Effects of Anxiety and Test-Taking Strategies on Exam Differences Between Biology and Non-Biology Majors

Jalen Brown, Juanita Pardo, and Emily Weigel Dr. Emily Weigel School of Biological Sciences Georgia Institute of Technology North Ave NW Atlanta, GA 30332

Introductory biology courses often host students of different majors who use various strategies to succeed in class exams. Previous studies have examined the role of anxiety and different test-taking strategies on students’ exam performance; however, these factors have not been assessed as to how they differ when students are taking major-related coursework compared to general coursework. This study examines the exam performance of biology major vs. non-major students (N=217) taking an introductory biology course. Students were assessed using four introductory biology exams with respect to the following factors: exam score, time to complete the exam, exam markings (e.g. striking out answers, placing notes beside a question, and starring a question), and post-exam reflection questions (including, but not limited to, anxiety levels before test, and test-preparation strategies (e.g. number of days studied, with whom they studied, and how they studied)). Linear regression models will be made to predict exam scores from these predictor variables. We hypothesize differences between biology vs. non-biology majors. Differences between these groups can help professors understand whether providing major vs. non-major based introductory courses would be helpful to students who vary in test anxiety and test-taking strategies they employ. Classes can be structured in a way to provide specific test-taking preparation advice, including ways to lower anxiety, for major and non-major students whose anxiety and strategies hinder their exam performance. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Jalen Brown

Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

Type: Poster

Subject: Education

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4159