home
RSS
Writing about anxiety may boost test scores
January 13th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Writing about anxiety may boost test scores

You probably remember it all too well: clenching your teeth as the teacher handed out the final exam, worrying about what curve-ball problems might appear and how your score would affect your GPA.

It's as if your brain is a computer running too many programs at once, says Sian Beilock, associate professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. Stressing about the consequences of your score uses up valuable thinking and resources in your brain, and can actually make you perform worse when you actually start taking the test.

It turns out that writing about these anxieties right before the test may boost a grade. A new study in the journal Science suggests that high school and college students may significantly benefit from putting their worries on paper before taking an exam.

"How students perform on a test isn’t necessarily indicative of true ability," said Beilock, senior author of the study. If students have the opportunity to reexamine the situation by expressing their thoughts, it may seem better than they originally thought, she said, and such anxieties are less likely to pop up during the test itself.

The study consisted of four experiments, two in the laboratory with college students and two in real-life biology classrooms with 9th graders.

With the college students, Beilock and colleagues compared the performance on a math test of students asked to write about their anxieties against those told to sit quietly during that time. All participants had stress on the second test of the experiments because they were told they would receive money if they did well, and that others were counting on them. Researchers also told the students they were being videotaped and that math teachers would review the work.

It turned out that participants who did not write about their stress had scores that dropped 12%, on average, from the first to second math test, whereas the students who wrote about their thoughts improved 5% on average. Researchers observed a similar pattern when comparing participants doing the expressive writing with those writing about other topics.

The concept worked in real-life settings, too. Ninth-graders taking a biology final exam took an initial assessment of anxiety about the test beforehand. Those highest in anxiety had an average grade of B- on the test if they did not do the expressive writing; those who did averaged B+. This effect was shown on two different occasions with different students.

The intervention studied here doesn't require a lot of time, money or resources from schools; in fact, students could just do it on their own time, she said. And it has all sorts of applications outside the classroom - preparing for job interviews, speeches and big sports games, to name a few, Beilock said.

"This sort of writing might be beneficial in other activities, from the boardroom to the classroom to the playing field," said

Next steps in this line of research include testing the idea on younger students, and looking at what effect the expressive writing has on brain activity.


soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. order tadalafil

    tadalafil 40 mg daily https://elitadalafill.com/ what is tadalafil

    April 24, 2021 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. canadian pharmacy generic cialis

    counterfeit canadian drugs cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ buy generic cialis, canadian

    April 26, 2021 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. buy viagra from canada

    can you buy viagra over the counter in canada? https://canadaviagrastore.com/ canada 20 viagra

    April 26, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. hydroxychloroquine plaquenil

    muse for erectile dysfunction https://plaquenilx.com/ comparing erectile dysfunction drugs

    April 26, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. dysfunction

    erectile therapy pump https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ what does erectile dysfunction mean

    April 27, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. best canada viagra pills online

    viagra purchase from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ canada cheap viagra

    April 29, 2021 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. aralen phosphate chloroquine phosphate

    chlorodine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chlorowuine

    April 30, 2021 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. erectile dysfunction drug

    erectile pump reviews https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile response

    April 30, 2021 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. priligy

    buy priligy canada buy priligy

    May 1, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. avanafil

    avanafil stendra dosage buy avana uk

    May 3, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. chloroquine for malaria

    chloroquine side effects https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine without prescription

    May 4, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Link

    Pretty good post. We just stumbled upon your blog page and wanted to declare We have really appreciated reading your blog content. In any manner I'll be subscribing to your feed in addition to I hope you post again soon. Big just useful info.

    https://myirishcousin.com/community/forums/profile/tantriangga/

    May 4, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. dapoxetine

    priligy tablets for sale dapoxetine 90 mg

    May 6, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. please click the following article

    I’m not certain where you stand getting your details, but wonderful topic.

    https://myirishcousin.com/community/forums/profile/nanamay7878/

    May 8, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. please click the following article

    thanks this can be good blog.

    https://www.vsoftlift.us/community/profile/indratar5652/

    May 12, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. storno brzinol

    Would you be all in favour of exchanging hyperlinks?

