ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Exam confidence. Tackling exam nerves with hypnotherapy and NLP

Updated on April 19, 2011
Photographed by Milford. Courtesy of Wiki Commons
Photographed by Milford. Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Help!!! I've got exam nerves!

It's amazing how many otherwise confident people just go to pieces when faced with an exam. Some people come out in a cold sweat at the very mention of the word, yet, realistically, exams are a time for showing off your skills.

If you are suffering from exam nerves you might consider getting a little help. If you are a person whose mind goes blank and whose knees go to jelly when faced with an examination paper, a session or two with a qualified hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner can make all the difference  Hypnosis and NLP are particularly helpful for confidence issues and phobias of all descriptions.

How does hypnosis and hypnotherapy work?

It might be helpful to consider your mind as a kind of powerful, personal computer system that can be programmed through education and experience, Every waking moment of every day, your mind is processing an enormous amount of information. Facts and figures, names and faces, colours, tastes, smells, sounds. We suck it all in, and use it to form our own highly individual view of the world.

Now consider that your personal operating system works on different levels. You have a conscious process which involves decision making and critical thinking, and a sub-conscious process, which acts as your hard-wiring. The conscious mind controls voluntary actions such as having conversations, choosing from a menu, or reading a map. But the sub-conscious mind is ticking away at the same time, processing information that gradually becomes part of your hard-wiring. All the actions that we perform without conscious effort happen because of our sub-conscious mind. This includes all the good things, such as breathing, eating, drinking, and generally keeping ourselves safe and alive, and it also includes the bad things such as addictive behaviours, and over-reactions to stress.

Hypnosis offers us a means of by-passing the conscious mind, thus giving us access to the hard-wiring. This is why it is so useful for dealing with bad habits such as smoking, and also for removing or reducing fears and phobias such as exam nerves.Hypnosis uses a natural state to help achieve this, and that is the state of trance. Everyone of us at some point in our lives experience trance. Most of us will go into a trance state fairly frequently during an average day. This often happens when you are doing routine tasks, or when you're deeply involved in a hobby, or leisure activity, or when you're simply day-dreaming. A hypnotherapist will usually induce trance by softening his or her voice and talking you into a state of relaxation. Once you are in a trance you will still be able to hear and understand everything that's said to you, but you will be more susceptible to the helpful suggestions made by your therapist.

So how will these suggestions help?

Your therapist will discuss your problem in great detail before commencing hypnosis. Many people have a straightforward phobia of exams due to a previous bad experience. A fear of failure is common even amongst straight 'A' students. Other people have an extreme version of the 'fight or flight' reflex when they see the exam paper before them. Their brow becomes clammy, their heart races, and their palms sweat. This is a classic reaction to stressful situations, and a good hypnotherapist will soon help you to get this under control.

Your therapist may employ a visualisation technique such as the 'fast phobia cure'. You can learn about some of these techniques by clicking here. Alternatively, you might be given some suggestions under hypnosis to help you take a calmer approach, or else given some confidence building exercises to do at home in preparation for the big day.

Many of these techniques and exercises were originally developed by Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioners, but they produce such powerful results, that they have been adopted by hypnotherapists, and are commonly used alongside traditional hypnosis. NLP deals with the way we perceive ourselves and others, and the kind of 'self-talk' we employ in our daily lives. For example, a student might tell himself that exams are terrifying, and that he is bound to forget all he's learned as soon as he sees the test paper. A more positive approach would be for him to perceive the exam as exciting. and as an opportunity to show off hard-earned skills.

Can I use any of these techniques without visiting a hypnotherapist?

Not everyone has the opportunity or the financial resources to pay out for a hypnotherapist or an NLP practitioner. it's great if you can, but there is plenty of help available in books, CDs and DVDs. Well-known TV hypnotist, Paul McKenna, has written an excellent series of books which are relatively inexpensive and usually include a hypnosis CD inside the back cover. 'Instant Confidence' and 'Change Your Life in 7 Days,' are both helpful books by this author. YouTube also has any number of clips posted showing demonstrations of NLP and hypnosis, and there are some great web articles around, including many on this site.


Meanwhile, try 'reframing' your fear of exams by giving it a positive spin. The more positive messages we give ourselves, the better we do. There are many stories around about people who have succeeded against the odds. If Joanna Rowling had given up the first time someone rejected her book, the world would never have heard of Harry Potter. She had faith in her abilities, and that's what gave her the determination to carry on. Similarly The Beatles were famously rejected by Decca records before going on to great success elsewhere. Reframing provides us with one of the best NLP techniques. Tell yourself that you have all the skills you need to succeed (it helps at this point if you have actually studied and revised!) Now go into the exam with the idea that the examiner will be blown away by your natural ability and talent. The exam is a great opportunity to demonstrate how clever you really are!

Good luck with your exams! You know you can do it!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)