The Gentle Mind

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis for A-Level exam stress

This can be a rollercoaster of a time.

All you’ve ever known is school and the end is in sight.

You can see your dream career starting to take shape.

After the exams do you and your girlfriend/boyfriend split or stay together?

Will university mean you miss home?

Everyone - it seems - is more sorted than you.

University - all that debt.

There’s always someone in your group who boasts about how little revision they’ve done.

There’s always someone in your group who boasts about how much revision they’ve done.

The thought of resitting and dropping back.

An Oxbridge place awaits. No room for error.

Lowering A-Level exam stress - What can be done?

Here are some easy wins.

1. Plan your time
Have hourly and daily targets. And stick to them. You’re setting your mind at ease knowing that you’ve allocated enough time to cover all the topics that may come up in the exam.

2. Prepare
As hard as you might try, you can’t cram it all into a few days. Take the pressure off yourself. You’ll feel less stressed if you start early and are more prepared for the exam.

3. Lose the distractions
Turn off your phone. even put it in a different room. Keep away from the TV or Xbox and avoid getting side-tracked on the net. These will all steal your precious time.

4. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
More of this later. This is where someone like me comes in.

5. Take a break
Get up and stretch your legs, take in some fresh air. Revision breaks can be as long or short as you need. For example, You might find revising for 30 minutes and taking a break for five minutes works for you.

6. Eat healthily
This is all about balance. Make sure you’re eating enough of the good foods and not too many of the bad ones. Also, drinking plenty of water will keep you feeling refreshed. Not too many carbs so you feel sleepy.

7. Reward yourself
It’s important to remember that revision doesn’t mean you have to totally stop doing the things you enjoy. You’re not a Trappist monk. Making some time to relax during your day - it can help to make your revision sessions more productive.

8. Get enough sleep
This is important in the run-up to your exams but especially the night before the exam. Getting enough sleep will make sure you’re at your best on the day of the exam.

9. Take regular exercise
Exercise is a great way to combat stress. Exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins – chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. These encourage a better sleep pattern.

10. Stay positive
A little bit of self-belief goes a long way.

Remember, someone believed in you in the first place to let you take your subjects - and you already got the GCSE.

With the right frame of mind and a positive attitude, you’ll achieve more than you thought possible. Enjoy the process: filling in the missing gaps and reassuringly reminding yourself of what you know. This gives doubt absolutely no room.

How can I - a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist - help with A-Level exams?

This is building on point 4 above.

I’m a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. It’s a talking therapy that can help you manage your A-Level stress by changing the way you think and behave.

Working together we’ll break things down into smaller parts so everything doesn’t feel overwhelming.

This way it’s easier to change your negative patterns to improve the way you feel.

In effect, what we’re doing is looking for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.

What happens during your Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions?

Ideally, I like to see you once a week.

We’ll work together to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.

So you and I can then analyse these areas to work out if they’re unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you.

Then you and I work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.

Now, over to you. It’s what you do/practise between our sessions in your daily life – your brain re-training – that determines how quickly and effectively you change for the better in your everyday life.

And what exactly will we agree you do between sessions?

It could be as simple as a daily thought diary (how you’re thinking, feeling, acting and what are the triggers), going for a run – seriously, the difference is powerful. And hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a great way to relax, see things in a different light, reduce negatives and even help you enjoy the process of revision.

All you need to make CBT work

Commitment. Believe in the process. It’s also what I’m here to help you with. Just like a coach with an athlete.

Consistency. Come every week. Let your learnings build week after week. Attendance is in itself a good habit you’re forming.

Confrontation. Face your emotions You may experience initial periods where you’re anxious or emotionally uncomfortable. Don’t worry. I’ll help you. The sooner you start the sooner you’re out the other side.

Who am I to talk about CBT?

I’m James Thomas. I’ve used Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and hypnosis to help with:

  • 11-plus entry
  • GCSEs
  • A-Levels
  • Undergraduates
  • Studying for a Masters, or a Doctorate
  • Oxbridge entry exams.

And I never stop learning. All my Continuous Professional Development involves studying at The Royal Society Of Medicine.

I cover all of Lincolnshire with my rooms in Louth and Lincoln.

You can get in touch with me at or call 07787563099.

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