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 13, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. storno brzinol

    Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and we are looking to swap solutions with others, please shoot me an email if interested.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. brimonidine

    combigan eye drops 2% brimonidine tartrate 2%

    May 15, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. brimonidine

    brimonidine eye drops buy brimonidine online

    May 16, 2021 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. avanafil

    avana avanafil 200

    May 16, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. site

    A very excellent article. I am thankful for your blog blog post. I have found some sort of lot of methods after visiting your post.

    https://jnuacsf.org/community/profile/indratar5652/

    May 20, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. cyclosporine

    cyclosporine lab tube cyclosporine emulsion drops

    May 21, 2021 at 05:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. https://www.bolognatrailteam.run

    Im really impressed together having your composing talents and also with the format on your blog. Is that this a compensated issue matter or did anyone modify it your self? Both technique stay up often the nice quality writing, it is

    https://www.bolognatrailteam.run/community/profile/indratar5652/

    May 23, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. cyclosporine

    cyclosporine medication cyclosporine eye drops

    May 23, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Soosteemocush

    https://tadalafilol.com/ side effects for tadalafil https://tadalafilww.com/ – where to buy generic cialis online safely generic cialis tadalafil

    May 24, 2021 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. combigan

    combigan uk brimonidine use

    May 24, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Soosteemocush

    generic cialis tadalafil https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil goodrx generic cialis tadalafil tadalafil blood pressure https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 24, 2021 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Tritreviewifind

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ tadalafil goodrx generic tadalafil from uk tadalafil cost walmart cialis at canadian pharmacy

    May 24, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. brimonidine

    combigan cost brimonidine tartrate 2%

    May 25, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Tritreviewifind

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ tadalafil price walmart buy tadalafil cheap generic cialis for sale cialis without a prescription

    May 25, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. tausAffessy

    https://tadalafilol.com/ side effects of tadalafil side effects for tadalafil where to buy tadalafil on line where to buy tadalafil on line

    May 25, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. avana

    avana tabs buy avanafil canada

    May 25, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Tritreviewifind

    cheap generic cialis for sale what is tadalafil cheap generic cialis for sale cialis without a prescription https://apcalisetadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 04:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Reatha Gierlach

    could someone explain to me exactly how I would make money blogging?

    https://www.instagram.com/katekdesigns

    May 26, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Tritreviewifind

    cialis tadalafil https://cttadalafil.com/ – tadalafil price walmart tadalafil order online no prescription tadalafil drug https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Tritreviewifind

    side effects for tadalafil https://tadalafilol.com/ – tadalafil cialis cialis without prescription lowest price cialis what is tadalafil

    May 27, 2021 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. iamrachelrenee.com

    Thanks intended for the informative in addition to helpful post, obviously in the blog everything is good.

    https://iamrachelrenee.com/community/profile/julianadinda5546/

    May 27, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tritreviewifind

    cialis at canadian pharmacy buy generic cialis online with mastercard cialis without prescription tadalafil cialis https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Unitmerienepeft

    tadalafil liquid https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ tadalafil cost in canada side effects of tadalafil generic tadalafil from uk

    May 27, 2021 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. tadalafil 40 mg daily

    toptada https://tadalisxs.com/ tadalafil 25mg

    May 27, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Lane Santistevan

    I really appreciate this wonderful post that a person have provided for people. I assure this would certainly be good for most associated with the people.

    http://covarrubiasenterprises.com/community/profile/tantriangga0008/

    June 1, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. taldenafil

    tadalafil daily online tadalafil research powder tadalafil without a doctor prescription

    June 5, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. hcos

    cloroquina 250 mg hydroxychloroquine vidal who chloroquine

    June 5, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. hydroxychloroquine sulfate corona

    hydrocholoroquine chloroquine new zealand side effects hydroxychloroquine

    June 6, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. tadalafil from canada to usa

    tadalafil from india reviews tadalafil citrate tadalafil powder suppliers

    June 6, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. buy hydroxychloroquine

    cloriquin hydroxychloroquine bnf where to get chloroquine

    June 6, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. tadalafil cialis

    what is tadalafil made from cialis at canadian pharmacy tadalafil xtenda 20 mg

    June 7, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. spielhalleschriesheim.com

    I needs to be able to spend some time studying much more or understanding additional.

    https://spielhalleschriesheim.com/community/profile/nanamay7878/

    June 9, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.