Students remain stressed over DSE exam pressure

Local | Sophie Hui 1 Apr 2019

Students taking the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examination this year are facing a similar amount of pressure as last year, according to an annual survey conducted by the Hok Yau Club.

This year's score of 6.76 out of 10 is marginally higher than the 6.75 last year, and of a relatively low level since the DSE test was launched in 2012.

The club interviewed 1,970 DSE students from 24 schools in January, with the results announced just a day before today's Chinese exam.

About 10.5 percent rated the pressure they feel at the highest level of 10, saying they cannot bear the exam stress.

But in general, students felt less stressed about the four compulsory subjects - Chinese, English, Maths and Liberal Studies - as the pressure level scores all decreased from last year. However, English remained the most feared subject with a stress level score of 6.76 out of 10, followed by 6.14 for Maths.

Ng Po-shing, director of the club's student guidance center, believes that since students are more familiar with the curriculum, exam format, level of difficulty and requirements, they can be better prepared and less concerned.

But the survey also found 87.5 percent of students said it was hard for them to relax when preparing for the exam, a significant jump of 33.5 percentage points from last year. Of the respondents, 59.5 percent admitted feeling stressed as they are worried about their future, while 57.4 percent were afraid there was not enough time to prepare.

The number taking this year's DSE exam has fallen to 56,305 from 59,005.

"Although the number of candidates has dropped, students have higher expectations on themselves, which creates more pressure. This is because students think that university admission rates will increase, and it is impossible for them to get into the university," Ng said.

Nearly 30 percent of students said their parents place negative pressure on them.

Chan Sin-man, the club's social worker, said parents can assume the role of a secretary for their children during the exam period, which will enable them to learn about the exam schedule and other information by themselves.

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