How to cope with exam nerves
Most people experience some degree of anxiety about exams.
Whilst a certain amount of exam stress is and can be used as a motivating force, it is important to keep on top of exam anxiety.
An important way to do this is to be organised.
Some people suffer with exam stress more than others.
For those people, it is important to learn some stress reduction techniques as well as using specific study tips for revision.
Useful stress reduction ideas
Don’t drink too much coffee, tea and fizzy drinks; the caffeine will ‘hype’ you and make your thinking less clear.
Eat healthily and regularly; your brain will benefit from the nutrients.
The physical symptoms associated with stress are caused by the hormone adrenaline, which is necessary to prepare the body for the ‘fight or flight’ reaction.
When overproduced by chronic stress, it simply causes unpleasant physical symptoms rather than of being any use to you.
Physical activity will use up the adrenaline, for the purpose it is intended.
This can help to reduce some of the unpleasant physical effects associated with stress, such as racing heart, over-breathing and muscular tension.
Build some regular moderate exercise into your day to boost your energy and clear your mind.
A brisk walk for 30 minutes is as good a form of exercise as any and doesn’t need much planning in advance.
Try out some relaxation techniques.
They will help to keep you feeling calm and balanced, improve your concentration levels and help you to sleep better.
Get into a sensible sleep pattern; make sure that you stop academic work at least an hour before you go to bed and then do something relaxing so that your sleep is refreshing and useful.
Don’t work half the night and then get up late instead.
Relaxation techniques you can try yourself
Practise tensing and relaxing each of your muscle groups in turn.
Begin with your toes.
Clench them and hold them tight for a few seconds, concentrating fully on the feeling.
Now gradually and slowly relax the muscles, unclenching your toes and letting them go loose.
Progressively move up the body doing the same, until you reach the forehead.
Frown tightly, screwing up the facial muscles and then relax them.
Practise breathing deeply, evenly and slowly.
As you develop this slow rhythm, try to imagine that you are lying on a warm beach, watching the waves.
Put the mental picture in tune with your breathing.
As you breathe in, imagine the waves washing in: as you breathe out, the waves wash out.
Hypnosis is well known for helping people to overcome nerves and really helpful to relieve exam stress.
Help during the revision period
Create an overview of what you want to revise and break each subject down into manageable chunks.
Make headings and allocate each section on a monthly or weekly planner.
Ask your tutors for practice questions/past papers.
Set definite start and finish times for your revision sessions and have a clear goal for each session.
Aim to break your revision sessions up with five minutes break every half hour.
Use active revision techniques to make the best use of your revision time.
Build a system of regular review into your revision, checking what you know and what you don’t know.
Develop a technique for question analysis and planning answers to use in the exam.
Practise making plans and answering questions under timed conditions.
Plan how you will use your time in the exams before-hand.
Other tips for dealing with pre exam nerves
Believe in yourself.
You wouldn’t have been given a place on the course if you didn’t have the ability to do it.
Therefore, if you prepare for the exams properly you should do fine, meaning that there is no need to worry excessively.
Success is wonderful, by all means aim high.
But keep things in balance.
If you create unrealistic goals, you will only be disappointed.
Aim to do your best and for yourself, rather than for friends or your parents.
Recognise that none of us can be perfect all of the time.
Take steps to overcome problems.
Don’t battle on alone, get help from a tutor if you don’t understand a topic.
Hypnotherapy, Hypnosis and Cognitive services can provide REAL help to cope more effectively within yourself and to gain a clearer perspective on your test nerves
Don’t keep things bottled up.
Confiding in someone you trust and who will be supportive is a great way of alleviating stress and worry.
Keep things in perspective.
The exams might seem like the most crucial thing right now, but in the grander scheme of your whole life they are only a small part.
If nothing seems to be helping
Some people find that despite all their best efforts, anxiety levels simply keep on rising.
This can be self-defeating and you can go round and round in circles.
If this is happening, then do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how JTR Hypnotherapy can help YOU.
Sometimes a single 60 minute session of Clinical Hypnosis is all you will need, although often a couple of sessions is most effective.
Contact JTR Hypnotherapy
If you’d like to arrange for an initial consultation at my clinic, or if you have any queries that you’d like me to answer, then you can e-mail me, or if you’d prefer, you can fill out my online-enquiry form.