I hear you,* exam students.
You don’t have time for confidence training.
You have 1000+ words to learn, timed papers to practice, grammar exercises to complete AND homework.
I understand. I’ve been through this experience too.
… But what if I told you that confidence was both essential AND easy???
You know them: the students who do not try but always get really good results.
I wasn’t one of these students.
I worked and stressed and cried and worked some more. I felt really bad.
I was intelligent but I didn’t believe it. So I worked really hard to get better, but all I did was become more stressed. At the same time, I had friends who were confident. Because they believed in their abilities, they studied without stress… and sometimes they got better grades than me.
From my experience, too much stress can make you…
- Work too hard
- Give up
- Not try
I don’t want you to do any of these things. I want you to relax. I want you to feel good about what you CAN do.
Because when you believe in what you can do, you feel good. When you feel good, you feel confident.
The fact is: you need confidence to get through an exam. A little bit of stress is OK. It is understandable … but I would also like you to know that you CAN do it.
If you believe in your abilities, you will study more effectively AND feel ok when you walk into that exam room.
Luckily there are loads of very easy ways you can feel better. Here are two:
1) Positive self-talk:
Self-talk is the way you speak to yourself.
What do you think is better?
‘Oh no, I can’t do this. I’m going to fail and it’ll be a disaster’
‘I can do this. I know what I can do, I know what I need to do. Let’s do this!’
I like the second one, don’t you?
Find some positive things to say about yourself and say them often. It can be even
better if you say them in front of a mirror. It’s like giving yourself a little pep talk (a talk to motivate you and help you feel better).
Here are some examples:
‘I am a great student’
‘I can do this’
‘I have passed exams before, I can pass this one too.’
‘I am cool, calm and confident.’
‘I believe in myself’
(These are just ideas. You can say whatever you like but make it positive.)
I like saying these things when I feel like I want to give up. Every time I hear myself say ‘oh no, I can’t do this,’ I stop, think and say ‘no, I CAN do this, I just need to keep practicing.’ This helps me to feel more motivated.
I understand if you find this difficult. When I started this, I felt so embarrassed! It felt stupid to say things about myself that I didn’t believe.
However, after some practice, I began to see the difference in the way I saw myself. For example, after saying ‘I am intelligent’ for a few weeks, I began to see times when I WAS intelligent. This felt so good, I began to believe it too!
So keep going, you CAN do it, you ARE intelligent and you CAN believe in yourself. Yes.
Bonus tip: the best times to do this are early in the morning and late at night. It’s a wonderful way to start and end the day.
2) Can-do list
When you are studying for an exam, it often feels like you have a lot to do.
So you write ‘to-do’ lists, right?
Fine. I do too. It helps me organise what I need to do.
But you could also write ‘can-do’ lists.
Write a list of the things you know already. It can be small things, it can be big things. Both are important.
If you’re finding this hard, ask someone to write one for you. Ask someone in your class or your teacher. I find other people often see good things about you that you don’t see. Plus, when someone tells you something good about you, you feel…. GOOD!
Conclusion: study + confidence = exam success
I’m not saying don’t study. Studying is important.
All I’m saying is: study isn’t the only thing to think about when you are preparing for an exam.
With confidence, studying becomes easier, the exam is less stressful and you feel much better.
What can go wrong with that?
*’I hear you’ = I understand your point of view
PS if you want to read more about positive self-talk (or affirmations), check out anything by Louise Hay. http://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/#
PPS Here are some other things you could find useful…