Feeling stressed when taking exams is a normal feeling that happens to everybody. Examiners say that students generally get one band lower in IELTS speaking due to stress. If you have two, three or even up to six hours between your writing test and your speaking test, then finding something to do, which will take your mind off the test is essential. A tired, stressed mind plays tricks on you. An anxious mind deceives you and tells you things are worse than they are. Keeping positive is crucial if you didn’t have enough sleep the night before the exam.
Prevent stress by using some of the tips below!
Here are 7 easy and actionable IELTS test day tips
Beat stress effectively when visiting a new city to take your IELTS exam by doing the following things:
- Visit the local city park, sit on a bench and take in the vibrant city around you. If possible, find some water. Water is known to calm people’s moods. Stopping and being calm will allow you to take a break and clear your mind. If there are some birds, consider feeding them some bread. This will make you happy and peaceful.
- Listen to music on your radio or iPod. Listening to music can create a positive and productive environment for your mind! Consider listening to upbeat music and walking in time to it, or find some calming instrumental music and sing positive thoughts “silently in your mind.” Look at this article on reducing stress with music.
- Take a trip to the local city library. They are free to enter and have a very calming environment where you can sit back relax and take your mind off your exam stress by perhaps looking at some fun books! Go to the children’s section. Find a book you loved as a child – not one in English because the purpose is to have fun and relax. Sit and read this most loved book, and you will find yourself relaxing.
- Visit a cool coffee shop. Hydrate yourself with a drink and take in the atmosphere. This will not only help you keep hydrated, but it will also be a distraction between your two exams. While you are there, play a game of people watching. Tell yourself stories about the other people in the cafe by asking yourself, “what if?”
- Look out for free attractions in your local city such as museums and art galleries. This can provide a distraction to your mind, and it is great to see the city that you are in has to offer. You need to do your research before you go. Splash out on a taxi, so travelling doesn’t stress you. Definition of the phrasal verb “To Splash Out on Something.”
- Do the tourist thing? Go for a ride on an open-topped bus.
- Make sure you get something to eat. Either take the time to eat your lunch or visit the local market. See the local people in action selling fruit, vegetables and street foods.
IELTS Day Contingency Plan
Above all, plan what you are going to do if the exam centre suddenly tells you that you must wait five or six hours for your speaking test. In English, we call this a contingency plan. Having a ready-made plan will help you keep calm. Know where the park is, where the library is, and where the museum is. Plan a route between all three.
While these tips aren’t comprehensive, and you might have other things on your list, they may give you some ideas for helping out with your needs this time around. Good luck with your exam!
Photograph: CC BY by bortescristian