In the part 1 of this series we discussed how nerves and anxiety are the number one reason people don’t score well on IELTS speaking. We also talked about how to use visualization to improve your test-day confidence.
In this article we’re going to learn a technique to help you relax during the test, when you need it most.
Box breathing is a style of deep breathing that will help you relax and refocus on the test.
To do box breathing, you need to…
- Breathe in through your nose for four seconds,
- Hold your breath for two seconds, and
- Breath out slowly through your nose (or mouth) for four seconds.
You can repeat this process several times until you relax.
Note: The video above uses 5-5-5 second box breathing while I prefer 4-2-4. Experiment and find what works best for you.
When practicing, it can be helpful to do as many as 10 sets of box breathing (take about four seconds rest between each set). However, on test day one or two sets should be enough.
Tips for mastering box breathing:
- Practice every day for several weeks before the test.
- Focus all of your attention on your breath. Focusing for 10 seconds to fully relax can improve your test ability tremendously.
- Sit or stand up straight. This helps relax your back muscles and reduce your body’s tension.
- Breathe deep into your stomach instead of just your upper chest.
A Question for You
Nerves on test day are very real and can have a huge negative impact on your score. In this post I’ve introduced visualization and box breathing to help you overcome test day nerves. Of course nothing will help you if you don’t practice.
So my question to you is…
How do you plan to overcome test day nerves/anxiety?
I’m looking forward to hearing your response below in the comments.