A randomised controlled trial of attention bias modification training in GCSE students with test anxiety
Approximately 16% of GCSE students in England experience some anxiety about their exams. This is concerning not only because anxiety itself is unpleasant, but also because test anxiety can interfere with performance. One reason for this is that students with test anxiety may show an attention bias towards threatening stimuli (e.g. their fears of failure), thus diverting their attention away from the content of their exams. Attention bias has been found in a number of anxiety disorders, including test anxiety.
Researchers have successfully attempted to reduce this bias through attention bias modification training, although such an approach has yet to be used with students with test anxiety. In this talk the findings from a small-scale study investigating the effect of attention bias modification training on GCSE students with test anxiety will be discussed. In particular, the talk will focus on whether such training can reduce attention bias and test anxiety and, in doing so, improve performance in GCSE exams.
Dr Wendy Symes is a psychology lecturer in the Education and Social Justice department at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include test anxiety, and the impact of psychological constructs, such as motivation and self-efficacy, on student outcomes.
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