Competitive pressure and the fear of failure tempts nearly 30 per cent of students from Class 9 upwards to cheat and an even higher percentage tries to relax during exams by chatting with friends on the computer - which in turn fatigues them even more, says a new study.
These students - many of whom are taking the crucial Class 10 and 12 board examinations these days - feel the urge to constantly check with their friends to find out whether they are lagging behind in their studies.
Well-known psychiatrist Samir Parikh conducted the study in 20 schools across Delhi and the surrounding towns of Gurgaon and Noida, pointing to how pressure from teachers and parents to perform affects students.
"Teachers and parents place excessive pressure on students to perform," Parikh, chief of the mental health and behavioural science department at Max Healthcare, Saket, south Delhi, told IANS.
The study showed that 20 to 30 per cent of boys and girls are so stressed out that they feel tempted to cheat when taking exams so that they score well.
"The temptations are there because they have this fear that they might disappoint their parents and teachers. Also, they don't want to be laughed at," Parikh said.
The study, in which 944 boys and 1,056 girls were surveyed, also found that many either keep on calling their friends or chat with them.
Thirty-seven percent of girls and thirty-six per cent of boys said they constantly feel the need to know about their peers.
As many as 76 per cent of girls and 74 per cent of boys said their parents and teachers pressurise them to work harder and longer than they do. This pressure makes 40 percent students gulp down tea or coffee to keep the midnight oil burning.
"About 40 per cent of boys and girls drink tea or coffee to stay up late to study ignoring the biological rhythms of the body and the normal sleep-awake cycle which can potentially give them significant difficulty in getting up for exams and performing well as the mind and body are habituated to sleeping at that time," the study said.
This is also one reason for them to feel lethargic and tired all the time. Thirty-four percent girls and 29 per cent boys complained that they feel tired.
The study also found that many students never take a real break while preparing. About 35 per cent of boys and 45 per cent of girls do not take outdoor breaks when exams are going on. Instead, they spend that time in front of the computer to chat with friends.
"About 56 per cent of boys and 53 per cent of girls sit behind the computer to chat with friends whenever they want to relax from studies," the study added.
"These students don't realise that this would further increase their fatigue and more so reduce their concentration spans," it said.
Many students openly admitted to being scared of examinations.
"Sixteen percent of boys and 19 per cent of girls scored high on this. There appears to be a large percentage of students experiencing a sense of panic and fear of exam situations," the report said.
Students also feel pressurised after reading media reports about someone excelling in exams.