What to Do on TOEFL Test Day

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  1. Be sure you are well-rested and have gotten at least a good night’s sleep before your test. That means that you should have slept between 6-8 hours the night before. If you have slept well, you are much more likely to recall what you have studied and highly likely to perform better and get a high score than if you don’t sleep much at all.
  2. Stay in a positive mindset to remain calm. If you feel relaxed, you will be able to focus successfully on each question and in each section. If you feel anxiety, take a slow breath and inhale deeply. Simply put any worried thoughts out of your mind to stay in a “mentally successful zone.”
  3. When it is possible, try to position your seat in the exam room at the front since you probably will be less-distracted by others around. In that spot, you will also hear the recording better for the listening parts.
  4. Before jumping in, be sure you understand the directions, and if you need to, ask the examiner whatever you are not sure about.
  5. Prior to starting, know how you will manage your time adequately and make a decision about how long to spend on every question. Time management is one of the keys to finishing well.
  6. Read every question carefully. The most common error is for students to read quickly, so read the directions and understand what you will need to do. Often because they do not read carefully enough, this hampers the process.
  7. Answer carefully, and if there is any time at the end of the exam, you can read through your responses. Statistics show that your first answer is often the correct one, so remember to only change an answer if you actually see an error.
  8. First, be sure and answer the easy questions initially since it will boost your confidence and certainly save you time later in the game.
  9. Avoid losing time on any challenging questions that you are unable to answer. Furthermore, if you are unable to respond to a question, go to the next question and come back to the one you missed later on if time is available. If you waste much time on one question, you might lose your confidence.

Four Emotional Strategies to Reduce Test Anxiety

On top of physical strategies, there are also four emotional strategies to help you feel less anxious before you take your TOEFL test. Think strong and you will be strong emotionally.

Emotional strategies:


  1. Keep a positive mindset and remain calm. If you can center yourself and eliminate any negativity from your mind, you will be more confident and comfortable during the test. If you can breathe whenever you feel nervous, it will help your nerves relax, and with this calmness, you can go forward successfully the test day. Before the exam, visualize yourself getting the target score you want.
  2. Schedule time to relax since relaxing will raise your efficiency. It’s important to maintain a work/study/life balance so that your emotions are not too drained. Allow yourself down time from studying in order to keep that balance and stay strong. Preparing for a challenging, draining TOEFL test requires tons of effort and statistics show that if you reward yourself by taking breaks often, you will be more emotionally centered and focused on the test.
  3. Do not give up. If you feel frustrated, just keep your eye on your goal and remember why you want to get that goal. Staying motivated is the key to getting where you want to be. Your life is made up of many aspects, not just academic. If you do not get the target score on one try, try, try again to improve your results.
  4. Ask for support from family such as a mother, sister or partner, and friends or colleagues you work with. Tell them about the exam and how important it is to you and explain what you are going through emotionally if you have any struggles. Ask them to respect your study habits, for instance if you are studying quietly at lunchtime alone, and to be patient if you do not have time for them since you have your eye on your goal.

To overcome the anxiety that you may have for the TOEFL test, you must first understand the causes of anxiety and create the best coping mechanisms for your specific situation.