past winners' videos

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Last year, IELTS Prize was awarded to more than 27 test takers from the East Asia* region to pursue their study dreams in their chosen destination. Read their stories below to learn about their path to becoming an IELTS Prize winners and get inspired to make your mark!

* Participating countries/territories include: Hong Kong & Macau, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

IELTS Prize Winners

Explore past winners’ stories.

Local 1st Prize

Maria Astrid Susanti

Human Resources and Organisations, The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

I feel tremendously honoured and grateful to be recognised and trusted by a prominent institution such as the British Council to be the first winner of the IELTS Prize. To me, IELTS Prize meant beyond than just providing additional financial support in pursuing my postgraduate degree, but it also has given me the chance to prove to myself, my parents, and the loved ones that I am a capable individual who can reach my goals and will strive for excellence in the work that I do. The reason I chose British Council is that I was greatly helped by the abundant options of dates and locations that the British Council has. During the preparation period, I also greatly benefited from the free access to courses and practice that British Council offered to me. Moreover, one of the biggest lessons in pursuing my postgraduate degree is about discovering more about myself – my interests, my long-term goals, and what I would like to achieve in life. British Council has helped me a lot with this.

Local 2nd Prize

Bella Shintya

International Planning, University College London, UK

Being one of the IELTS Prize winners is a life-changing opportunity for me as I am getting closer to fulfilling my dream: study a master’s degree abroad. I believe this programme supports me not only in education but also in my long-term personal and professional goals. I hope that through British Council IELTS Ambassador Programme, I can contribute to the community and be able to help other global talents achieve their goals just as British Council has helped and inspired me Choosing the right test place will also determine our success in the test, and my choice fell on the British Council! The information provided on the website is apparent, complete, and structured, starting from the test date and location to the difference between IELTS Paper Based and IELTS Computer-based Additionally, British Council also provides the Free Online IELTS practice test that you can access anywhere and anytime. Overall, it’s been a GREAT experience to take IELTS Test with British Council.

Local 3rd Prize

Hans Liawan Sanjaya

Digital Health, Universitat Pottsdam, Germany

I feel very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me receiving these IELTS Prize as it will surely help me financially and morally. This small achievement will give me the boost I need to pursue future endeavours, a reminder for myself that I can do better in life. For my fellow IELTS fighters, here are some tips that I can share. A discipline is a must, you need to spare some of your time preparing and practicing. I recommend around 10 hours every week. Next, to know your weakness. The four parts in IELTS sometimes can be tricky to achieve the overall score needed. If your weakness is in writing, then you need to write more. And lastly, don't forget to set your target. It will help you to formulate a better strategy achieving it.

Local 1st Prize

Cason Yong Kwan Xhen

Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), University of Oxford, UK

I was absolutely ecstatic about winning the British Council IELTS Prize! Growing up in a Chinese-speaking household where neither of my parents attended university, winning the Local Grand IELTS Prize gave me a confidence boost in my English language capabilities. With the scholarship, I would now be able to pursue opportunities that I would not otherwise be able to, and it made me realise that great ambitions could stem from humble beginnings. Joy aside, I also feel grateful about winning the IELTS Prize. I fully resonate with IELTS’s commitment to make language learning more approachable, and in particular, its goals to opening doors for underprivileged communities who may not have access to quality English education. I am extremely proud to pursue my postgraduate studies with the support of an organisation, like the British Council, where it actively contributes to the shaping of the education of tomorrow.

Local 2nd Prize

Melody Ai Ching

MSc Psychology of Education,University of Bristol,UK

I feel humbled and honoured to win the IELTS Prize 2022. In my small city of Borneo, not everyone has the privilege to learn English. I feel proud and fortunate to be able to achieve a good score in IELTS and wish to be able to give back what I received. It is one of my dreams to visit small towns on the outskirts, teaching English to native kids. I imagine myself organizing fun outdoor activities, making English a fun language to learn among children. I hope fluency in English will open many doors for the community in my hometown.

Local 3rd Prize

Veenaa Logenthiran

Medicine, University of Dundee, UK

I feel incredibly grateful to have been awarded the IELTS prize. When I first sent in my application, I was hopeful, but did not expect to win. Being called for the interview stage was a pleasant surprise in itself, so, I feel beyond lucky to have won the prize this year. The degree that I chose to pursue is quite an expensive one, therefore, I am excited to be able to slightly lessen the financial burden on my parents by winning this prize. Personally, being awarded the prestigious IELTS prize is a testament to my hard work and dedication over the years and I hope to use this award as motivation to continue excelling as an all rounded individual.

Local 1st Prize

Soo Hyun Lee

MFA Fine Art,Goldsmiths, University of London ,UK

I feel obliged, honoured and excited to take this tremendous opportunity of being awarded as the IELTS Local Grand prize winner.Several years ago, I first learned about the IELTS Prize and saw many inspiring stories from the past winners. At that time, I couldn't imagine being in this place and dreamt, 'One day, I want to be in that place and inspire others.' My study journey with IELTS was full of joy and growth. As an international student, I used to feel pressure to communicate with international friends. However, IELTS made me feel much more confident about my English and allowed me to make new communities with international friends. I believe in the power of sharing stories. Many inspiring stories from others made me pursue my dreams and overcome the hard times in my life. As the IELTS Grand Prize winner and IELTS ambassador, I also want to share stories of mine that could encourage others to overcome barriers, chase their enthusiasm, and achieve their aspiration.

Local 2nd Prize

Hyeji Kang

MSN (Family Nursing), Duke University, US

To be honest, when I first wrote my essay for the IELTS Prize, I didn't have high expectations. However, I thought it would be a pity if I kept the things I felt and experienced while preparing for the IELTS test by myself. Instead, I wrote and submitted an essay like a diary in the hope that someone would enjoy reading my IELTS story. After submitting the essay, I actually forgot to check the results, as I was still studying hard for IELTS. However, I heard that I was selected as a finalist and I was very grateful and truly happy. Then, when the final results came out, I cried to myself as I read the e-mail with both amazement and joy. I studied IELTS for over 2 years and took a total of 18 exams. I am very happy to be able to work with IELTS for more than 2 years through this scholarship selection.

Local 3rd Prize

Jeong Mo Choi

Industrial and Product Design, UAL Central Saint Martins, UK

I feel grateful for the prize funds, but I feel more honored to have been selected. I’m sure there were countless other talented candidates who were equally as deserving, so it certainly makes me proud to know that the British Council has highly valued my work and potential. I remember scrolling through my emails and calling my mom as soon as I had received the news. It still feels surreal now, writing the testimonial. With that said, I look forward to working with the British Council as an ambassador and bringing IELTS closer to the students of Korea as well as other countries. I will also continue to work on my personal studies as a product designer and eventually return what I have received back to the community through my designs.

Local 1st Prize

Vu Hai Truong

MSc. in Data Science, Liverpool John Moores University, VN

I am very grateful that the British Council has offered us such a generous prize that can aid a big part of our learning journey. Also, this achievement is a milestone for a person like me who did not have the money to take an IELTS back in college. I then got the chance to study IELTS for a few months because of my winning a talent and beauty contest organized by an English centre. Now I got the chance to take my Master of Science in Data Science thanks to my winning the IELTS Prize. I am proud, not completely because I won this prestigious prize, but because I am now more certain about one thing: when there’s a will, there’s a way.
I applied for the IELTS Prize because I felt like it was designed for people like me who love English, are passionate about serving the community, and work hard enough to stand out.

Local 2nd Prize

Trinh Ngoc Minh Quan

Art and Media, Fulbright University Vietnam, VN

Winning the IELTS Prize was such a dream to me, I have never imagined that I can even receive this prestigious scholarship, let alone winning the Second Prize. This is because I have had to compete with bunches of talented individuals out there; yet, I believe that my success can be attributed to my thorough preparation process.
I was informed about the scholarship after I received my IELTS result. Honestly, there are numerous factors that have led me to the decision. Although the amount of money from the prize is attractive and can significantly pull me through the tuition fee and living expenses at university, it still pales in comparison with my intention to share my story of relentless efforts to conquer the IELTS, about how a mountainous-area kid can get an 8.5 in IELTS. Moreover, winning the prize would mean that I can be a part of the talented IELTS Prize alumni Community and meet up with the past and present winners.

Local 3rd Prize

Ngo Phuong Anh

MSc. in TESOL ,University of Bristol, UK

I’m an English teacher, so receiving such a prestigious prize makes me feel acknowledged and validated for my efforts. What lies beyond the IELTS Prize’s financial support is a chance to be part of a global network of forward-thinking individuals. At the same time, being a recipient also means that I can impact positive changes towards a wider audience.

Local 1st Prize

Anna Madel Asuncion

MA Youth and Community Leadership,University of Northampton, UK

First of all, I feel grateful for being chosen as the 1st Prize winner. As exciting as it is to study and live in the UK, I know that it can also be challenging in many aspects. But, with the support of the IELTS prize, I feel more secure to move to a different country and focus more on achieving my educational and career goals. I feel honored to be a British Council IELTS Ambassador, and I can’t wait to encourage other aspiring international students like me to pursue their dreams and prioritize their personal growth beyond their comfort zones. This opportunity will not only allow me to accomplish my own goals, but it will also serve as a platform to inspire young people that they, too, can dream bigger dreams.

Local 2nd Prize

Jay Paul Ely Tena

MA in Global Communication: Politics and Society,University of Erfurt,Germany

Winning the IELTS Prize is a great honor and privilege that I will carry with me as I pursue my graduate studies. As an international student, it gave me more confidence that I will be able to study thoroughly because a respected and internationally renowned institution like the British Council believed in my potential. I also take pride in the fact that the British Council invested in me to pursue my advocacies in education and communications. It also bears stressing that I’m grateful that I will be receiving monetary assistance which will equip me with the resources to fund my studies. Finally, the pride of being an ambassador of the British Council IELTS will be instrumental for me to inspire other aspiring Filipino students to believe in themselves.

Local 3rd Prize

Julian Andrei Imperial

MSc City Planning,University of Glasgow International Leadership Scholarship,UK

When I got the call from the British Council congratulating me for winning the IELTS Prize, at first I felt surprised. I am aware of how competitive the award is, and I know that there are many deserving students who applied for this prize. I then felt incredibly grateful to the British Council for considering me and seeing the potential in me. This award means so much to me and also to my family. It really took team effort from my entire family for my dream to study abroad to happen. It sure feels wonderful for our hard work to be recognized.

Local 1st Prize

Putthisak Panomsarnnarin

MA International Relations,Durham University,UK

It is more than an honor being awarded by an institute that has always been a strong inspiration for studying abroad. Winning the British Council IELTS Prize, I feel empowered to flourish the promising role in increasing knowledge and understanding between countries in a larger scale—not only for my own success, but only for my constant commitment for society. This prize will mark my education in the UK as another milestone making myself a well-equipped individual as well as inspiring other youth aiming to study abroad to take steps for making larger impacts for themselves and global society.

Local 2nd Prize

Suphanat Woradit

MSc Management (Digitalisation and Big data),University of Bristol,UK

First of all, I would like to say thank you very much to the British Council for giving me this golden opportunity. I was not expecting that this day would come but now I am very excited and really grateful that my hard work paid off in the end.
I believe that the future is not there waiting for me, I have to build my own road to achieve my goal. Saying that, being awarded for the IELTS Prize is my first success to that destination as the greatest achievement for me to develop my studies, learn English culture, and be successful in my career.

