Seventy-five per cent of Australian senior students are experiencing or have experienced ATAR anxiety, according to new research from Cluey Learning.
Surprisingly, over half of these students consider their parents' ATAR anxiety to be worse than their own.
The nationwide survey of 420 senior students reveals that a specific ATAR score is "extremely important" to 57 per cent of pupils. More than half have a particular ATAR score they wish to achieve, with 55 per cent aiming for an ATAR of 90 or above.
Despite this, more than half of students believe an ATAR over 90 is "impossible".
When it comes to an ATAR under 60, over 80 per cent of students agree this score would be detrimental to their life and/or career.
According to the research from Cluey Learning, over 75 per cent of students believe their ATAR will impact the rest of their life.
What's more, 25 per cent of students who are aiming for a specific ATAR score agree they are unsure what they will do if they miss out on the rank they hope for.
The main reason for a desired ATAR is:
- To get into the course I want (46 per cent)
- It's important for a successful career (18 per cent)
- I want to know I did my best (15 per cent)
- To make my parents / school proud (13 per cent)
- Bragging rights (6 per cent)
Student plans for after school:
- Tertiary education (51 per cent)
- Travel (19 per cent)
- Learn a trade (18 per cent)
- Unsure (6 per cent)
- Other (6 per cent)
In response to emphasis on the admission rank, Cluey Learning has launched #ATARanxiety, a campaign encouraging students to shift focus from their final number to what can be done today. They will release expert tips via their blog and social channels throughout Term 4.
Chief learning officer Dr Selina Samuels comments, "At critical moments in education, students can feel like nothing else in the world matters except that final year or result.
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"It's easy to become fixated on the end and its enormity instead of the small steps to take today to allow effective learning to continue.
"Rather than finding ways to remove the pressure, it's better to find ways to manage it. Learning how to best deal with stress and expectations can help build resilience.
"The challenge is learning how to distinguish between reasonable levels of stress and disproportionate anxiety."
Study was the top choice for managing ATAR anxiety followed by "ignoring it", exercise and meditation.
Over 85 per cent agreed that last minute study and help is an important part of the prep process.
"The last few weeks before the exams can feel very lonely," Dr Samuels said.
"Many students feel that all they can do is go over and over their notes on their own. But that kind of repetition of familiar material makes students passive learners and breeds boredom.
"The trick to this final study stretch is to maintain your interest and to keep finding new ways to approach the same content. A tutor can help keep your study more lively in the final stretch and ensure no question goes unanswered."
Cluey Learning is extending office hours to provide session support from 6am until 10pm (and up until midnight for eastern states) across Term 4.
Free subscriptions to sleep and mindfulness app Calm will also be available as part of the #ATARanxiety campaign.
Cluey matches students with expert private tutors who conduct sessions using an online platform.
Features like video and audio, a virtual whiteboard and digital content results in a personalised learning experience for each student.
Visit the website clueylearning.com.au/atar-anxiety/ for more information on ATAR anxiety and senior student packages.