An End to Exam Nerves
An End to Exam Nerves
We all remember that feeling of dread as an exam approaches, but the reality is that stress is
the enemy of concentration and focus, so it is important to get stress under control.
These ideas will help you achieve that wonderful blend of
mental alertness and relaxation which is the key to success.
Getting the right mindset
You may be stressed because you are feeling that you are not good enough to get the grades. That insidious sabotage has to be obliterated immediately from your mind. When the mind is trained correctly, studying and recall comes easily. Hypnosis facilitiates your personal mental authority.
One of the most common ways to increase stress is to
procrastinate, or to put off studying. Everyone
does it sometimes. The inevitable consequence of procrastination is that horrible, sinking feeling when you are faced with an upcoming exam and just not enough time to prepare for it. If you recognise this scenario, then do become a better friend to yourself, and settle down to studying. It is a bit like going on a diet. Once you have the right mindset, the pounds fall off.
Breaking the task down into small elements is a good way to chip away at procrastination. If you are
very stressed, then tell yourself that, at first, you will only study for five minutes. You will find that you can gradually build up from that. You may get to the point when you can face a revision timetable, or even better, start a Study Bank.
A Study Bank
The Study Bank is unlike the traditional timetable
which has set hours per subject each day. A study bank allows you a budget of x number of hours of study time per week- though you can allocate the time over a fortnight, if that suits your schedule better.
Cross off your allocated study hours as you complete them,with the aim of reaching zero by the end of the week or fortnight. This gives you the comfort of flexibility, and encourages confident habits. Perhaps even
more important it generates a feeling of being in control and successful. You can balance your budget by
studying more on one day, if say, you had heavy demands on your time on the previous day.
Study Banks do need an honest approach, but they work! You keep on top of things and you have plenty
of time for pleasure and fun too.
Exercise for success
Exercise is a great way to burn off the stress hormones. If
you hate formal exercise, find some exercise
you love and do that. Dancing around the living room to your favourite music is just as good as football or going to the gym. Swimming is a particularly beneficial exercise as water is naturally soothing and the rhythmic breathing in conjunction with swimming,relaxes mind and body naturally. On the other hand, if you hate cold water and the smell of chlorine, power yoga or walking the dog might be more you. My son found the best stress relief came in knocking hell out of a punch bag in the garage when he was going through gruelling professional exams. Don’t judge yourself-just do what you enjoy.
Do you worry that your mind will go blank in exams?
Your memory is like a bank. If you have put the information into your memory, you can withdraw it. It is just like when you put money into the bank. You can take it out because you put it there. So there is no need to worry about finding information to answer that crucial question. It is there, the secret is to mentally relax, and you will bring it to the forefront of your mind.
Brain tricks condition the mind to remember information,
because familiar patterns are more
easily stored and recalled. Here are some essential activities:
- visualising and making associations with
- using acronyms,
- using rhymes, coloured highlighters,
- getting key words onto cards
- sticking post it notes around,
- mind maps .
Tried and tested
The ancient Greeks gave us memory signals we still use in
speeches or essays, such as ‘In the first place’, ‘In second place.’ They used this trick to help them remember what they wanted to say by associating it with things in these places and then visualising specific information next to that
Other favourites you may know from school include
‘One collar two socks’- to help us remember that the word ‘necessary’ is spelt with one c and double s.
‘Long legged Italy kicked poor Sicily into the Mediterranean
sea’- to hep us visualise the geography of Italy.
Now make up some of your own personal tricks!
Be creative and as crazy as you want to be- it all works.
Time for Treats
- See yourself opening that envelope and reading
the word ‘Pass’ next to your name.
- Remind yourself often that you are doing well
and reward yourself with lots of special little treats- they don’t have to be
expensive and will keep your mood upbeat
and your confidence high.
- Eat and sleep well- the brain needs good food to
be healthy and repair itself just like any other organ.
- When you are in deep sleep, your brain synapses
- Take refreshing breaks. Your mind can then move
stored information from the short term part of the brain to the long term
Visualisation for instant calm
Finally, here is an incredibly powerful mental stress buster. Practised regularly it will banish exam panic once and for all. As you do this exercise, you may find you experience some uncomfortable moments of mental pressure. That is good. Allow
yourself to notice that pressure and also how it subsides all by itself. These are our natural reactions. We are programmed to feel some anxiety when we have anxious thoughts. But we are also designed to be able to let anxiety go- it’s a vital protective mechanism for our health. The good news is that hypnosis makes this process easy.
Close your eyes and relax. Take ten very deep breaths in and out, right to the bottom of your lungs.
Visualise waking up on the exam day.
Visualise yourself getting ready at home that morning.
See your journey to the exam room.
Notice yourself taking your place in the room.
Observe how you lay out your pens, bottle of water etc on the desk.
Notice the other candidates around you.
Notice how the exam hall is laid out.
Familiarise yourself with the clock, the exit, toilet signs, the invigilators and where they stand etc.
Notice the start of the exam being announced. See exams papers being given out.
See yourself pick up the paper.
Visualise yourself scanning through the questions, deciding which of those you will do first etc.
See yourself picking up your pen.
Observe how you underline the key words of the question.
See yourself answering the question- perhaps by making a rough plan first.
Hear the invigilator announce the time passing.
See yourself completing the paper.
See yourself working steadily.
Hear the end of the exam being announced.
See how you hand the completed paper to the invigilator. Lastly, see yourself leaving the exam room calmly.
See your expression of quiet satisfaction.
You have passed!
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