Looking for a solution to exam stress and anxiety? Today I offer three proven ways to overcome exam stress and anxiety with hypnotherapy, CBT or EMDR.
At this time of the year, many UK teenagers are worrying about upcoming exams. Yet, exam or test anxiety can also be experienced by many adults at university or in a job where they need to do exams to progress in their careers.
Other situations where you are also tested can contribute to these negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours. For example, you might feel stressed and anxious about a driving test, a presentation, running in a race or tests for playing the piano.
Although a bit of stress is good as it kicks you into gear, anxiety about tests and exams can give you those awful thoughts or feelings, such as thinking you are no good or getting a mental block. You may also notice physical issues such as difficulty sleeping, headaches, or not feeling yourself. If these persist, you should talk with your doctor.
Most people cope and get through the test or exam, but if the fear increases, it may become a phobia where you almost feel paralysed when you think about the exam.
Exam anxiety, or examinophobia, is a real and common experience. It can be crippling, preventing people of all ages from performing their best at a time when they need to do well. It can greatly impact people’s lives, especially young people.
Thankfully, there are ways to break the cycle of fear and stress associated with exams, but you need to act as doing nothing will not change how you are feeling, and you might fail to show your true potential.
So, let’s review three ways to beat test or exam anxiety.
1. Hypnotherapy for test or exam stress and anxiety
Let’s explore hypnotherapy because hypnotherapy may help you to overcome your exam anxiety quickly. Everyone is different, and different hypnotherapists have different methods, but three or four sessions would not be unusual. These sessions could be online via videoconferencing or in the therapist’s office.
What Is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses hypnosis. It helps you to change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour by focusing your attention inwards. It also assists you in visualising through guided imagery, so you can get absorbed in the positive suggestions the hypnotherapist gives you.
You can concentrate on your inner resources when you are more open to suggestions.
What happens in a hypnotherapy session?
Hypnotherapists make assessments and ask you questions.
You are guided to a trance-like state by words or stories to connect to your thoughts and feelings on a deeper level and change the negative patterns. It’s about finding your inner resources, so you learn to cope better. People often feel very relaxed. The benefit of this is that anxious people get tense muscles and aches and pains, so hypnosis can give some relief physically.
We all need the confidence to make big changes in our lives or feel good about the amount of studying we have done, so hypnotherapy can also help to boost confidence to do well. Finally, hypnosis allows you to visualise success before taking your exam—this visualised confidence can help reduce stress levels regarding the revision and the exam day.
2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
What is CBT?
It’s a talking therapy which involves how you think, how you behave and the impact it has on your body and attitudes.
CBT is an effective counselling or psychotherapy method of helping to overcome exam stress and anxiety.
What happens in a CBT session?
Just like hypnotherapy, assessments and questioning happen at the beginning to determine exactly how the revision and exams impact you.
Psychoeducation is an important part of CBT, so the therapist will explain how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are linked. You may also discuss any triggers or past experiences contributing to the problem. The therapist then uses talking therapy to help you change.
Between sessions, you may be asked to keep thought logs or do things that will help the negative patterns change.
If you visit a CBT practitioner, CBT may require six to twelve sessions or more. However, working through a CBT programme online by yourself is also possible.
3. Eye Movements Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
What is EMDR?
EMDR is another talking therapy that involves moving the eyes in certain directions, listening to sounds or experiencing tapping while thinking about the problem. The idea is to reduce the intensity of the negative feelings and change the thought patterns. EMDR is supported by research as an effective way of reducing exam stress and anxiety.
Again assessment and talking about the issue happens at the beginning. Then the therapist does rounds of EMDR by talking, checking thoughts and asking you to move your eye, listen or tap in a certain way. The idea is to reduce the negative thoughts and emotions about the test or exam individually as they arise.
EMDR may require six or more sessions, although research shows that in some cases, only one session helped. Yet this study only used 17 people.
Revision and study skills
In the early days of trying to help people with test and exam anxiety, the focus was always on developing study skills. However, today we know that people preparing for tests and exams need more skills in coping and making the right appraisal of a situation.
Developing good study skills and understanding how to answer questions is still a vital aspect, though.
But let’s face it; all exams need you to study and check and develop your learning through studying, so study skills are also important. Many resources are available such as BBC bite-size, but your tutor or teacher should also be able to help.
But if you secretly don’t want to study or pass this test or exam because you are doing it for someone else, therapy won’t be your magic wand.
However, hypnotherapy, CBT and EMDR can also help with procrastination, confidence, low self-esteem, and other barriers to your success.
Exam anxiety doesn’t have to ruin things for anyone anymore!
You can learn how to manage your anxious thoughts and feelings with therapy to better prepare yourself for tests and exams. If you’re looking for an alternative solution that works with your schedule and lifestyle, consider giving therapy a try today! You may feel more confident than ever when it comes time for your next big test or exam!
Hi, I’m Linda from Awaken the Change. I specialise in helping people with stress and anxiety get out of their rut and feel much better. I’m a qualified hypnotherapist, counsellor and CBT practitioner, and I also provide EMDR for various issues, including exam stress and anxiety. And what’s great is sometimes I combine all three approaches to meet your needs. Find out more by visiting my website or booking a call or an online free initial consultation today.