In addition to employing mental strategies in an effort to overcome test “fear,” six physical strategies exist which also help minimize the anxiousness on the test day and prior. Of course, if you take care of your body, your brain can function well, and you will end up performing the best of your ability.
- Be healthy each day so that you can perform well on the TOEFL exam day. If you go out partying the week of the exam, you may not be well-rested or feel fresh the morning of your test. Consequently, the results may be poorer than you expect. To avoid this, maintain good health while you are preparing. Developing healthy habits will be important at school too and throughout life.
- Sleep enough every night as if you are tired before you take the exam, you will be unable to focus, and your performance will be lower than expected.
- Keep up a regular exercise pattern so that mind and body are in sync. You will need to be in good shape physically to mentally perform at your best on exam ay. You can take a break to do a little exercise and stop studying for extremely long hours.
- Eat nutritious food since your brain needs vitality to perform its best. This may include high protein intake and less sugars (sweets, desserts) and carbohydrates which drain the brain of vital thinking power since they use a lot in digestion. Have a healthy balance of fruit and vegetables as well.
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or coffee or caffeinated tea. These addicting behavioral mechanisms will only cause you shakiness and make your nerves run wild the day of the exam.
- When you are in your study practice, take breaks so that your mind can retain more information. Do not prolong a break for many hours. It’s important to take a short break each hour during your study sessions to refresh the mind. One of the easiest breaks from sitting at a desk is to stand up and do some light stretches or yoga moves. Light movement around the room can stimulate blood circulation, which enhances the activity to the brain.
To overcome your irrational fears and lower your test anxiety before and during an exam, employ nine mental strategies. Develop regular study habits that are effective. You will need to prepare properly in advance, so you can be confident with only limited amounts of fear to wrack your nerves come the exam.
Nine Mental Strategies:
- Buy the best book(s) online for study strategy. Check the reviews on Amazon or consult peers who have self-studied for the TOEFL and ask them what text they recommend beforehand.
- Prepare many months in advance of taking the TOEFL exam so that you have a lot of time to progress and integrate your techniques for taking a test.
- Organize a plan of attack to study efficiently making the best use of your available time. Set a realistic goal. Daily study sessions even if short are known to be more effective over time than longer study hours only once per week.
- Get a TOEFL instructor to help you stay inspired, otherwise, you may go off track and not reach your necessary goals in your time frame.
- Practice your TOEFL study in an orderly area with well-organized study preparation materials. Select an area which is comfortable and suitable to concentrate with minimal distractions.
- Identify what your weak points are and dedicate extra time to strengthen your weaknesses while keeping your strong points solid.
- Do English reading, listening online, speaking practice recording your voice over your phone, and writing as much as possible daily to improve your fluency and interaction with the language.
- Start a vocabulary notebook by writing down words you hear listening online and reading in articles that you are not familiar with. If you are taking practice exams or doing simulation activities, write down new words you come across on index cards with an English definition on one side and a sentence with the word in context on the other side. Review these daily.
- Get an online study group or a native-speaking professional for feedback to meet weekly with to plan your strategies and practice your skills so you will develop at a constant rate.