Effects of Music and Grade Consequences on Test Anxiety and Performance






This research investigated the effects of grade consequences and music on test anxiety and performance. Eighty undergraduate participants (75% women, 25% men; mean age of 19.63 years; 51% Caucasian, 38% Hispanic, 4% African American) were instructed that their performance on a mathematics test either would or would not affect their course credit. Afterward, they listened to either calm or obnoxious music for 5 min prior to the test. Anxiety was assessed with a self-report inventory, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate. Compared with those who listened to obnoxious music, those who listened to calm music had lower systolic blood pressure (p = .01, =2 = .08), lower heart rate (p = .04, =2 = .06), and higher test scores (p = .01, =2 = .11); however, the latter 2 effects were only significant for those whose course credit was threatened (p = .05, =2 = .05). Self-reported anxiety (p = .50, =2 = .01) and diastolic blood pressure (p = .79, =2 = .01) were not significantly affected. These findings suggest a benefit of relaxing music for students experiencing test anxiety.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Blood Pressure; Heart Rate; Music Listening; Recorded Music Listening; Relaxation; Self-Report Measures; Vital Signs

Indexed Terms

Psychology; Testing; Musical performances; Statistical analysis; Music education; Anxiety

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type