Jenks Hypnosis and Training Center, LLC
805 N. Fir, Jenks, OK 74037 (918)
Located in Jenks, America, near the heart of south Tulsa
Test Without Fear
School has started - long time ago. 2006 is almost over and mid terms are fast approaching. This is the time that students usually start worrying, some with good cause. However, worry is still worry and it eats away at our confidence. Taking tests (mid-terms, end of semester and the fear-inducing SAT and ACT tests on which so much of the future is based), frequently induces a different but very distinct type of stress.
One of the most fearful things I had to do when I was in school was take a test. It scared the bejeebers out of me. Oh, I'd studied. I knew the material forwards and backwards. I just had the distinct problem getting the information from my mind to the paper. Every subject was stress inducing - some (Chemistry, Algebra) much more than others (English, Drama). I knew of nothing to help me, I just had to muddle through as best I could. My best was frequently the pits, but - there is help for students today - ME!
For some students the knowledge is there, they just don't know how to access it. For other students, the problem is learning to study effectively and for some, it is just learning how to listen in class. Lacking any one of these components increases the stress levels when test time comes.
So, what are the basic problems? Concentration, distractions, memory, fear, lack of confidence . . . The list goes on but these seem to be the major stumbling blocks. Now, what can you do about them?
First of all, change the way you speak to yourself. Ever listened in on those inner conversations? Eavesdrop sometime. You just might be appalled! You would never speak to friends or family - not even strangers - the way you have no trouble talking to yourself. You tell yourself "I'm a lousy student." You tell yourself "I don't know how"; "I can't"; "I'm not able", etc. Are you aware that self talk is a self fulfilling prophecy? The more frequently you hear something the more powerful it becomes. So, the more you tell yourself you can't, the less you can do. The more you say you are a bad student, the worse student you become. The more you tell yourself you can't study, the less effective your studying becomes. As I said, a self fulfilling prophecy.
Hmmm. So what would happen if you change this self talk from negative to positive? What if you said "I am an excellent student. I study and learn easily."? Would it become the new self fulfilling prophecy? You bet! You just set yourself up to succeed!
Is it really that easy? Well, yes - and no. You didn't get here overnight, you won't get out overnight either. Negative statements are six times more powerful than positive statements. (Guess that is why it is easier to believe the bad stuff.) Your thoughts and words have power. You are the only one who has the control of your thoughts. You are the only one who can make them positive or negative. Believe in yourself. Praise yourself. Be patient, kind, tolerant with yourself.
Do this. For one month (yes one solid month) affirm yourself everyday with this affirmation. "I am an excellent student. I study and learn easily." Every morning from the time you get up until you go to breakfast. Every time you see your reflection or shadow; every time you hear your name, repeat, "I am an excellent student. I study and learn easily." As you go through you bedtime routine, from the time you start until you lay your head on the pillow, "I am an excellent student. I study and learn easily." Each and every day. Remember the more you hear (say, think) a statement, the truer, stronger, more powerful it becomes.
OK. Now that you've started changing your perspective, what else can you do? I'm so glad you asked! Second step - Calm yourself. (You read right. The importance of being calm is much greater than these two words imply.) When you get tense and stressed about studying or taking a test, you become so focused on that nervousness you lose your ability to focus on the studies. There is that self fulfilling prophecy again. So, when you sit down to study, take a deep breath. Calm yourself. Push away all of the outside distractions. (Tell that Inner Critic and the Committee to take a hike!) Use calming, soothing sounds to create a quiet oasis that is conducive to studying. Intentionally focus on the book before you. The upside to this - you'll spend less time studying (and have more time for fun) because you are completely focused on the task at hand.
Ok. I'm calm. I've studied. But tests still scare the bejeebers out of me! Not a problem. Sit down right now. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking into the class room and taking your seat. Take a deep breath. Calm yourself. Fear breeds stress. Stress increases tension. Tension robs you of your ability to focus. You have studied, you know this material. So relax. When you get stressed, you tend to take shallow breaths. Your body becomes oxygen starved making stress and tension increase while your ability to focus decreases. So relax. Breathe deeply. Calm yourself. If you come across an answer you don't know immediately, leave it and go on. Allow this wonderful, powerful thing call a subconscious to bubble the information to the front of your memory. Did you realize that the more you "chase" something, the harder it is to find? So just go on. Your subconscious will bring the answer to you.
Last. Believe in yourself. Remember, you are an excellent student. But, you will not be perfect all the time. (Who of us is??) You will not make 100% on every test, every paper, every report. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. That eliminates the stress of striving for - and failing to reach - perfection. Now, I did NOT say don't strive to do better! Because if you are not moving forward, you are in the way and will likely get trampled by all those folks who are.
Students have a job and that job is to learn. That is the focus, the whole point, of school. So give yourself the best chance to succeed. Affirm yourself. Calm yourself. Believe in yourself.
P.S. For the Moms and Pops, the athlete and all the rest of you who are reading, this works just as well for you. Substitute whatever event trips your nervous button for "test". Then begin changing the way you think about yourself. Affirm yourself as well. It is never too late to be what you could have been. And if you have children under six, even newborns, teach them to affirm themselves. There is no better gift you can give them than the gift of self esteem and self confidence. Start them young. Train them right. Believe in yourself!