Power Pose Your Way to Exam Triumph

Want to know Wonder Woman’s secrets? Need a bit of Superman attitude for your next exam? Two minutes of power posing could do the trick…By Carina Hart

So what is power posing? Social scientist Amy Cuddy gave this fantastic TED Talk in 2012, in which she describes her research into how your body language affects not just how other people see you, but how you feel about yourself.

In a nutshell: acting confident makes you feel more confident.Power Pose Your Way to Exam Triumph

Cuddy says that humans and animals all over the world express power and dominance in the same way, by making themselves big. When we feel powerful we stretch out, take up more space. And when we feel powerless, lacking in confidence, we close up, wrap our arms around our bodies and make ourselves small. Even blind people, who have never learned this by seeing others do it, use the same body language.

Power Pose Your Way to Exam Triumph


In her research, Cuddy got her subjects to take on a variety of poses for two minutes each, before going into a gruelling mock job interview. The results were striking: those who spent two minutes in a “power pose” – think hands on hips (Wonder Woman) or sprawling comfortably in a chair – performed much better in the interview. Their testosterone levels (‘confidence’ hormone) went up, and their cortisol levels (‘stress’ hormone) went down. The power poses made them more powerful.


So just two minutes of power posing in the bathroom before your next exam should increase your confidence and reduce your stress. Why not try it – after all, what have you got to lose?

Let us know if you’ve tried channelling Wonder Woman, and tell us how you got on…

Image: Happy feet/slalit/ CC BY-ND 2.0

Hippo/robdownunder/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Shadows_family/Javier Gómez/CC BY

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