Most time one wonders why students who performed well during class interaction failed to meet up the expected performance required of him/her during exam. Exam anxiety is an important outcome variable among students which affects various facets of after-school life. However, there is a dearth of literature on this outcome variable, hence the need for this study which examined the influence of self-efficacy, locus of control and gender on exam anxiety among students across three exam categories such as the University tertiary matriculation examination (UTME), post-UTME and Distance learning centre examinations (DLC) in Ibadan. This study adopted the ex post facto design where a total of six (596) participants (297 males and 299 females) were sampled. Convenience sampling technique was used to sample respondents in the study. The learning deficit model and Social learning theory provided the theoretical framework for this study and also provided explanations on the variable linkages. A structured questionnaire consisting of demographics and scales measuring self efficacy, locus of control and exam anxiety were used to collect the data. Two hypotheses were tested using Zero Order Correlation and simple multiple regression analysis, at 0.05 level of significance. Initial results showed that there was a significant positive relationship between self-efficacy and test anxiety (r=.31; p<.01) and between self-efficacy and locus of control (r=.26; p<.01). This implies that the more students perceived themselves as being capable of doing something, the higher their anxiety for exam. The other implies that locus of control and self-efficacy goes in the same direction. However, locus of control and test anxiety did not significantly correlate (r=-.07; p>.05). Further results showed that there was a significant joint influence of self-efficacy and locus of control on test anxiety (F(2, 597)=40.69; p<.01). The variables jointly contributed about 12% of the variance observed in the dependent variable. Furthermore, self-efficacy (β=-.35; t=8.83; p<.01) and locus of control (β=-.16; t=-4.09; p˂.01) had a significant independent prediction of exam anxiety. Self-efficacy contributed about 35% of the variance observed in the dependent variable, while locus of control contributed about 16% in the variance seen in the dependent variable. Self-efficacy, locus of control and socio-demographic factors were important factors that influence exam anxiety among UTME, post-UTME and DLC University of Ibadan students in Ibadan. Therefore it is recommended that stakeholders put up programmes to enhance self-efficacy and appropriate intervention to develop adequate locus of control among students across the studies population.


Self-efficacy, locus of control, Exam anxiety and UTME, POST UTME AND DLC

Full Text:



Abdi, H. M., Bageri, S., Shoghi, S., Goodarzi, Sh., and Hosseinzadeh, A. (2012). The role of meta cognitive and self-efficacy beliefs in students’ test anxiety and academic achievement. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 6(12),418-422.

Adewuyi, T. O., Taiwo, O. K., & Olley, B. O. (2012). Influence of examination anxiety and self-efficacy on academic performance among secondary school students. Ife PsychologIA, 20(2), 60-68.

Bandura A (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Bandura A (1977). Self-efficacy: towards a unifying theory of behavioural change. Psychological Review. 84:191-215.

Bandura, A,1994. Self- Efficacy. In V.S. Ramachaudran, encyclopedia of human Behaviour, Vol.4, PP.71-78.

Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist28(2): 117–149.

Bandura, A. (2001b). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. In S. T.Fiske (Ed.), Annual review of psychology (Vol. 52, pp. 1–26). Palo Alto:

Benjamin, M., McKeachie, W. J., Lin, Y., and Holinger, D. P. (1981). Test anxiety: deficits in information processing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 73, 816–824.

Berger, R., and Shechter, Y. (1996). Guidelines for choosing an “intervention package” for working with adolescent girls in distress. Adolescence, 31, 709-717.

Berrenberg, J. L. (1987). The belief in Personal control scale: A measure of god mediated and exaggerated control. Journal of Personality Assessment, 51, 194-206.

Capa, Y., and Loadman, W. E. (2002). Self-efficacy and previous teaching experiences as predictors of test anxiety among college students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-Western Educational Research Association, Columbus, OH

Carden, R., Bryant, C., and Moss, R. (2004). Locus of control, test anxiety, academic procrastination, and achievement among college students. Psychological Reports, 95,581-582.

Cassady, J. C. (2010). Test anxiety: Contemporary theories and implications for learning. In J.C. Cassady (Ed.), Anxiety in Schools: The causes, consequences, and solutions for academic anxieties (pp. 7-26). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Cassady, J. C, Johnson R. E. (2002). Cognitive test anxiety and academic performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology. 27(2):270 – 295

Everson, H. T., Millsap, R. E and Rodriquez, C. M. (1991). Isolating gender differences in test anxiety: A confirmatory factor analysis. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 51,243-251.

