Applicability and validation of the Reaction to Tests Scale (RTT) in a sample of Portuguese medical students

Daniela S.M. Pereira, Ana Mónica Pereira, Teresa Costa Castanho, Gabriela A. Silva, Filipe Falcão, Patrício Costa, José Miguel Pêgo

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Background: Test anxiety is a crucial factor in determining academic outcomes, and it may lead to poor cognitive performance, academic underachievement, and psychological distress, interfering specifically with their ability to think and perform during tests. The main objective of this study was to explore the applicability and psychometric properties of a Portuguese version of the Reactions to Tests scale (RTT) in a sample of medical students. Method: A sample of 672 medical students completed the RTT. The sample was randomly split in half to allow for independent Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and to test the best fit model—Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). CFA was used to test both the first-order factor structure (four subscales) and second-order factor structure, in which the four subscales relate to a general factor, Test Anxiety. The internal consistency of the RTT was assessed through Cronbach’s alpha, Composite reliability (CR) and Average Variance Extracted (AVE) for the total scale and each of the four subscales. Convergent validity was evaluated through the correlation between RTT and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-Y).To explore the comparability of measured attributes across subgroups of respondents, measurement invariance was also studied. Results: Results from exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses showed acceptable fits for the Portuguese RTT version. Concerning internal consistency, results indicate that RTT was found to be reliable to measure test anxiety in this sample. Convergent validity of the RTT with both state and trait anxiety STAI-Y’s subscales was also shown. Moreover, multigroup analyses showed metric invariance across gender and curriculum phase. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the RTT scale is a valid and reliable instrument for the measurement of test anxiety among Portuguese Medical Students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number166
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Medical students
  • Test anxiety


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