June 19, 2019

6 Tips To Stay Focused On Test Day

Taking any kind of test can be stressful, but so much more so if you’re about to take an exam that’s not in your native language! Most major milestones, such as applying for college, graduate school, or work abroad, require certain tests as part of the application process. These tests can be long and difficult, and are a source of stress and confusion for anyone. This is especially true if you’re being tested in a language other than your own.

Don’t worry, though! Whatever anxiety or apprehension you feel is totally normal. With some practice and a lot of preparation, you can work around your nerves and maintain your focus during your upcoming TOEFL iBT®.


  1. Study Smart.

Don’t just study hard, study smart. The best way to ease any test-related anxiety is to do your best in the preparation part of it. Stay focused while you study and you can stay focused during your exam. Make a study schedule and stick to it. Include sample TOEFL iBT® questions as part of your studying so you can familiarise yourself with the format of the exam.

Being the most popular English test, the TOEFL iBT® has many resources online, such as study guides, practice tests, and other helpful tips and tricks. Test yourself for specific skills, such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Integrate different activities into your study schedule, don’t just do one technique for everything. Keeping your brain active and alert even while studying can help you stay on your toes and ready for anything that’ll come your way.

  1. Keep Track of Time.

With four separate sections measuring four different skills, it takes around four hours for students to complete the TOEFL iBT®. You don’t want to spend too long on one question and end up rushing through the later questions, making careless mistakes along the way. Many people panic when they think they are running out of time or when they realise that they’ve lost track of time.

Avoid this error by timing yourself while you study. See how quickly you can answer each question without sacrificing your accuracy. The TOEFL iBT® has more multiple questions compared to other tests, so you’ll have time to digest each question at a proper pace.

On the day of the exam, ask if you can keep a clock or stopwatch on your desk, or just wear a watch on that day. This way, you can maintain your focus on the exam while tracking your pace and progress.

  1. Be Natural

Some students find themselves particularly nervous about the Speaking section of the iBT®. They feel the need to copy a certain accent or use certain sentence structures to get a good score. Don’t worry about this, though! The iBT® Speaking section has multiple human raters, as compared to other tests. You don’t need to exaggerate your accent or follow a certain kind of diction or intonation. The Speaking section will evaluate how well you can express your thoughts and ideas, so don’t worry about your accent and speak as naturally as you can.

  1. Get Enough Sleep.

It may seem like a good idea to pull an all-nighter before the exam, just to squeeze that last bit of knowledge in. It’s not. Don’t do this. Maintain a healthy and regular sleep pattern at least one week before the exam. This is to ensure that you are properly rested when you take your TOEFL iBT®.

You’ll need to keep your wits about you so a well-rested mind is a sharp one. This is especially true in the exam’s Writing and Listening segment that calls on your critical thinking under time pressure. The last thing you want to do during your TOEFL iBT® is doze off, so avoid all the unnecessary yawning and eye-rubbing and get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Get Enough Exercise Too.

Yes, you read that right. Even if you’re taking an exam, you need to prepare your body for it as well. Regular exercise can release chemicals in your brain that can help your memory, sharpness, and concentration. It can also put you at great physical health so you can avoid getting sick before your exam.

Don’t forget to eat hearty, healthy meals during your test preparation as well! You need a lot of fuel for your upcoming TOEFL iBT®!

  1. Focus On Yourself.

You’re the only person that matters in your exam. Don’t fixate on what other people are doing. While it may be tempting to watch other people, it won’t do you any good. If they seem to be answering the questions quickly and easily, it may cause you stress. If they look like they’re stuck or lost, it might magnify your feelings of anxiety. If you need to take your eyes off your exam for a moment, look at the ceiling or close your eyes instead. Take a few deep breaths and start again.

Keep your eyes on the prize, especially since the TOEFL iBT® is only one session long, as opposed to other tests, which are divided into two. Keep the end in mind and imagine yourself achieving your TOEFL iBT® goal. Remember, you’re the only one who matters here! Focus on your TOEFL iBT® and yours alone.


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