English Grammar Test: What To Do About Exam Nerves
Summary: English Grammar Test
There is something about an English grammar test that makes English language students panic. Most people get stressed for exams, a little anxiety is good for you but it’s easy to get overanxious and we can help.
I think grammar is a little scary for most people because it's made up of rules, lots of rules that seem impossibly hard to remember.
Mind you, when you list the things a grammar test may contain. For example, testing your understanding of the present simple, present continuous, past perfect, past simple, articles, countable and uncountable nouns and other aspects of grammar. I can understand why people get stressed.
So today we talk about managing the stress you may feel and how to get better at grammar, or any exam.
Audio Transcript: English Grammar Test: What To Do About Exam Nerves
Hi there and welcome to this Adept English podcast. How about some tips today for handling nerves before a test or an exam? It could be your IELTS English grammar test or an English listening test? Or any of the English language tests that you might take. Exam nerves are a problem for lots of people and they can mean that you don’t give your best performance. So what sorts of things can you do to help yourself?
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Well, one of the best ways to help with both exam nerves and to pass your English grammar test or your listening test, is to make sure that you have studied enough before you take it. Don’t take the exam before you are ready. And be honest with yourself. If you’re too busy to give this the time it needs, then perhaps delay your exam, put off your test, until you can give time to studying. It will be a much more positive experience, taking the exam, if you’ve done the studying and you know you’ve a fair chance of passing.
Of course, remember Rule 3 of the Seven Rules of Adept English. With our Adept English Courses and podcasts, you can do your English language learning and practice while you’re doing other activities, like travelling on the train, waiting for the bus or exercising. So if you do have an English grammar or an English listening test to take, then you can use the time when you’re doing other things, if you’re short of time.
The importance of sleep
If you’re sitting an English grammar test or a listening practice test, then you’ll do better if you get what we call ‘a good night’s sleep’ before it. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleeping well. ‘A good night’s sleep’ is what we say, when we’re talking about you sleeping well. You need to sleep for long enough, that’s 7-8 hours every night and you need to get enough ‘deep sleep’. That’s a special type of sleep, that happens as part of your normal sleep cycle, but often people don’t have enough ‘deep sleep’. So pay attention to your sleep. Give yourself the opportunity to have 7-8 hours of sleep before your English grammar test or your listening test. And also think about this.
Without enough deep sleep, all the learning that you’ve done at the last minute the night before your test is wasted. It gets lost from your memory, unless you have enough sleep after you’ve learnt it. That’s a scientific fact. If you’d like me to do a podcast on sleep, then let us know. Email us at [email protected] or speak to us on Facebook. If you’d like more information on the neuroscience behind sleep, I can do that for your. It’s very useful for students taking tests. So before you go to sleep on the night before your English grammar test or your listening test, take a bath. Use this to relax yourself. You could add Epsom salts to your bath, or Radox or something similar, which has herbs and aromas which help you to relax. And also the lowering of your body’s temperature when you get out of the bath, will help you get to sleep more quickly.
Learn to Handle your Anxiety
So what else can you do before your English grammar test or your listening test, to give yourself a better chance of success? Well, for many people, anxiety may be a problem. That’s A-N-X-I-E-T-Y. Anxiety or another English word, ‘worry’ is a problem for some people when they’re taking an exam. Having a little bit of anxiety is good for an exam or test. A little bit of anxiety helps you focus your mind. But if you have a lot of anxiety – another way of saying that is with the adjective ‘anxious’. If you’re very anxious – it’s a problem, or it can be. Anxious is spelt A-N-X-I-O-U-S. If you’re anxious, then it’s a good idea to practise techniques for calming yourself down before your exam. Practice them, try them out. It’s no good doing these techniques for the first time on the day of your exam. The techniques can be really helpful, but they don’t work first time. So practise, before your English grammar test or your listening test.
Being anxious, being stressed sometimes is unavoidable – that means that you’re not going to avoid it completely. So learning to handle your stress is important. The more you practice calming yourself down, the better able you will be to do it in the exam room. Surprising things can help. If you feel yourself getting stressed, getting anxious, try taking a walk outside. Just having daylight and fresh air, and what we call ‘a change of scene’ can reduce your anxiety. And it’s a proven fact that walking in nature, walking where there are trees or fields is very calming. I know that you’re probably not going to be able to do that on the day of your exam, but if you make it a habit before your exam, you’ll be able to visualise doing that, to imagine doing that in your head, walking outside in nature. And it will help you combat exam nerves.
Yoga and Relaxation
Doing yoga is another very good way of teaching yourself relaxation. Yoga does lots of good things for people and for their bodies, but one of the benefits of yoga - it teaches you to do relaxation. Relaxation, rather like learning to understand and speak English, is a skill. Relaxation is something that you learn by doing it again and again and again. So often at the end of a yoga class, there is a guided meditation – or a guided visualisation. This means you lie on your yoga mat, in a comfortable position and the yoga teacher talks you through the process of relaxation. And sometimes they get you to imagine a calming environment, like being in a forest or on a beach. The point, the purpose is to help you de-stress in that moment, on that day, but in time, it becomes a skill – something you can automatically do for yourself in a stressful situation, like your English grammar test or your English listening test.
Aromatherapy is something which is not yet medically proven. But what is evident is that people seem to find it helpful. It could be placebo effect, but does that matter, if it works? Many pharmaceutical medications work through placebo effect – so why not? So aromatherapy means that you could carry with you your little bottle with liquid in, which contains essential oil or scent. Many of these oils or scents claim to have a calming effect. Lavender, sage, jasmine, ylang ylang. If you’re in a stressful situation, if you have something that you can smell, it can have a calming effect. Why not try it?
The Power of Deep and Slow Breathing
Now you may say to me what can I take into the exam room, whether this is your English grammar test, a written exam or a speaking test? Well, something that you can definitely use in the exam room is deep, slow breathing. The verb ‘to breathe, B-R-E-A-T-H-E’ means that you do this. [Breathing]. And if you purposefully slow down your breathing when you’re in a stressful situation, then you are likely to calm your nerves and reduce your anxiety. Again, it’s important to practice before the day of the test, so that you can use deep and slow breathing in the way that helps you best. Some of these things sound obvious, but they are really powerful and it may not be clear to you, just how helpful these techniques are, until you practise using them.
Anyway, I’ve got lots more advice of this kind for people who suffer anxiety, with exam nerves, whether they’re doing their IELTS English grammar test or any other English speaking or listening exam. Hopefully this podcast has given you some good ideas – as well as teaching you some new vocabulary and phrases. If you have an English grammar test or a speaking test soon, then good luck to you. I hope you do well in it.
Remember, if you want English conversation practice for your test, or just to help you move towards being able to do English conversation, maybe for fun, then buy our Course One: Activate Your Listening, which is available, along with our other courses on our website at adeptenglish.com.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: You Are Worth Taking Care Of. So Take Care Of Yourself
So many of us lead busy lives we often forget to look after ourselves. We don't sleep enough; we eat poorly we abuse ourselves all to keep up with an unrealistic pace of life. Yet some of the most successful people in the world who run huge businesses or run countries, find time for themselves. So why can’t you find time for yourself? It’s simple, you must find time for yourself it makes you better at what you do.
Routines can help, maybe a daily routine where you find somewhere quiet for 30 minutes and clear your mind, sit and relax. Ideally in the sun with some nature around you, a garden or park. Just breathe and enjoy looking after you for a short time. Do it every day and it will add up to a better you.
You need not learn Yoga or meditation or create any reason for you not to do this. Anyone can do it, we can all find 30 minutes in our day, it can be at anytime. Just do it.