Examination stress is thought to prevent some individuals from reaching their academic potential. Explanations of this relationship include a proneness to ruminate and worry about examinations, as well as a tendency to be more susceptible to distraction. We therefore examined the relative roles that worry and distraction, assessed three months prior to examinations, have in predicting the academic grades of undergraduate students. Test-anxious worry was related to susceptibility to distraction, but not exactly as predicted. However, both worry and a proneness to be distracted by non-threatening, examination-irrelevant material were found to predict academic performance. These results are discussed in light of theories of test anxiety, as well as the potential for further research and interventions to manage examination stress.
Keogh, E., Bond, F. W., French, C. C., Richards, A., & Davis, R. E. (2004). Test anxiety, susceptibility to distraction and examination performance. Anxiety Stress and Coping, 17(3), 241-252. https://doi.org/10.1080/10615300410001703472