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I’m a clinical psychologist—here’s how exams are damaging young people’s mental health

It's time to ask ourselves if we’re really happy with our current approach to schooling, which so sharply affects young people’s mental wellbeing and learning

By Lucy Maddox  

YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 10, 2020: Students prepare to take a State Unified Exam (EGE) in mathematics at secondary school No 65. The State Unified Exam is a series of graduation exams for secondary school students, which also serves as preliminary exam in universities. In 2020, Russia's Ministry of Education decided to postpone the main wave of State Unified Exam in most schools from the usual period between 25 May and 29 June to 3-25 July due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year, only school graduates who plan to enter universities are taking the State Unified Exam, in compliance with all public health security measures. Donat Sorokin/TASS

GCSE results have come out and in all of the UK and Ireland teacher-predicted grades will be used. The weeks when exam results come out are regularly stressful, but this year has been off the scale. It was always going to be hard to allocate grades for exams which hadn’t been sat, but in England in particular the handling of A level results has been a farce, causing young people…

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