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To investigate the symptom responses associated with competitive anxiety through a fine-grained measurement approach. Incorporating dimensions of intensity, perceptions of direction, and frequency of intrusions, possible time-to-event changes were assessed with respect to the between-subjects variable of skill level.Male athletes (N=82), separated into two skill classifications (club N=45 vs. national N=37), completed the competitive state anxiety inventory-2 (CSAI-2) modified to account for the dimensions of intensity, direction and frequency at five precompetition times (1 week, two days, one day, 2 h, 30 min).Multivariate analysis of variance (skill level×time-to-competition) with follow-up analyses indicated main effects for skill level and time-to-competition with no interactions. For skill level differences, national athletes were more facilitative in their interpretation of the symptoms associated with cognitive and somatic anxiety. For change-over-time effects, intensities of cognitive and somatic anxiety increased and self-confidence decreased between 2 h and 30 min precompetition. Frequencies of cognitive anxiety increased from seven to two days, one day to 2 h and 2 h to 30 min precompetition; frequencies of somatic anxiety increased from seven days to two days and 2 h to 30 min pre-event; frequencies of self-confidence increased from seven to two days.Findings support the notion of measuring the separate dimensions of symptoms associated with competitive anxiety and emphasise the importance of assessing these constructs as processes that unfold over-time.