Pre-test jitters might boost scores, study says

October 12, 2012
Pre-test jitters might boost scores: study
A little anxiety seemed to help kids with good working memory, research found.

(HealthDay)—For students with a good memory, feeling anxious before taking an exam might actually lead to a higher test score, researchers have found.

In the new study, researchers in England used computer tests to assess and in 96 students, aged 12 to 14. Good working memory is generally associated with better school performance.

The students were then tested on their general thinking and .

The researchers found that in students with a good working memory, anxiety was associated with higher test scores. In students with a poor working memory, anxiety led to lower test results, according to the report published Oct. 12 in the .

"The research is exciting because it enhances our knowledge of when, specifically, anxiety can have a negative impact on taking tests. The findings also suggest that there are times when a little bit of anxiety can actually motivate you to succeed," study author Matthew Owens, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, said in a news release from the British Psychological Society. Owens was at the University of Southampton when the study took place.

The findings could improve understanding of the impact that anxiety has on students, the researchers said. They estimated that between 10 percent and 40 percent of children have anxiety when taking tests, and suggested that those who are more likely to do poorly on tests could be given priority for receiving extra help in school.

While the study found an association between and test scores, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Explore further: Math anxiety causes trouble for students as early as first grade

More information: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has more about test anxiety.


Related Stories

Math anxiety causes trouble for students as early as first grade

September 12, 2012
Many high-achieving students experience math anxiety at a young age—a problem that can follow them throughout their lives, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

Girls' mathematics performance more likely to suffer than boys' as a result of mathematics anxiety

July 8, 2012
If a train is travelling a distance of 55 miles at 150mph, how long will it take to reach its destination? If the thought of having to answer this question makes you apprehensive, then you may have mathematics anxiety. A ...

A change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school

August 9, 2011
Knowing the right way to handle stress in the classroom and on the sports field can make the difference between success and failure for the millions of students going back to school this fall, new University of Chicago research ...

Recommended for you

Short-course treatment for combat-related PTSD offers expedited path to recovery

January 23, 2018
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be debilitating and standard treatment can take months, often leaving those affected unable to work or care for their families. But, a new study demonstrated that many ...

Social and emotional skills linked to better student learning

January 23, 2018
Students with well-developed and adaptive social and emotional behaviours are most likely to excel in school, according to UNSW researchers in educational psychology.

Priming can negate stressful aspects of negative sporting environments, study finds

January 23, 2018
The scene is ubiquitous in sports: A coach yells at players, creating an environment where winning is the sole focus and mistakes are punished. New research from the University of Kansas shows that when participants find ...

Study of learning and memory problems in OCD helps young people unlock potential at school

January 22, 2018
Adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have widespread learning and memory problems, according to research published today. The findings have already been used to assist adolescents with OCD obtain the help ...

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

January 22, 2018
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the "size-weight illusion" as strongly as other people, new research shows.

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.