Local 3rd Prize

Punyanuch Likitteerasub

Clinical Animal Behaviour, University of Lincoln,UK

I have to say that winning the IELTS prize was totally out of my expectation. After I tried my best to shared my story, I am truly grateful for receiving the IELTS prize and a great opportunity as being an IELTS ambassador. This achievement couldn’t happen without support from my family who always believe in my ability and cheer me up whenever I fail. Moreover, I would like to thank British Council for initiating this valuable prize. As the prize is not only financial support for my higher education but also a promise to achieve my goal. This prize really means a lot to me.

Local 1st Prize

Tsung-Yen Hsieh

Language Sciences (Neuroscience, Language & Communication),University College London,UK

I feel a great sense of achievement by winning the IELTS Prize because of the long-standing reputation of the British Council. Also, I feel grateful for being mentally and practically supported on my way to helping more people who need language therapy. As a speech therapist, I aspire to investigate neuroscience and psychology related to language therapy, which I believe will help me assess and treat my patients more comprehensively. However, studying in London is extremely expensive. Thanks to the British Council, I can now pursue my dream with much less financial pressure. I am looking forward to being an active alumnus who can exchange stories with others and inspire as many people as possible.

Local 2nd Prize

Meng-Ting Kuo

Advanced LL.M. International Children's Rights,Leiden University,Netherlands

When I received the call from British Council in early August, I felt like a huge relief had finally come off my shoulders. Pursuing the LL.M International Children’s Rights degree in Leiden University has been something I wanted to do for a while, but the high expense studying abroad has always held me back a little bit as well. Therefore, I’m extremely grateful and honored to be able to win the IELTS Prize, as it could help ease the great financial burden, but more importantly, to me it is also an acknowledgement of what I want to achieve both academically and professionally in the future. The recognition of the prize renders stronger confidence and certainty in myself, encouraging me to continue this pathway, hoping to make a difference in the Asian community one day.

Local 3rd Prize

I-Ting Tu

MSc Pediatrics and Child Health,University College London,UK

I am truly grateful to be awarded the IELTS Prize. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the craziness happening in this world, this prize is a confirmation and an encouragement of my next step. Given the honor to become an IELTS Ambassador, I hope I could encourage others who are also on this journey of pursuing their dreams as I was once encouraged.

Local 1st Prize

Claudia Long

Clinical Animal Behaviour, The University of Edinburgh,UK

I am grateful and honoured to be selected as the local first prize winner for IELTS Prize 2022. This award represents the support and affirmation by IELTS/British Council of my motivations and aspirations. To receive such support from the British Council really means a lot to me as it would finically assist the cost of graduate school and allow me to focus more on my study.I am also thrilled to be part of the IELTS Ambassador community ─ to connect with other winners from different fields and to share our overall overseas education journey with future students.

Local 2nd Prize

Melody Lio

MSc Human-Computer Interaction Design,City, University of London,UK

I was surprised and extremely honoured to learn that I won the Local Second Prize in this year’s IELTS Prize. I only chanced upon the IELTS Prize after taking my test, and I submitted my entry without expecting to win. Winning this prize motivates me for the upcoming journey. Not only does this prize help to alleviate the financial challenges that come with pursuing a postgraduate education in the United Kingdom, the prestige of the British Council IELTS Prize also gives me the additional validation for my English language capability.

Local 3rd Prize

Anukriti Banerjee

International Health Policy,The London School of Economics and Political Science,UK

I am thrilled to win the IELTS Prize. It is a great honour to have been selected from a pool of highly talented and ambitious candidates. The prize takes away some of my financial burdens but beyond that it also provides me with access to a network of alumni, who will undoubtedly go on to establish stellar careers in their chosen fields. As a student of Health Policy, I understand that “health” is a complex equation that no single person can solve. Doctors, nurses, admin staff, policymakers - every group has a unique and important part to play. I hope that together, fellow alumni and I can work towards creating safer societies for all with more equitable access to care.

Local 1st Prize

Joelle Chow

Public Health,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,UK

It is an honour to be awarded the local IELTS Prize 2022, and it is with immense gratitude to the British Council that I embark on this new chapter to my life and education.
Before applying for the IELTS and the IELTS Prize, I was filled with doubts towards my upcoming year abroad. Despite having been admitted to my dream course, I had endless worries about adapting to the social and academic rigours of life in a foreign country. I made numerous plans to ease the financial burden that studying overseas would bring to my family. Now, thanks to the IELTS Prize, it feels like a weight has been taken off my shoulders – I am instilled with renewed confidence in my English skills, and with the increased financial support, I can fully dedicate my time and energy into achieving my masters.
I owe much of my life’s success to the British Council and its English courses, with early education in the English language having been fundamental to my academic and social successes. I am therefore grateful for this opportunity to become an IELTS ambassador, to share my aspirations and my love for learning English. To put it honestly and simply – taking the IELTS and winning the IELTS Prize has allowed me to realise my dreams, so I hope that sharing my journey will encourage others to take a leap of faith and achieve theirs too.

Local 2nd Prize

Nicole Yu

MSc Biology,Concordia University,Canada

I feel very excited and honored to be receiving this prize at the beginning of my studies. I feel it is an encouragement and recognition of all my effort since beginning my path as an ecologist, when I took the IELTS for the first time to apply for ecology programs in universities overseas. Now, 4 years and 2 more IELTS tests later, I am grateful to be receiving the IELTS prize for my Master’s studies at Concordia, where I am starting a new chapter in my journey to work towards a sustainable future by conducting research in urban ecology at Concordia University, Montréal.

Local 3rd Prize

Gabrielle Tse

MSc Comparative Literature,The University of Edinburgh,UK

I am incredibly proud of myself for winning the IELTS Prize, knowing that I’ve been selected from a pool of very strong candidates. Originally, I never even dared to think that I would win – this experience has definitely boosted my confidence. In addition, I feel relieved, knowing that the IELTS Prize would ease my family’s financial burden. Studying overseas is extremely expensive, involving not only high tuition fees, but also costs on Visa applications, flight tickets, and the like. While I’ve always dreamed of studying abroad, the financial aspect of it has been quite daunting. I’m forever grateful to the British Council for choosing to believe in me and supporting my studies.

Local 1st Prize

Tan Pei Jing

Bachelor of Applied Science, University of British Columbia, Canada

I remember squinting my eyes when I scrolled slowly through the email from British Council Malaysia. I could hear my heart pounding, but I tried to suppress it by murmuring, “it will be okay” to myself. I knew that it would mean the world to my parents if I was able to secure a scholarship. IELTS prize meant more than an additional financial support but a promise that I will strive for excellence in my studies to my parents. I feel incredibly honored to win the IELTS Prize. I will always remember the warmth feeling of seeing my hard work translates into my parent’s smiles.

First, the British Council Malaysia team was really prompt in replying to my emails about information on IELTS Prize. This made the process of equipping myself with the knowledge of the application process significantly easier. IELTS Prize’s requirements focus on the aspiration and potential of an individual instead of limiting the selection pool.

British Council Malaysia team is highly responsive and accessible throughout my interaction with them. I managed to get an in-person consultation about how to prepare for the IELTS test. The staff members were so helpful on giving advice and guidance about the standardized test. This gave me confidence that the process of taking IELTS with British Council will be smooth.

Universities application can take a toll on students’ minds as we need to juggle academics and curriculum at the same time. My sister recommended me to take IELTS as it is recognized by institutions from most of the countries. I was able to use my IELTS result for both applications for Canada and UK universities.

I recommend anyone that is taking the IELTS test to access their own ability as soon as possible. For example, take a mock IELTS test online using the online resources provided on British Council website. Based on the assessment, you can improve on your weaker sections by doing more targeted practices. During the test, you can also go through your weaker sections slowly with more care. This reduces the chance of careless mistakes being made.

As for the oral test, I strongly advice the candidates to focus on what you are trying to convey instead of the articulation itself first. To put it simply, what you are trying to say matters way more than how you are saying it.

Academic plans – My first term in UBC have recently ended in December. It was a challenging term as I had to tackle multiple courses while adapting to this new environment. I am fortunate enough to have a hybrid model of classes on campus. Frankly, I have been so focused on completing tasks and learning that I didn't even realize four months have passed since I first started university. I have met and learnt from so many great minds that I can foresee doing something spectacular in the future.

Personal plans – British Columbia is a beautiful place. The Vancouver sky simply amazes me every single day. I love the way the pink clouds melt into the soft blue sky. I enjoy pausing from work just to admire the surroundings around me. I plan to participate in more outdoor activities to enjoy the views around me to the fullest.

Local 2nd Prize

Hadhinah Binti Ahmad Puaad

MSc Sports Medicine, Exercise and Health, University College London, UK

Winning the IELTS Prize has definitely given me the boost of confidence and encouragement I needed to pursue my masters. Being a full-time mother, I did at certain times have doubts and thought that it might be too late for me to pursue my academic and professional aspirations, but the IELTS Prize has reaffirmed me that it is never too late to chase your ambitions. I’m excited for what the future holds and grateful for the opportunity to embark on this journey. I’m glad I decided to submit my entry despite initial hesitations. Indeed, sometimes all you need to do is take the first step.

The great thing about the IELTS Prize is that it is open to everyone irrespective of age, race, academic background, or country of study. If the institution accepts IELTS as its English language qualification, you’re good to go! Seeing that it is one of the most recognized English proficiency certifications worldwide, there are hardly any restrictions on where and what you want to study. Apart from that, the application process was relatively quite simple. To be honest, I quite enjoyed writing about my chosen place of study during the application. It gave me insight on things beyond the scope of academics alone and has truly opened my eyes to all the great things that London has to offer.

IELTS is one of the most globally recognized English proficiency tests worldwide. With IELTS, I wouldn’t have to worry about having to take another different English test for the different institutions I was applying to. Apart from that, the targeted approach towards the different elements; listening, reading, speaking, and writing allowed me to further evaluate which areas needed improvement. It enabled me to reflect on specific aspects that I was relatively weaker in and focus more on those areas during my preparation. This has not only been beneficial for the exam but has helped me tremendously in my studies as well by highlighting my strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be improved on when completing university assignments.

When I discovered that the British Council was offering computer-delivered IELTS tests, I was elated! Not only was it more flexible and convenient, but I could also get my results quicker too. Upon signing up, the British Council provided a lot of free online learning material and practice exercises which helped me a lot in my IELTS preparation. The mock exam was also very useful in giving me a feel of how the exam would be and familiarizing myself with the online exam format. In my opinion, these were the ‘little extras’ offered by the British Council which truly goes a long way.

Be well prepared, be confident and be optimistic! It is important that you familiarize yourself with the format for all the four different components as this would greatly help you in approaching the different tests. Once you’re familiar with the format, it becomes a lot easier to anticipate what and how to answer the questions. Do a timed trial run so you could get a feel of the pace going through the reading and writing sections. For the speaking test, practice speaking with friends and take turns giving each other topics to talk about to develop fluency and coherence. Again, time yourself so you get an idea of how much and how long you’re expected to speak on a particular topic.

Academic plans: As my course is a full-time, semi-clinical program, the year is fully packed with lectures, tutorials, and coursework. I am currently in the middle of end-of-term exams and getting my research project started. My research topic is centered around women’s health, and I hope this will enable me to benefit the community in the long run. It’s a lot of work but its also a lot of fun! I have access to all the leading journals and publications worldwide and I plan to fully utilize that while I’m here. There is also a multitude of free online webinars available to me as a student and I look forward to hearing leading experts elaborate on subjects within their field of expertise. 

Personal plans: The many parks and squares here have long been coined the 'Lungs of London'. It's amazing to see that despite being one of the busiest cities in the world, London still manages to maintain its greenery. I enjoy running and Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are my top go-to running routes. I’m looking forward to running along the Thames River and across the Tower Bridge while enjoying the picturesque sights. Apart from that, the abundant museums in London are also a joy to discover! On top of admissions being free of charge, there are always new displays and exhibitions to explore. There’s never a dull moment and always something new at every turn.

