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Beating Performance Anxiety During Scholarship Interviews

Beating Performance Anxiety during Scholarship Interviews - counsellingx

We’ve all experienced the moments of sheer anxiety, whether it is before some key sales presentation, crucial speech, or interview. The butterflies start to swarm in stomach, heart-beat starts shooting up, mind begins to race, ultimately anxiety takes over and we “choke” under the pressure of the situation. Beating Performance Anxiety during Scholarship Interviews

Scholarship interviews are designed around the whole concept of judging the candidate from how he/she performs in the interview under pressure. So, before appearing for an interview, students should make sure that they have the required skill-set to deliver the expected performance. Research information regarding interview, prepare the most common interview questions, and work on your key strengths and selling points. Review your weaknesses, leadership experiences, role models, future goals, meaningful life experiences, and favourite books and courses. Refined communication skills, cultural awareness, and ethical ideologies are also important. Practice your body language and non-verbal communication. But most importantly, be yourself and radiate confidence. Even after all this preparation, things start going sideways under pressure if you are not meticulous.

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Online educational platforms like CounsellingX.com and MytutorSource.com are helping students in their academic journey. CounsellingX encourages the students to realise their academic dreams by enabling them to secure admissions in renowned international universities. They help students build the required skill sets, write motivation essays, prepare for scholarship interviews, and get good scores in SAT, GRE, IELTS, and TOEFEL.

No one can escape from this dilemma of performance anxiety. Not even veteran stage performers and elite sales professionals are immune to nerves. However, we have noticed that some people just seem to thrive under pressure, and give their best when stakes are the highest.

Many studies have been conducted by psychologists and counsellors in order to break-down the ways athletes, musicians, stand-up comedians, and theatre artists cop with the stage fright and high-pressure situations in order to deliver their best.

Research in the area of performance anxiety has led us to numerous insights that every student and professional can use to handle high strain situations more effectively. 

Here are 3 key insights from CounsellingX in order to beat performance anxiety:


When the adrenaline kicks in during crucial situations where you need to stay in charge, the first natural instinct is to try to calm down. We wouldn’t want the anxiety to get out of control, but the physiological activation or excitation we feel in those moments is actually neither positive nor negative.

It is the ‘emotional’ component of anxiety that makes this experience helpful or hurtful. Psychologists who study performance anxiety have known for some time that successful performers train themselves to interpret the ‘pre-performance activation’ as ‘excitement’. They use this activation to pump and ready themselves to tackle the challenge ahead of them.

A study was conducted regarding the admission and scholarship interviews, where data was collected from the admission penal of various high-end universities such as Stanford, Harvard, and MIT.  According to the interviewers, they made a habit of asking candidates about how they felt, before starting the interview.

They were able to divide the candidate pool into three groups according to their answers before a key performance. One group said that they felt “anxious”, other said that they felt “excited”, and third group avoided the terms ‘anxious’ and ‘excited’. 

Performers in the “excited” group scored the highest (80.52%), while those in the “anxious” group got the lowest scores (52.98%). The group which wasn’t sure about their feelings at all scored 69.27%.

This leads to a key insight that human mind can be deluded. An emotion can be incepted by trying to practice it. So, next time you start to feel nervous before an interview, try reassuring yourself that you are ‘excited’, instead of trying to calm yourself down.

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Pre-Performance Routines

You must have noticed how some performers go through some sort of ritual before going in the spotlight.

Researchers conducted another study to figure out if the consistency of pre-performance rituals or routines affects the quality of performance during admission and scholarship interviews. Mock admission interviews were conducted at prestigious universities such as Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford.

Some students liked to meditate while sitting in the waiting room, while others prayed. Various students liked to rehearse their interview answers. An activity was provided to the students in order to distract them from their rituals.

The subjects who stuck with their routine, their performance was evaluated to be at 83.77%. But when the ones who diverted from their routine, their performance dropped to 71.43%.

This leads us to another key insight regarding manipulating your mind into helping you deliver 100 percent. A simple meditative routine can help you improve your consistency under pressure. 

Performance practice

Our mind tends to gravitate towards the situations that make us comfortable. Comfortable practice settings are perfect for honing our skills, but they don’t prepare us according to the demands of performance deliverance. Ultimately, under high pressure situations we end up wasting our energies in transferring our skills from practice to performance.

Hence, to perform better under pressure, we must also practice under pressure.

It may be uncomfortable to practice interviewing with your co-workers, or appear for mock interviews organised by various counselling organisations, but if you want to improve your performance under pressure, it is valuable to practice under pressure.

Next Article: Helpful Analytical Skills for Students

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