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Coaching: Failures during the Examinations Can Be Prevented!

21 February 2007

Cold sweat, mental blockades and leaden apathy do not have to be necessary side-effects — Starting this semester, the university now offers "Students Coaching Students"

Inhibitions about speaking in front of a packed lecture hall or fear of failing exams are part of student life for most people. But if situations like these start to dominate, at one point or another even the completion of one's degree can be at risk!

"Before small problems become major problems…" is the motto of this project and is also what is written on papers posted at the different institutes and faculties of the university. "This coaching is directed at students of all faculties with study and performance problems. Time management, work techniques and stress management often play a big role here," psychologist Miriam Stein explains. She is in charge of the project started two years ago by the psychotherapeutic helpdesk of the Studentenwerk.

Currently, there are 34 advanced psychology students offering up to ten one-to-one meetings. "Our coaches are trained over the course of two semesters and get to exchange experiences with their colleagues," states Miriam Stein, who provides consultancy and support for all trainers. Needless to say, the dialogues between client and coach are confidential — and free of charge. The meeting point is the Germanistisches Seminar (Department of Germanic Studies).

"When my exams were coming up, I realized that I had to improve the effectiveness of my studying," says Steffen M. from Heidelberg, who has been attending the coaching sessions since November. Guided by his coach, he experiments with new reading techniques in order to get to grips with the long list of literature relevant for the exams. "It is actually not all that easy to change one's habits; you tend to fall back into the old routine all too easily."

To achieve the objectives of the one-to-one consulting, trainers often ask the so-called "miracle question": If a miracle was to happen, what would your world look like? This vision often provides approaches to initial changes. "Study and personal problems often get mixed up together. Failing an exam can be a sign for problems of a completely different character," says psychologist Stein. Clients with severe problems are then referred for further psychological aid.

Ideally, the clients find the method that suits them best among the techniques and options for overcoming their problems. During the talks, experiences, advances and setbacks are analysed and acted upon. By the next meeting the client can then test whether or not a different strategy might work better.

Nikola Hahn
© Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung

Dipl.-Psych. Miriam Stein
Hauptstraße 47-51
69117 Heidelberg
Room A106
phone: 06221/547351
fax: 06221/547348
office hours: Thursday, 10 a.m. — 12 noon

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317


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