Local 3rd Prize

Senthil Kumaran Raja Kumar

BA in Creative Writing and Film and Television, Aberystwyth University, UK

Winning the IELTS Prize was a huge honour and I am so proud to be able to represent my country internationally. I know that there are many young people like me out there who have dreams as big as mine, if not bigger, and it is a privilege to be able to show them what is possible if they really put their minds to it. I hope that my achievements will pave the way for others like me to be confident in their abilities and pursue their ambitions without fear because I have so much faith in future generations of Malaysians.

The IELTS Prize was simply the most logical step forward in my education journey. Taking the exam was the last hurdle in the long and arduous process of applying to university, and it felt like the perfect opportunity to showcase my potential in an authentic way. Furthermore, the positive effects of the IELTS Prize were clear to see, with so many students benefiting from the support that they earned through this process. I resonated with the goals and values of past winners, who were all passionate about helping other people through their overseas experiences, and this encouraged me to apply.

I chose to take the IELTS examination with the British Council because of their remarkable reputation in the education sector. My parents, and even my grandparents, are aware of the work that they have been doing for decades. I felt it was important to do the exam with an organisation that is able to support its students effectively, and there are very few that boast the same level of experience and professionalism as the British Council. I had faith in this precedent so I made a choice that I believed would give me the best shot at success and I was right.

Aside from being what I perceive to be the most widely-accepted English proficiency test out there, I was also drawn to this particular exam because of the straightforward nature of its structure. The sections and question types are very well-organised which made it easy to understand the format of the test. This, in turn, allowed me to focus on the actual content and my revision. It was clear that great care was taken to ensure that the test itself was intuitive and consistent. I appreciate this because it guarantees that the playing field is equal for everyone, regardless of your background or history.

My advice to prospective IELTS students would be to practise as much as you can. Though the questions may seem simple, one must remember that effective communication is not a skill that can be mastered without concerted effort. When attempting sample questions or mock tests, it is important to be as precise as possible. Even native speakers can make mistakes if they are not careful, so attention to detail is the key to success. Make sure to read every question and passage, one word at a time, and have faith in yourself when the time comes to sit for the exam. You will be ready.

My course is mostly in-person, so I have been trying to get involved in as many activities as possible. I’ve been attending workshops and seminars when I can to get as much out of the student experience as possible. Aside from that, I am working on my own personal growth - I’ve found new hobbies and rediscovered old ones in an attempt to keep myself grounded during these uncertain times, and I have been voted onto the committee of the English and Creative Writing Society at my university. These days, I try my best to surround myself with things that make me happy; music, friends, and nature.

Local 1st Prize

Rachel Sung

MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies, University of Cambridge, UK

I am extremely honoured and grateful to be awarded the IELTS Prize. It has given me the courage and recognition to pursue my goal of an MPhil in Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge. The application has allowed me to reflect on my past on how it relates to my ambitions; while receiving the prize opens up new opportunities that will shape my future. I hope that I can bring my critical analytical skills and awareness on different gender topics back home upon graduation and contribute to our community.  

What sets The IELTS Prize apart is that it is made to support individuals from different backgrounds and subjects of interest. While many other scholarships had specific academic requirements, IELTS Prize cares more about the backstories of the applicants and awards students’ not just based on academic merits, but also their potential and personal dedication. I believe it is most aligned with my personal belief in diversity and inclusivity.

I believe studying doesn’t only happen in classrooms, more often it is the lived experience that informs us about ourselves and the world. That’s why I joined the Homerton College Rowing Team and competed for my college in various events. Also, I am a member of a jazz big band, in which we rehearsal regularly for performances. Other than the fact that these are my interests - they also helped me reflect on my position in these groups and how I relate to others. They are all valuable insights that I can apply back into my own research.  

Our one year MPhil course offers very intensive training on theories, as well as a multi-disciplinary approach to this topic. Other than studying the key thinkers on gender studies, we have professors from other departments such as law, development studies, literature or art to host seminars with our class and discuss how gender is relevant in their field of work. It is truly a vigorous and fruitful intellectual exchange and I am glad we get to do it in person with pandemic precautions in classrooms. On the side, I will continue my research in writing about gender and music, and how music improvisation can be a non-normative space for personal expression and transgress gender norms.  

Local 2nd Prize

Blaire Ng

MSc Development Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

To me, the IELTS Prize is a formal acknowledgement of my academic credential and achievement, so I am really grateful and privileged to win this really special prize. Since I have been working in a professional services sector for a while, winning the IELTS Prize has significantly boosted my confidence in getting outside of my comfort zone to conduct academic research. Moreover, as I have been volunteering in a Cambodian charity school for many years, I am particularly delighted that I can utilise the platform of IELTS Ambassadorship that comes with the IELTS Prize to share with everyone more about international development work and the meaning of volunteering.

I chose the British Council because I had taken English classes here as a child and so I naturally felt much more confident to take IELTS with the British Council for my master’s degree application. Also, test logistics are often a source of anxiety which could potentially affect our test preparation and live performance, especially in times of COVID-19, but the British Council would always go the extra mile to reassure test takers and maximise our convenience and comfort. It has a reputable of being a reliable, trustworthy and professional test provider, with instructions provided in a clear and timely manner, on everything that I need to know to feel mentally and intellectually prepared for my IELTS test. Computer-delivered tests were almost available every day here, and such flexibility is again highly appreciated. 

I am excited to meet students from all over the world and to learn from each other’s unique life and working experiences. The diversity of my programme cohort is one of the most exciting parts of studying here, as our unique perspectives are what make the seminar discussions so fascinating. I am also keen to explore London more, and to join some reading groups to broaden my intellectual horizon. 

Local 3rd Prize

Ellen Wong

MA Curating Contemporary Design, Kingston University, UK

I feel really honored to be awarded the IELTS Prize, as it acknowledges my personal potential. I used to work behind the scenes, like drawing stuff and making things on my own, winning the IELTS Prize gives me a lot of confidence that I am also able to present myself in a professional manner. Besides, I am excited about the ambassador programme, as it is a great opportunity for me to connect with other winners from different fields; it helps expand my vision and inspires me to think out of the box when developing my creative and curatorial practices. 

As IELTS Prize welcomes students from all different backgrounds; I saw from the website that the professions of the past winners were truly diversified, including engineering, linguistics, illustration and so on. I really appreciate its inclusiveness. Furthermore, it does not only consider applicants’ past academic merit, instead, it pays more attention to their vision for the future. So, it was also a good chance for me to ponder what I wanted to achieve in the future. 

I would like to find an internship or volunteer for a museum or gallery to build my experience and network. I am also considering starting my own project about sustainable fashion and textile innovation around next semester. Besides, with my other interests lie in theatre performance and music, I have drafted my bucket list and I hope to check some of them during my time in the UK.

My courses are mostly face-to-face, with a day taken place at the campus of Kingston University and a day at the Design Museum. As I am studying design curation, I feel very grateful that a lot of things will be resumed to normal this year, that means more curatorial practices could be experimented and carried out instead of just online events. And most of the museums and galleries are open, so I would like to visit as many as possible to better understand different methods adopted by different institutions in order to shape my own practice. I also plan to spend more time to read about different aspects and issues of design to broaden my knowledge and be aware of the major concerns and topics within the industry. 

Local 1st Prize

Jin Hee Lim

DPhil Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK

I am extremely privileged to win the IELTS Prize, because I believe a good scholarship extends beyond monetary reward; it provides students a chance to ponder on their past, future and their attitudes towards life. And based on my experience, the IELTS Prize is just that. The application process itself allowed me to reflect upon my outlook on life, as I was asked to define what I mean by ‘success’. Indeed, it was during my application that I realized success is more than a personal accomplishment; it is about sharing my capability for the society’s greater good. I am certain that I can realize my definition of success with the IELTS test, thereby bringing positive change of peace-building and inclusive development with my academic passion and capability.

The IELTS Prize is awarded based on a student’s potential and personal dedication alone. I have been denied scholarship opportunities based on my Bachelor’s degree earned overseas. It was disconcerting, as I felt that my decision ten years ago was holding me back now. On the other hand, the British Council welcomes all applicants with scholarly curiosity and drive and provides the most equal and inclusive opportunity to pursue their dreams.

My first year as a DPhil (PhD) student will be spent on consolidating the foundation of my independent research on the Burmese borderlands. I will draw on a range of social sciences literature, ranging from Political Geography, Anthropology and Area Studies, to ensure that my research is inclusive towards all disciplines and their perspective of the world. I will also keep track of the latest development, such as the political climate, of the region and prepare to conduct a research that can actually improve the quality of life of the local community.

I would like to broaden my personal horizon by meeting fellow students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, from all over the world. University of Oxford is one of the most diverse academic institutions and I believe that learning outside the lecture halls is equally valuable as the one inside, as I can learn from the lived experiences of unique individuals.

Local 2nd Prize

Songha Kim

BA Engineering, University of Cambridge, UK

I would like to broaden my personal horizon by meeting fellow students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, from all over the world. University of Oxford is one of the most diverse academic institutions and I believe that learning outside the lecture halls is equally valuable as the one inside, as I can learn from the lived experiences of unique individuals.

Firstly, in the UK, there were not many scholarships for international students. Thankfully, I could reach out British Council IELTS Prize and thought this was the best prize for students studying abroad since every student taking IELTS with British Council is eligible for the prize. Additionally, unlike other scholarships, there weren’t any eligibility rules related to majors, ages, genders, and financial backgrounds. 

When it comes down to learning English, I always think of how practical the test is and how it could help me to utilise English that I learn through the test in everyday life. I thought IELTS is the exam that can improve my overall English as well as my academic English.    

My school is planning for face-to-face lectures so firstly I want to be enthusiastic and passionate in my studies as studying engineering in Cambridge was my lifelong dream. Apart from studying my major, I am so excited to enjoy my university life such as club activities and making friends from all different countries. I think having various experiences in university is important as much as studying hard. So, I want to enjoy all possible things that I can experience as a university student.

Local 3rd Prize

Hannah Chang

MSc Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

I am very honored to win the IELTS Prize. I am also very excited to be a part of the IELTS ambassadors’ network. With this ambassador activity, I hope I can learn much from fellow ambassadors and the British Council and contribute to the local community.

I believe that with many cultural exchange programs and social events, the British Council has great influence in not only local but international communities that somehow have ties with the UK. So, getting recognition from the British Council meant something to me. 

IELTS is one of the officially recognized tests by the UK government. So, for the visa purpose, I first chose IELTS. I am very glad that I did so as I got to experience British English through IELTS which is slightly different from the American one. And as I was well aware of British Council and its programs since living in Egypt, I was confident that my test experience with British Council will be superb, and in fact it was even more delightful than I had expected.

The first half of Term 1 is fully online and then afterwards courses would be delivered as a hybrid model. Regardless, I will be moving to the UK in September to network with fellow students and make the most of my stay in London. I am excited to learn the principles of public health from the world’s leading experts. I am curious about filling in the gap between imminent public health demands and research work.

Local 1st Prize

Nguyen Hoang Vy

MA, TESOL, Nottingham Trent University, UK

I was definitely over the moon when I heard that I won the IELTS Prize. It is such a great honor and motivation for me to gain more success in the future. In addition to the award which will help me relieve the financial stress of graduate studies, what prompted me to apply for the IELTS Prize is the chance to be an ambassador of British Council IELTS, joining different projects, meeting people from different backgrounds and sharing my story with them.

