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The study, published in 2010, showed that simply expressing your worries on paper before taking a exam can relieve stress and help you achieve a better overall performance! This proved to be especially true for students who are especially anxious about taking tests.
Two laboratory and two randomized field experiments tested a psychological intervention designed to improve students’ scores on high-stakes tests and to increase our understanding of why pressure-filled exam situations undermine some students’ performance. They expected that sitting for an important exam leads to worries about the situation and its consequences that undermine test performance.
They tested whether having students write down their thoughts about an upcoming test could improve test performance. The intervention, a brief expressive writing assignment that occurred immediately before taking an important test, significantly improved students’ exam scores, especially for students habitually anxious about test taking. Simply writing about one’s worries before a high-stakes exam can boost test scores.
To read more about exam worries, click here.