A 10-Minute Activity That Can Improve Test Scores

By Liana Loewus — January 14, 2011 1 min read
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There’s a way to improve students’ test scores and it only takes 10 minutes, according to a study released in the journal Science and reported on by the Chicago Tribune.

University of Chicago scientists found that college freshman who wrote down their worries about taking a final exam just before the exam began performed better on the test than those who did not. The half of the class that expressed their test-taking emotions scored an average B-plus, while the half that wrote about an unrelated topic scored an average B-minus, according to the Tribune.

In particular, the 10-minute writing activity improved performance for students with test anxiety, states the study’s abstract.

“The idea is to clear the working memory—sort of a mental scratch pad in the brain—of worries that interfere with the cognitive resources needed for the task at hand,” reports the Tribune.

—by Caroline Cournoyer

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.