I have helped many students with hypnotherapy for anxiety about examinations. Often these students have revised more thoroughly than others. They could write excellent answers if they were sat at home, even within the same time limit as in the exam. But when it is a real exam they go to pieces. The fight-or-flight response which I describe HERE is triggered, and all their brain and body wants to do is run away! So these students could gain a lot from hypnotherapy for anxiety about examinations.

Causes of exam anxiety

Typically the anxiety kicks in from first thing in the morning on examination day. It then gets a lot worse when the student arrives at the examination venue. They may see other students showing signs of anxiety. Human beings pick up on other peoples’ feelings, so anxiety can be very infectious. The student also hears their friends discussing the forthcoming exam. Maybe someone is saying “I bet such-and-such a question comes up!” and they realise that they haven’t revised for that specific question. Other students may be openly discussing their own anxiety. This triggers the same response in others.

During the examination, some people find the very formal setting quite intimidating. This is a sharp contrast to the more friendly and informal atmosphere which students experience in classes. The supervisors (sometimes called “invigilators”) walk up and down the aisles. They are obviously on the lookout for any infringement of the rules. Some students may be especially anxious when an invigilator approaches them from behind. 

As the examination progresses, students may see other students leaving early. This may trigger one of two negative ideas. They may think “Oh gosh she has finished already and I’m only halfway through, I must be doing really badly!” Or they may think “Oh no, she has given up in despair, that’s how bad this is!”

Benefits of getting hypnotherapy for anxiety about examinations

It’s frustrating when you know that you’ve actually studied much more than other people, yet they will get better marks than you. This is because they’re not anxious, so they’re better able to recall what they have learned. They can then write it down clearly, or demonstrate their skills if it’s a practical examination.

And of course no one enjoys living under that dark cloud of anxiety which oppresses you in the run-up to an exam. You want college or university to be an enjoyable experience.


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To get help to overcome anxiety about exams, call me on 01392 574669 or use the contact form below. Remember to tick the “consent” box else the form won’t send. My Plymouth location is in Mutley near the University. My Exeter location is fifteen minutes walk from the St James area.

Extreme anxiety around examinations may result from a bad experience at one particular exam, which maybe came at a time when you were already very stressed for other reasons. Or there may be other things going on in your life right now, and the extra stress of the exam is just “the icing on the cake.” For some people the problem could have deeper roots, for instance if parents or teachers have told them that they are stupid. There is strong scientific evidence that people tend to behave as others expect them to behave. This even applies to intelligence tests. People who believe themselves to be of lower intelligence can actually score highly if they don’t know that the test they’re taking is an IQ test. But if they’re told it’s an IQ test their score will drop! Our beliefs about ourselves have a very powerful effect on us.

DISCLAIMER Individual results may vary and unless specified, outcomes are not guaranteed.
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