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Facebook may help reduce exam anxiety: Study

Researchers at the University of Illinois in the US have found that undergraduate students, who have high levels of anxiety before an examination, may control it by reading supportive comments, ‘likes’ and private messages from Facebook friends.

“We found that only the students who received supportive messages from their Facebook network showed a significant decrease in anxiety and an increase in their performance on our simulated exam,” said Robert Deloatch, a graduate student at the university.

The study says that those who sought online support and read messages prior to a simulated exam reduced their anxiety level by 21%. The students who performed a seven-minute expressive writing test exercise were able to perform as well on a set of computer programming exercises as students who had low levels of test anxiety, said Robert Deloatch. As many as 41% of students is estimated to suffer from exam anxiety which is the result of psychological and emotional response which are experienced while preparing as well as taking the exam. Exam anxiety or test anxiety is also related to lower test scores as well as poor performance on memory and problem-solving tasks.When students’ test anxiety is reduced, their scores and task performance improve accordingly, they found.
Those who have test anxiety are scared of negative evaluation, often seemed to be distracted during exams, and may also have lower-self esteem, said the study. Most participants who passed the two programming problems by writing and running codes were computer science students as they had basic knowledge about programming. While in the next test, the researchers measured participants’ levels of test anxiety using the Cognitive Test Anxiety scale.

Just a day before the experiment, students posted messages on their personal social media pages requesting encouragement – in the form of likes, comments or private messages – about an upcoming computer programming challenge they planned to participate in. It was found that those who received the comfort of supportive messages on Facebook had significantly less anxiety level and better test performance.

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