After successfully passing my IT certification last July, I started preparing for IELTS examination. IELTS or International English Language Testing System is an international standardized test of English proficiency for those who would like to take higher education, immigration and employment to an English speaking country such as UK, Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand. I took the exam for the reason that I don’t see myself staying forever here in SG. Perhaps, moving somewhere better. Taking the initiative of braving the exam makes us one step closer to our dreams. (“,)
IELTS examination can be either Academic or General Training. Academic exam are for those who want to take further studies while General Training are for those considering looking for a new job and planning to migrate. The examination is divided into 4 modules: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.
Listening is the trickiest module for me. Full concentration is required because you need to listen carefully while jotting down the answers. We were given a minute to read the questions before the audio starts and the audio will be played only ONCE. Once the audio recording completes, the candidate is given 10 more minutes to transfer the answers from booklet to the answer sheet. This runs for 30 minutes.
Reading comprises of three sections and each section gets more complex as you progress through the exam. I find this module the most comfortable because I’m used to reading books and articles. It is not required to read through the entire article but rather make use of scanning and skimming methods. Based from my experience, I read the questions first then use those as keywords when skimming for answers in the text. This runs for 60 minutes.
Writing is the most tiring module for me because I’m not used to writing anymore. I must have spent the last 10 years of my life using the computer in composing essays and paragraphs. This module has 2 sections. Since I took the General Training exam, my first task was to write an informal letter. The instruction says to write a letter to a friend asking him/her about a new job. It should include the following points: a) reasons for not keeping in touch with him/her recently b) asking details about the new job and c) proposing a time for meeting up. Letter should be at least 150 words but I guess mine reached more than that because I have lots of things to say. For the 2nd task, the essay topic was about the advantages of shopping in a modern shopping mall versus a small local market. We should be able to give arguments between the two places. This runs for 60 minutes.
Lastly, the Speaking test was the most nerve-wracking experience among the four modules. Mine was scheduled 2 days after the written exam. I arrived 1 hour early and registered immediately upon arrival. The experience was like going through a job interview and speaking to an HR. The interview runs for 15 minutes and divided into 3 parts. First part was sort of an ice-breaker and the examiner will ask a series of personal questions. He asked me about my hometown, favorite part of the house, part of the house I’m most happiest, my favorite color now and then, my least favorite color and my favorite toy. I was caught off guard with the color and toy questions because I am not prepared for it, so I invented my answers for the sake of spontaneity. haha! For the second part, I was given a cue card with a topic to discuss. The examiner gave me a pen, paper and a minute to jot down my thoughts. The question I got was to discuss my most enjoyable activity with a group. I should be able to include the following points: a) what do I do b) How often I do this activity and c) Who am I with when doing this activity. The topic was pretty easy since I talked about traveling and I just shared to him my recent travel experiences. For the third part, it’s an open question and answer portion related to the second topic. He asked me questions like why some people want to be alone, why is it good for older people to join in groups, what’s the advantage of children joining groups and if we should force children to join groups. I’m not sure if I gave a sound argument for all these questions but I think I was able to answer most of them.
And today…after 2 weeks of seems like forever, finally the much awaited results arrived! I got positive results this time. This isn’t actually the 1st time I took the exam. I got good scores on the 1st exam though I didn’t meet the target band score of 7 on one of the modules. My score passed for a NZ standard but 0.5 short for Down Under. Since it’s a requirement that I should get at least 7 and above for the individual modules and over all score, I took the risk and did the test again.
Life’s success is all about taking chances. All the hard work, risks, money and time paid off. This is for our future so it’s an investment in a way. Bawiin na lang pag andun na. Hahaha! Thank you Lord for making all this possible. Sobrang naawa ka na sa akin. I previously got a L-7.0, R-8.5, W-6.5 and S-7.5 with overall score of 7.5. This is now my new score. I am moving on to the next steps.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” — Andre Gide