Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Test anxiety is a pervasive problem in education programs. Nursing education is not an exception as approximately 30% of nursing students are impacted by varying levels of test anxiety that can affect their ability to succeed. This mixed methods study utilizes concepts from Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, the Cognitive-Attentional (Interference) Model, and the Georgi Lozanov method to explore the lived experiences of junior level baccalaureate nursing students with test anxiety. The 39 participants in the quantitative portion of the study were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The experimental group (n=18) listened to a nine minute and 27 second segment of Mozart Adagio in E for violin and orchestra (60 beats per minute) in order to ascertain if listening to classical music had an impact on the level of test anxiety and self-efficacy. The control group (n=21) engaged in activity as usual. Just prior to examinations III, IV, and V and following the respective sessions (listening to classical music or activity as usual), all the participants completed the Westside Test Anxiety Scale and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Results of the independent samples t-test and the ANCOVA analysis revealed that there was no significant difference between the two groups’ levels of test anxiety and self-efficacy. Six of the 39 participants agreed to engage in the qualitative aspect of the study in order to explore the lived experiences of nursing students with high levels of test anxiety (score greater than a 3.0 on the Westside Test Anxiety Scale). A total of three semi-structured interviews took place with each of the six participants between examination II and examination V. Colaizzi’s process for phenomenological data analysis was used to extract significant statements from the interviews and develop emergent themes. Findings related to the following emergent themes are presented: participant perceived self-efficacy; impact of academic environment on test anxiety; influences of family environment on test anxiety; manifestations of test anxiety; and cognitive interference.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hendry, Petra



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Education Commons