Test Anxiety

  1. Hello,
    Lilly here. Just looking for some input on test anxiety. I am doing my Psychology paper on "Test Anxiety" in corrolation with "Locus Of Control". My Theory is that student's with an internal locus of control suffer more extreme and dibilitating test anxiety than do those with an external locus of control. Please give me your input on my theory.

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    About kittylilly

    Joined: Mar '03; Posts: 13
    Student/Test Proctor


  3. by   Nurse2bSandy
    I believe that when someone has an internal locus of control it would mean that they feel more in control of their outcome, not reliant on others or external factors to effect the outcome. Someone with an internal locus of control should suffer less anxiety feeling like they have the ability to choose how things will turn out.
    I found this description on the web... typed 'locus of control' into google..
    "Locus of control is a personality construct referring to an individual's perception of the locus of events as determined internally by his/her own behavior vs. fate, luck, or external circumstances.

    Some research (McCombs, 1991) suggests that what underlies the internal locus of control is the concept of "self as agent." This means that our thoughts control our actions and that when we realize this executive function of thinking we can positively affect our beliefs, motivation, and academic performance. "The self as agent can consciously or unconsciously direct, select, and regulate the use of all knowledge structures and intellectual processes in support of personal goals, intentions, and choices" (p. 6). McCombs asserts that "the degree to which one chooses to be self-determining is a function of one's realization of the source of agency and personal control" (p. 7). In other words, we can say to ourselves, "I choose to direct my thoughts and energies toward accomplishment. I choose not to be daunted by my anxieties or feelings of inadequacy."

    Hope this helps... have fun with your paper!
  4. by   kittylilly
    Thank you so much for the in put! And the info. on Locus of Control. This changes my theory completly and make more sense. I know that in survey, this is what I've been finding also.
    So thank you agian!!!
  5. by   javamom
    I'm someone with, what I think, is internal locus of control. I have horrible test anxiety. I do not believe my fate is up to a higher power or "what will be will be". Therefore, by believing that *I* am in control of whether a test is passed or failed, I stress out big time. I get the rapid heart beat, sweating palms, you name it.

    If someone with external locus control takes a test, they have the attitude that if they're meant to pass, they will. (In my opinion). Therefore, wouldn't experience test anxiety.

    So personally(and respectfully), I don't agree with the Sandy's theory. But that's the beauty of theory!
  6. by   Nurse2bSandy
    Interesting theory, javamom. Do you stress out big time because you don't trust yourself to study the right stuff? It seems that locus of control might be influenced by a person's belief in themself, or in external forces good or bad will.
    I see external locus of control at work in my A&P class all the time. We have a poor instructor... doesn't lecture, just gives us study guides to look up in our books and tests off of those. We tend to search for answers only and don't really know our stuff. I have found that I must go through the book and rewrite it in order to know what each chapter is teaching me, much like an instructor might do in a lecture. Many in the class blame their lack of knowledge on poor instruction, when they have the same book as the instructor and could read it to learn all they need to know. (I used to be one of those blamers... then I realized that I could control my own learning and be responsible for it.)

    I'm not at all saying that I don't get anxious before a test... I don't seem to actually test well. But I do tend to rationalize my score based on the amount of study time and effort that I put into it. I have learned to look at my mistakes, observe and correct them. Not get down on myself for them.
    Okay, this is wordy and I'm in no way an expert on this... just adding more to my 'theory'... and trying to get this back to the top so maybe someone else will add their thoughts. I'm planning on majoring in psych... can you tell?
  7. by   javamom
    Sandy, I understand why you would question someone's ability to believe in themselves by what I said. However, I think because I have a 4.0 gpa that I often get scared at the prospect of losing that gpa. I don't think in my situation that it has anything to do with trusting myself to study the right material or the belief in myself, or studying enough b/c I know those qualities are there for me. I know I'm a good student, study by the profs outline, take notes, study far in advance, etc... I think it goes back to more of the fear of the unknown. Being 31, I have a much more invested interest in schooling than I did when I was younger and I try much harder. In my opinion you can't study too much, ever. It just goes back to the fact that NO ONE ever knows for a fact what questions will be asked and the options that will be given to answer the question.

    And with nursing school, it's an entirely different "schooling ballgame". Question are worded much more different than a "normal" test. I think we all can agree on that. Picking the "best" answer is MUCH different than picking the RIGHT answer. KWIM? I have rebutted a few questions on exams because I've proven to the professors with page numbers in our texts where more than one answer is correct out of the options they gave.

    So, long story short, I am confident in my studies and myself, and sticking with my theory on this one But I do see your point of view as well.
    Last edit by javamom on Apr 6, '03