In an interview with an IELTS examiner, readers asked a variety of questions about the test. Most of the examiner’s answers were fairly standard but one about the big mistakes IELTS test takers make really stuck out. The examiner commented…
The number one reason people don’t score as well as they could is nerves. I personally believe that being too nervous routinely takes 1-1.5 marks off a candidate. RELAX GUNDAMMIT!”
1-1.5 marks off!! That’s the difference between getting a Band 7 score and a Band 5.5.
And yet almost no teachers or IELTS training programs have any advice about how to overcome nervousness and anxiety. And when they do give advice, it’s usually “Don’t worry so much”, “You need to prepare better” or my least favorite, “Just relax! It’s OK.”
It’s not “OK“.
For the test takers who need a good score on the test to bring their family to a new country or fulfill the final requirement to enter the university of their dream, getting a high enough score is serious business.
At IELTS Master there is no place for useless advice like this.
Instead, we’ll teach you the world-class tactics used by professional athletes, military, and CEOs to help you relax and overcome your anxiety during IELTS test so that you can get the score you deserve.
Today we’ll focus on two of my favorite techniques: visualization and box breathing.
With visualization you’re using your imagination to mentally prepare for success. Very simply, you imagine yourself as realistically as possible performing well.
For a real-life example, watch the quick video below of two men using visualization to improve a physical ability.
As you saw in the video, after practicing visualization, the two men were able to reach much further than before. Does this mean you’re going to speak fluent English if you imagine yourself doing it? Of course not. But can you improve your confidence and performance by imagining yourself speaking fluently? Absolutely.
So how exactly can you practice visualization to overcome IELTS speaking test nerves? Follow the steps below for a basic outline. Feel free to customize it for yourself.
Note: Since the instructions ask you to close your eyes, you should read through them first before trying the exercise or have a friend or family member read them to you:
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax.
- Imagine yourself walking up to the room for the speaking test.
- Notice what colors the walls are and how you feel. It’s your important day to take the IELTS and the speaking examiner is waiting for you.
- Feel in your body how calm and confident you are. Visualize yourself standing up straight with a confident look in your eyes.
- Imagine examiner asking you for your name and you reply in confident, fluent English.
- See yourself being asked questions and one by one answering them exactly as you’ve practiced.
- The examiner asks you a difficult question that you can’t understand. Instead of reacting with panic, you calmly ask him to repeat the question. You understand the second time and continue on.
- The examiner then announces that the test has finished. You smile, get out of your seat, and walk outside. You know that you’ve done your best.
As I mentioned before, you can change the steps above for your own practice. For example, you could add a part where you take notes and give a presentation like on IELTS speaking part 2.
The important part is that you keep it feeling as real as possible and that you imagine yourself confident and performing well.
Like nearly everything with the IELTS, the key to this technique is practice. Do it before you go to sleep for even a few minutes every day and you’ll perform much better on test day.
However, even with all the visualization practice, test day will still be stressful and there may be times where you need to relax immediately. That’s where our next technique comes into play.