An Exploratory Look at the Effects Gender & Other Demographic Variables on Test Anxiety in College Students

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Sarah Ely Kristen Jastrowski-Mano


By Sarah Ely, Psychology

Advisor: Kristen Jastrowski-Mano

Presentation ID: PM_C12

Abstract: Test anxiety is an issue that greatly affects students' performance in school as well as self-esteem (�ikr�kci, Erzen, & Yeni�eri, 2018). While average levels of test anxiety motivate students to perform well on tests (Salend, 2011), excessive levels can lead to declines in test performance (Gonzalez, 1995). Population studies reveal about 7% of people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, which focuses on fear of evaluation similar to test anxiety. These studies reveal that gender differences in Social Anxiety Disorder are more prominent in teens and young adults (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Previous research suggests test anxiety is linked to lower test performance in college women in science (Ballen et al.), but there is a lack of research on associations between gender, test anxiety, field of study, self-esteem, and GPA. Participants were 350 undergraduate students (Mage = 19.36, SD = 1.40; 63% female; 79% Caucasian) who completed self-report measures in a classroom setting. Results revealed that women reported significantly higher levels of test anxiety than men. Women also have higher GPAs than men, and non-STEM students have higher GPAs than those in STEM. Among men, those in STEM fields have significantly higher levels of test anxiety than non-STEM majoring men. Additionally, students with higher GPAs (3.0+) had significantly higher levels of fear of negative evaluation compared to students with GPAs below 3.0. Results indicate that there are important gender differences in test anxiety in STEM majors.

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