IELTS has been the key to unlock so many amazing opportunities in my life, including the IELTS Prize 2020/2021, and I believe it will continue playing an important role in my journey ahead. As an English teacher, IELTS classes will continue to be a space for me to not only apply and practice what I have learned from the TESOL master program, but also to encourage my students who may have different motivations. And then, I can enjoy the best part of being a teacher, seeing their shining faces when achieving their targets, proving that hard work does pay off.

I am going to study the first term in Vietnam, starting this October. Then, I will leave for Nottingham and continue my graduate studies there in January 2022.

Local 2nd Prize

Pham Le Phuong Mai

MA Applied Linguistics, University College London, UK

I am deeply honored and grateful to become an awardee of the IELTS Prize 2021. This scholarship has taken off some of the financial burdens for me as an international student, but more importantly, it has given the recognition for my past efforts and motivated me to strive harder to achieve my future aspirations.

I decided to apply for the IELTS Prize because I found myself share the same value with this scholarship: the commitment to contribute to society. To me, a life worth living is the life in which individuals can use their knowledge and skills to create positive impacts and serve the public good.

In addition, a unique feature of the IELTS Prize is that there is no restriction on the field of study, which gives students from every discipline the equal chance to pursue their dream. This means so much to me since finding a scholarship in social studies in general and my field of applied linguistics, in particular, was more challenging than I had expected.

Furthermore, I would recommend the IELTS Prize to anyone who is about to embark on a new learning journey abroad because the selection process of this scholarship allows applicants to revisit their “why”, thus, understand more about themselves and their career path. I believe that a clear sense of purpose will build our resilience to overcome the challenges that we may face, particularly when living and studying in a foreign country. 

This fall, I am going to fly to the UK to start my master's degree in applied linguistics at University College London. London has always been my dream city to live and study in because of its cosmopolitan yet friendly atmosphere. I wish that I will be able to experience life in this city to the fullest and cross all of the items on my London bucket list during my time there.

My study will be a blend between online lecture-based teaching and in-person small group seminars and workshops. Amidst the current pandemic situation, I believe that this blended learning approach will minimize the risk of Covid-19 while still allowing me to experience the centrally-located campus of my university. I cannot wait to attend lessons delivered by leading professors and join them in researching the relationship between language, cognition, culture, and society.

I also look forward to studying and discussing with other outstanding peers from my program. Their experience in teaching and researching in their home countries will be sources of inspiration and knowledge for me as I can learn innovative methodology of second language teaching from the home of English. 

Local 3rd Prize

Nguyen Thi Khanh Ha

MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

I’m incredibly honored to be selected as a recipient of the IELTS Prize, and extremely humbled to be joining a cohort as inspiring and motivated as the British Council IELTS Ambassadors. The IELTS Prize provides me with a straightforward means to help ease the strain of financing my pursuit of higher education, thus allowing me the time to focus on my studies. I am also grateful to have my potential recognized by the British Council, and for the opportunity to connect with fellow winners of the IELTS Prize.

When I took my first test in 2015, the British Council was basically a household name for anything IELTS-related. It became very clear to me why this was the case - the British Council provides a virtually unparalleled experience for test-takers, especially in terms of accessibility and pre-test
support for candidates. I was easily convinced to return to retake the test some years later and found that no matter the test format (paper-based or computer based), I was guaranteed the same seamless registration process and access to free test preparation resources. It was thanks to this worry-free environment surrounding the test that I was able to give it my all and achieve the desired results.

I’ll be travelling to London to start my Master’s in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at the end of September. My course is going to be taught in-person for the most part, so I’m very excited to be able to meet all my peers and engage in seminars and discussions in real-time. Later into 2022, I will also receive a job placement with a cultural institute in the Greater London Area (fingers crossed it will be an on-site internship!). I cannot wait to be travelling abroad again and to have the chance to experience London and soak up everything that the city has to offer!

Local 1st Prize

Krystel Mae Peñaflor

MS Island Biodiversity and Conservation, University of Exeter, UK

I felt very grateful, honored and privilege for winning the British Council IELTS Local 1st Prize 2020/21. I consider this as my greatest achievement during this uncertain time. When I got my admission at the University Exeter, I realized that I will become the first Filipino to take MS Island and Biodiversity Conservation. I didn’t want to lose this once in a lifetime opportunity just because of my financial challenges. That’s why applying and winning the IELTS Prize gave me hope and motivation that my dreams are valid and my hard work and dedication paid off. I look forward that my education will inspire and empower young people, especially women to pursue their dreams of studying abroad so that when we return home, we can advance science and technology for our country’s development. 

One of the advantages of IELTS Prize is that the scholarship can be awarded to undergraduate and postgraduate students in their university of choice in any country.  Application process and requirements are very specific. And the outcome of the scholarship is also very timely which gives international student to make better decision to manage their finances and allow them to focus more on their studies. The British Council also looks beyond academic grades which sometimes are crucial in other scholarships, but rather they recognize the aspirations and potential of the students. Aside from that the British Council gave winners other opportunities to network and mobilize their advocacy through being conferred as British Council IELTS Ambassador.

I choose IELTS because of its credibility as a widely accepted proficiency test by international institutions where English is the medium of instruction. I think for a student like me, it is very important to assess our communication skills through IELTS so that we can identify which areas of the four IELTS components we need to improve further in order to effectively communicate with others. One good thing about the British Council is it provides review materials that can prepare test takers with the actual test. More importantly, Road to IELTS and IELTS webinars will help you achieve your target band score.  I also realized that IELTS is not just an English test but access to countless opportunities like the IELTS Prize, fellowships and scholarships to prestigious universities that can equip you with the right knowledge to advance your career and become a competitive professional in your chosen field.  

I plan to take my course in the UK this coming October and I’m really excited to embark on this new journey. My course will require me to study the biodiversity landscape of small islands in Europe, and I will surely spend most of my time in field works. On my free time, I want to bond with my classmates and gain new friends and share with them our rich Filipino culture and showcase our country’s beautiful scenic places. One of my interests is local history and unique traditions, so I plan to explore historical places and landmarks in the UK during weekends. And lastly, I will definitely make the most of this education to hone my skills so that when I return back to my home country, I will have the best innovations to offer.

Local 2nd Prize

Sophie Ramos

Global MBA, S P Jain School of Global Management, Dubai

I was ecstatic when I found out I was one of the IELTS Prize winners. I am deeply grateful and honored to be selected among the hundreds of applicants. It inspires me further to pursue my aspirations and
do my best in my studies.

I choose to take the IELTS instead of others as it is one of the top recognized English proficiency tests worldwide. It is also easily accessible and widely available in several locations and test formats. And I chose to take the IELTS with the British Council because it is a reputable and trusted institution. I knew I was in good hands and would be able to take the test in an organized and safe manner. Moreover, the British Council is not merely a test host provider but is dedicated in providing its test takers with the
best and necessary resources in order for them to do well in the exam.

The IELTS Prize recognizes not only one’s English capabilities and skills, but as well as one’s greater purpose, motivations and dreams. Beyond the financial support, the prize also provides me an avenue as an ambassador to represent my country and help others reach their goals.

I am currently in Dubai as I have started my MBA already. We are currently following a hybrid model, conducting both face-to-face and online classes with professors from various countries.

Local 3rd Prize

Zyrene Estallo

Master of Education in Instruction and Curriculum, University of New Brunswick, Canada

I feel humbled and honoured. Writing essays and going through interviews gave me the opportunity to talk about my goals, ambitions, and how I can give back to the global community — the entire selection process made me realise that what I’m pursuing is special and relevant to what the world needs.

The IELTS Prize is not just a scholarship, it’s an ambassadorship. It stands as an opportunity to connect with other passionate academics from other fields, and as an avenue to promote the advocacies of the British Council. It’s as good as joining an organisation that can boost one’s career and network.

I chose British Council to take IELTS test because they have the most convenient and well-kept facility to conduct the exam. The application process was smooth, the facility was comfortable, and the friendly atmosphere makes taking the exam less intimidating!

I’m moving to a city on the Atlantic side of Canada for my graduate school, so I want to start off by having a smooth transition by getting used to the cold climate. I want to spend a lot of time outdoors even if that means getting all wrapped up! The first year is crucial in adapting to the learning environment — I work my best when I feel at home, so I will use this first few months to get to know the city, speak with my professors and peers, explore resources on campus, and make a routine that can give me a fulfilling studying experience.

Local 1st Prize

Grace Shani Anthony

Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK

I am very honoured to have been selected as the local first prize winner. There were many other people who applied and I was extremely delighted when I found out I had won the first prize. I had always dreamt of going abroad for university as I was looking for a different and new experience after growing up in Singapore my whole life. The IELTS prize has helped me realise this dream of mine as it lessened the high financial costs of studying abroad, allowing me to pursue Medicine in the University of Glasgow. I am thus very grateful for the prize.

The IELTS prize was one of the few scholarships available that came without a bond that would require me to head back to Singapore right after university. I wanted to keep my options open after completing university here as I would like to complete my two foundation years as a junior doctor here in the UK. This would allow me to be registered under the GMC. The application process for this scholarship was also straightforward, with very clear instructions given. This made the application process a lot simpler compared to other scholarships.

As taking the IELTS was a requirement for entry into the University of Glasgow, I chose to take the test with the British Council. Not only was the delivery of the test smooth and seamless, the services provided on the British Council website, especially during this pandemic, proved to be extremely useful in giving test-takers a clear picture of the test format and what was to be expected during the test. The entire process of signing up for the test, taking the test and obtaining my test results was hassle-free, proving that my choice to take the IELTS with the British Council was the right one.

I have been studying in Glasgow for the past month and a half. My lessons are currently both online and offline, with Vocational Studies and Problem Based Learning sessions held in real life as they are small group sessions and lectures being held online. I attend lessons on campus thrice a week and these sessions have given me the opportunity to meet and interact with others from my course. The hybrid model has also allowed me to ease into university and get used to the high demands of the course as we have greater control and flexibility of our schedules.

I have been having an amazing time at university so far. The people here are really lovely and I have had many new experiences here. One of my favourite adventures so far has been when my flatmates and I stumbled upon a lost dog and managed to return it to its owner when we went to Loch Lomond over the weekend.

Coming from a sheltered environment in Singapore, I was blessed to always have food served on the table for every meal. Moving here, I learnt that I really enjoy cooking my own meals and I hope to hone my cooking skills over the years. Overall, I hope to continue developing my personal skills and creating wonderful memories here.

Local 2nd Prize

Zi Ling Stephanie Teh

Public Policy, University of Oxford, UK

I was delighted to hear that I won the IELTS 2nd Local Prize after this process! I feel that the prize represents affirmation and support by IELTS and the British Council of my motivations and dreams. This has also assisted financially with the cost of graduate school, which has allowed me to be more focused on realising all available opportunities school has to offer!

The IELTS Prize is an invaluable opportunity to obtain funding for your studies! Unlike other scholarships, the IELTS Prize affords a lot of flexibility to its recipients. There are no restrictions on the type of course being undertaken, be it undergraduate or graduate courses. It is bond free and allows recipients free reign to pursue any job opportunities after graduation. The IELTS is also prestigious as it is issued with the support of the British Council. Further, recipients selected for the IELTS Prize will join the community of IELTS ambassadors and contribute to promotional activities, which provide opportunities for professional and personal development and growth.

The IELTS has a structured mode of testing, comprising of speaking, listening, reading and writing components. There is a rich wealth of preparation resources online, which made me confident going into the examination. There is flexibility in choice of test seatings which occur frequently. The administration by the British Council is also top-par which made applying for and taking the IELTS such a smooth and hassle-free process. The seamlessness of the administration and operations by the British Council is all the more laudable given the underlying covid-19 constraints that they have had to work with!

