TEST ANXIETY ON ENGINEERING STUDIES: ASSOCIATIONS WITH STUDENTS’ SOCIO-PERSONAL, COGNITIVE-MOTIVATIONAL AND EMOTIONAL VARIABLES

R. García-Ros 1, F. Cavas 2, J.S. Velázquez 2, F.L. Sáez-Gutiérrez 2, F. Pérez-González 1, M.C. Fuentes 3

1University of Valencia, Department of Evolutive Psychology and Education (SPAIN)
2Technical University of Cartagena, Department of Structures, Construction and Graphical Expression (SPAIN)
3University of Valencia, Department of Methodology of Behavioural Sciences (SPAIN)
Test-anxiety, defined as "students’ worry and concern over taking exams”, constitutes a highly prevalent phenomenon and an important concern in university studies. More than a third of college students report experiencing it in a relevant way, showing a significant direct relationship with students’ lower academic performance and dropout, as well as their negative impact on students’ psychological well-being and mental health. However, there is scarce research on this issue in engineering degrees, especially with first-year students where the highest dropout rates occur. This study analyses the relationship between test-anxiety and a wide range of socio-demographic, cognitive and socio-emotional dimensions in a sample of Spanish engineering students. As a group, students show medium-moderate test-anxiety levels, although with a wide range and dispersion of scores. There is a reduced relationship between test anxiety and the students’ socio-demographic variables considered in the study. More specifically, the relationship is significant -and of a small magnitude- only with gender, with females showing higher test anxiety. Additionally, it shows a significant association with several cognitive-motivational dimensions of self-regulated learning: positive correlations with the use of repetition and help-seeking strategies, as well as with academic procrastination; negative correlations with self-efficacy for learning, as well as with time and effort management strategies. Lastly, test-anxiety also shows a significant relationship with several socio-emotional dimensions considered in the study. More specifically, test anxiety shows a medium-high direct relationship with students' negative emotions and academic burnout, while it shows a low inverse relationship with students' emotional intelligence and academic engagement, as well as with the positive emotions in their studies. These results are discussed from previous research, suggesting possible lines of action and intervention strategies in engineering studies, especially aimed at first year undergraduate students.