You and I both know that the IELTS is difficult.
Not just a little bit difficult. More like ‘I-want-to-smash-my-head-into-a-table‘ difficult.
The IELTS questions are hard even for native speakers, there is almost no break time, and sometimes the rest of your life, your family, or your career depends on your score.
So it’s not strange at all that some people catch a cold, or worse, right after they take the test. Test-time stress is huge.
If stress only affected us after the test was finished, then it wouldn’t be a big problem. But the reality is that test-time stress can hurt your score a lot.
That is, test-time stress can decrease your score from 0.5 to 1 whole band score, possibly even more.
Before we dive into this topic in more detail, answer these two questions about how you deal with stress…
Stress Strategy Questions:
- Think back to the last time you took a difficult and important test. How did you react? Could you stay calm or were you tense?
- What strategies do you use to relax yourself during stressful moments? Can you use these during your test?
3 Techniques to Deal With Test-Day Stress
Technique #1: Arrive at the Test Center Early
You never want to be rushed on a test day. If possible, go to the center on the previous day and even visit some of the rooms if possible. The more comfortable you are in the area, the better.
Technique #2: Practice a Relaxation Technique
There’s a high chance that you’ll get frustrated at some point during the test. When this happens, it’s very important that you area able to relax yourself again. Many people have different techniques for relaxing. Personally, I like using deep breaths.
Sometimes taking 10 seconds to relax can save you 10 minutes of stress.
Technique#3: Imagine the Test
Before you sleep the night before your test, take a few minutes to imagine what it will be like. Imagine yourself walking into the test room and sitting down in the chair.
Also imagine finding some really difficult questions and not having enough time. Practice how you will respond to this situation.
If you can practice this in your mind, you will do much better if your imagined scene becomes real.
Like I mentioned previously, taking a long test like the IELTS can be a very stressful experience. And if you’re stressed or tense for a long period of time, it can hurt your score.
Practice the techniques I recommend above, and your score will definitely improve.