Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Exams looming?

It is that time of year again for those at school, university or college with exams looming in May and June.

If this is you and you are somewhat anxious about what is ahead, that is a normal response.

Some anxiety, reframed 'anticipation nerves and conscientiousness' is good and can drive us harder and with better results than peers who have none of these feelings.

However, for some of us exams have caused a high level of disabling anxiety where symptoms include 'brain shutdown' - I sat in an exam at school once and could not seem to think at all for some time. Luckily for me I regained composure I think through deep breathing and my results were only slightly impacted.

Sitting exams like giving presentations can be very fearful situations for many due to what is perceived to be at stake. High stakes - opportunity losses or embarrassment - often increases our anxiety. Some students describe it to me as 'immense stress' and 'feeling completely overwhelmed particularly as other students panic around me'.

Symptoms at the high anxiety end of the scale are often multiple and varied.

One of my existing clients is suffering with perceived bladder control issues, another is unable to sleep in and around exam time. Still another worries about the sheer volume of revision study.

Some of you will have tactics and strategies that work some of the time with varying degrees of success.

5 practical tips to try from me to you include say 8 weeks in the run up to exams

  • practising relaxation and meditation techniques
  • eating healthily, avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • recording achievements and positive feedback that relates to the exams which you can read each week to keep your confidence at a good level
  • scheduling in then thinking about activities to enjoy post exams
  • knowing your optimal productivity and taking breaks after peaks
I work with my clients on other conscious and subconscious techniques prior to their exams which help with concentration, focus and revision motivation.

In particular I teach all of my clients how to overcome their anxieties by helping to change their thinking at a deep level using a tool from CBT as well as helping to change those negative self-beliefs.

I would like to personally wish you every success in your exams and hopefully through using this blog you will steer through them with a calmer course.

If you would like to work with me to leave those exam fears in the past please get in touch via our website www.westofenglandcoachingandcounselling.co.uk

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