The study, led by Thomas Götz from the University of Vienna, focused on this overlooked phenomenon of “test boredom” and uncovered some significant findings.
The research revealed that students do experience considerable boredom while taking exams. Moreover, the study found that extreme boredom can have a negative impact on test results. These findings were recently published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.
Interestingly, while boredom has been extensively studied, test boredom has been completely ignored until now. This study, conducted by psychologists from various universities, including the University of Vienna and the University of Konstanz, sheds light on the occurrence of test boredom and its detrimental effect on performance.
The main causes of test boredom were found to be both under-challenging and over-challenging exam conditions. Additionally, when the exam content lacked personal relevance to the students, test boredom was significantly higher. The study concluded that high levels of test boredom have a negative influence on exam outcomes.
The researchers introduced the “abundance hypothesis” in their study, which they were able to confirm. According to this hypothesis, boredom has a particularly negative impact on exam performance when students are over-challenged, as all their mental resources are focused on completing the tasks. This leaves fewer resources available for experiencing boredom and working on the tasks. Conversely, when students are under-challenged, they have an abundance of resources available for task processing.
To combat test boredom, the researchers recommend that teachers design exam tasks that relate to students’ real-life experiences. Additionally, tasks should be appropriately challenging, neither too easy nor too difficult. Parents or guardians can also play a role by discussing potential challenges or lack of challenges with their children. Prompt action is necessary to prevent boredom and its negative consequences, such as a decline in performance.
This study not only sheds light on test boredom but also opens up a new area of research. The researchers’ work contributes significantly to understanding the detrimental effects of boredom in school. Previous studies have shown that boredom not only affects learning and performance but also mental and physical health. By focusing on exams, which are a central aspect of students’ school lives, this study expands our understanding of boredom’s impact on children and adolescents.