Exam Anxiety

Unless you have been extremely lucky, you would not have escaped the pressure of the exams starting early in school and end late in college. 

In addition, if you lived in an environment where how you fared in exams is considered to be a measure of your worth, then it is all the more likely that important exams evoke a lot of anticipation anxiety in you.

The case story below describes such a case and some insight into addressing this common issue.

Names and circumstances have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Anticipation anxiety before exams

Swathi works for a accounting firm and she had a finance related exam coming around. It was important for her as clearing it would have positive material implications for position at work. 

She had a few Emotrance sessions with me before on other issues and this time she wanted to address the intense anxiety that she felt about the impending exam. She mentioned that she usually did not do well in exams like these and that she usually takes more than one attempt to clear them. 

I wanted to try out Positive EFT in this case and asked her what she would need to face her exams. She said, "Hope". A few rounds of tapping did not result in any noticeable state change. So we decided to pick another and tried "Confidence". A few rounds of this and she reported feeling better.

I asked her to pick another without worrying about if she can ever experience that state. She picked "Brilliance". Tapping a few rounds of this, personalizing it for herself made a lot of difference. She was smiling and far more relaxed. 

We picked a couple more positives "Wisdom" and "Power" to improve her state even further. 

At the end of the that, she was in a very different state than when she entered. When I asked her how she felt about her exams, she said that she feels much better and felt confident of handling her exams.

She agreed to my suggestion to tap on a few select positives everyday to manage her stress levels about the exams and see how it impacts her.

Many weeks later, when we met, she happily mentioned that she had cleared her exam in the first attempt, which was a very unusual thing for her!


Knowing how to manage your anticipation anxiety can have a material impact on the results you get. 

This is not to say that Positive EFT will get you to pass an exam with out preparation :). 

The common response to exam anxiety is to worry more, work harder or spend more hours in preparation or refer to more reference material in the hope that these actions will solve the problem.

Our ability to function logically is impaired when we are very anxious. So it makes sense to manage that conditioned response instead of working harder. 

It is also not the case that only "poor performers" have exam anxiety. I have known some of my classmates at IIT getting super anxious over their GRE exams :).  

So if you have  anticipation anxiety (before exams) or performance anxiety (during exams), it makes a lot of sense to address your current state before going down the route of spending more energy on preparation.

Related articles

  1. Positive EFT Introduction
  2. Understanding conditioning
  3. More case stories

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