Hill, K. T., & Sarason, S. B. (1966). The relation of test anxiety and defensiveness to test and school performance over the elementary school years: A further longitudinal study. Monographs for the Society for Research in Child Development, 31 (2, Serial No. 104).

Hsieh, P., Sullivan, J. R., Sass, D. A., & Guerra, N. S. (2012). Undergraduate engineering students’ beliefs, coping strategies, and academic performance: An evaluation of theoretical models. The Journal of Experimental Education, 80(2), 196-218. doi:10.1080/00220973.2011.596853

Van Dyck, R., and van Tilburh, W. (2000). Anxiety and depression in later life: Co-occurrence and communality of risk factors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157,89-95.

Harris, J. R. (1998). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: Teacher College Press.

Hembree, R. (1988). Correlates, causes, and treatment of test anxiety. Review of Educational Research, 58, 47-77.

Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist, 44,513–524.

Hoe, L. N.,Cheong, A. C. and Yee, L.P. (2003). The role of meta cognition in the learning of mathematics among low achieving students. Teaching and Learning. 22 (2)18-30

Kirk, A.M. (2000). “Riding the Bull: Reform in Washington, Kentucky, and Massachusetts,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 25(1), 133-173.

Kirkpatrick, M. A., Stant, K., Downes, S. and Gaither, L. (2008). Perceived locus of control and academic performance: Broadening the construct’s applicability. Journal of College Students Development. 49 (5)486-496.

Knight, A.E. and Nelson D. W. (2010). The power of positive recollections: Reducing test anxiety and enhancing college student efficacy and performance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(3),732-745.

Linnenbrink, E. A. (2007). The role of affect in student learning: A multi-dimensional approach to considering the interaction of affect, motivation, and engagement. In P. A. Schutz & R. Pekrun (Eds.), Educational psychology series. Emotion in education (pp. 107-124).

McLaughlin, S. C., & Saccuzzo, D. P. (1997). Ethnic and gender differences in locus of control in children referred for gifted programs: The effect of vulnerability factors. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 20 , 268–283.

Moore, M. M. (2006). Variation in test anxiety and locus of control in achieving and underachieving gifted and non-gifted middle-school students. Doctoral Dissertation, Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut.

Nunn, G. D. (1988). Concurrent validity between the Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 48,435-438.

Rotter, J. B,1966. Generalized Expectancies of Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, Vol.80, PP.1-28.

Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychology Monographs, 80,1-28. doi:10.1037/h0092976

Rotter, J.B. (1967). A new scale for the measurement of interpersonal trust. Journal of Personality, 35 (4), 651–665.

Rotter, J.B. (1980). Interpersonal Trust, Trustworthiness, and Gullibility. American Psychologist, 35(1), 1–7.

Ryan, R. M., and Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.

Simpson, M. L, Parker, P. W, Harrison, A. W, (1995). Differential performance on Talyor’s manifest anxiety scale in black privatecollege freshmen, a partial report. Perceptual and motor Skills. 80:699- 702.

Stober, J. (2004). Dimensions of test anxiety relations toways of coping with pre-exam anxiety and uncertainty. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 17, 213-226.

Weems, C. F., Silverman, W. K., and Rapee, R. M. (2003). The role of control in childhood anxiety disorders. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 557-568.

Yildirim, S. (2012). Teacher Support, Motivation, Learning Strategy Use, and Achievement: A Multilevel Mediation Model. Journal of Experimental Education, 80(2), 150-172.

Young, T., & Shorr, D. N. (1986). Factors affecting locus of control in school children. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 112, 405-417.

Zaheri, F., R. Shahoei, and H. Zaheri (2012). Gender differences in test anxiety among students of guidance schools in Sanandaj, Iran. Wudpecker Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 1(1), pp. 001 – 005.

Zeidner, M. (1998) Test Anxiety: The State of the Art. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Zeidner, M. (1998). Test anxiety: the state of the art. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Zeidner, M., & Schleyer, E. J. (1999). Test Anxiety in Intellectually Gifted Students. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 12, 163- 189.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.