College Tips

4 Ways to Lessen TOEFL Preparation Stress


It all starts with a plan. In my opinion, having a strategy can lessen almost 70% of the anxiety that comes with test taking. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” So let’s talk about a plan that will lessen anxiety and inspire confidence going into the TOEFL.

#1 Begin with the end in mind

First, decide if you are planning to study in the U.S., and begin making preparations to take the TOEFL early on. You’re also going to need to decide the date you plan on taking the test. Your chosen date will provide a framework and timeline for your studies, eliminating unknown factors and lowering anxiety.

From this timeline, it’s a good idea to begin forming a study calendar. I recommend using Zoho or Google Calendar, which are both easy to use and mobile friendly.

#2 Take advantage of free help

Free help can come in many different forms, but they all have one thing in common, they’re free! So take advantage of them. Here is a good example of a FREE study planner. Next, you can put what you’ve learned to work with these FREE study questions.

Another form of free help is learning from past test takers. Here is a good link to TOEFL tips from past test takers.

#3 Find your test location

Like tip #2 this tip alleviates unnecessary stress concerning purely logistical matters. Securing a test location is an important detail that may continually distract you, unless you decide on one early on.

Setting up a testing location ahead of time will also make the fact that you’re going to take the test seem more “real,” meaning that you are likely to take your studies more seriously. Here is a good site from ETS to find available test centers.

#4 Don’t compete

What I mean is that this test if for you, and you alone. The result of your test isn’t going to affect your neighbor’s or classmate’s future, which also goes the same for you and their results. Therefore, don’t compare yourself to others.

Competition can bring a lot of stress that is completely unbeneficial and possibly even detrimental. Competition isn’t going to make you perform better, and if it does, it may lead you down a path of only judging your success relative to others. In that world, you only win when others lose, and lose when others win. This way of thinking is destructive to relationships, and won’t help you in interacting with your colleagues and supervisors as you move into the professional world.



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