How to Boost Your Exam Confidence

exam confidence

Everyone student would like more exam confidence.

Confidence is the magic ingredient that will transform everything. If you can banish the nerves and feel calm, relaxed and confident walking into an exam, your performance will almost certainly be better.

Sorry to shatter any fairytales here, but to go from a state of low confidence to high confidence is not an overnight fix. It’s a long process, and you can’t just “turn it on”.

Everyone at some point has probably said, “I just wish I felt confident about exams”. This is one horrible and damaging misconception, implying that you simply are or aren’t confident, and there’s not much you can do about it.

It’s not even logical. How can someone simply be confident or not? I hear people say, “yeah, he’s just a confident guy”. What do they even mean by being confident? It’s a very general phrase. Confident when? In what situation? If someone is genuinely confident, they must have something to back it up; otherwise, they are faking it.

Exam Confidence is the Result of Good Preparation

If you have prepared well, then there is no reason not to be confident. You are going to do well. On the other hand, if you haven’t prepared well, then there is no reason to be confident as you aren’t going to do well. And that’s pretty much it.

If you know someone who is confident before an exam or any other time, then the chances are that they have prepared very well and know they will do well.

Previous good performance also helps with exam confidence. The more good exam results you get, the more confident you will be that you are good at the subject, that you are clever enough and that the way you study/revise actually works. You are seeing hard evidence.

If you prepare well, you will be confident before an exam. It’s that easy. You won’t need to try to feel confident; you just will be.

Different Scenarios

If you have a hobby or skill you are good at, then there’s a fair chance that you will be confident in that particular activity.

If you were going to be tested on it, I’m sure you’d believe you’ll do okay, if not very well. Why’s that? Why can you be so confident in one scenario but not in another? Because you’ve done it before.

You’ve proved to yourself probably many times that you can do it. And if you have done it many times before, the chances are that you can do it again.

So how did you get to that stage of being good at something?

You must have started somewhere. There must have been a time when you weren’t as good as you are now or as confident.

You learned how to do it, and then you practised and tested yourself repeatedly. Gradually you improved. Anytime you got a good result, you began believing you could do it. You gained encouragement.

Eventually, you repeated this so many times that it became second nature to you, ultimately resulting in confidence. Exams are exactly the same.

Trust in Yourself

The problem is that people tend to focus on the final goal all the time. They are looking into the future and, most of the time, worrying about what result they will get and how it will affect their lives.

This creates huge levels of stress and pressure, and most people look at it from a negative point of view. Someone will rarely positively look towards the exams and imagine themselves getting an A and feeling good about it. Actually, that’s a good little exercise to try.

Keeping the end goal in mind and the potential rewards that it brings is great for motivation. When you take this too far and obsess about it every minute of every day, you can become very anxious that you might not get a particular grade. You have to learn to trust yourself and what you are doing.

Remember, you can’t become confident overnight. It takes time. Otherwise, it’s not really confidence, it’s some sort of false or fake appearance. You need to believe that you will get there and have faith in the whole study process.

All you can do is focus on what you are doing at that moment and believe that it is contributing towards your improvement. This will also reduce any stress. Forget the end result for a while and concentrate on preparation day by day.

Developing Your Exam Confidence

Exam confidence is affected by results, This is unavoidable. If you have suffered several bad results, you will have started to believe that you can’t do that subject, and eventually, you will expect to get poor results. And that’s exactly what will happen. If you expect a poor result, you will get it.

It’s not easy to get out of this cycle of thinking, and as discussed in the self-belief post, it takes time to improve your mindset, but you need a place to start.

This starting place is a “clean slate”. What happened before doesn’t matter. From now on, you will make big improvements in your mindset, study skills and exam technique. Exams are going to become routinely easy, and this should actually make you slightly excited!

Start to look at this as the first time that you are going to do the whole study/exam thing properly. Previous results were just a warm-up; now, you are going to do it right. Whatever grades you are currently getting is simply a starting point, the base level, from which you will now accelerate away from.

It’s all about learning. You may even look back at your previous exam performance one day and think, “oh my god, I cannot believe I used to do that”.