My Experience on IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

Migrating to english-speaking countries are really very difficult these days. Before, you just need to show that you have sufficient funds when you are planning to immigrate. I myself, is planning to immigrate to Canada. I have a brother who is willing to support me but the Canadian embassy gave one requirement that can gravely affect my chances of getting to Canada - the IELTS examination.

 The IELTS or International English Language Testing System is comprised of series of tests and examinations that can help evaluate and rate the english proficiency of any candidate. The IELTS has four (4) modules:
1. The Listening Module
2. The Reading Module
3. The Writing Module
4. The Speaking Module

 My IELTS Experience and How I Prepared for it.

I have a full-time job so it is very impractical on my part to attend IELTS review sessions. Instead of going to IELTS review schools during weekends, I spent much of my time reading the newspaper. I also listened to videos of current events being reported on online news shows such as CNN and BBC World. Additionally, I also downloaded free IELTS reviewers on the internet.

A lot of people who had passed the IELTS recommend me to continuously immense myself with English media such as radio shows, movies and songs. They further suggested that I should practice speaking in English wherever i may go. I have done all of these helpful tips so i was very optimistic that i have a good chance of passing the examination.

The Day Before the Exam

As i was reading some helpful tips about the IELTS, i came upon new tips on how to prepare a day before the exam. These tips suggest that i should spend more time relaxing and keeping my body in shape. So here is what I did.

I convinced my superiors at the office to allow me to go to work 6 hours earlier. This is very important because i need to go Baguio (the venue of the IELTS exam) which is about three to four hours away from my home.

At home, i ate a lot of healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and pineapple juice. I also took with me a bottle of water to keep myself hydrated during the long travel. Just to make sure, i made a list and checked if i have packed inside my bag the things i need. My bag's content includes the following:

1. An IELTS application form
2. Two (2) pieces of passport size photo
3. Passport
4. Clothing for one to two days
5. Milk, crackers and bread
6. Pencils, erasers and sharpeners

When i have ascertained that all of these are inside my bag. My journey began.

Commuting to Baguio City

I know how to drive. I have my own car but i don't think I can drive on the steep slopes of Baguio City. So my only means of getting to Baguio is by riding public utility vehicles such as vans and buses.

I needed to have a comfortable travel. So i patiently waited for an air-conditioned bus that is headed towards Baguio. Luckily, i saw a Genesis Bus, one of the best bus in our area.

The air-conditioned bus is cold. This made me feel a bit nervous because I expect to feel chills and goosebumps during the examination. But i was feeling a bit tired that time so I took a nap, and waited till I arrive at Baguio City.

Baguio City, Here I Am!

Okay, so i think i was a bit over-reacting. A lot of my friends told me that the IELTS exam is easy, so i calmed down and got out of the bus when it parked at the bus terminal. I immediately looked for a room where I can stay for the night, a place where i can make last minutes preparation for my IELTS exam.

One of the great things about lean seasons is that a few people go to hotels or inns. I choose an inn which is very close to the Bus terminal and Burnham park. For a price of six hundred pesos (P600.00), i got a room where I can rest , eat, relax and think.

I am such a Worrywart!

I am an introvert person. I am also not very brave and courageous so you can't blame me if i continue to become worried for the upcoming IELTS exam. Instead of taking a good night's rest, I opened the IELTS reviewer, i read, and I took sample tests. I got a boost of self-confidence when I got a high score on that practice test. I was feeling good about myself so I went outside to walk around session road so I can exercise a bit. But the exercise I had seems not enough because i still had difficulty sleeping. Even one bottle of San Mig light beer that I drank can't give me an uninterrupted sleep. So I just closed my eyes and hoped that I could sleep till 6 am in the morning.

September 22, 2012 - Judgement Day

After a night of intermittent sleep, i woke up at 6 AM. I still had plenty of time because the IELTS exam is due to start at eight o'clock. So I took my breakfast at Jollibee, took a bath, brushed my teeth and wore a red polo shirt (my friend told me that a red clothing symbolizes confidence). The exact venue of the examination is at CAP Camp John Hay Cultural Building. I wanted to make it to Camp John Hay as early as possible so I took a cab and went on straight to the examination venue.

I arrived at exactly seven o'clock in the morning. I noticed a lot of people who were waiting for the exam to start. In order to lessen my worries and nervousness, I talked to people who were there and shared my self-review experiences. After a while, the invigilators announced that the exam is about to start.

The invigilators main role is to verify the identity of the IELTS examiners and to prevent cheating. In order to do this, they examined our proof of identities such as national ID, government-issued IDs and passport before we were allowed to register. After this, we were asked to deposit our belongings to a baggage counter because the invigilators will only allow pencils, erasers, sharpeners, bottle of water, and passport inside the examination room.

In addition to the registration process, we were also ushered to a photograph booth. The invigilators told us that our picture and finger prints need to be taken. I was amazed with the way they verify our identities because our photographs and finger prints were immediately stored in a computer.

The Examination Proper

Unfortunately, the examination did not start at exactly 8 am. A lot of examinees were still not present on the venue so the actual examination started at around 9 am. I am sitting at the front portion of the hall and I was ready to take the exam.

The listening test was given and I was very confident that I can have a perfect score in this module. But i failed to cope up with the recorded conversations and this made things hard for me. How would I know the answers to the questions if I can't follow the recorded conversations? So the only thing left for me to do is to make guesses. After an hour, the invigilators asked us to stop. The second module is about to start.

The reading test was the easiest module for me. Even if they give us an hour to finish all forty questions, I managed to finish all of it in 50 minutes. I used the remaining 10 minutes of my time to review my answers.

The writing test was also a walk-in-the-park for me. It consists of two parts wherein on the first part, you are asked to write a 150 word letter. The second part requires you to write  250 word about a certain topic. I managed to finish all of these in 59 minutes.

The speaking test was held on a different venue. I had to take the jeep in order to get to Burnham Suites.

I suck at speaking English. And this is just what happened when I took the final test at Burnham suites. I was asked to talk about certain things but I failed to answer the examiner fluently. I was stuttering, lost for words, and failed to directly answer her questions. I was able to answer all her questions but I am not sure if it is enough to give me a passing score.

Back to Base

I was exhausted but overjoyed because I am done with the IELTS examination. I have prepared well for this by doing self-reviews and watching news delivered in English. I am now keeping my fingers crossed and I am hoping to get a band score of 5 and above.

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