Develop a positive attitude

Positive attitude matters and that's why you should have it to crack IELTS.

You have possibility invested countless hours to learn English and now it's your turn to take the test. Be confident, set a goal and study regularly.  

If you already know the test format, types of questions you are going to answer and how your scores are interpreted then you are already halfway there. You have plenty of resources at your disposal related to IELTS and you have the spirit to do really well in the test. Now, have a positive mindset and register for the test. But obviously, you should be well prepared to achieve a good band score. It is difficult to master a language but not impossible, and if others can achieve band scores 8, 8.5 or even 9, why can't you? Set a target, work hard and be positive. You will get the desired band score.

Being positive results in better productivity and less stress. Anxiety can hurt your performance and decline your band score. So even if can't answer a question (be it a multiple choice question in your reading test or a short answer in your speaking test) let it go. Concentrate on the next question and carry on. According to some scientific studies, optimists often do better on tests as they retain faith in themselves and let go bad feelings. Negative moods literally result in poor concentration and hence produce poor performance in the tests. Therefore, staying optimistic while you’re taking a big exam like IELTS is a major factor in your test performance.

Saying that was easy. But how can you actually be positive before and during the exam? That's the hard part. Fortunately, there are ways...

During the preparation phase:

You need a definite goal: If you do not know what band score you need, you might be in a difficult situation. So the first thing you need to ask yourself (and to the university or the immigration authority) 'What is the minimum band score I require?'. Once you know it, work for it.

Study regularly: If you study a couple of hours for a few months, you are better prepared than studying all day long for a week or two.

Take mock tests: This way you know where you need to improve and what areas are bleeding your band score. Sometimes you will be surprised by the mistakes you make when you take a test. So take a few mock tests, have them checked by a professional teacher and concentrate on areas you need to improve.

Relax: Do not take the test as if your life depends on it. Relax, enjoy and discuss with others who are also going to take the same test.

Invest time to learn the question types: If you are familiar with the types of questions you are likely to encounter in your IELTS exam, you would be better prepared for the test.

Adjust your thoughts: Whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively stop your brain! Convince yourself with a positive thought, at least think neutrally - “I’ll just try my best, and what happens, happens.”
 

Test day:

Sleep well: The night before the IELTS test is not for last minute study preparation, rather it's the night you should feel relaxed and take proper rest. Sleep properly and get ready soon so that you can reach the exam venue early.

Make a Checklist: You should not think about what you need to take with you and what not to in the morning of the exam date. That should be done the night before. You need to make a checklist to be sure you have all the things you need to take with you and nothing more.

Wear comfortable dresses: You should wear comfortable dresses on your exam day. Having said that, you should be properly dressed to take the speaking test. Formal dresses are safe but you should not be too formal. Avoid something very gaudy and uncommon.

During the test:

Relax, and say that you are going to perform your best. Do not get distracted. If something bothers you, talk to the exam supervisor and with no one else.

Follow exam instructions and spend time wisely. Don't get stuck in a single question; if it seems difficult always turn to the next one.

During your speaking test, if the examiner asks something you can not answer, instead of mumbling or being silent mention that you have no idea about it but explain why. When you are expected to answer a very simple question, let your imagination take control. You will be judged by your ability to respond and handle the language, not the accuracy of the information.

A few useful resources on 'developing a positive attitude':

1. 8 Ways to Keep a Positive Mindset During Exams

2. 15 Positive Thinking Exercises

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