Working memory, test anxiety and effective interventions: A review

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Test anxiety (TA) affects exam performance and has been found to be composed of a cognitive (worry) and emotional component. The cognitive component has been implicated in the performance decrements seen in individuals with high TA; however, interventions involving cognitive therapies have provided mixed and limited outcomes with regard to improvement in performance. This article explores TA in relation to attentional control theory, which provides a framework for the impact of anxiety on working memory and cognitive performance. Possible interventions for the treatment of TA guided by attentional control theory will then be discussed and the need for further research to explore the efficacy of these interventions established. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-156
Number of pages16
JournalThe Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Attentional control theory
  • Educational psychology
  • Interventions
  • Test anxiety
  • Working memory

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