Abstract Self-handicapping strategies refer to the set of choices and attitudes adopted to minimize blame for failure and increase the value of success in achievement situations. This paper aims to describe the stages of construction and the psychometric analysis of a scale to measure the self-handicapping strategies of university students. In study 1, the major steps for the construction of the scales and initial results are reported. The internal consistency indices were acceptable and the principal component analysis revealed factors with little explanation of data variance. In study 2, data from a sample of 834 students from several undergraduate courses of different Brazilian universities were subjected to exploratory factor analysis using the minimum rank factor analysis (MRFA) method and the matrix of polychoric correlations. The parallel analysis criterion for factor retention indicated the one-factor solution as the best fit to data. The importance of having a valid and reliable measure to assess self-handicapping strategies in educational contexts and the promising use of the scale in actions to improve learning in higher education are discussed.