Exams; I can’t to I can!

Exams evoke nerves, which can be the difference between failing and passing. This is how I helped one person change and secure their important pass.

Exams; I can’t to I can!

Posted by Emma Jones on

The challenge

My client was in their mid-forties and it was approximately 20 years since they last sat any exams which they described as painful failures.

They had actively avoided taking exams due to a fear of failing them and limiting beliefs that they were ‘no good at exams' and ‘I always fail at exams’.

These beliefs had stemmed from trying to get promoted which ended with them failing by 1 or 2 marks at each attempt.

They had now sat an exam as part of an intensive training course which required a 70% pass mark, they had failed their first attempt reaching 57%.

They had two weeks to reach the required standard.

The effect

With only 2 weeks to improve their exam mark my client's stress had greatly increased. They had to prepare while continuing with their intensive course, which required them to be working away from home for 5 weeks. The days started at 7am and often went through to 9pm, leaving my client with little time to focus on the exam. They were tired, under pressure and stressed. They had a fear of professional embarrassment as this course was an extension to the role they had been doing for a number of years, and was highly experienced in. The previous person from their department that had attended this course had failed it and my client had witnessed the stigma attached to this outcome. As much as they wanted to challenge their beliefs and now extensive negative self talk they were struggling to overcome them, fuelling their fear and anxieties relating to the coming exam.


Before starting sessions, I provided my client with my hypnosis MP3 to help them sleep and relax. We discussed the importance of looking for positives in each day and how this would help them cope.

We worked on the root cause of their anxieties around exams. They were able to see how they had previously added to their own pressure and how their family had been absolutely fine despite them not passing. This made them feel much calmer when thinking of future exams. We anchored the resources their previous self needed in those exams and provided that past version of themselves with them.

We then focused on current behaviours towards their exam, changing the belief that they always failed and creating a new behaviour to challenge if their mind went blank. We set an anchor to remain calm and to be able to evoke a focused zone like mindset prior to the exam starting. Finally, we created bright and energetic visuals of what it would be like when they passed (notice the ‘when’ and not ‘if’) and how this would positively impact their life in the future.

We ended with hypnosis supporting the work we have already done.



My client re-sat their exam, they felt calmer, more focused and their mind did not go blank.

They passed with 98%.

It was never about their knowledge, it was all about their mindset.

What more can I say…they were over the moon.

Emma Jones
Emma Jones

Emma is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist and Master NLP Practitioner