Currently, class is in-person at the Blavatnik School of Government building. The building is such a beautiful space for learning. It has been great learning from many different esteemed professors, attending events with different speakers as well as exchanging ideas with classmates from different cultures and background. We have 141 students from 48 different countries in the cohort!

I hope to learn about the many different cultures my classmates are from, broaden my perspective on various public policy issues and forge great friendships. I also intend to learn more about entrepreneurship by participating in various entrepreneurship activities, including Oxford’s OUI Entrepreneurs Fellowship. Concurrently with my studies, I am also working on qualifying as a lawyer in England and Wales.

Local 3rd Prize

Timothy Boey

Medicine, University of Liverpool, UK

I feel very honoured to have won the IELTS Prize and to be given the opportunity to represent the Singapore community to my university peers. The opportunity to be an IELTS Ambassador drew me towards the IELTS Prize as I loved giving advice to my juniors and documenting the fun activities and my life abroad.  I took the IELTS test as it was the recommended by my university and my decision to take it with the British Council was a given, owing to the myriad of helpful resources they provided to prepare for the test. Acing the test is very achievable as long as you commit to going through the provided resources and understand the reasons behind any mistakes.

Now that Halloween is fast approaching, I hope to dress up and go on a night out with my friends. Thankfully, my course is being delivered in a hybrid model and as such, I am able to make time for my social life by ploughing through my recommended work the day before.

Local 1st Prize

Ratima Komkai

MA Applied Linguistics, University College London, UK

At first, I was very surprised because IELTS Prize was the last scholarship on my list for this year. Had I not awarded the prize, I would have deferred my study to next year. Because I have known the British Council since I was very young and used to be a young learner at the British Council Thailand, I am truly honoured and grateful for being chosen as an IELTS Prize winner. Thank you so much the British Council for making my dreams come true a year earlier than I thought it would be and giving me the opportunity to become a content creator, which is what I have always wanted to do.

My family and I regard the British Council as one of the leading language schools in Thailand. Learning there myself both as a young learner and an adult, I found that their teaching methods are of quality. So, I place my trust in this organisation. Furthermore, IELTS has played an important part of my life. I have helped a number of people studying for IELTS. I also took the test myself twice. The first time it was 10 years ago in New Zealand when IELTS was one of the world's top English proficiency tests, and it is amazing how it still is and has become even more widely recognised both locally and internationally. Also, after my year in the UK, I can also continue to study or work abroad. For these reasons, I decided to apply for IELTS Prize.

This year is when my university began to have blended learning during the pandemic. I go to classes once a week and have team meetings once or twice a week. I spend some my free time walking around London and reading extensively. I talked to my personal tutor last week, and she said that I was enrolling in a full-time course, and, therefore, I was expected to dedicate me time for 40 hours a week just like when I had worked full-time. I really need to focus on my graduate study as I plan to pursue PhD in order to become an academic in Applied Linguistics in the future.   

I remember when I visited London in 2018, I got lost because I hopped on the wrong tube. Therefore, my goal is to explore different parts of London by tube and bus. Another goal would be to hone my listening skills so that I am able to listen to different accents across the UK because when I was travelling from London to Belfast during my trip to this country back then, I heard so many accents along the way. I also plan to film my life moments in the UK and post them on social media just to share what it is like to study and live in this country as well as inspiring people to work hard to get to their goals of studying, working or living abroad.

Local 2nd Prize

Massupa Sukksem

M.S. in Linguistics, Georgetown University, US

I am really grateful and excited that I won the IELTS Prize. To be honest, winning the prize was way far beyond my expectation. When I started to think about studying abroad, it was a big decision for me, especially in terms of expenses. Receiving such support from the British Council really meant a lot to me as it helped subsidize the cost which would allow me to be more concentrated on my study.  I would say that every effort I put into the IELTS Prize application was so much worth it. Not only the funds for assisting the study but also the chance to get to know a lot of amazing people.

As the one who aimed to apply for a linguistic program, the IELTS Prize is one of few opportunities I have had since there were limited scholarships available in this field. For the IELTS Prize, the opportunities were widely opened for people with all interests. Thus, I had no doubt and was determined to achieve the IELTS Prize. Moreover, the application process was simple and convenient. It does not require so many documents and the process can be completed online which actually did not consume a lot of time. Consequently, it was apparent to me that the IELTS was a great opportunity to take.

British Council has a long-established history which showed strong trustworthiness to me. There were a lot of test dates to choose which were really flexible and convenient. Moreover, with the long experience of the British Council, I was confident that the examination will be managed effectively and professionally. On the test date, the registration did not take a long time and all equipment was well-prepared. In addition, hygiene was maintained carefully which was good and important during the pandemic.

My university is doing a full on-campus study. Hence, I had to fly to the United States at the beginning of August. So, it has been almost three months now. There was a lot of adjusting my learning style at first because, in Thailand, classroom discussion was not widely implemented in class while, in the United States, there are discussions in all classes. I plan to learn more about Linguistics research through various language institutions located in the area to fulfill more experience in conducting research. Also, I would like to explore various fields in Linguistics from my fellow classmates that have varieties of specialization.

I would like to get to know various people as the diversity here is very high. So, there is always something new to learn from those who have different backgrounds. Furthermore, personally, I am a music lover and love going to concerts. In Washington DC, there are a lot of interesting gigs available frequently. There are so many concerts I would like to go to and I cannot manage to attend all of them. Thus, while I am here, I would like to enjoy these experiences that are rarely available in Thailand as much as I could. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.     

Local 3rd Prize

Kotchakorn Khwamcharoen

MSc Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

I am delighted and honoured to know that I was selected as one of the IELTS Prize winners. Studying master’s degree abroad causes a significant financial burden. IELTS Prize helps me have more flexibility through a monetary reward to enjoy extra experiences outside the classroom, such as doing outdoor activities with friends.

IELTS is the world recognized English proficiency test. As I plan to study master’s degree in the UK, IELTS is the most suitable test for my condition.  And IELTS Prize is attractive for several reasons compared to other scholarships. First, it is easy and convenient to apply. It takes only an hour to finish an application process. So, I told myself, why not give it a try. Secondly, the IELTS Prize is looking for candidates who want to contribute to society after graduation, which aligns with my plan. Lastly, I know it would be worthwhile to join the British Council Ambassador cohort with other remarkable people.

I will spend one year of my master life in London, UK. The teaching and learning method of LSE will be hybrid. I will go to campus for classes and seminars, while lectures will be synchronous with online teaching. I prioritize this one year for creating last long friendships and creating a business model. With support from the program curriculum, LSE infrastructure, and London’s opportunity, I hope to start a social enterprise after graduation. At the same time, I would like to connect and make meaningful friendships with people around the world who come to study at LSE.  

Local 3rd Prize


Industrial and Data Engineering, Pukyong National University, Korea

I feel so blessed and honored for winning the IELTS Prize this year. Honestly speaking, it was something I never expected since my initial focus was to apply for a master’s degree in South Korea. I also understood that the IELTS Prize is one of prestigious award which attracts a huge number of participants. Regardless the tough competition, I dared myself to apply for the IELTS Prize after getting my IELTS Test Result Form (TRF). I enjoyed the administrative as well as the interview stages. In short, I was really grateful when the British Council Indonesia announced myself as one of the IELTS Prize winner.

I chose to take IELTS with the British Council because of three important factors, namely (1) a faster result via IELTS computer-based examination, (2) the speaking test was conducted at the same building with the rest of the test, and (3) knowledgeable call center. First, I needed to retake and get a faster IELTS result in order to meet the campus administration dateline. Therefore, I contacted British Council to register for an IELTS computer-based examination. Second, I decided to take the test at the British Council Indonesia since I do not need to move to another building for the speaking test. This would not only save some time but also reduce the transportation expense. Third, the call center of the British Council was informative and responsive hence I obtained all of the required information.

IELTS Prize is one of well-known awards from the British Council. Since I already took the IELTS, then it was a good opportunity for me to apply for the IELTS Prize as well. Based on my own research, becoming a winner of IELTS Prize would open a door as an IELTS Ambassador. It meant I could promote the importance of English proficiency hence it became a way for me to contribute to the society, especially through social media platform. To summarize, IELTS Prize is the most suitable financial support for me to pursue a master’s degree in South Korea.

My initial plan is to go to the overseas campus. However due to the covid-19 pandemic travel restriction from South Korea government, I began the first semester virtually. Once the travel restriction is lifted, then I will go to South Korea immediately.

Regional Grand Prize

Hyunah Kim

MSc Development Studies, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, UK

I am truly grateful to win IELTS prize and am looking forward to being part of the IELTS ambassador community. IELTS Prize is a reminder of both my personal growth and that there are people who believe in my aspirations. I look back on a few years ago when I found out about IELTS Prize after taking the test for the first time, hoping to study in the UK. Despite my test scores meeting the minimum requirement, I did not have the confidence to apply for any postgraduate programme. Consequently, I was not eligible to apply for IELTS Prize. The Regional Grand Prize bears particular significance to me because it means that I took courage and challenged myself to do what I did not have the confidence to do before. As I embark on my journey as an IELTS ambassador, I hope my story can resonate with many others throughout East Asia.

Besides the fact that IELTS Prize does not limit eligibility to specific areas of study and but rather puts emphasis on applicant’s goals as a professional, there are two additional reasons I applied for IELTS Prize. Firstly, I wanted to be a part of IELTS ambassadors alumni. The community consisting of IELTS Prize winners is a unique one in that it is a gathering of young East Asian individuals from all fields of profession. Moreover, IELTS Prize stands out among other scholarships is because it is an international contest, making the prize all the more worthwhile. Although competitiveness is not the best word to describe me as a person, I thought that applying for and winning IELTS Prize would be a great chance to see myself push past my limits and prepare myself to be more comfortable in an international setting.

Deciding to choose to take IELTS with the British Council was not a difficult one because I had previous knowledge about the British Council while doing research on studying in the UK and I knew that the British Council was a creditable organisation with vast experience in administrating IELTS. The steps to register for the test online was easy to follow, and the individual headphone option available for the listening section was a big advantage, allowing me to concentrate better. This year was particularly tough for both test takers and administrators due to the pandemic. However, thanks to the British Council’s quick, flexible and cautious response to changing situations I was able to take IELTS.

It decided to take IELTS because it is the most widely recognised English proficiency test when applying for postgraduate programmes in the UK. As I had always aspired to pursue a master’s degree in the UK, IELTS was without a doubt the best option for me. The breakdown into two modules – the general and academic modules – allows applicants to efficiently build up English skills that would be practical according to their reasons of living abroad. In my case, studying for the academic module has equipped me with comprehension skills as well as critical thinking skills that would help me effectively carry out my postgraduate coursework. Not only is IELTS test accurate in measuring English proficiency and helpful for students preparing to live or study abroad, the minimal reporting process made my application for postgraduate programmes much less complicated.

I have enrolled in 2020/21 year and am looking to leave for UK in September, provided my VISA procedures are not delayed. My plan is to arrive in London before the start of the term, register in person and meet professors and fellow students as announced by the school. However, I am also fully aware of the possibility that the situation may change drastically and I may have to remain in my home country and take on-line courses. Bearing in mind all the change the pandemic has brought, I am hoping to include in my study plan, along with core courses on international development, a newly introduced course addressing the relationship between the pandemic and development. I am keeping my fingers crossed; hopefully I will be able to take classes on campus, spend time in libraries buried in books, participate in seminars led by renowned experts in international development and share this exciting journey of mine with the British Council.  

