Documenting factors related to examination stress among school children in Surat city

Rutu Sanjaybhai Buch, Shailee N. Vyas, Mohua Moitra


Background: Academic examinations have been considered as one of the acute stresses experienced by students. Passing or failing has strong consequences, so examinations cause psychological stress for most students. This study designed to document stressors and anti-stressors related to exam and quantify the stress.

Methods: A cross sectional study using purposive sampling was carried out involving 387 secondary and higher secondary school students. Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data.

Results: Among the respondents, 76.7% felt that exams should be taken. Worry (46.8%); fear of forgetting (24.3%), nervousness (14.7%) and fear (10.1%) were the common stressors. Exams were a positive opportunity to prove their mettle was shared by 23.3% students. Stress level was constant among 50.9% of participants irrespective of the level of their preparation. MCQ (51.2%) was the preferred examination pattern. In majority (74.4%) failing equated obtaining less marks. Fear of failing existed among 46.5% participants. Mean score for BAI was 10.15 with participants falling into mild (92.7%), moderate (6.5%) and severe (0.8%) stress categories. A total of 68% students felt that these stresses can be reduced. Preferred way to relax was talking to friends (55.6%), listening to music (53.5%) and watching TV (47%). Most helpful person was the mother (39%). Parental reaction to stress was generally supportive (63.6%). Professional counselling was taken by 2.6% students.

Conclusions: Exams were associated with worry, nervousness and fear. Fear of failure added to this stress. However, parents were generally supportive. Mean BAI score was 10.15.



Exams, Stress, BAI

Full Text:



Aurélio M, Peluso M, Savalli C, Cúri M, Gorenstein C, Andrade LH. Mood changes in the course of preparation for the Brazilian university admission exam – a longitudinal study. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2009;32:30–6.

Eskiocak S, Gozen AS, Yapar SB, Tavas F, Kilic AS, Eskiocak M. Glutathione and free sulphydryl content of seminal plasma in healthy medical students during and after exam stress. Hum Reprod. 2005;20(9):2595–600.

Shamsdin SA, Anvar M, Mehrabani D. The Effect of Exam Stress on Serum IL-6 , Cortisol , CRP and IgE Levels. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2010;12(4):484–8.

Maduka IC, Neboh EE, Ufelle SA. The relationship between serum cortisol , adrenaline , blood glucose and lipid profile of undergraduate students under examination stress. Afr Health Sci. 2015;1–4.

Hettiarachchi M, Fonseka CL, Gunasekara P, Jayasinghe P, Maduranga D. How does the quality of life and the underlying biochemical indicators correlate with the performance in academic examinations in a group of medical students of Sri Lanka ? Med Educ Online. 2014;1(5):1–6.

Ng V, Hons BS, Koh D, Ph D, Mok BYY, Sc M, et al. Salivary Biomarkers Associated with. J Dent Educ. 2003;67(10):1091–4.

Koichi T, Yoshie S, Shoko I, Yasuka O, Etsuko M, Yukari Y. The effects of examination stress on salivary cortisol, immunoglobulin A, and chromogranin A in nursing students. Biomed Res. 2008;29(4):221–4.

Dayalan H, Subramanian S. Psychological Well-Being In Medical Students During Exam Stress— Influence Of Short-Term Practice Of Mind Sound Technology. Indian J Med Sci. 2010;64(11):501–7.

Zunhammer M, Eichhammer P, Busch V. Sleep Quality during Exam Stress : The Role of Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine. PLoS One. 2014;9(10).

Pradhan G, Mendinca NL, Kar M. Evaluation of Examination Stress and Its Effect on Cognitive Function among First Year Medical Students. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2014;8:5–7.

Koyama A, Matsushita M, Ushijima H, Jono T, Ikeda M. Association between depression, examination-related stressors, and sense of coherence: The ronin-sei study. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014;68(6):441–7.

Nechita F, Nechita D, Pîrlog MC, Rogoveanu I. Stress in medical students. Rom J Morphol Embryol. 2014;55:1263–6.

Afzal H, Afzal S, Siddique S, Naqvi S. Measures used by medical students to reduce test anxiety. J Pak Med Assoc. 2012;62:982–6.

Malathi, Damodaran. Stress due to exams in medical students-role of yoga. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1999;43(2):218–24.

Cunningham S, Gunn T, Alladin A, Cawthorpe D. Anxiety, depression and hopelessness in adolescents: a structural equation model. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008;17(3):137–44.

Kim JW, Lee KS, Lee YS, Han DH, Min KJ, Song SH, et al. Factors associated with group bullying and psychopathology in elementary school students using child-welfare facilities. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2015;11:991–8.

Lupo MK, Strous RD. Religiosity, anxiety and depression among Israeli medical students. Isr Med Assoc J. 2011;13(10):613–8.