Main Article Content

Breanne wells
Karmen Hopkins





Introduction: It is common for college students to experience anxiety, especially in high stakes testing environments, which may lead to poor test scores. Exploring strategies that may reduce or limit anxiety would be beneficial for students who experience debilitating test anxiety, ultimately improving their academic performance. This paper explores the effects of aromatherapy amongst college students with elevated levels of anxiety when taking tests.

Methods: The literature was searched using PubMed, google scholar and EBSCOhost. Indexing terms included aromatherapy for test anxiety in the English language only. Studies were chosen if they analyzed the impact of aromatherapy on test anxiety at the college level. Ten articles were initially chosen, after review 4 articles were selected for further examination.

Results: Three of the 4 studies had comparable results. When aromatherapy was used, test anxiety was reduced. However, in 1 study there was no difference in anxiety levels between groups.  Essential oils used for the aromatherapy included lemon, lavender and rosemary.

Conclusion: At college level, aromatherapy may be an effective method to reduce test anxiety according to 3 out of 4 studies. Using aromatherapy in testing environments for students who have test-related anxiety may be a good option to help students. Further evaluation is needed to correlate the impact of aromatherapy on anxiety and exam scores before a definitive conclusion can be drawn.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 2212 | Aromatherapy.pdf Downloads 2445


1. Zhang N, Henderson CNR. Test anxiety and academic performance in chiropractic students. J Chiropr Educ 2014 Jan 28:2–8.
2. Encandela J, Gibson C, Angoff N, Leydon G, Green M. Characteristics of test anxiety among medical students and congruence of strategies to address it. Med Educ Online. 2014;19:25211.
3. Kurt AS, Balci S, Kose D. Test anxiety levels and related factors: Students preparing for university exams. J Pak Med Assoc. 2014;64:1235–9.
4. Hjeltnes A, Binder P-E, Moltu C, Dundas I. Facing the fear of failure: An explorative qualitative study of client experiences in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program for university students with academic evaluation anxiety. Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2015;10:27990.
5. Steinmayr R, Crede J, McElvany N, Wirthwein L. Subjective well-being, test anxiety, academic achievement: Testing for reciprocal effects. Front Psychol. 2016;6.
6. Dimitriev DA, Saperova E V, Dimitriev AD. State Anxiety and Nonlinear Dynamics of Heart Rate Variability in Students. PLoS One . 2016;11:0146131.
7. Cassady J. Cognitive Test Anxiety and Academic Performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology. 2002(27) 270–95
8. ADA Requirements for Testing Accommodations. 2014. J. Huberty. Test and performance anxiety. Princ. Leadersh. 2009 (10) 12–16
9. Lovett B, Nelson M. Test Anxiety and the Americans With Disabilities Act. J. Disabil. Policy Stud. 2017(28) 99-108.
10. Johnson C. Effect of aromatherapy on cognitive test anxiety among nursing students. Altern Complement Ther. 2014;20(2).
11. Kutlu AK, Yilmaz E, Çeçen D. Effects of aroma inhalation on examination anxiety. Teach Learn Nurs. 2008;3(4):125–30.
12. Kim M, Hwangbo HH. Randomized trial evaluating the aroma inhalation on physiological and subjective anxiety indicators of the nursing students experiencing the first intravenous injection. Int J Bio-Science Bio-Technology. 2010;(3):29–38.
13. McCaffrey R, Thomas D KA. The effects of lavender and rosemary essential oils on tes-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students. Holist Nurs Pr. 2009;23:88–93. ttps://
14. Rho K-H, Han S-H, Kim K-S, Lee MS. Effects of aromatherapy massage on anxiety and self-esteem in korean elderly women: a pilot study. Int J Neurosci. 2006;(116):1447–55.
15. Lee Y-L, Wu Y, Tsang HWH, Leung AY, Cheung WM. A systematic review on the anxiolytic effects of aromatherapy in people with anxiety symptoms. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(2):101–8.
16. Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differentially Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults. Int J Neurosci 2003;113:15–38.
17. Jimbo D, Kimura Y, Taniguchi M, Inoue M, Urakami K. Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Psychogeriatrics. 2009;9(4):173–9.
18. Kyle G. Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing levels of anxiety in palliative care patients: Results of a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006;12:148–55.
19. Moher D. Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Syst. Rev. 2015;(4).
20. Bekhradi R, Vakilian K. The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Test Anxiety in Female Students. Curr Women s Heal Rev . 2017;12:137–40.
21. Zabirunnisa M, Gadagi JS, Gadde P, Myla N, Koneru J, Thatimatla C. Practice Dental patient anxiety?: Possible deal with Lavender fragrance. J Res Pharm Pract. 2014;3:100–3.
22. Shahnazi M, Nikjoo R, Yavarikia P, Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S. Inhaled lavender effect on anxiety and pain caused from intrauterine device insertion. J caring Sci. 2012;1:255–61.
23. Lehrner J, Marwinski G, Lehr S, Johren P, Deecke L. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiol Behav. 2005;86:92–5.
24. Ntoumanis N, Biddle S. The relationship between competitive anxiety, achievement goals, and motivational climates. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1998;69:176–87.
25. Seo H-S, Lee S, Cho S. Relationships between personality traits and attitudes toward the sense of smell. Front Psychol. 2013;4.
26. Lowe, P. An investigation into the psychometric properties of the test anxiety measure for college students. J. Psychoeduc. Assess. 2016;36.