01 Dec How to ‘Zap’ Exam Nerves As Easily as Changing TV Channel
I recently worked with a teenager who was suffering with exam nerves.
I asked her:
‘What’s the picture in your head when you think about the exam?’
‘Me looking at the exam paper with no clue about what to do’
I then countered:
‘What do you do when you’re watching something you don’t like on TV?’
‘I keep changing the channel until I find something I like’
‘Well’ I said ‘there’s your answer’
So, what did I mean?
As a species, human beings pre-date language. The pictures in our head are therefore much more powerful than words and have massive effect on our thinking and our emotions.
If left unchallenged negative images and thoughts can cause us to sabotage our own behaviour and perform below our ability.
If the picture in your head (i.e. your thought) is looking at an exam paper with no idea of what to do, that’s exactly how you’re programming yourself to behave when the exam actually happens.
The point to remember is that you don’t have to believe your thoughts.
If a thought is very negative, ask yourself:
- Is this thought true? Do you really know nothing about this exam subject?
- Is this thought logical? Is it likely that you’ve studied something but know nothing about it?
- Is this thought helpful? Does thinking this way make you feel confident?
If the answer to any of the above is ‘no’, then reject the thought and swap it for something more positive. The principle is just the same as changing TV channel.
With a bit of help and practice, the student I was working with was able to imagine ‘zapping’ through a range of exam-related images in her head (like she would with a TV remote control), until she found something constructive and helpful.
If you want to learn to master this technique, call me on 07768 613866 or click here to email me.