Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Study finds that writing about worries before an exam results in better performance

A recent University of Chicago study found that students who write for 10 minutes before a test decrease the brainpower they are using to be anxious and thus increase the brainpower they are using on the test material. Students in the study who wrote about the anxiety they were experiencing before an exam scored significantly higher on a sample exam than students who did not write about their anxiety.

"Writing about your worries for 10 minutes before an upcoming exam leveled the playing field such that those students who usually get most anxious during exams were able to overcome their fears and perform up to their potential," according to primary investigator and University of Chicago professor of psychology Sian Beilock.

Beilock found that students performed better on the test when they wrote specifically about the test anxiety itself. Beilock suggests that these findings are useful for particularly anxious students who should consider writing for 10 minutes about their anxiety before a class in whcih they must write an exam. Even if instructors do not invite students to write about their anxiety before an in class exam they might consider suggesting that particularly anxious writers spend ten minutes writing about their anxiety before beginning an essay, homework assignment, or test.

The full article can be found here:

Writing about worries eases anxiety and improves test performance

Students can combat test anxiety and improve performance by writing about their worries immediately before the exam begins, according to a University of Chicago study published Friday in the journal Science.

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