Can mood affect test scores? | INFJ Forum

Can mood affect test scores?

Discussion in 'Education and Careers' started by subwayrider, Oct 7, 2011.

More threads by subwayrider
  1. Something I just realized today. I was in a really, really pissed off mood going to school today, on account of some stupid security guard, and some cops who blockaded the street I was going to park on. This made me late for my class, in which I had a test. I walked in in such a pissed off mood that I couldn't focus much on what I'd studied. I guess the adrenaline from feeling angry at the cops and the guard was still pumping in me, because I had a really hard time focusing. I ran out of time, and couldn't get 3 out of the 10 questions on it. I probably got a a high C or low B, where I really wanted and felt I deserved an A.
    Right after the test, when I was walking to my car, it all flooded back. I knew how to find the answers to the questions I'd missed, it was all in my head, I'd just drawn a blank during the test.

    Has anyone had similar experience?

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    On a side note, does anyone have tips for testing under pressure? Aside from the whole anger thing, I also have trouble keeping my head when I know I only have so much time left.
  2. Mood definitely can and does affect testing. It's one of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of testing in the classroom because it captures such a small moment in a student's educational history, and is greatly affected by outside influences including (but not limited to) mood.
    Gist likes this.
  3. Mood is a mental/emotional state.

    If you are in a less than ideal state of mind, i.e being overly stressed/nervous/anxious/etc, chances are that you wont perform as well on an examination as you normally would, despite how well you actually know the material.

    Here are a few (probably obvious) tips to abate this:

    -Stop studying within an hour of your exam: You know what you know at this point, so chances are if you don;t know it by then, you won't know it for the exam.
    -Get a good nights sleep, at least 7-8 hours. It's tempting to do an all-night cramming session, but you will feel like poop in the morning from lack of sleep, and even with caffeine, you won't be in the ideal state to score high on an exam.
    -While you are waiting for your exam, go on vacation...anywhere in your mind. Do this while taking very deep cleansing breaths. When you return, you will feel more focused and relaxed.
    -Be very in-tune with your learning style: note that it may different from your personality. If you study based on your learning style, you will feel more comfortable with the material, and have that "healthy" stress to perform well when that exam time comes around.
    hush and Gist like this.
  4. Certainly, mood can strongly affect performance. I've been so scatter-brained and silly during some tests that I'd look at them and be like "lolwut? test? nty, maybe later!" and there have been times I was sad that produced worse scores than when emotionally stable. Just my uneducated guess, but I figured emotions affect us so powerfully because they were our best companion in caveman times; our reasoning and intelligence is fairly new from what I understand, so the former tends to overrule the second. I make simple metaphors and strings of images for material.
    Figure out how you learn, and think, best and use it to your advantage.
    +1 for @Serenity 's list.
  5. Dragon

    Dragon green skies
    Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 9, 2009
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    Yes, mood definitely affects test scores. In fact, I'd say it is one of the most significant determinants of your score on tests like the SAT. It tests how well you were able to take a test at that time on that day, not your test taking ability or even more laughably- your potential to succeed in college.

    I.e. low blood sugar could slow your cognition and also make you more irritable or less focused. That is why it is so important to eat a good breakfast before the test.
    Serenity likes this.
  6. agree. Testing under pressure is not as efficient because you can do the opposite which is remember it all for the exam and then complete forget it once you finish. I think working under deadlines is not always best or most productive. The last test I took was an essay exam and we had 1 hour to do it. I studied a few hours before because the information would be fresh. And I didn't have anything stressful to handle that morning. So, being in a calm and relaxed state of mind helps.
    subwayrider likes this.
  7. I recall from my psychology class that it is easiest to remember things when in the same emotional state as when the memories were formed. Being pissed off during the test could have improved your performance, if you had been similarly pissed off while studying.

    That is not the only influence moods has on memory though. In general, we remember better when we are sad but calm. Strong positive emotions significantly hinder the recall of things learned at less happy times of one's life.

    Also, studies also indicate that practicing to remember a portion of a list of related items normally reduces our ability to remember those items not specifically studied, but not while experiencing negative moods.
    subwayrider likes this.
  8. Hey, that's right! I forgot all that stuff I learned from my psych classes. Most of the time, I find myself in sort of a calm, slightly melancholy state. Good insight.
  9. I think mood can strongly affect test scores if you're a high Fi user. Like INFPs would be so smart but they let so much get to them...

    But my mood doesn't really affect my test scores. I get usually get into the right mindset once I have the paper in front of me.

    Homework is another story. I don't put a lot of effort in on a 5 point assignment if I'm in a bad mood.

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