Exam, Test, Performance Anxiety? Success is here

Written by Hilary Dixon

Whether you are taking a driving test, a music exam, your finals or professional exams, it is likely that you will experience performance nerves or so-called, test anxiety. You want to do your best and pass with flying colours but fear, or excitement, can interfere with how you wish to be. The good news is that you can learn to overcome test anxiety and channel those feelings in order to stay calm and produce your best performance on the day.

In the same way that athletes train for winning a race you can prepare yourself in a similar way for any upcoming tests. Your mindset plays a key role in the outcome and so it’s hugely beneficial to address it if you want to succeed.

Successful athletes such as the Jamaican King of Olympic track and field, Usain Bolt, are not super-human. He did not become the greatest by thinking he would fail. Nor did Jessicca Ennis-Hill when she won her Olympic golds for Heptathlon. They trained hard physically and mentally but crucially they have a winner’s mindset, a belief that they are capable of winning. This positive mental attitude that is required to succeed is one which you can employ too. In fact, all of us have the ability to do the same. I don’t mean win gold medals, but we can learn to calm the mind, focus on the goal and learn to control our emotions to produce the best on the day. 

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Henry Ford

The quote above emphasises how much belief determines failure or success. Belief plays a huge part in manifesting your wants. Exam and test fear are common and this quote suggests that if you want to pass that test then you can if you think you can! However, thinking on it’s own isn’t enough, it’s just part of the recipe of success, but it’s a HUGE part! You still have to do the coursework or learn the theory and do the practical work, but positive self talk is vital to propel us into action. Positive self talk comes from that inner voice we all have. 

I urge you now to pay attention to your inner voice? It will pay dividends. Think about it, does it encourage you, motivate you, support you when you’re having a bad day? Is it uplifting, positive and kind? Is it like the coach one would pay for to achieve results? This is the area I zoom in on with clients who want to achieve a goal. You can change that inner voice and in doing so you will feel more confident, capable and motivated. When you tell yourself you can’t do something it’s limiting to say the least! 

Simple Exercise for a Feeling of Empowerment

Here is the visual difference between “I can” and “I can’t”:

Now, experience how these words “can” and “can’t” make us feel differently:

Say out loud 3 times “I can, I can, I can” whilst imagining yourself doing something successfully and doing the victory pose. (It’s best to close your eyes.) This is positive self talk combined with mental imagery, a simple, yet powerful concept used by the athletes and anyone that adopts a positive mind set. 

To prove the point, if you say out loud 3 times “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” whilst imagining yourself failing, the feeling you experience will be very different. 


I see many clients for test anxiety relating to professional exams, music exams, school exams, driving theory tests and practical tests etc. Using positive self talk and positive mental imagery I help them create a positive mindset so they can achieve their best. You can do the same too. You can learn to stay calm, remain focussed and produce your best performance on the day.  

Here is your recipe for success:

Belief (requires positive self talk) + positive mental imagery + staying calm/controlling your emotions

= positive mindset

Audio Tonics To Increase Your Motivation And To Cultivate A Positive Mindset

Whichever test it is, download the appropriate audio tonic here to increase your motivation and begin to cultivate the positive mind set that will bring you success.

All audios contain dollops of positive self talk (there’s no need to hire a coach), positive mental imagery and relaxation (we absorb new information easier in a relaxed state). The rest is up to you!  

Beware of side effects!  This tonic can improve your memory, increase your calmness and increase your grades!

Do you get exam test anxiety? Are you worried you might forget the material you have learnt? This therapy tonic cultivates a positive attitude to learning, increases your confidence with regards to exams and shares a technique to assist with memory of the learnt material. Listen daily up until the exam.

This tonic contains dollops of positive self-talk and mental rehearsal to put you on the road to success on your test day. Mental rehearsal of your driving test greatly increases your chances of performing well on the day, along with increasing your motivation and belief that you can pass. Research now backs this up. It’s best to download this at least 1-2 weeks prior to your test and listen to daily.

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