Regional Third Prize

Ruey-Bin Tsai

BA Material Science and Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, US

Winning the IELTS Prize is unexpected yet very exciting to me. I am very grateful to have such a large organization, British Council, to support and help me fulfill my dreams. For me, this is an achievement, but also an approval of my aspirations. I am also very excited for the upcoming IELTS Ambassador Program, where I imagine I will meet amazing people each with unique stories and backgrounds. I hope, with the support of IELTS and the new friends I will make, I can become the material scientist I have envisioned, who can help change and impact the world.

I applied for the IELTS Prize for two reasons. One is about its eligibility, and the other one is about the generous amount of money the British Council offers. It is fairly easy to apply for the IELTS Prize, since all test takers who scores above six and is studying abroad can be considered a candidate. Although I did obtain an overall score of eight in the IELTS Exam, I still found the scholarship friendly and encouraging, a main factor for me to choose IELTS Prize over other scholarships. Another reason for me to choose the IELTS Prize is that it offers a generous amount of money to support students studying abroad. Most scholarships doesn’t offer much money to the second place and third place winner. However, knowing that I’ll be able to get a considerable amount of 4000 British pounds if I win the IELTS Prize makes me really want to try my best to compete in the selection process.

I chose to take IELTS with the British Council because I want to evaluate my English ability and also challenge myself at the same time. I know that I’m able to effectively convey my thoughts using English, however; I’m not sure which aspect of my English ability is weaker and needs improvement. Through taking IELTS, I am able to see that I am weaker when it comes to writing essays and communicating with strangers using English. The IELTS test results not only can help expose my weak spots but can also help me set up a goal to improve my English abilities. Additionally, through taking IELTS, I want to challenge myself and see if I can successfully complete tasks under time pressure.  

I choose to the the IELTS test because IELTS is fast when it comes to processing and delivering the results and because taking the IELTS test is more challenging since it has a variety of question types. When I was applying to colleges in the United States, I was too late to find out that I would need a English proficiency test to apply to all those colleges. Since I would be able to get my IELTS score in just a week, IELTS became my ideal choice. Another thing I prefer about IELTS over other English proficiency tests is that the IELTS isn’t so rigid compared to other tests. IELTS has a variety of question types, for example: fill in the blanks, yes or no questions... etc. This makes the whole test more challenging and more fun to take for people like me who treats English more as a language than a subject.  

I’ve decided to self-study some college level courses and fulfill my military requirements in this year since I’ve deferred my study to 2021/22 academic year. Studying abroad is not an easy thing. As an international student, I expect myself to face different challenges consistently. That’s why I choose to utilize this year to take college level courses and give myself a headstart on my studies, giving me more time to adapt to the new environment. Fulfilling my military requirements is a big thing for me, too. All men above 18 is required to join the army for at least 4 months in my country. However, this policy may pose restrictions when I finish my studies and is trying to apply for a job, since I would need to take four months off. I hope to get into work as soon as possible after graduation and that’s why joining the army in this time is a great decision for me. 

Local Second Prize

Eun Hyung Kim

MFA Glass Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology, US

I did not really expect that I win the 2019/20 IELTS Prize. When I first got mail from British Council about passing the document stage and have to prepare the presentation, I was very glad. At that time, Covid-19 was spreading around the world, I was depressed because it was difficult to have confidence about the future. However, this news blew away my depressed feelings and allowed me to focus on new opportunities. As I prepared for studying abroad, I studied English hard to ready for my graduate course. 2019/20 IELTS Prize not only gave me a financial support but also confirmed that the path I was pursuing was the right one. Once again, a big thank you to the British Council for giving me this opportunity.

The first thing I looked for while preparing to study abroad was a scholarship. Of course, it would be nice if I could get a scholarship from the school I am entering, but it was not my case. Graduate school entrance results were announced earlier this year, and I, an international student, could not receive the entrance scholarship. After that, I immediately looked for outside scholarships, and most of the scholarships were concentrated on engineering or technical majors. The major I want to study abroad is Glass, MFA, and I was not able to apply for a scholarship. While the scholarships available were limited, IELTS Prize, which required only IELTS scores, was my only hope. That is why I took the test for studying English and preparing for IELTS Prize together.

I prepared for the IELTS test at the academy, and there was the official test site of the British Council right next to the academy. I did not know there were other test centres besides the British Council, and I also registered for the IELTS test through it because I could prepare for the test in a familiar atmosphere. Also, at that time, there was a test registration package event for the students of the academy, so they could take the test at a reasonable price. The environment of the test site was recently created, so not only the facility was new, but also had frequent test schedules. That is why I registered immediately without looking elsewhere.

As I’ve prepared for an American university, there were other options apart from IELTS. I, however, decided to choose IELTS which focuses on context and logical thinking rather than just a vocabulary. It will help me prepare for graduate courses and use English in the future rather than blindly memorizing the actual exam. The best thing about preparing for the test was that I could take a test on the computer and there were many tests scheduled compared to other tests. In particular, while other tests were often cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis, IELTS quickly resumed and was able to safely administer the exam.

I am now working at a cafe near my house as part-time job to keep me from being lazy while delaying my admission to next fall. On weekends, I usually go to the glass professor's studio to help his work. Actually, I learned a lot from that, and it fulfils the lack of experience which I needed before getting into the Glass MFA. Also, there is an idea that I want to shape up recently. Therefore, I am testing it at his studio and watching the results. If this work goes well, I will try to develop it further at my MFA courses. This year my goal is to make this idea a reality. 

Local Third Prize

Se-Eun Kim

BA Theatre Design, Wimbledon College of Art, UAL, UK

I feel highly honored to win the IELTS Prize this year. Especially in these tough times, I was uneasy about the uncertain future. However, winning the IELTS Prize demonstrates that I still have the possibility to achieve my dream. The movie PARASITE impressed the world and verified the strength of Korean cultural arts. Likewise, the market for musicals has rapidly expanded in Korea in recent years. Therefore, I am going to study the excellent theatre industry in the UK and I will bring a global perspective to my work in theatre design, helping to contribute to the development of Korean performing arts. A set designer brings fantasies to the audience. I want to deliver the value of life and the importance of honesty to the audience through the stage. And the IELTS Prize makes me possible and gives me the confidence to begin a new journey in the UK. 

IELTS Prize is fair to everyone regardless of dream or qualification. I was impressed that it emphasizes the aspirations to achieve one’s dream and contribution to one’s community. IELTS Prize supports the students to keep dreaming and consolidate their future. Therefore, I considered that winning the IELTS Prize is more valuable and meaningful to pursue my goals. The IELTS Prize will ensure me to recall my passion when I was a beginner. Once more, thanks to IELTS Prize that believes me and supports my future. I will try my best to become not only as a stage designer but also a great communicator and co-operator for my community.

The preparation for IELTS with the British Council is efficient and well organized. On the British Council web site, there are IELTS practice tests and explanations that are practically helpful for real tests. In my case, I mostly prepared IELTS through a book established by the British Council. I took the practice tests several times with set the timer and I tried to adjust each section’s problem style. Especially, I looked up the answer keys for the speaking and writing tests and organized the key ideas. I was satisfied with the test preparation the British Council provided. Likewise IELTS Prize, the British Council also gives several benefits to the students who took IELTS. I think there is no doubt to take IETLS and have a great opportunity for one’s future.

I started to study IELTS to satisfy the college’s English language requirement for the first time; however, I realized that studying IELTS is similar to designing a stage. The most important skill that a stage designer has to have is not just design skills but research and communicating skills. The stage designer has to have a passion to study new and diverse material. Moreover, based on the research, one has to reinterpret the meaning of a story based on one’s own story. The stage designer also named a cooperator or a communicator, solves problems in a creative way. IELTS speaking and writing test required critical thinking and broad knowledge. Therefore, I had a great chance of understanding how I talk naturally, and how I can convey my thoughts concisely. 

In October 2020, I am going to go to the UK to begin my 2020/21 academic year. Because of the pandemic, the course starting date was postponed a month and UAL (University of the Arts London) vice-chancellor messaged us that it will be a mix of on-campus and online activities this year. UAL emphasizes a safe and inspiring learning experience for its students. Therefore, after thinking over, I have my mindset on beginning my new journey in the UK to pursue my dream. Although I feel both excited and nervous now, I am looking forward to studying theatre design professionally based on strong practical experience at Wimbledon College of Arts.  

Local 1st Prize

Kuberan Hansrajh Kumaresan

BA in Law (Jurisprudence), Oxford University, UK

I am absolutely elated about receiving the IELTS Prize. It is an immense privilege to receive this award, and it means the world to me to know that a prestigious organization like British Council believes in the dreams I have for myself and is willing to support me in my future endeavours.

I applied for the IELTS prize because I found it to be one of the fairest scholarships available to students, welcoming applicants from all backgrounds, courses and institutions alike. Moreover, after reading many online articles about past IELTS Prize winners, it became rather obvious to me that the British Council were a truly incredible organization to be affiliated with and that they would be support my learning in ways that transcend just financial help.

I chose to take the IELTS with British Council as it was quite clearly the most accessible organization, particularly in Malaysia, to take the IELTS with. Moreover, I thought it morally obligatory to support an organization like British Council that are part of so many great initiatives like “Connecting Classrooms” which increase the access to education for so many underprivileged students across the world.

The IELTS is without a doubt the gold standard when it comes to tests that measure English proficiency. As a result of this, the IELTS test immediately presented itself to me as my best opportunity at accessing economic and social structures from a wide variety of places around the globe.

I think, as with any other test, it requires hard work and dedication to do well in. Any aspiring IELTS test takers should ensure that they put in as much effort as they possibly can in the IELTS test and to not take doing well in it for granted. Moreover, I think all who intend to do an IELTS test should try a few practice tests to be able to find out specifically where their weaknesses lie.

It is a hybrid model at the moment whereby lectures are held online but tutorials, which are classes that take place in groups of 2 to 3, will be held physically. However, students can apply for a residency exemption due to extenuating circumstances which essentially allows the student to take classes fully online for the first semester. I currently intend to apply for a residency exemption after my results come out and thus plan on going to the Oxford campus in the UK in January.

Local 2nd Prize

Julia Chin

BASc Economic Studies and Global Sustainable Development, University of Warwick, UK

Winning the IELTS Prize has certainly filled my heart with overflowing joy and excitement. I am beyond grateful to the British Council for giving me this incredible opportunity to pursue my undergraduate studies at a top UK university of my choice. The IELTS Prize has certainly reduced the financial burden that comes with studying abroad, and continues to propel me towards fulfilling my future aspirations of making a positive impact within Malaysia through the expertise I gain from a degree in Economics and Sustainable Development.

Unlike many other scholarships, the IELTS Prize is extremely unique as it welcomes applicants, regardless of their socio-economic background, university destination (as long as it accepts IELTS as an admissions requirement) and choice of degree course. Taking the IELTS and scoring a minimum band score of 6 is the only main requirement to apply for the scholarship. Whilst other scholarship awarding bodies were limiting in the nature of the courses one had to study and the university one applied to, the IELTS prize accommodated my choice of pursuing a ‘new age’ course within the field of Humanities at the University of Warwick. This made applying for the IELTS Prize the perfect option for an individual like myself.

Given the outstanding reputation of the British Council, not just in Malaysia but globally, I felt comfortable taking IELTS with this internationally recognised organisation. Moreover, the fact that the British Council had also been highly recommended by the English teachers at my sixth form college as a trusted IELTS testing centre, I knew it was the obvious choice. My personal experience with the application process for the IELTS tests were simple and straightforward, allowing me to prepare for the test worry-free. Furthermore, the actual test day and subsequent results day were extremely well organised, making my overall experience a positive one.

