On this page, we will discuss how stress negatively affects your academic performance. Although stress can positively affect some students, it can mostly negatively affects students’ academic performance. Research indicates that when we feel overwhelming stress related to school it not only demotivates us to do the work, it reduces our overall academic achievement and can lead to increased dropout rates.

How Stress negatively affects students’ academic performance

Stress is a natural response to the pressures of life, and it can have a negative impact on academic performance. Stress negatively affects students’ academic performance through difficulty concentrating, poor memory, decreased motivation, sleep problems, physical health problems, and emotional problems:



Difficulty concentrating

When students are stressed, they may have difficulty concentrating and may find it hard to focus on their studies. This can lead to poor academic performance and lower grades.

Example: Imagine a student, Sarah, who is worried about her upcoming exams. Her stress makes her mind wander constantly, and she finds it hard to focus on the study material. As a result, she’s unable to absorb the information effectively, which could lead to lower grades.

Poor memory

Stress can also affect a student’s ability to remember information, making it harder for them to recall important facts or concepts during tests or exams.

Example: John, another student, is under a lot of stress due to personal issues. When he tries to study, he finds it hard to remember the concepts he learned just a few days ago. During tests, he struggles to recall key information, which affects his performance.

READ  University Courses that Don't Require Maths in South Africa

Decreased motivation

Stress can cause a decrease in motivation, leading to a lack of interest in academic work and a decreased desire to achieve academic goals.

Example: Lisa, who usually enjoys her science classes, is experiencing high levels of stress. She starts to lose interest in her studies, skips classes more often, and doesn’t feel like doing her assignments. Her decreased motivation directly impacts her academic achievements.

Sleep problems

Stress can also cause sleep problems, such as insomnia or nightmares, which can lead to daytime fatigue and reduced academic performance.

Example: Alex, a final-year student, is stressed about his future career prospects. He experiences insomnia, finding it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. The lack of restful sleep leaves him tired and unfocused in class, hindering his learning and performance.

Physical health problems

Chronic stress can lead to physical health problems, such as headaches, stomach problems, and fatigue. These health issues can affect a student’s ability to attend classes or complete assignments, leading to decreased academic performance.

Example: Emma, who’s preparing for her university entrance exams, is feeling the pressure. She starts experiencing frequent headaches and stomach issues, which are stress-induced. These physical ailments cause her to miss important lectures and fall behind in her studies.

Emotional problems

Stress can also cause emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, which can affect a student’s ability to function effectively in academic settings.

Example: Michael, facing academic and social pressures, starts showing signs of anxiety and depression. He becomes less participative in class and withdraws from group activities. His emotional struggles make it difficult for him to engage with his academic work, affecting his overall performance.

READ  Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences (SMU) University 2025 Prospectus Pdf Download Courses

Video: Impact of stress on brain and academic performance

What is stress

According to World Health Organisation, stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain. When it comes to academic performance, learners should be physically, emotionally, and psychologically ready to excel.

Overall, stress can negatively affect academic performance in many ways. It is important for students to develop stress management strategies to help them cope with the pressures of academic life. This can include exercise, relaxation techniques, time management, and seeking support from family, friends, or mental health professionals. By managing stress effectively, students can improve their academic performance and achieve their academic goals.

Physical effects of stress that affect academic performance

Stree is linked to a number of physical discomfort and deterioration of health in a human. When you have too much stress in your life, it can start to manifest itself negatively in external ways, which are not desired when you aim to excel in your academic performance. How stress affects the body varies from person to person, but the common physical effects of stress are:

  • Low energy levels (lazy to study)
  • Headaches (can’t focus on studies)
  • Stomachaches, Insomnia, chest pains, and shaking or sweating hands, which can contribute to learners missing their classes and exams.
READ  Vaal University of Technology (VUT) 2025 Prospectus Pdf Download Courses