Reducing Test Anxiety

Luckily, there are a number of concrete ways you can reduce and minimize test anxiety before your TOEFL test. These could be divided into three areas: mental, physical and emotional.

MENTAL STRATEGIES
The mental strategies below all focus on developing effective study habits. The point here is that by preparing adequately and well in advance, you will have the greatest confidence and the least amount of fear and tension. The only way to lose your fear of the unknown is to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the test so that it no longer remains an unknown to you!

  • Start preparing months in advance, so you have plenty of time to make progress.

  • Find out and acquire the best guidebooks on the market.

  • Do a pre-test to determine your current level

  • Set up a study plan, based on the time you have available

  • Study in a clean, well-organized environment.

  • Keep your study materials in the same place so you can find them easily.

  • Allow adequate time to cover the primary, secondary and academic skills required

  • Allot more time to develop skills in your weaker areas

  • Join a TOEFL iBT class at a test preparation centre or language school

  • Form a study group and meet once a week to keep motivation high.

  • Find a study partner and meet regularly to test each other.

  • Begin a vocabulary development program

  • Read, listen, speak and write as much English as possible.

  • Study in an overseas language school, if possible.

  • Learn about brain-based study techniques and follow them.

PHYSICAL STRATEGIES
Clearly, your brain can perform at its best only if you have taken good care of  your body. This includes many different elements, as described below:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eat healthy foods. Your brain needs good nutrition to perform well.

  • Sleep adequately. Being exhausted will not help you in any way.

  • Take short, frequent breaks while studying., You will remember more.

  • Exercise regularly to keep your body fit and healthy.
  • Reduce your dependence on caffeine or nicotine as you will not be able to drink coffee or smoke during your exam.

EMOTIONAL STRATEGIES
In your academic and professional life, you must be able to separate who you are from what you do. So although you should put in your best effort, you can’t use your performance to determine who you are or will be in the future. You always have more capability than might have been apparent in a particular test, exam or performance, and you can always try again. You are a multifaceted individual who has many strengths and talents. You are not your grades! The following ideas may help you to feel stronger:

  • Be strong, positive, and calm.

  • Don't think in terms of all or nothing.

  • Plan time for relaxation - it will boost your efficiency.

  • Use visualization techniques to see yourself doing well on the exam.

  • Never give up on yourself. Your life is made up of many elements, not just academic.


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