Today we share how you can convert anxiety into high test scores!

We share research about why this works.

We also give you specific strategies to use on test day.

This way, nerves won’t lower your scores!

Instead, you can turn that nervousness into excitement!

For all the strategies you need, sign up for our online IELTS course!

What is anxiety reappraisal?

Aubrey and Jessica share an article in The Atlantic.

It’s called “Can Three Words Turn Anxiety into Success?

It explains a technique called “anxiety reappraisal.”

This is basically telling yourself you feel excited when you feel nervous.

It has proven to be effective in many different situations and studies!

Why does it work?

Anxiety and excitement are both “aroused emotions.”

They create similar physical reactions.

  • Increased heart rate
  • Faster breathing
  • Racing thoughts

Therefore, it is fairly easy to harness this emotion and funnel it from anxiety to excitement.

There is no need to change physical response.

Instead, you just have to adjust your mindset.

Don’t try to calm down when you feel anxious

Many people tend to say something like:

I’m nervous. I need to calm down.

This is much harder to do!

Calm is a very different emotion that doesn’t create these physical responses.

Therefore, it’s difficult to switch from nervous to calm.

This is because you can’t turn off those physical reactions.

You can’t convince your body it’s calm when the physical reaction doesn’t match that feeling.

Opportunity mindset

The way this strategy works is to put yourself in an “opportunity mindset” instead of a “threat mindset.”

Do not dwell on the possible consequences of potentially performing poorly.

Instead, focus on the excitement of potentially performing well!

This will convert that anxiety into excitement.

Studies have shown that this mindset adjustment improves performance.

How the studies worked

In one study, some participants were asked to say “I am excited” out loud.

They said this to themselves three times.

The other participants instead just said their names.

Those who said out loud that they were excited felt like they had more time.

They had reappraised their anxiety as excitement.

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

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#1: Say, “I’m excited!”

Before your exam say, “I’m excited!” out loud three times.

You can do this on your car or on the sidewalk on the way to the testing center.

This could also be done in the restroom while looking in the mirror.

You can sing out loud on the way to the test center.

This will put you in a positive, excited mood.

Keep in mind why you are doing this.

You are changing your mindset.

You are converting anxiety into excitement.

If you feel your heart racing and your breath speeding up, believe that it’s because you’re excited!

#2: Smile

Keep yourself in a good, positive mood.

Smile at people on the way to the test center.

Smile at other students while you’re waiting.

It’s amazing how smiling can change your mood!

Allow yourself to feel excited!

#3: Talk to other candidates

Say to another student, “Isn’t this exciting?”

Ask them where they are from.

Ask them what they will do when they pass IELTS.

You can say something like:

This is so cool. We’re gonna do awesome, right?!

Remember to have an opportunity mindset.

Focus on the positive consequences when you do well!


It is powerful and useful to realize you can convert anxiety to excitement.

It’s also helpful to realize it’s extremely difficult to calm down when you feel nervous.

Don’t try!

Instead, harness it into feeling excited!

Use today’s tips on test day.

They will improve your performance and your scores!

Join our online course 3 Keys IELTS for more strategies!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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