future prospects (62.7 per cent), with, not having enough time to prepare (47.3 per cent), and self expectations (46 per cent) also high on the list.

Ng Po-shing, the director of the club’s student guidance centre, believes teenagers have become more familiar with the content of the course and the exam format, degree of difficulty, and question requirements.

“Coupled with better preparation, the fear of the exam is gradually reduced,” he said.

Rules on who gets free DSE exam entry from Hong Kong government tightened

In contrast, the percentage of students who said their parents had put pressure on them edged up slightly to 42.1 per cent from 41.5 per cent last year.

On how parents could help reduce stress during exam time, 54.3 per cent wanted their parents to give them some room during the exam, while 42.5 per cent said they wanted parents to stop comparing them with their peers.

Chan Sin-man, the vice director of the organisation’s student guidance centre, said parents should instead act as supporters and guides.

“They can accompany their children to get to know themselves better and understand future prospects, as well as help them with life planning,” she said.

Written examinations for DSE core subjects begin on Monday.