Over the last 9 years, I’ve spent a lot of time helping people to prepare for important language proficiency tests. Many of those people have taken the same test, again and again, hoping to achieve a different result. However, they keep finding that their score isn’t high enough, in at least one area. One reason for this can be because they have not had an expert help them out with their test preparation. Another common reason is that of anxiety.
One resource that I recommend for people who have really struggled is Glenn Harrold’s hypnosis MP3. You can purchase it and download it very quickly to begin working on reducing your stress.
For others, who are feeling that stress is reducing their score, I recommend taking the time to focus on breathing. Even in the middle of a high-stakes test, it’s relatively easy to take 3 slow, deep breaths before each speaking session. This will reduce anxiety, slow breathing and pulse, regulate the voice, and clear the mind. Don’t wait until test day to do this. Incorporate the practice into every practice session, so that it will come naturally on test day.
There are some great photos from all over the world on this page. If you’re working on Present Continuous, it’s a great opportunity to describe what’s happening in the photos. This image from Hong Kong shows very clearly how crowded the city is. It reminds me of living in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, because buildings there are also quite tall, streets are quite narrow, and there are very few wide, open areas. I really missed the big Canadian sky while I lived there, although the energy in the streets was always exciting.
The BBC sent an undercover writer to take the TOEIC test at a college in the UK, and saw that native English speakers replaced all of the test-takers to do the actual test on the computer. A few days later, for the multiple-test part of the test, someone read out all of the correct answers to the test-takers, and they finished the 2-hour test in 7 minutes. All of the test-takers had their photos taken, to “prove” that they took the test.