It’s very common and quite normal to experience a certain degree of nervousness about taking exams, whether the exam is academic or something more practical, such as taking a driving test. This nervousness is felt as stress and is the result of raised adrenalin levels.
A small amount of adrenal activity is healthy and can help to create a sharp focus and motivation for doing well.
Sometimes, a by-product of high adrenal activity is that it can lead to excessive worrying. The more that a person worries, the more stress hormones will be produced by the body and this is what has the biggest impact on exam performance.
Simply put, high stress hormones in the body will reduce the intellectual mental capacity. This is why it is important to understand the mechanisms of stress and also to learn helpful ways of managing.
Here are some tips that may be helpful:
1. Avoid anything that will stimulate more stress hormones – so avoid caffeine products such as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, too much sugar.
2. Take breaks when revising – the brain needs down time every couple of hours in order to make sense of what you have been learning. If you don’t take breaks, the thinking part of the brain will feel as though it is not working optimally and you might think that you are not able to retain the information.
3. Having stress hormones in the body means that you are fuelled for fight/flight action. It’s a good idea to discharge those stress hormones by getting physical exercise before your exam – even if you just go for a brisk 10 minute walk.
4. Drink water. Research has found that if we don’t drink enough water, the grey matter in the brain will shrink, making it much harder to think clearly.
5. Do 7/11 breathing Every cell in your body, including the brain cells, require oxygen for optimum performance. It is well known that when a person is feeling stressed, their breath becomes too shallow. So, just take a moment now and then to breathe.
6. Deep relaxation helps to reset the brain, allowing information to come to the surface of conscious attention in a more effortless way.*
Some people however, find it very difficult to become more relaxed about these pressured situations and if you are one of them, you may find that a session or two of hypnotherapy will help you to relax more and help you to be more inclined to expect the best.*
*Disclaimer: Please be aware that the results of any treatment will vary from person to person and no specific guarantees are being made. Mary Condell always endeavours to give her best work to each client with a commitment to the best possible outcome. Please call to discuss any queries or concerns you may have.