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In a fast-paced society like the present where events tend to happen daily without rest, stress has quickly become one of the most common psychological issues amongst any nation. In the united states, stress and stress-related problems have a huge impact on the nation and its people. In response to the possible impact of stress, the American Psychological Association (APA) commissioned a series of annual nationwide surveys called the Stress in America report to analyze and study the effects of stress and how they are distributed amongst the students. In the newest edition of APA’s Stress in America reports, surveys reveal that stress suffered by the millennials reportedly have been the highest compared to other age groups. With a slight increase from last year’s 5.6 to 5.7 on the average stress ratings, millennial stress easily tops stress chart while older adults, baby boomers, and gen-xers with their 3.3, 3.9, and 5.3 stress ratings respectively. In fact, “since 2014, Millennials continue to have the highest reported stress levels…” (American Psychological Association, 2017) Indeed, stress for millennials has been a huge problem for the United States. In APA’s 2013 edition of Stress in America report specially titled as “Are Teens Adopting Adults’ Stress Habits” to address this issue, many detailed statistics regarding teen stress were discovered through studies and surveys. Amongst the 1018 teens aged 13 to 17 that was surveyed, 74% reported having had more than one symptom of stress; the symptoms include feeling overwhelmed by stress (31%), experiencing fatigue due to stress (36%) , almost crying  from stress (32%) and undergoing periods of anxiety by stress (36%). Stress can cause a lot of problems mentally and physically even for adults, but even more so for still maturing teenagers. For instance, in long term, high stress have been proven to be able to exhaust the body and weaken the immune system (McNeely). On the other hand, research also shows that experiencing consistent stress even as an otherwise healthy teenager can lead to higher levels of inflammation, which is directly correlated with the development of cardiovascular diseases (Fuligni). On a smaller scale, people living with chronic stress generally get  more frequent and severe viral infections. With the amount of harm stress can cause to the students, there are also signs that the stress within teenagers are continually growing as well. According to the Stress in America 2013 survey, 31 percent of the teens stated that their stress levels had increased in the past year, that’s twice as many as those who said it had decreased. On top of that, 34 percent also expected their stress levels to rise in the coming year. Stress can be detrimental to teenager’s health and teenagers nation wise are getting more and more stressed. As a result, it would be absolutely important to learn how to cope or deal with stress. However, teens appeared to also struggle to try to cope with high stress. Only 50% of the surveyed teens reported feeling confident in their abilities to handle personal problems and only 46% said that they are on top of things very often.  In terms of getting outside help, while 43 percent teens thought that consulting a psychologists could be beneficial, only 5 percent teens reported having actually seen a mental health professional for stress management. Teenage years are usually portrayed as an age of carefree freedom in literature and pop culture references, so why are teens so stressed out in reality? According to the same 2013 Stress in America survey,  83% report that school is a somewhat or significant source of stress. In addition, 13 percent of the surveyed teens rated their summer stress level as an 8, 9, or 10 (tested on a 10-point scale with 1 being the lowest stress and 10 being the highest stress) while 27 percent of teens reported their school year stress level as an 8, 9, or 10, meaning that the stress level for students had actually doubled during the school year than outside of it. A study in 2015 interviewed and surveyed students at 2 private schools regarding their experiences surrounding stress reveals that grades and the preparation for college were the greatest sources of stress for both genders while the pressure from standardized tests required for college admission follows (Gwadz et al.). One of the male students that were interviewed indicated that the chronic stress it brings to learn the materials for a good grade on tests just diminishes the enjoyment of learning that material, “I’m always worrying about my grades. It almost takes away from the subject, ’cause I won’t sit there and try to learn the material. I’ll just learn what I need to know to get a good grade. I won’t be interested in it. I’ll just be interested in the grade.” Marya Gwadz, a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing and a researcher in this study, points out that experiences like these “can cause kids to burn out by the time they get to college, or to feel the psychological and physical effects of stress for much of their adult lives … (Ossola)””We live  in a test-conscious, test-giving culture in which the lives of people are in part determined by their test performance.” says Seymour Sarason, a professor of Psychology Emeritus at Yale University, on a study he published in 1960 regarding the culture of testing in the United States at that time (Sarason et al., 1960, p.26). After 50 some years have passed by, the importance of tests, and more specifically standardized testings, have become an even larger part of the global education standard. College applications are often heavily impacted by how well you can score on a test and many students treat tests as their number one priorities. As a result, standardized testings have become a main source of anxiety and stress for students all over the world. For examples, tests such as the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and Year 6 SATs in the UK are attributed as the reason for an increase in test-related stress and anxiety according the Cambridge University Primary review (Tymms & Merrell, 2007). To study the details of how standardized testings can really affect the students’ stress and anxiety levels, Professor Martyn Denscombe from De Montfort University analysed the patterns between stress levels of 15 to 16 year olds in the East Midlands of England and their GCSEs by using focus groups, interviews, and a large-scaled questionnaire survey. In his work, Denscombe came to the conclusion of 4 reasons to why the GCSE produce so much stress amongst the tested students: Markers of self-esteem; judgements from others; fear appears by teachers; and consequences (Denscombe, 2000). Denscombe argues that GCSE has not only became a test for the education system to see how well the students learn, it has also slowly became a way the students uses to measure their self worth. As students judge themselves based on the grade they receive, there will be more or less an internalisation of the belief that esteem could be enhanced positively or negatively through academic achievements. On top of that, students know that they will receive judgements by others such as parents, teachers, and peers based on their test performances, therefore further instilling the importance and heaviness of scores in the students’ minds. Teachers, in particular, would often communicate to students regarding the importance and timing of the GCSEs. Although such reminders (e.g. “You won’t be able to get into colleges unless you get five GCSEs”) are often intended to be motivational, they provoke an emotion of fear into the students and can sometimes be a trigger for stress amongst the students. With all these factors combined, the students fear the consequences of the GCSEs. Too much weight have been placed on the test to the point where students would feel as their life and meaning would depend on just a test alone; they cannot afford to fail or else they will face the consequences of a decrease in self-esteem, the judgement of others, and they might not even get into colleges due to it. This internal fear would then cause anxieties and stress within the students.

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