Stage fright and fear of exams: 20 typical panic reactions

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We all know you, we all hate her: test anxiety and stage fright, eg even before an important appointment, conversation or lecture. But how can you defeat them?


Here writes for you:

Sabine Thalmayr Author's picture ThalmayrSabine Thalmayr is a hypnotherapist


From the author:

Best of HR Berufebilder


Best of HR Berufebilder


Examinations are not a disease

Let's start with a good message: test anxiety is not a disease and above all no appearance that will last forever. Technically speaking, it is a natural stimulus-response chain, and if you know how, you can find out about it and can turn it off.

Test anxiety arises for different reasons and under different conditions, which I want to examine here with you piece by piece.

The printing is due

Test anxiety causes a lot of self-pressure, especially for those who suffer from it. Basically it can be said that anxiety is a reaction of the entire organism to a threatening situation. Where this fear comes from, I come back to later, since it is irrelevant at first. It's like pressing a button that triggers the process. Every person has already more or less often met with fear.

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Test anxiety may or may even be quite likely to frighten you even before the exam. So who do you think can put off your fear then? Exactly, only you! Fear is a very important part of 12 by us, without whom we would be quite lost in life, because who else would warn us if danger is in arrears?

The cliché of the strong man

Clichés of strong guys and men who are not afraid sound good, but are outdated. It's more akin to the fact that guys just deal with fear differently and react to it. They do not like to show their fear, because anxiety is a sign of weakness that does not fit into a man's picture, especially at puberty.

Young men want to compete with like-minded male colleagues and have a strong impact on the opposite sex. That's how men are created and that's a good thing, because it's in their genes and their nature to be strong.

The pressure to be strong

Here is the first reason why a young man can unconsciously press himself to be strong. Strong is, among other things, the one who stands out from the other, so the pressure is better than others and scores achieved. Others, for their part, are avoiding pressure because they see no way to achieve what they themselves demand and become school truants, showing their coolness.

The intensity of the self-imposed pressure can be stressful. Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to feel or show fear in our society. But even girls are under pressure, which can lead to self-pressure, interestingly, especially when they show very good performance in school.

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Expectations in women

The expectation of oneself is so great that it becomes more and more a burden. Other girls, on the other hand, quickly doubt themselves, resign themselves to poor performance. Here one can lack the belief in oneself and the trust in ones own performance.

But unlike guys, they usually talk more openly about their problem, share and seek help faster. In dealing with test anxiety girls are therefore at an advantage.

Fear therefore belongs to man and is an important part of us. What makes us most is the fear of fear. Sounds paradoxical, but is so.

No fear of fear

Fear of fear - that's the fear of getting scared again. It is the feeling that you can not do anything about it and you begin to fear this powerlessness.

And you can get that under control step by step. Sometimes that's already enough, sometimes it takes more and you need a good therapist, depending on how deep your fear is.

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Tips against the fear

Something about it is always, no matter in which stage you are and how great the fear is, and that is the important message. It's never too late, so do not give up.

There are many different ways to get things done - some may help, others may not. That's because people are different and think.

Fear can happen when things get hot or when something unforseeable approaches us. Or when we are suddenly confronted with something that we did not expect.

What to do against Examinations?

The same applies to exam anxiety. Exam anxiety can arise, for example, because you have miscalculated by having “the courage to take a gap”, but being asked what you have not learned. This is really a delicate situation from which it is difficult to escape.

You can also fear the exam because instead of the nice teacher Mrs. Müller, who should have taken the exam for you, the rather arrogant and omniscient, strict teacher Mr. Meier looks at you piercingly, following the motto: "Let's see, what you don't know! "

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Waiting makes the fear worse

You can certainly understand how it can happen if the exam date is postponed by half an hour. You sit completely nervous like a pile of misery in the hallway, in front of the large, still locked door on the: “Attention, examination, please do not disturb!” stands and can hardly bear the silence in the corridor.

One waits to be released from this torment of waiting and finally to be called. There are a lot of examples of these anxiety-provoking moments, and I think you know exactly what I mean - maybe you've already experienced one or the other, or you know someone who has done so.

12 Typical blockages for Examination Comp

And then there may be different work blocks at examining:

  1. Blackout / emptiness in the head
  2. writer's cramp
  3. do not bring out another word
  4. frog in the throat
  5. can not write through loud trembling
  6. No more talking
  7. talk crazy stuff
  8. to have no orientation / wander around
  9. Stumble
  10. Chaos in the head
  11. can not think clearly
  12. talking without point and comma

How is fear created?

But how do fear reactions arise? What do typical physical anxiety reactions look like? And what can you do about it? The simple answer: Typical fear reactions are triggered by the sudden change in the test conditions - there are numerous examples of this.

Fear wants to warn. Fear is like a signal that says: "Warning, I'm reporting a change, something is coming, I don't like it, we have Maier instead of Müller, it could be a dangerous danger that you are not up to."

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Help, a blackout

And then something very important follows: It is asked in no time how your brain assesses the situation. If the brain also views the warning as threatening, because there are similar threatening images or situations already stored, the fear comes to your aid, because it only reacts to you, but no longer acts and puts you on autopilot.

Only in the case is not desirable, because the thinking in the background occurs in the background, and everything learned at the moment is no longer available - and you have the famous blackout.

20 Physical anguish

  1. increased attention
  2. Pupils dilate
  3. Optic nerves become more sensitive
  4. Auditory nerves are becoming more sensitive
  5. increased muscle tension
  6. increased reaction rate
  7. increased heart rate
  8. increased blood pressure
  9. flatter and faster breathing
  10. Energy supply of the muscles
  11. Sweating
  12. Tremble
  13. giddiness
  14. see everything like behind fog or veil
  15. Bladder, bowel and stomach activity are during the
  16. State of anxiety
  17. nausea
  18. difficulty in breathing
  19. How to hear through cotton, hear from far away
  20. Not really there (dissociation)

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