• Yina Ma Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Zahari Ishak Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science & Liberal Arts, UCSI University, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Background and Purpose: The number of Chinese students studying abroad has increased significantly in recent years. As a result, their academic achievements are rapidly gaining attention. This study aims to look into the relationship between the big five personality traits and academic achievement in Chinese undergraduate students in Malaysia. It also aims to investigate if cognitive strategy use and self-regulation have a mediation effect on these personality traits.


Methodology: The 44-item Five Inventory and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire were used as the instrument. Respondents were picked from year 2 to year 4 at six private universities in Selangor, Malaysia. A total of 430 valid surveys were gathered using stratified random sampling. For data analysis, structural equation modelling (SEM) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were used.


Findings: Findings showed a significant direct effect of the big five personality traits in terms of agreeableness on academic achievement. The full structural model is valid, reliable and fits well with the data. There is a mediation effect of the cognitive strategy use in the relationship between the big five personality (except extraversion trait) and academic achievement. Additionally, self-regulation mediates conscientiousness and academic achievement, openness to experience traits and academic achievement.

Contributions: This study developed measurement scales for the measurement model and a full structural model based on two mediators.


Keywords: Self-regulated learning strategy, cognitive strategy use, self-regulation, big five personality, academic achievement.


Cite as: Yina, M., & Zahari, I. (2024). Cognitive strategy use and self-regulation as mediators between personality and academic achievement among Chinese undergraduates in Malaysia.  Journal of Nusantara Studies, 9(1), 245-268.

Author Biographies

Yina Ma, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Yina Ma, currently doing Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, Malaysia. Her research interests are focused on the factors that influence academic achievement, particularly among overseas students.

Zahari Ishak, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science & Liberal Arts, UCSI University, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Dr. Zahari Bin Ishak, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts, UCSI University. He is an expert academician in Educational psychology (Personality, Learning Psychology, Child Development, Gifted and Talented Education, Malay Language).


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