skip to main content skip to footer

A Study of Emotional States Aroused During Examinations SAT

French, John Winslow, 1918-
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Affective Measures, College Entrance Examinations, Emotional Response, Performance Factors, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Sex Differences, Test Anxiety, Test Validity


Are there some groups of candidates who cannot perform at their best levels when working under the conditions of pressure that prevail during a College Board examination? Does excessive anxiety of the candidates reduce the validity of the test? An attempt has been made to answer these questions by administering a "relaxed" test to some candidates a few days before and to others a few days after the January 1960 SAT. A comparison of scores on the relaxed tests with alternate test forms taken with the SAT indicates no effect of anxiety for boys, while anxiety seems to be associated with a slight but significant improvement of girls' mathematical scores relative to their verbal scores. Since the relaxed test, the "anxious" test taken with the SAT, and the SAT itself were all found to have substantially the same concurrent validities, it is also unlikely that anxiety has had any effect on predictive validity. Responses to a questionnaire brought out expected statements about anxious feelings, and a small, possibly significant, tendency for "academically minded" boys to do relatively poorly on an anxious test as compared to a relaxed test, while academically minded girls show the opposite tendency. These effects are all well below the standard errors of measurement of the test.

Read More