Conscientiousness and procrastination predict academic coursework marks rather than examination performance

Peter E Morris, Catherine O Fritz

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Past research has reported a consistent but small relationship (e.g. r = .23) between conscientiousness and university academic performance. However, in almost all cases the nature of the academic work has not been divided into the major elements of coursework and examination performance. We examined the relationships between conscientiousness and procrastination and the coursework and examination performance of psychology students in their second and third year modules. Both conscientiousness (r = .45) and procrastination (r = -.39) were significant predictors of overall coursework marks and significantly predicted coursework marks for all but one of the individual modules. Correlations with examination marks were smaller and less consistent. Regression analysis showed that conscientiousness was the more dominant predictor than procrastination. These results extend the literature relating conscientiousness to academic performance, demonstrating that the relationship is stronger with coursework than with exams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193 - 198
Number of pages5
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2015


  • Academic performance
  • conscientiousness
  • procrastination
  • coursework
  • exams


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