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Combatting anxiety during NCEA.

3 ways to help them with their anxiety

A former student of mine asked me "How do you teach and speak in front of others when you have anxiety?" They would like to be a teacher one day but feel their anxiety may be problematic. I provided them with 3 ways to help them with their anxiety. So, I thought I'd share them here as well.

Communicating with others in a formal capacity/ in front of a live audience can bring on anxiety

In NCEA English, there is an assessment which is all about oral presentation. In other words, communicating with others in a formal capacity/ in front of a live audience. If this is something you have to do, and you battle with anxiety, then you may find these 3 tips useful also.

Let's start by discussing what it is, and then I'll provide my advice.

NCEA anxiety support available with us
Anxiety is common when undergoing NCEA assessments.


Anxiety is characterised by feelings of fear, worry, and apprehension. Typical signs of anxiety include sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and trembling. People may experience anxiety for a number of reasons, such as when stressed and when needing to taking risks. Anxiety can occur because of genetics, trauma and life experiences.

Other elements of anxiety can include social anxiety and chronic anxiety, which can impact your daily life and lead to more serious mental health issues.

I have anxiety myself, so I do understand what it is like for students who also have anxiety. That's why I think the tips I will provide here are effective, because I've used them myself in situations. I have shared these tips with many of my students over the years and have seen noticeable change in the ways in which they take risks. So, here are my 3 tips for managing anxiety when undergoing NCEA oral presentations and live performance:

power stance is a tip for helping with anxiety during ncea assessments
Power stances can alleviate anxiety when you are performing NCEA assessments.


Change your body posture to look like an X; Legs wider apart, chest open, and direct your hand gestures outwards. Remove the enclosed posture; Arms folded, legs close together, wrapping posture.

This idea of a power stance is derived from animal instincts. The power stance is when you splay your posture bigger than what it normally is. The idea is that you look bigger and therefore will feel bigger. Animals make themselves appear bigger to intimidate any threats. Anxiety is your threat and therefore make yourself bigger to intimidate it.

anxiety ideas to help with ncea anxiety
I explain how to channel anxiety safely on my Tik Tok account


If you channel your energy into a prop/object, then you will be able to remove any excess energy that is causing the anxiety to "boil", so to speak. I like to use a full bottle of water. It is best not to use a bottle that can cause noise when it moves - hence why I make sure the bottle is full. You can squeeze the prop or hold it close to yourself to help push the anxious energy into it.

Clipboards are another object that can work well in disguise too.


Have you ever shaken up a fizzy drink and listened to the trapped air pockets wanting to escape? There's this funny noise it makes and eventually it gets higher and higher pitched. The body can behave like this when anxiety is trapping our airways.

Holding in the trapped air tightens the chest and throat. When we breathe in and then hold our breath, we also stop the consistent inhalation of air travelling to our brains. Our bodies naturally want to exhale, but when anxiety ceases this from happening, it works similar to the fizzy drink and causes a fuss until the air can escape.

So, instead of allowing the anxiety to stop you from breathing when you speak in front of an audience during your NCEA assessment(s), speak during your exhalation.

The great thing about exhalation too is that the longer and lengthened your breath is, the likely you will regulate again. The rhythm will sooth you and the quality amounts of air that travels to the brain will also do wonders on your composure as well.

NCEA assessments can be scary for some. The idea of transferring from junior school into NCEA can also be overwhelming. But it is always important, with anything to do with your education, to know that there are expert options out there, like our services, that can support you with NCEA.

We are qualified NCEA teachers with NCEA online tutoring options available to support you with your NCEA studies.

Best of luck with your NCEA assessments and I hope these 3 tips prove to be successful for you as well.

A recap of this blog can be viewed here in a video format:

Tovah O'Neill

Tovah's Tutoring Company Ltd.






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