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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,358

    Exam nerves to the point of being sick

    My boyfriend is just about to start his end of second year of uni exams and gets terrible exam nerves. He spends most of the time before the exam throwing up and obviously then can't concentrate on any last minute revision or even eat anything before the exam. He's got three exams starting late afternoon this year too, so he's spending over six hours getting wound up and being sick before he goes into an exam. He tells me the more time he has to think about the exam (ie if it's in the afternoon, rather than first thing), the more he convinces himself he doesn't know the stuff he needs for the exam. He's a very clever guy and his exam results show it, but he's winding himself up so much about the exam he's probably not giving it his all while he's in there...

    So my question is, does anyone have any ideas of what might help him? I get nervous about exams (haven't taken any for a good few years now tho mind!) but never to the point of throwing up so I don't really know of anything that would help.. Any suggestions anyone?
    B.I.T.C.H. - Beautiful, Intelligent, Talented, Cool Honey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    2,006
    Hiya
    Print off the following articles to give to him:
    Blitzing exams
    Revision basics

    He should also learn some basic breathing techniques to help him to ckeep calm - and rescue remedy is a good thing to have in your pocket - a couple of drops 15 minutes before he goes in should help.

    Beyond that, the best thing he can do is prepare - if he has a revision plan and sticks to it he will feel more confident as the exam dates loom.

    I'm going to move this across to the student forum>>>
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemmingway

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    369
    If it's not too late at all, I really think your bf should visit his GP in order to find a long term solution to his fear. Relaxation tevhniques may be wnough, but he may want to look into counselling (just a few sessions may do) to pinpoint exactly what is frightening him so much and how to get around that/face that and overcome. Hypnotherapy is another if sometimes expensive option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,358
    Sorry, just thought the sickness thing made it more of a Health issue than a studying one..

    He prepares and revises so well it's untrue - not to the point of being neurotic about it, but he's so thorough with it.

    I think he's just worried about getting in there and forgetting everything he's learnt.

    I think I'll suggest the Rescue Remedy and look into something more long term too. He's got these exams, then a year out, then two more years studying with exams at the end of them to go yet
    B.I.T.C.H. - Beautiful, Intelligent, Talented, Cool Honey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    28
    I would say it was definitely a health/counselling issue, i've never heard of anyone throwing up before exams, they don't mean that much after all!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    England
    Posts
    3,254
    Get him to go to the doctor. I dont throw up most of the time but have anxiety attacks. My doctor prescribed me beta blockers to calm my body down. They might not help him but he should go to the doctor
    xprotège moix

    Gavin <3<3

    Woo!Me Livejournal! thanks Amira

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    4,191
    Quote Originally Posted by j@ck
    I would say it was definitely a health/counselling issue, i've never heard of anyone throwing up before exams, they don't mean that much after all!
    doen't necessarily mean he needs counselling at all.
    its just an anxiety issue that can only be overcome with practice tbh.
    or may be try some meditation / breathing exercises as already mentioned.
    Good judgement comes from experience.
    Experience comes from bad judgement.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    369

    Helping hand/outside help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by otter
    doen't necessarily mean he needs counselling at all.
    its just an anxiety issue that can only be overcome with practice tbh.
    or may be try some meditation / breathing exercises as already mentioned.
    You have a point. But on the other hand when it comes to controlling nerves a counsellor can help simply by talking things through with that person so that they are able to pinpoint for themselves why they are behaving in that particular way. Once they know what the catalyst is i.e. the reasn for the exam phobia, e.g. fear of failure, unrealistic perfectionist expectation things can be taken from there. A counsellor I would say is just a first port of call 'to get it out' there. Then what happens next all depends, perhaps a psychologist, perhaps a psychotherapist, perhaps not. I was going to mention beta-blockers, as I remember in my exam days loads of people who used to take them, but in terms of a long term solution - I feel being able to take control of your body and control emotions has to be the best way. I am not anti-medication at all. I used to get terrible exam nerves to the point where I would be hyperventilating on the florr the night before.

    It helps to get plenty of rest, not leave revision to teh last minute and not to burn teh candles at both ends taking plenty of breaks. In the end I went to see a hypnotherapist a couple of times and that was me sortyed and relaxed. After that, I kind of just 'grew out of exam nerves.'

    I can totally relate to this guy throwing up. I have never thrown up before an exam, but when I used to enter national dancing competitions as a young adolescent and when I did track and field before a big meet, I would often throw up or couldn't eat anything all day, as I wouldn't have been able to keep it down. I have to agree with whoever said it here on the boards, NOTHING is worth throwing up over. That is NOT a normal or healthy reaction. It is a VERY EXAGGERATED reaction and shows that the body is trying to recalm itself and gain control. But it does show that nerves are all over the place. I've been there. Your boyfriend should get help with this and start by seeing his GP. NOTHING is worth getting that screwed up about to be honest. It's no way to live, even if exams only are once a year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,358
    Thanks for all your input guys! I must say I'd never really thought about suggesting the doctors, but I will now.. He's home this weekend, so will have a chat with him then. Thanks again
    B.I.T.C.H. - Beautiful, Intelligent, Talented, Cool Honey

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