BEIJING - China's senior high school students suffer a far greater rate of "high or comparatively high stress" than students in three other countries, an international survey has found.
More than 86 percent of Chinese senior high students felt under high stress, compared with 69 percent in Japan, 74.8 percent in the Republic of Korea and 61.7 percent in the United States.
The poll found the top causes of stress in China were parents' expectations, followed by the students themselves.
While half of the Chinese respondents admitted the pressure partly came from peer competition, only about 20 percent from the other three countries cited this as a cause.
China's national college entrance exam, which falls on June 7 to 9 each year, is a major event in the lives of the country's high school students, with 10 million competing each year for the highest scores.
The exam is widely described as "du mu qiao," or "a single-plank bridge" on which candidates jostle for the limited college places.
The survey of 7,500 students in the four countries was conducted in September and October last year by the China Youth and Children Research Center and corresponding organizations abroad.
The Chinese survey covered six cities, including Beijing.
The Chinese government is considering reforms of the country's education system to raise standards and provide more opportunities with a 10-year blueprint up to 2020.
Sun Xiaobin, a senior official with the Ministry of Education, said last month that the reforms should ease the pressure as test results would be paired with student interviews and evaluation of the student's high school performance as part of the overall university admissions criteria.