How To Beat Exam Nerves And Improve Memory Recall

By Rebecca Sanderson – Director The Mindset Clinic

26th April 2016

Learn How To Beat Exam Nerves And Easily Recall What You Have Learnt

In the next few weeks thousands of students across the UK will be sat in school halls battling exam nerves. Some will have spent weeks and months revising and the build up to exam time can be incredibly stressful. But imagine being in the exam room having perfect memory recall, being so relaxed that you can remember instantly and effortlessly all the information you need to pass your exam. It would be pretty awesome wouldn’t it? Well, you can!

The Learning State (Hakalau or Peripheral vision)

The Hakalau Learning State helps you to widen the use of your senses in order to increase your ability to take in, store, recall and utilize information. It is an ancient Hawaiian technique that utilises peripheral vision and increase expanded awareness. It has many uses as it is impossible to access negative emotions in this state. For students it can increase their ability to physiologically open up their mind. The Mindset Clinic teaches this to children as there is much evidence to show that it improves grades and exam results.

Learning this very powerful technique could be the difference between sailing through exams or having a memory meltdown. Entering The Hakalau Learning State whilst learning and in moments of stress help you to enter a state of relaxed alertness. It is the optimum state to be in when learning new information.

The mistake people make when they are learning is that they think they need to focus and concentrate. Teachers often reprimand students for gazing out the window instead of focusing attention on them. However, gazing out of the window can actually help someone access the learning state! So if you are a teacher please think before you interrupt and disrupt your student from actually taking in and absorbing your lesson!

The Hakalau Learning State has been used by the Hawaiian Huna for decades as part of accessing deep meditative trance. It is sometimes referred to as ‘soft eyes’ by people who perform Martial Arts and it teaches you to develop 360 degree awareness and stay in a state of relaxed awareness.

Improve memory recall

Not only does the Hakalau Learning State help information go in, it is also the optimum state to be in when you want to retrieve information – such as in an exam room. So encourage your children to learn this simple technique for when they are studying, revising and sitting exams.

Hakalau learning state for exam nerves

How to get into peripheral vision to banish exam nerves

How to get into the Hakalau Learning State:

  1. Face straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall to look at.  Preferably the spot will be above eye level so that you can feel your eyes resting up just below your eyebrows, leaving you with full vision. A clock in a classroom or exam hall is usually in the perfect position.
  2. As you stare at the spot focus all your attention on it and gently relax your jaw so your top and bottom teeth don’t touch.
  3. Without moving your eyes or head gradually allow your visual awareness to spread out to the sides. You will start to see more in your peripheral vision than in the central part of your vision.
  4. Increase your attention on your peripheral vision so that you are aware of the sides of the room.
  5. Next, without moving your eyes start to become aware of the ceiling and the floor as well as the sides of the room.
  6. A good test is to bring your arms out to the side and wiggle your fingers. If you are in peripheral vision you will see movement when you wiggle your fingers but you won’t see your hands when they are still.
  7. Then start to bring that awareness behind you and over the back of your head.

Stay in this state and notice what you can see, hear and feel.

Enter the learning state every time you begin to study or revise. It takes seconds to do once you have learnt how to do it. Then when you come to sit your exams simply enter into the learning state again. Spending just 2 minutes at the start of the exam getting yourself into the right mindset will help you to become relaxed and focused.

Visualise Success

Our final piece of advice for those of you sitting exams is to stay positive. Every day between now and your exams visualise yourself in the exam room being calm and relaxed. Create an image in your mind of you enjoying the experience and when faced with a challenging question see yourself being calm and relaxed as you respond to it.

For more information on how The Mindset Clinic can help you, your children or your school get in touch with Rebecca on 07803 603 882 or email