As we approach the end of the semester and the weather gets warmer, and our desire to procrastinate and relax into a vegetative state of mind for the next 10 weeks increases exponentially on a daily basis, an ominous feeling looms in the air. It is the threat of impossibly difficult finals, and students are bracing themselves for the toughest week of the semester, if not the whole year. Some students become hermits, never leaving their rooms unless to acquire basics such as food. Others cluster, trying to learn as much from each other as possible. And then there are those, like me, who panic.
All human personalities are measurable on some scale of the 'Big 5' traits- openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism.
Can these five traits affect in any way our abilities to study under pressure? I asked a few of my friends in Psych1001, who took the online survey provided to us, to help me out. One of my friends said that although she understands the gravity of the finals, she isn't worried and feels confident in her abilities. Not surprisingly, she scored high in extraversion and openness, and relatively low in neuroticism (actually low, but numerically high as we were "tricked" when taking the survey) and average in conscientiousness. Another friend said that she, (like myself) is very anxious about the upcoming tests and prefers to study alone rather than with others. She also finds it rather difficult to get things organized and get going, something I am quite good at. How did our scores compare? We had the exact same score in neuroticism (19- although 'low', inversely was rather high). Our extraversion and agreeableness scores were also very similar. Conscientiousness, the behavior associated with constraint, differed significantly- her score was 6 points lower than my own.
Do you feel that your scores on the survey given to us before class last week reflect your study habits and the feeling you have about stressful situations, like finals? (Forgot your score? Click here for an online test in the big 5!) Is there anything you've found to be contradictory or unexpected?
Finals de-stress-er: If you need a mental break, take 2 minutes and look at the '13 Simple Steps to Get You Through a Rough Day'