Maud Millar
Ambassador cohort

How to manage rising student anxiety levels

Ambassador and CEO of revision app Adapt, Maud Millar, discusses how proper plans reduce stress in students, boost motivation and – potentially –  exam results.

In 2018, Barnardos surveyed school students all over the country, asking them what they were most worried about. On average, 65% responded “school”, with 42% citing “their future”.

Digging into those numbers further, it becomes clear that this stress is intrinsically linked to exams. While 48% of 12-year-olds are already stressed out about school, by age 16 that stress increases to 83%, with 80% seriously worrying about their futures.

After reading this, we at Adapt decided that we needed to understand what would make students feel better, in order to work out if we could do anything to help. We gathered a dataset of 30,000 students online and asked them, both through big-data quantitative surveys and in 55 hours of qualitative interviews, what it was that they actually needed.

89% said that it was a plan - and that when they made a plan, they felt far less overwhelmed by their studies. Despite that, 81% said that they had never been able to make a plan that worked for them. Why was this? Well, because the way they plan (on paper, with pens and rulers) is outdated. Inflexible. And they don’t know how to do it. 

The benefits of a plan 

So, we built Adapt: a free revision timetable app, that students can use to organise their lives.

After inputting their subjects and existing commitments, the app creates a personalised revision timetable - constructed by expert teachers from the exam boards’ specifications. Adapt notifies pupils to study and, if they don’t get everything done, it automatically reschedules any outstanding topics to another time they’re free.

Adapt is new in two ways:

1. It's automatic - students make the plan once and the algorithm does the rest, freeing up precious study time.

2. It breaks down subjects into topics - by knowing what to study, students have exact guidance and academic expertise.

Right now, students are mostly stuck with paper: drawing blocks and figuring out what to do for themselves. In our opinion this is insanely manual, time consuming and inflexible. Adapt wipes away the manual labour so students can focus on more important things – like studying!

The response

We’re only in Beta at the moment but, tentatively, the response from our 10,000 users appears to be positive. 97% of students told us that using Adapt made them feel more motivated. 96% felt more organised, while 91% felt more in control of their revision. Positively, 80% felt less stressed about revision.

Another 40,000 students have joined the waitlist to download Adapt when it launches in January. That number is growing all the time, with most students finding us organically through Instagram or word of mouth.

We hope to grow quickly from our launch in January 2020, allowing us to monitor the effects of time management on students much more comprehensively. We’ll be publishing our findings after school exam results arrive in August 2020.

In the meantime, anyone wanting to find out more about Adapt, or recommend it to students as a (completely free) revision resource, can find us on our website

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