London, October 13: Being anxious before sitting for an exam may boost a candidate’s grades, researchers say.
According to the new study, being anxious only has a negative impact on results if a child’s memory is poor, but if a young person has a good memory, a tendency to feel anxious is linked with getting better marks.
For the study, researchers assessed 96 children aged 12 to 14 in memory and anxiety tests.
A questionnaire established how anxious the children usually felt, and the results were measured against their ability to perform computerised tests involving “complex” or working-memory skills.
“There are times when a little bit of anxiety can actually motivate you to succeed,” the BBC quoted lead researcher Dr Matthew Owens as saying.
“For those with high working-memory capacity, however, the pattern of results was reversed. An increase in [a tendency towards] anxiety was linearly associated with higher test scores.
“These effects were not better accounted for by gender, age, or time of testing,” he said.
The researchers say the results of the study should encourage education professionals to target help anxious children with poor complex memory skills.
“Given that the relationship between anxiety and cognitive performance was only a negative one in the low working-memory capacity group, young people with poor working-memory skills are likely to benefit the most from any intervention that aims to reduce symptoms of anxiety,” the report said.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Psychology. (ANI)