-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- 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 levels of anxiety and working memory in 96 students, aged 12
to 14. Good working memory is generally associated with better
The students were then tested on their general thinking and math
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
British Journal of Psychology.
"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
While the study found an association between anxiety levels and
test scores, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has more about
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