Influence of Test Anxiety on Performance Levels on Numerical tasks of Secondary School Physics Students
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 4 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-4-April-2006
Anxiety is an aversive emotional experience that motivates individuals to move away from, remove, or
control the source of anxiety. It is marked by subjective feelings of tensions and fear, increased
physiological arousal, perceptions of danger and risk, decreased cognitive and behavioral
performance, and/or avoidance and escape (Deffenbacher & Suinn, 1982; Laug, Levin, Miller & Kozak,
1983; Beck & Emery, 1985). At low levels, anxiety may be motivating and attention focusing; at higher
levels, it may become debilitating. The individual may report subjective feelings of anxiety (e.g. tension,
dread, fear, nervousness, edginess). He may experience heightened autonomic arousal. Many physical
symptoms reflect sympathetic arousal of the “fight or flight” reaction (e.g. increased heart rate, rapid
breathing, blushing). Sometimes overlooked is parasympathetic arousal involved in the “faint or freeze”
reaction (e.g. dizziness, feeling faint or weak, nausea, frequent urge to urinate). He may also
experience an increase in or exacerbation of anxiety – related psycho-physiological disorders (e.g.
tension or migraine headaches, ulcerative gastrointestinal conditions, sleep onset insomnia), even
though he may be unaware of heightened arousal.