Academic Stress in High Level Classes

Erinn Sanders

Many AP and IB students suffer from unhealthy amounts of academic stress.
Saige Santora
Many AP and IB students suffer from unhealthy amounts of academic stress.

It is close to midnight. You’ve been studying for your AP Exam for the past six hours. You try to blink the sleep out of your eyes as you turn the page of your textbook, but all it does is make you more tired. You have to get up at 5:30 in the next morning, but you can’t risk getting a two or a three on the test or you won’t get college credit. You continue studying early into the morning.  By the time you get to the school and take your test you are exhausted and your performance suffers.

A survey by the American Psychological Association showed that forty-five percent of teens reported being heavily stressed by their school work. AP exams and IB testing are notable causes of stress, which can prompt students to be irritable, develop headaches, or even get physically ill. Sickness can cause students to miss school which can pile up their homework and classwork.

A poll by NPR (National Public Radio) had students saying that homework was the leading cause of stress, with twenty-four percent of the people attributing their anxiety towards it. In another survey by Medical Daily, twenty-six percent of the students interviewed had alarming symptoms of depression.

Shannon Young, Marching Band member, attributed some of her stress to band, because she doesn’t get very much sleep on nights when she has late band practice.  Staying alert and awake in classes has been a problem for her.  She considered herself lucky that she wasn’t taking any AP or IB classes.

The stress of AP and IB classes has always been more potent than other classes. Lily Larson, currently taking the new AP World History course said that she has a lot of anxiety from her busy workload. She also said that there was more at stake if she didn’t get an A or a B in the class. When asked about the importance of the AP classes, Tzu Chao Huang, a sophomore, said, “The classes are sold as a needed class to get into good colleges, which ends up stressing students that aren’t quite academically ready. It is Advanced Placement. The classes aren’t for everyone.”

High competition and rising college prices are causing stress on today’s students. If you plan carefully you can avoid the piercing fear and worry. Better time management has been known to soothe and manage stress, as well as only signing up for classes that you are qualified for. In an article by Healthline it is recommended that listening to music, maintaining good relationships, or drinking tea may help calm anxiety. Drinking tea and listening to music have been known to lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. Maintaining good relationships is essential to a healthy lifestyle. The next time you’re feeling stressed or like you have a weight on your shoulders, call a friend and you may be surprised by how much better you feel.