Stay calm and relaxed to beat exam nerves
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In today’s competitive marketplace, students have to work harder than ever before to excel so they can find work and pay off their debts. The stakes have never been so high and there have never been so many players.
The symptoms of exam nerves make it difficult for the most diligent of students to make the grade. The primitive fight or flight response to perceived danger sends oxygenated blood to arms and legs so we can fight or run away from predators.
Whoever said exams were getting easier hasn’t studied for a long time.
The ability to defend ourselves from lions and tigers is absolutely useless in most threatening situations we encounter in contemporary life and completely debilitating when it starves our brain of the oxygen necessary to be sharp and responsive. This is why the mind can literally go blank the moment you turn over an exam paper.
This ancient neurological programming can be simply switched off by removing the perceived danger from the situation. Anxiety and stress often cause us to mentally rehearse the ‘worst thing’, leading to a chemical chain reaction which alters cognitive function and leads us to anticipate failure. In other words, if you believe you haven’t revised enough, aren’t clever enough or don’t deserve to succeed, you are probably going to prove yourself right.
So turning that thought process round using self hypnosis is a really intelligent way of accessing your best resources and remaining calm and focused when you’re learning, revising and taking exams. Your memory is a filing cabinet and you have the key. Your intellect is as great as you strive for it to be. Your capacity for success is determined by you. If your teachers haven’t taught you that then it’s a useful lesson to learn for yourself.
Spoilt for choice
Student anxiety is at an all-time high and exam nerves, which affect performance on the day and therefore exam results, are just part of the mix. Many of the students I see are completely confounded by the choices available to them, which often seem daunting and overwhelming if they don’t have a clear idea of what they want to do next. And that uncertainty simply adds to their fears for the future.
Also, it’s hard to work hard on studies that may seem irrelevant or meaningless if you don’t have a clear goal in mind. And most teenagers don’t know themselves well enough to know what they really want to do with their lives.
Under Pressure From Exam Nerves?
All of the following, and more, are very common issues and signs of test or exam nerves:
- Feelings of anxiousness in the time leading up to the test.
- Butterflies in the tummy, feeling sick, and a dry mouth.
- Trembling hands trying to write the answers in a written test.
- A blank mind during the test.
- Fear of speaking in front of examiners in an oral exam.
All these things can put untold pressure on the student. And of course, if they fail the test or exam, this can add even more pressure and worry for the re-sit.
A recent Cambridge University study reveals that practising mindfulness can help us all to make the big decisions in life with confidence gained through self-awareness. Mindfulness is a component of the work I do with students of all ages seeking help with improving performance or overcoming anxiety. It provides clarity and makes it easier to commit to appropriate and relevant academic studies or vocational training and put the time and effort in that’s necessary to get the best results possible.
Treating Exam Nerves
Many of the feelings that people with a fear of the test or exam face, are to do with lack of confidence while in a test situation which leads to exam nerves. This fear gets compounded by the importance of doing well in the test, as the result may be life-changing. Pressure from family and friends doesn’t help either. Gentle, relaxing hypnosis can help Build Confidence, restoring feelings of control and enabling you to remain calm enough to perform to the best of your ability.