Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Herbert Exum, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Tony Tan, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Shircliffe, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carlos Zalaquett, Ph.D., LMHC

Keywords

cognitive behavioral theory, high stakes examinations, information processing theory, trait state anxiety theory

Abstract

Test anxiety involves a variety of physiological, cognitive, and emotional components. Those suffering from high test anxiety seem to perform poorly on examinations because test anxiety can contribute to information processing challenges both while studying for tests and during evaluative situations. Current research indicates that when a training program is applied that incorporates cognitive behavioral techniques as well as study skills training, highly test anxious individuals can overcome information processing challenges, increase their academic performance, and earn higher scores on tests.

In this study, a training program (Counseling Exam Test Anxiety Intervention) combining cognitive behavioral techniques and study skills training was applied to highly test anxious counselors and counselors in training preparing to retake the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) after failing it at least once. This study makes the first known attempt to examine test anxiety specifically associated with the NCMHCE. The research questions guiding this study related to exploring the nature of test anxiety, any changes that occurred during administration of the Counseling Exam Test Anxiety Intervention (CETAI), and whether or not the CETAI was effective in terms of decreasing test anxiety and increasing academic performance. The findings revealed that when participants in this study applied the skills they learned from the CETAI, they improved their scores on practice tests, experienced an increase in confidence, and the majority of them successfully passed the NCMHCE when they retook it.

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