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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Subject preference : A factor that influences test performance.

Saidatul Akmar Zainalabidin, Laura Christ Dass.

The first study (Dass & Zainal Abidin, Litcon 2001) was conducted on factors that influenced UiTM Shah Alam students’ performance from their own perspectives. The researchers found that students cited the following as reasons for their inability to perform better on a test or exam:

1. course-related matters, such as workload and time constrain
2. students’ ability to cope with course demands
3. language problems

In the second part of the study, the researchers focused on the factors that made a difference in the students’ performance on a test or exam, with the objective of investigating the extent to which factors such as gender, faculty requirement and proficiency level influence how a student might perform in an exam. The results showed that language proficiency and the demands made by the faculty/department on students were significant while gender was not a major factor that influenced test performance.

Subject preference was cited as one of the factors that affect performance by students in the first study. Therefore in the present study, the researchers would like to investigate this aspect further to find out the extent to which this factor might affect test or exam performance of students in a particular subject For this investigation, the following methods are employed:

1. questionnaires are distributed to students from various faculties; about 50 students each from 6 faculties which are representative of the 17 faculties in UiTM which can be grouped into four categories:- pure sciences, social sciences, humanities and physical sciences.These faculties are selected from the four categories so as to have a fair distribution of samples.
2. secondary data such as students’ test results (SPM/STPM, previous or current exam subjects taken, GPA), results of class assignments/ research reports are all looked at to verify students’ claim.

The study will conclude by making suggestions/ recommendations on how problems such as lack of motivation, interest on a certain subject / a particular course could be overcome/dealt with to help students perform better in their exams.


Saidatul Akmar Zainalabidin  (Malaysia)
Senior Lecturer
Language Centre
University Technology of Mara(UiTM)

Laura Christ Dass  (Malaysia)

Language Centre
University Technology of Mara(UiTM)

  • Subject Preference
  • Performance
  • Exams

(30 min Conference Paper, English)