Dealing with nerves and anxiety

We all suffer anxiety at some point in our lives, but for many, preparing for and taking part in an interview can be terrifying. Knowing that this is likely to happen and is common is an important first step. The next stage is to find out the best ways to deal with your nerves, both prior to the interview and during it.

Pre-Interview. Click on the images below for more information on how to reduce pre-interview nerves.

Get plenty of rest

Your brain needs sleep to function so make sure you get plenty of rest leading up to the interview or MMI. Staying up all night to prepare is not a good idea, and can make you feel much worse the next day

Eat well & stay hydrated

To allow your body and brain to function at its best when preparing for the interview and during the interview itself, eat the right foods and avoid sugary snacks. Dehydration can cause fatigue, so drink plenty of water before the assessment, and on break sessions. Caffeine will dehydrate you and can also cause the jitters if you have too much!

Get some exercise

Physical exercise can help you sleep better, improve your concentration, as well as lower your stress levels

Use visualisation

Use visualisation as a relaxation tool. Close your eyes and imagine a scene that you find very relaxing, such as a day at the beach. Picture as many details as possible and spend 1-2 minutes enjoying the relaxing scene. Open your eyes and wait 1-2 minutes, then repeat the visualisation. This process will help you feel calm and relaxed before times of particular stress, such as just before the interview.

Relaxation techniques

A few minutes of deep breathing will oxygenate your brain and help you feel relaxed. Inhale deeply through your nose for 4-5 seconds. Let your breath flow as deep down into your stomach as possible. Hold the breath for 1-2 seconds, then slowly release the breath through your mouth for 4-5 second. Repeat this for 3-5 minutes or so.

During the interview: Click on the images below for more information on how to reduce nerves during the interview.

Breathe deeply and take your time

When asked a question it can be tempting to jump right in with an answer and start talking without knowing what you plan to say! Take a few seconds to think about the information you want to share. If you need to stop to re-organise your thoughts, then it is ok to do this for a few seconds.

Additional Learning Support (ALS)

If you require additional support (for example additional time or have specific access requirements), ALS needs can be specifically met in an MMI context. If you want to find out more information, you should contact the school in advance of the interview.

Read any material thoroughly

When you are nervous it can be easy to not read things properly. If you are given material to read, again take a deep breath and concentrate. Read the information multiple times if you are able, to ensure you understand it.

Consider your body language

When we are nervous, this can be translated through our body language and the way we present ourselves. Try to think about how you may be coming across to others, and think about displaying positive body language, such as maintaining eye contact.

Think positively about the interviewers

The interviewers are not there to try and trip you up, they want you to do well too! Try and think of them as people to help guide you through the process, rather than being there to judge you. Re-framing them in this way should help to calm the nerves.


ReflectionsReflection Exercise