Medical Student Personality Factors and Test Anxiety

Matthew C. Miles, Hong Gao, Andrea Vallevand, Claudio Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Test anxiety limits the performance of some medical students, and whether baseline personality factors affect students’ test anxiety and exam performance is not known. We performed a repeated measures study of test anxiety among 20 second-year medical students, comparing results with historical controls, baseline personality assessment, and examination scores. We measured test anxiety using the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI) and personality using the Big Five Inventory (BFI). These instruments were highly reliable in our sample, and moderate correlations were seen among personality factors and test anxiety. Test anxiety scores were similar to a historical cohort of medical students, and the personality factor Neuroticism was highly correlated with the Worry component of test anxiety. There was a significant negative correlation between test anxiety and scores on standardized examinations. Our study was limited by a small sample yet provides evidence to support the use of the BFI and TAI in modern medical students. This study also suggests that test anxiety affects student performance on written examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-599
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018


  • Personality
  • Personality factors
  • Test anxiety
  • Testing
  • Undergraduate medical education


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