I’m resuming my posts today after a long hiatus. As it sometimes takes two or three posts to tell one story, and you consequently have to read backwards, I am trying tricks to reverse this. They may not work.

Thinking back to times when I questioned whether my favourite therapeutic technique was an example of The King’s New Clothes or, at best, the placebo effect, I could always dwell on my 100% success with examination anxiety. This success was regardless of whether it was self-hypnosis or I did an induction.

In my interpretation exam nerves didn’t include students who neglected to prepare for the exams and were dreading the expected and thoroughly deserved failure. And it didn’t include students who were nervous wrecks leading up to the exam – not sleeping, eating, irritable, teary, and convinced they would fail. Simple relaxation exercises were usually helpful and these students mostly performed very well during the actual exam.

The crippling kind of exam anxiety is specific to credit level or above students who know their work backwards. They walk into the exam room, their mind goes blank and when they walk out again, they remember everything. FAILURE!!

It is a bit like sleepwalking or bruxism, not available to waking control.

For most students who suffered this I found that the outcome was TOO important to them. So important that the extreme anxiety generated an inability to perform. Totally unfair.

One student from a country council had been given 6 months out of every year on full pay to attend our Civil Engineering Sandwich Course. He felt extremely obligated to his boss, who had gone out on a limb. He just HAD to succeed.

To be continued.