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A questionnaire was administered to 1,929 applicants to Oxford University, including measures of trait anxiety, behavioural response to examinations and to breakdown in relationships. 635 of these applicants were admitted to the university and of these, 383 also responded to a questionnaire administered 4 years later, just before their final examinations. The classification (first, upper and lower second, third class) and marks in the final examinations were obtained and the relationship between the personality measures and academic performance were calculated. Women showed higher anxiety scores than men at both times of testing. Women who obtained the best (first class) degrees scored significantly higher on anxiety than those who performed less well. In contrast, there was no such difference in men. Explanations for anxiety having a facilitatory effect on academic performance of women at Oxford University are proposed. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Original publication




Journal article


Higher Education

Publication Date





357 - 370