Kelly* was a beautiful, bright, energetic and diligent college freshman. But much to her disappointment, her grades did not reflect her intelligence or her abilities. Although she studied hard, understood the material, and did well on written assignments such as reports and papers, when it came time to take a test, Kelly's mind was frozen with fear.

Many students of all ages suffer from test taking anxiety. This anxiety can be caused by a number of factors, such as lack of preparation due to inappropriate time management, poor study habits, and inability to organize information. It can also come about because of reinforcement over time. Some children are naturally better “test takers” than others. When someone discovers that he or she doesn’t do well on tests, and there is no intervention to find out why and to provide new skills to improve test taking abilities, the self concept as a poor test taker is reinforced over and over again.

Unfortunately all too often test scores become the biggest factor in determining course grades. And of course there is the assumption that good grades equal intelligence and poor grades equal less intelligence. This may simply not be the case when a student of any age suffers from test anxiety. The ongoing results of this situation have ramifications for an entire lifetime. Poor grades that don’t accurately reflect intelligence and ability can result in being turned down for higher education that would enable the person to reach their true potential. The constant anxiety and reinforcing effects of their poor test performance can lead to self image, self esteem and confidence issues that can haunt a person for a lifetime.

In Kelly's case, she was a great student, just a poor test taker due to anxiety. Her nerves took over when a test loomed. She began to worry hours or days before, depending on the test, and by the time the hour came, she couldn't remember a fraction of what she had learned. She really did know the material; she just couldn't recall it during the test. Frustratingly, she would often remember the correct answers after the test was done, when her fears and nerves had subsided. This is understandable, because anxiety actually blocks the mind's ability to recall information. The more stressed Kelly became, the less she was able to recall accurately, and so her impression of herself as a poor test taker was reinforced again and again.

Kelly decided to take action by seeking a qualified hypnotist who specialized in reducing and eliminating anxiety and test taking stress. After just one hypnosis session she was able to face a test without the usually butterflies in the stomach, and she was impressed by her ability to recall during the test. The self-hypnosis that her hypnotist taught her relaxed her mind, and in that relaxation she was able to not only calm her fears, but remember much more accurately and easily. After three sessions, Kelly had all the tools she needed to conquer her test taking fears. She also feels that she has learned coping skills that will help her in numerous ways throughout her lifetime.

For more info: If you or someone you know suffers from test taking anxiety, learn more about hypnosis and test anxiety.

*Not her real name.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Locher, CHT, is a clinical hypnotist, speaker, educator and creator of many self-improvement products. Cindy owns a private practice, ChangeWorks Hypnosis, in the southern Twin Cities metro area.