There was not a single exam that I took for piano that I wasn’t extremely nervous for. Even when doing my grade 8, being 20 years old and knowing that I was a competent player, I still would never sleep the night before and have ridiculously sweaty palms for the entire exam . I even remember doing my scales in my grade 5 exam and my hands slipped off the keyboard mid-scale because they were so sweaty!

My mother used to use lavender essential oil doused on my clothes and Rescue Remedy. Who knows if it worked but I know I learned to associate the two with a calming effect . The examiner must have smelt me a mile away!…

I always say to students to just practice the things you’re not sure of on the day of the exam and get it right once or twice and then leave it . If you practice everything on the day it can sometimes throws you. Make sure the student knows they are ready or confident in what they can do .

Also remind the student that it isn’t the end of the world if they do fail (but try not to use the word fai too often coming up to the exam!).

It’s also helpful to think that the examiner is not looking for you to make mistakes . They just want to see what you can do- they aren’t monsters waiting for you to slip up essentially !

I would avoid exam talk before the exam . Talk about fun stuff you’re going to do after or at the weekend . The student is probably thinking enough about the exam as it is so it’s nice to throw in some positive thoughts and remind them that life does go on after the exam !…

I always remember being taken for a nice meal after my exam which was always something I ended up thinking about in the examination room when I tried to calm myself down!

Bring along anything they find comfort in like sentimental toys etc . If you bring pets make sure you can keep them outside the examination building .

Either way I think most people get really nervous about exams so it’s ok but being nervous won’t help you in the exam so KEEP CALM!

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