Researchers gave 20 students two math tests. The students did nothing special before the first test. But before the second test, students were told they’d receive money for high marks. Half of the students were then instructed to take 10 minutes and write down any concerns they had about the test. The other half sat quietly.
Those who just sat waiting did 12 percent worse on the second test than on the first. But those who wrote about their fears showed a five percent improvement on the exam.
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In June, Indiana Humanities is exploring the topic of “failure,” as part of its Spirit of Competition theme.