The aim of this study was to follow up exploratory research suggesting that the inverse relationship between test anxiety and examination performance was mediated by cognitive distortions such as catastrophising. Self‐report data for measures of test anxiety and cognitive distortions were collected from students in their final year of compulsory schooling. Examination performance data was collected in mathematics, English language and science. Results supported a model in which cognitive distortions corresponding to the academic domain fully mediated the relationship between two components of test anxiety, worry and bodily symptoms, and academic achievement. This finding is consistent with theories attributing the debilitating influence of anxiety to the presence of interfering cognitions and helps to specify the nature of these interfering cognitions which test anxiety interventions may target.