Taking IELTS was the evident choice for me as my sixth form college only provided us with support for this specific English proficiency test. This is largely due to the fact that the majority, if not all, universities in the UK showed that English language proficiency was an admissions requirement for most international students, and IELTS was the most common benchmark for assessing this skill. In addition, I felt that the four main components of IELTS (reading, listening, writing and speaking) would be able to give me an accurate gauge of my English proficiency, and show me exactly which component I should further improve on.

Whether you are a native or non-native speaker, I believe that practice is key to acing the IELTS test. With an abundance of free IELTS resources available online, and even on the British Council website, there are so many ways for test takers to prepare and get used to the IELTS testing format. Apart from practice papers, I also recommend reading and analysing texts from an array of sources to improve your analytical skills, which I believe is very helpful for the writing section of the test. For non-native speakers, I would like to encourage you to start speaking to different people about different topics of interest in English. This will make a huge difference in boosting your confidence and improving the articulation of your spoken English.

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly increased the level of uncertainty with regards to studying abroad. However, I continue to have a positive outlook on the situation and hope to proceed with my plan of moving to the Warwick campus by the end of September to start my course in Economics and Global Sustainable Development. Hybrid models of teaching have been introduced by Warwick for my chosen course. Hence, I anticipate having a mixture of online lectures and in-person seminars for when class sizes are below 25. Overall, I am deeply excited to start this new chapter of my life. With the expertise and insights gained from an overseas higher-education experience, I will be better equipped to make a positive mark within my local Malaysian community once I return.

Local 3rd Prize

Zulaiqa Binti Mohamad Riduan

MSc in Sustainable Resources Management, Technical University of Munich, Germany

When I received the email, I was pleasantly surprised. From scoring a band of 8.5, the IELTS has not only boosted my confidence in my English proficiency, now adding winning the IELTS Prize into the experience, I felt some weight is lifted off my shoulder as the prize will greatly help me in furthering my studies abroad.

Unlike other scholarships, the IELTS Prize is not restrictive in its eligibility criteria. The prerequisites to the IELTS Prize are to simply sit for the IELTS, achieve a satisfactory test result and you’re eligible to apply for the prize. Whilst the typical scholarship may require the student to study at a specific destination or institution, the IELTS Prize allows students the freedom of choice in their study destination, so long as their education institute accepts the IELTS as proof of English language proficiency in its application process.

I was first introduced to the British Council through their Dreams and Teams program at my primary school when I was 10 years old. From then, I was more aware of the British Council’s long history and presence as a cultural and language entity in Malaysia and in over a hundred countries. Notably, the IELTS by the British Council has 40 years of experience as a widely accepted English proficiency test, hence making it one of the most credible and recognizable test for English proficiency in the world.

After I graduated from my bachelors, I looked into furthering my studies at universities known for innovation and sustainability. Most of these prestigious universities offer English-taught courses which cater to international students, and in most of their requirements, I frequently see the IELTS listed as the preferred choice as proof of English language proficiency.

Furthermore, I also looked into other English proficiency tests before deciding on taking the IELTS, but what reeled me in was the quick and simple registration process, the easy to navigate online registration platform, and the flexible test dates which gave me a choice of weekdays or weekends and allowed me sufficient time to practice. At the time of my registration, the IELTS also came with complimentary practice materials, such as the Road to IELTS online course and the practice booklet which really helped cover the IELTS for a complete beginner like me.

I would advise test takers to shed some more focus on their weak points in the IELTS, which they will mostly realize after taking enough practice tests. For instance, I realized I am quite weak in the IELTS Listening and Reading tests after practicing several papers. Hence, I spared more time practicing on these parts of the IELTS so I can better familiarize with the question structures.

Nonetheless, remember not to neglect practicing the other parts in the IELTS, even the papers we are confident in. Since the IELTS evaluates students based on the 4 core aspects in communication, namely Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, to ace the IELTS requires mastery in all 4 aspects.

I am currently enrolled for the MSc course at TU Munich for the 2020/2021 academic year, and seeing that the current pandemic situation in Germany is somewhat more stable now, I plan to travel to the TU Munich campus by the end of October 2020.

However, if worse comes to worst, the university has permitted international students to attend hybrid classes, in which I can study fully online or attend physical classes when I can. I understand that online classes may be hard to adapt to for many students and even lecturers, but due to my past experience in studying at an open-distance university that applied the hybrid model that came equipped with a virtual learning environment (VLE), I believe I will have no problem adjusting myself to any means of studying.

Local First Prize

Benjamin Oh

BA Law, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, UK

I'm really excited!  The call bringing the good news came out of the blue, and was such a surprise because I hadn't imagined that I would be winning anything!  It's an incredible honour to be selected, and I look forward to working with the British Council and IELTS as I go on to my university studies.   

I applied for the IELTS Prize because I thought it would be a great opportunity to support my studies overseas.  It's a very generous prize, which of course was a huge draw, but it also offers an incredible alumni network and an exciting ambassadorship programme.  As well as that, it's one of the few undergraduate scholarships that come without a bond, which allows me flexibility in my future career options.  Finally, the British Council and IELTS are two world-renowned and internationally respected organisations and it would be a great honour to work with them.  

I chose to take IELTS with the British Council in Hong Kong because it offered very convenient and accessible testing locations.  Registering online was easy, and I could choose from a wide variety of testing times.  Registering with the British Council also allowed me to access a great deal of free resources provided by the British Council that were very helpful when it came to test preparation!  On test day, I found the British Council venues to be very modern and clean, and the staff there were very helpful and friendly which made the test-taking process a lot less stressful. 

I'd taken IELTS before, so this time around I chose it partly because it was the test I was most familiar with.  But it's also a proficiency test recognised all around the world, so I knew that I'd not only be able to use it for university admissions, but also other applications and opportunities down the road.  One big draw for me was the computer-based test IELTS provides - I much prefer typing when it comes to the written section of the test!   

I'm hoping to enroll in the 2020/21 academic year, and begin my studies in London if possible.  From what I've read, the course will be something of a hybrid, with lectures online and small-group discussions in-person.  The school has actually offered students the option of doing fully online lessons until January 2021, and while it'd be nice to spend more time with my family (and of course, pig-out on home-cooked food), I also can't wait to meet my classmates and make new friends!  With things moving so quickly right now nothing's for certain, but for now that's my plan.   

Local Second Prize

Winky Lee

MSc Clinical Mental Health Sciences, University College London, UK

I am so honoured to be chosen as an IELTS Prize winner, and am excited for my journey ahead as an IELTS ambassador. I am grateful for the opportunities given by the British Council, and the IELTS Prize is going to offer me great help during my studies abroad at the University College London. I hope that with my vision, virtue and intellectual curiosity, I can succeed as a passionate student of mental health sciences, as well as in carrying out my responsibilities as an IELTS ambassador to motivate aspiring peers.  

I chose to apply for the IELTS Prize because it empowers individuals across disciplines to achieve their ambition. It helps students realise their full potential, and inspires high-calibre individuals to give back to society. It also builds a caring community, where people from all walks of life get to encourage one another in their respective paths towards achieving different goals. I took IELTS with the British Council because I’ve always admired their dedication in providing quality English education to those who are interested in the wonders of language. I have faith in the British Council to offer an easy registration process, as well as creating a stress-free test environment for all IELTS takers.  

I selected IELTS out of all the other English proficiency tests because it challenged me to continuously improve, from the little girl who took Cambridge Starters course with the British Council, to a young adult who is now embarking on a journey to purse a higher education in London. IELTS allows my friends and I to reflect on our English skills, and gives us clear directions on how to become a more competent English user, so that we can both express ourselves and understand other people better. IELTS as a widely-accepted proof of English proficiency also played an important role in my application for a master’s at UCL, for it gave me the confidence I need to live and work in an international setting.  

To future IELTS takers, I understand how nerve-racking it can be at times. I encourage you all to spend time doing past papers, so as to familiarize yourself with the test format, as well as giving yourself that chance to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you can better evaluate your skills and work on improving them. Talk with your friends and practice together! And most importantly, keep calm and have trust in yourself.  

2020 has been the year of uncertainty. Due to COVID-19, I have decided to defer my master’s to the next academic year. This change of plan did scare me initially, but I am looking forward to welcoming new journeys and overcoming challenges. I hope to put my year to good use with internship opportunities, and I will work hard on becoming a better version of myself.  

Local Third Prize

Manna Li

MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, University of Oxford, UK

The feeling of enthusiasm and excitement from winning the IELTS Prize was like that of boarding a plane which is about to take off to your dream destination. It is incredibly humbling to know that the British Council has recognized my potential, and is willing to support me in pursuing my passion. Because of their support, I am now one step closer to realising my dream of becoming an educator! 

Discovering the IELTS Prize while scrolling through my social media feed was a big surprise to me, as it was quite an unconventional way to learn about a scholarship. Throughout the application and selection process, I felt that the British Council really took the time to get to know me personally and what my aspirations were. It was by far the most rewarding interview experience for me because I was able to reflect on my own growth in the process. Even though it was a bit nerve-racking at first, I really enjoyed interacting with the interviewers, as well as sharing my passion and dreams with them. 

IELTS has played an essential role in various stages of my life — from my bachelor’s degree, to my exchange program, and now my postgraduate studies. Booking an IELTS test with the British Council was very convenient as I could do everything online. The staff were professional yet friendly; the smiles on their faces definitely eased my stress. Out of the three IELTS tests that I took, I particularly liked my computer-based test experience. Over the years, I have grown more accustomed to typing on a keyboard than using pen and paper, so being able to use a keyboard for the writing component was a great relief to me. 

IELTS is an English proficiency test that is widely accepted by educational institutions around the world, so it was my go-to when I needed to apply for universities or exchange programs. Besides being a door-opener to higher education for me, the IELTS score on my resume provided employers with assurance that I possessed the requisite language skills to communicate effectively in a diverse workplace, allowing me to take on various English teaching opportunities. 

In spite of the ongoing pandemic and the challenges that lie ahead, I have decided to take a leap of faith and embark on a new chapter in life. I am planning to begin my master's studies at Oxford in October, and would be adopting a hybrid model of learning. Tentatively, I would study remotely in Hong Kong for the first term, but would complete my second term and third term in the UK. As an aspiring educator, I am very much looking forward to experiencing first-hand how e-learning would change the education imperative for the 21st century.

Local First Prize

Hui-Chen Weng

MA Interior Design Programme, Royal College of Art, UK

I feel so excited about the information since it is a great honor to be approved by such an authoritative organization. The second feeling I have in mind is touching because winning the prize also means that my goal is appreciated and understood by others,especially my research topic is rather abstract. During the preparation of the IELTS prize, I told myself tried to make my goal also easy for others to understand. I believe the more comprehensive the presentation is, the more clear I know the direction of my plan of the future. I would like to thank all the interviewers and the one that has helped me through this long process of application, and I think every effort is worth it at this moment. Studying abroad, especially study in London, is a heavy economic burden for me. I know by applying for the scholarship can help me achieve my goal and make a contribution to society. Furthermore, IELTS prize provides me with the opportunity to do something amazing in the future with all the remarkable experience, especially by getting involved in the IELTS ambassador project. I am looking forward to starting a new journey of my life this year and thank the British Council for giving me this precious chance.

IELTS is a well-known and authoritative organization that is trusted by all the leading institutions of the world. At the same time, the qualification for applying the IELTS prize is more available compared to other kinds of scholarship. This is especially beneficial for applicants since we may struggle with the application of the school in the meanwhile. The application process of the IELTS prize is simple, clear, and intuitive as long as we have taken the IELTS test. Besides, it is the scholarship that aims to help people who desire to contribute to their country. British Council gathers people who have ambition and dream by understanding their thinking beforehand during the application procedure is the part I especially respect. Furthermore, IELTS offers Asian people including Taiwanese a great platform to show ourselves and the chances of interacting with other excellent winners in the world, which other kinds of scholarship cannot provide with.

