Help for Exam Nerves

Exam Nerves

Feeling nervous about an exam, or test of any kind, is natural. We know that we are being tested and that if we do not know our stuff, we will be found out! This is what any exam is all about. So if you have studied, practised and revised, why do you get so nervous?

Being a little nervous in an exam is a good thing. It gets the adrenalin going and gives you that edge to stay focused and on task. Too much exam stress does the opposite – acute anxiety will cloud your thinking and may have you experiencing a mental blank.

At this time of year, I have many parents ring me to ask if I will work with their son or daughter to help them cope better with exam nerves. And it is not only school children who ask for help. Only yesterday a police officer came to me to help him pass his sergeant’s exam.

All these people have one thing in common: exam stress stops them achieving their personal best in a test situation. Often the stress is caused by fear of failure. A young person working towards their GCSEs will be told countless times by well meaning teachers that they MUST get 5 good GCSEs – or end up in a dead end job. This is not true – there are always more chances to succeed!

What can you do to overcome exam nerves?

Good advice can be found on many websites and study guides:

  • Plan your revision and stick with it.
  • Revise for about 30-40 minutes and then have a break.
  • Make time for fun.
  • Write out key points for learning and make them into a thought map – add some colours and images and this will really help the information stick in your memory.
  • Produce key fact cards and place them around your house. Constant reminders will help information go from your short term memory to your long term memory.
  • Ensure you sleep well in the days leading to an exam or test.
  • Have everything you need ready the night before the exam so there are no last minute panics.
  • Have breakfast before you leave the house – a hungry brain will not work at its best!
  • Breathe deeply in the exam room and read your exam paper from beginning to end before you start to answer any questions.

Remember that your best is all you can do. Despite what your teachers say, there is always another opportunity to achieve.

Some people find that even after following all this good advice, they still become so nervous that they do not give their best on the day. Exam nerves can be reduced and exam stress managed to enable you to do well on the day.

By learning relaxation techniques or self hypnosis you can take control. Seek advice from a well qualified and experienced hypnotherapist. Mums and Dads – please ask for CRB checks, proof of qualifications and insurance when searching for a reliable hypnotherapist.

An exam stress management tip to get you started:

Talk to yourself (nicely) for success

If that little voice in your head is constantly telling you that you are going to fail, you probably will. Challenge each negative message with something more positive and repeat it to yourself. For example;
‘I hate sitting in the exam hall’ can become ‘ the exam hall is so quiet, enabling me to think more clearly’.

‘What if my mind goes blank’ can become ‘as I breathe deeply my mind clears’. You may even find that an image of lifting fog in your imagination works wonders.

And finally, ask yourself, ‘how is the examiner helping me when they write a question like this’? Remember, each question is written to help you shown off your knowledge. There are NO trick questions! Consider the way the question is worded and the type of information given – they want you to use it.

Hypnotherapy Washington Tyne & WearAbout The Author

Olwyn Rowlands is a fully qualified Hypnotherapist and Life Coach who provides home visits in Tyne & Wear, Washington, Sunderland, Gateshead and Durham, and a consultation room in Washington.

Find out more about Olwyn’s work by visiting her GoToSee profile page here


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