Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety

The local broadsheet state that Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety and exceed their worldwide counterparts.

Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety: causes

But of course, this comes as no surprise.

Instead of following the international O/A level examinations, MOE chooses to implement a harder version of the exams.

And Then create the IP path afterwards.

Consequently, students in this path have to ensure they do well, otherwise they only have a PSLE certificate (primary school).

Unfortunately if the A level grades are no good, there is little to no options available with a PSLE.

Worse yet, it is not helping that there is a hard cap on local university admissions.

But of course, it is only inevitable to have Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety?

Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety: why a hard cap on university admissions

Most importantly, because the incumbents think that this will impact them come election time.

The electorate needs to be in a happy place so as to keep the votes going to the incumbents.

If there is a glut of graduates and who are not able to find meaningful employment, this results in a lot of unhappiness. Not to mention that they do not contribute to the state coffers (taxes) either.

Consequently, limit the number of local graduates.

However, if this creates manpower shortfalls in a particular field, then implant foreign talents to plug the gap.

The ministry of manpower maintain outstation offices in several countries with this task. A personal friend (who have since left) recount to me his experience in India doing just that.

To this end, there is no worries from the incumbents.

But of course, it inevitably results in Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety.

Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety: mindfulness, a solution

Since one cannot change the education system, the solution is to focus on tackling the anxiety.

This is a useful skill not just as a student but as a working adult as well.

And it starts with practicing mindfulness. Something, I implement for my students.

This is what many incredibly successful people routinely do.

Just as exercises keep the physical body healthy, mindfulness keeps the mind in tip top shape.

It does so by helping the mind to remain calm as we navigate through the inevitable ups and particularly downs in life.

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what is happening around you. It trains you to engage in your senses.

And in doing so, let us become resilient to the anxiety attacks.

Speaking of which, this reminds me of some of my past students who didn’t do well for exams.

I noticed that even though many have attained subject mastery, it did not translate into good grades.

On retrospect, many admit to suffering incapacitating anxiety causing mental blackouts.

Which is why I am so adamant about implementing mindfulness for my students.

Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety: meditation

In order to be mindful, one has to practice daily meditation.

And there are many meditation guiding apps. Many of them come with soothing voices guiding one through the meditation exercise.

I use this free app and continue to see improvements in myself. More importantly, I note more frequent days with sustained feelings of content and happiness.

This allows me to be a more effective educator.

Do note, even though many religions also talk about the practice of meditation, the practice itself is neutral.

You can make it a religious experience or not. It’s completely up to the person who is doing the meditation.

For convenience the free app that I use is non-religious.

Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety: meditation, how long before seeing the results?

One has to commit to at least a 7 day cycle, since it will be completely useless otherwise.

There is no magic bullet and you don’t become a master of meditation in 1 sitting.

Since benefits accumulate you will only begin to feel the effects afterwards.

It took me 9 days before I first begin to realize the sustained feeling of how light, nimble and happy my mind is.

If you are doing a guided meditation, they typically prescribe it for a set duration. This is usually around 10 minutes or lesser and most importantly can be completed easily.

Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety: bottomline

Whilst the situation of Singaporean students suffering high levels of anxiety is a very real problem.

The problem can be beat if one follows mindfulness practices and become resilient to the stress and anxiety.

This allows one to perform at very high levels despite being in high stress environments.

And chances are, increasing the odds of achieving your desired grades in exam sittings.

Finally, let me know if this has been useful.

Strategies for being a better student sitemap:
Study excellence
Developing grit = success
How to take good notes in class
Sleeping your way to optimal learning
Study productivity and diffuse learning
Handphone use in classrooms: how it works against learning
Exam Strategies
The exam diet
Boost A level performance
Goal setting for exam success
Solution to exam-taking anxiety
Spaced repetitions and exam success


  • On August 30, 2017