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Relationship of test-taking strategies to test anxiety and performance: Toward a task analysis of examination behavior

Abstract

An open-ended questionnaire was developed to gather retrospective descriptions of test-taking strategies used in working classroom exam questions. Responses were independently rated on a 3-point scale of effectiveness based on the degree to which subjects' strategies matched methods recommended by experts in remedial education. The study focused initially on evaluating the reliability and validity of the Questionnaire of How You Take Tests (QHTT).Reliability estimates were very adequate and the QHTT was unrelated to verbal ability and sex. Subsequently, the QHTT was used as a dependent measure to assess the degree to which lack of confidence (high text anxiety)in evaluative situations is related to deficits in test-taking strategies. Subjects with high and moderate levels of general test anxiety evidenced significantly less effective problem-solving strategies than low-anxiety subjects. Also, subjects with high and moderate levels of math anxiety were significantly less knowledgeable about effective tactics for working math-reading items than were low math anxiety subjects. The relationship between subjects' repertoire of test-taking strategies and their academic performance was also analyzed. High compared to low QHTT scorers attained significantly higher grade point averages over two consecutive semesters. Ways in which the results extend laboratory investigations of problem-solving skills and text anxiety are discussed as well as the limitations of the current method of assessing cognitive strategies.

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Additional information

The author expresses appreciation to Clarence Brown, Tim Delinski, Kim Kelly, Pam Taylor, and Carol Tadeusik for their assistance in conducting the study.

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Bruch, M.A. Relationship of test-taking strategies to test anxiety and performance: Toward a task analysis of examination behavior. Cogn Ther Res 5, 41–56 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01172325

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01172325

Keywords

  • Grade Point Average
  • Test Anxiety
  • Math Anxiety
  • Remedial Education
  • Exam Question