As a hypnotherapist I do lots of work with children and young adults and every year as we get past Easter, there are increasing numbers of students seeking help with exam nerves and test anxiety.
Some nerves are to be expected, there is a lot riding on attaining the right grades or points to get a place in college or land a decent job. However, more and more students are suffering from exaggerated levels of anxiety and nervousness that absolutely undermines performance on the day of the exam. A student who has prepared well and revised conscientiously can struggle to remember the learned material or put it onto paper in a way that addresses the question asked. Just when they need clear thinking and confident recall they are befuddled and scared which can lead to panic in extreme cases.
As I say, some nervous energy is normal and for most people a necessary part of the whole test experience. It helps to stimulate thinking and provides the energy needed to take the student through two or even three hours of mental gymnastics. But when the anxiety is excessive it disrupts normal mental processing and robs the student of their best efforts.
In my experience this is much more of an issue with the studious, well prepared student than with the less academically interested pupil. The very ones that should sail through the exam, are often the most likely to suffer from exam nerves. Although the matter seems to defy all logic, it is the uncomfortable reality that many concerned parents will be grappling with over the next two months.
But why is this happening? Many would argue that this generation of well cared, cosseted, children have less to worry about than any preceding generation of exam takers. Sadly this does not appear to be the case and many schools are reporting increased levels of worry and anxiety amongst the total school population, not just the exam takers.
Some student just need extra reassurance at this time. For others they need to learn some effective relaxation techniques, that take the edge off sufficiently for them to give off their best. Hypnotherapy is an amazing method for dealing with this type of stress. Multiple research studies have proven that hypnotherapy is a highly effective means to relieve stress and relax physically, mentally and emotionally.
For other students much of the stress is generated around an uncertain future. The exams represent a crossroads in life. Leaving home, friends and familiar surroundings can be a major wrench for young people who have yet to experience standing on their own two feet.
One of the most destructive causes of anxiety in young people is an unhealthy fixation on “perfection.” The need to seek validation through high (or highest) grades. Reality check, PERFECTION DOES NOT EXIST! I am a great fan of high standards where appropriate, but perfection is a fruitless journey into worry and fear. Parents please beware.
OK that’s all for now. Final word to everyone facing into exams. Do your best and remember no matter what grades you achieve……YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.
Sean Mc Gee
If anyone is concerned about this subject matter please feel free to contact Sean at any time on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0872895171