Students often come to us for help with their stress and nervousness. Typically, students feel more comfortable and confident in their practice than they do on the day of the exam. Part of the difficulty and stress comes from trying to focus in a noisy and distracting environment that's filled with strangers. The nervousness that students experience in this environment can have a serious impact on test scores. Therefore, practicing in TOEFL conditions is a great way to improve your ability to deal with the stress of the exam day and test center.
To start, you'll need to behave as you would on the day of the exam. This will allow you to practice in conditions that are as close to the TOEFL as possible. Eventually, and with time, this will help you reduce some of the stress you bring to the test center on your actual test day.
Wake up in the morning after a good night's rest and prepare as you would for the exam. This means that you should shower, dress comfortably, and eat breakfast.
Before you leave the house, don't forget the following: your laptop or your mobile device, your adapter, paper and pencils, and a headset.
Go to a local, public place (e.g., Starbucks). Don't forget to check beforehand for Wi-Fi availability. This place may not necessarily look like your local test center, but it will have something that your home does not--other people and lots of distracting noise.
When you arrive at your destination, don't try to locate the most private table in the room. Be sure to find a spot that allows you to sit next to other customers. Remember, the goal is to become more comfortable speaking in public, around other people, and with distractions. Also, make sure the table you choose for your practice is near an outlet; the last thing you want is to be interrupted by a dead battery.
At this point, you should set yourself up for TOEFL practice and conditions. First, make sure you open your online or portable stopwatch or timer; this will ensure you time every step of your TOEFL test-taking process. Second, pull out three sheets of paper and one pencil, at a time. This will help you better prepare yourself for the test's actual conditions; it will also train you to organize your notes more carefully (remember that in your TOEFL testing center, when you fill a page with notes, you can trade that page for another clean page from the person administering the exam). Finally, log in to your system at NoteFull.com and begin.
Overall, this may be tough at first; don't worry and keep at it. With time and consistency, you'll become less focused on the distractions around you and your stress, and you'll be more focused on the important things: finishing the test, providing strong answers, and reaching your goals. We recommend doing this at least once every two weeks and definitely at least once on the week of your exam.