After searching for the schools I am interested in, I decided to start my master programme in Europe. IELTS is one of the most convincing and popular test systems which is accepted by the leading institutions in the world, and most of the schools in Europe prefer IELTS as the proficient test. Besides, the content of the test is highly related to England’s culture, which I think would be beneficial for me to fit into the society of the UK earlier before studying abroad. Furthermore, IELTS provides students with the condition of human-testing, which is the most attractive part for me in the comparison of other tests. This makes the speaking test closer to the real conversation to others, and I think this kind of interactive practice is what we really need when fitting into the new environment. What is more important is that the content of IELTS can not only help us improve our English skills, but also greatly train our ability of critical thinking. I think this is the most precious part that makes IELTS different from other English proficiency tests.

I would like to start my graduate study in England in 2020/21. Owing to the severe pandemic, the course of the first semester of my school is anticipated to be on-line teaching. The institution is now redesigning the courses to ensure the students to achieve the required outcome, so I am still waiting for further information to be able to make a new plan for my study. Since the courses would be online and the workshop would also be closed, I will start from the part of case analysis and theory. Once the situation becomes better, I would involve material experiments, which is the main part of my research. Besides, the Royal College of Art is a school famous for its connection with the practitioners and the diverse workshops, so I am looking forward to having face-to-face teaching as soon as possible.

Local Second Prize

Kai-Ting Chang

MSc TESOL, University College London, UK

Receiving the IELTS Prize was a huge surprise to me. I am very honoured and fortune to have been chosen as one of the recipients of the IELTS Prize. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the British Council and people who have assisted me generously. The great support of the British Council will enable me to start the journey of studying TESOL more steadily in the UK and have the opportunity to contribute to the communities of TESOL and education. Meanwhile, I am very delighted and humbled to share my studying experience with people who would like to achieve their educational or professional goals in the UK. Being a person in Taiwan, I deeply understand the difficulty in finding scholarships. Among the scholarships, the IELTS Prize has inspired so many people who have the dreams to study abroad for many years. It not only has expressed their confidence in the recipients’ potential, but also has offered generous support financially. Once again, I am thankful that the British Council offers precious opportunities to people in Taiwan to impact this world every year and makes our blueprints of the future more concrete and vivid.

After I finished the IELTS test, I started to search for scholarships that I could apply for. One day, in my mailbox, I received the IELTS Prize information from the British Council. After reading it in detail and comparing it with other scholarships, I decided to apply for IELTS Prize. IELTS Prize provides flexibility for applicants to illustrate their future, which is suitable for me to realise my goals in a changing environment. With the knowledge gained in the UK, I envisage that I will explore a suitable way to contribute to the education field. Also, the IELTS Prize welcomes applicants from diverse fields, which encourages people with multiple intelligences and potential to achieve their goals. This Prize looks for impacts and aspirations in applicants, not just for how these people have achieved so far in specific fields. I think the change of this world will be actually contributed by people from different fields. Therefore, I believe applying for the IELTS Prize is a way to consider what I can do with the strength of my field, and it would be a great chance to see how people would make their countries and this world better with multiple perspectives.

Before registering for IELTS, I searched different reflections shared by exam takers. I found the locations and equipment provided by the British Council would be suitable for me. The experiences of taking the test with the British Council were great. The locations were so convenient that I could arrive there by MRT easily and quickly. The high quality of the equipment and the clear instructions were helpful for me to focus on the listening part and to follow different steps during the exam. Furthermore, I still remember that the British Council Exam Team was so friendly and professional, easing my anxiety during that important day. 

The IELTS test is recognised by all the universities in the UK and numerous institutions in the world. As a test taker hoping to be familiar with the expressions and thinking of native speakers, the preparation for IELTS is certainly beneficial. Meanwhile, this exam can develop my academic English ability and assist non-native speakers like me to communicate in the real world. I have benefited greatly from the section of the speaking test since the conversation is with an examiner in a real context. One advantage of this exam is the form of paper-based IELTS, which allowed me to concentrate on preparing for the exam and save time to adapt to a computer system. 

When it comes to the plan for this year 2020/21, it would be delighted to connect with the IELTS Prize recipients in Taiwan or Asia and work together to encourage more people to join the community of studying abroad. On the other hand, I would like to read theories of the TESOL field, which would be a base for future study.  Additionally, to enhance the practical skills, I would keep learning teaching skills and curriculum design from the education industry and related curriculums.  Another thing is keeping learning English by watching BBC News and listening to Apps from the UK. This type of learning would be effective and meaningful since it is closely related to the context of life. In addition to language, I can learn knowledge and culture about the UK in a dynamic way.

Local Third Prize

Yi-Hsuan Pan

MA Drama and Theatre Education, University of Warwick, UK

It’s terrific winning the IELTS Prize! It’s a pleasure and honor that my statement and presentation successfully persuaded the interviewers that I do have the capacity, strategies, and ambition to make the most of this precious experience of studying abroad and will utilize what I would learn to benefit the society. It did consume lots of time and effort during the process of writing the statement and preparing for the interview, but in the end it’s all worth it. In fact, it’s also a process that helped me reflect again on how my experiences have shaped my ambition and my purpose of studying abroad. All in all, I’m very grateful that British Council helped make my way to fulfill my goal much easier. 

As a student who wishes to learn drama and theatre education, I chose to apply for the IELTS Prize because it’s not restricted to any particular discipline. In recent years, to my knowledge, there are many scholarships which are aimed at students who study science or IT related subjects, but fewer scholarships support students interested in humanities. There weren’t many scholarships that I could apply for. I’m very glad that the British Council, where I took English courses, offered the information about the IELTS Prize and got me the opportunity to fund my study. 

I chose to take IELTS with the British Council mainly because it’s a requirement for applying for IELTS Prize. However, there were indeed a number of benefits of taking the test with the British Council. First, the British Council offered a useful online preparation course, Road to IELTS, and I got 30 hours of free training. Second, the British Council provided a range of options for when and where I could take the test, and I believe the venues for testing would be most trustworthy ones. Third, the online booking process was convenient. Lastly, I would be able to see my test results online within just 13 days of my test date.

I chose to take IELTS because it is the most recognized English proficiency test in the UK and Europe. Its aim is to assess all of the English skills necessary for academic purposes and for living abroad.  It will not only make me qualified for applying for the program I’m going to study, but also help me to gain opportunities to participate in other academic activities and to obtain working experience around the globe. Furthermore, it is a well-designed test developed by experts in English assessment, and I can be sure that IELTS will give a fair evaluation of my English skills. 

Considering the pandemic, the inconveniences it may cause, and the cancellation of many enjoyable academic and cultural activities, I finally made the difficult decision to defer my study. Although it’s upsetting that I have to wait for another year to join the program I’ve been looking forward to, I take this year as an opportunity to get better prepared for my study and my life in the UK. First, I’m planning to read more about drama and theatre education. I found several books written by professors whom I’m going to meet in the university and an alumnus also shared a list of suggested reading to me.  Second, I’ll look up more information for trips and entertainments in the UK to enrich my holidays there. For example, I’m making a plan to visit Ireland and I need all the tips to ensure that I’ll get a ticket for Wimbledon tennis match! 

Local First Prize

Justine Alyssa Guino

MSc Data Analytics, University of Sheffield, UK

When I first learned of the IELTS Prize, I almost dismissed it thinking I wouldn’t get chosen anyway — the competition for such scholarships is too tough, and the odds of winning one were probably slim to none. It was a good thing I eventually found the courage to apply as I never would have imagined I will get this far. Even after months of taking the IELTS, it is still in many ways pushing me to believe in myself and put my best foot forward
in endeavors even beyond the exam itself. I am extremely grateful to the British Council for recognizing my dreams and passions and giving me the opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree at a prestigious institution. With this scholarship, I will embark on a journey to the UK to learn from world-class professors and study alongside like-minded individuals in the field
of Data Science.

Aside from the financial support, winning the IELTS Prize is of great significance to me because it is also a form of validation that my aspirations are worth fighting for. Throughout the application process from the personal statement to the interviews, I felt that there was a huge focus on motivations as an individual and the potential for translating passions to impact regardless of the chosen discipline or university. This flexibility along with the big stress on contribution and impact are what pushed me to apply for the IELTS Prize. I was excited to share my journey and aspirations as I felt that the British Council was supportive not just of study abroad plans but, ultimately, of dreams. Someday, I wish to help the world in its fight against poverty through Data Science. Having an institution like the
British Council believe in this dream motivates me further to keep on sailing inch by inch until I reach my goal.

Local Second Prize

Jessica Badua

MA International Relations and Migrations, University of Cadiz, Spain

Having been selected as a recipient of the IELTS Prize is truly an answered prayer especially in these uncertain and unprecedented times. I am most grateful to the British Council for awarding me this generous grant that will definitely be of great help topursue my studies abroad as a self-supporting student. As I also embark on a new journey as an IELTS Ambassador, it will be a great honour to work hand-in-hand with the British Council to promote IELTS and to inspire more individuals in achieving their goals.

This school year, I will be taking up the Bilingual Master’s degree in International Relations and Migrations at the Universidad de Cádiz in Spain. Last July, Spain entered the‘nueva normalidad’ (new normal) phase and slowly began to ease restrictions. Under the ‘new normal’ phase, the university will use a hybrid instructional model that combines face-to-face classroom instruction with online activities. However, because we are facing an unprecedented crisis, in the event of another lockdown, it will again switch to remote learning.

To support my studies, I originally planned to find a job while doing the master’s and didn’t try to look for any scholarships. Luckily, months after taking the IELTS, I received an email from the British Council inviting me to apply for the IELTS Prize. What sets it apart from any other scholarships is that the British Council looks beyond the brightest or top-of-the-class students. It aims to support individuals who have a burning ambition to contribute and give back to the society. Indeed, the whole application process made me reflect on what I’m truly passionate about -to serve vulnerable communities in the Philippines and to eventually be a part of nation-building in a post-COVID world.

I have always associated the IELTS with the British Council. Thus, when it comes to choosing an IELTS test partner, the British Council has always been my top and only choice. In fact, it is recommended by most professionals and peers I know owing to the hassle-free experience that it offers from the registration process, to the actual test and to the delivery of the test report form. I can still remember the time when I was filling-out the online application form and accidentally typed my whole name in the first name box. Hence, upon submission, my surname doubled. To my relief, they were very responsive and quick to resolve the issue on their system. Aside from its efficient customer service, the British Council allows you to take the test at your convenience across various testing locations, including a computer-delivered IELTS.

Good luck and enjoy your IELTS journey!

Local Third Prize

Ithran Kho

MSc in Tropical Paediatrics, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK

Winning third place in the local awards is such a blessing. I felt exhilarated hearing about the news because the high tuition fees of international students is getting me very worried recently. The grant would be a tremendous help for me as I plan to personally shoulder all the costs of my year abroad. I was honestly surprised as well because the test was definitely challenging! I took a long shot, applying for the IELTS Prize, not knowing I could actually do it! 

I applied for the IELTS prize because it is a good opportunity for me to be able to showcase my credentials and at the same time have a chance in getting financial grant for my Masters program. 

My program cancelled all classes for this school year so all accepted candidates have no choice but to start attending the institution on the fall of 2021. This gives me more time to work and practice being a physician and help out however I can as a frontliner in this time of pandemic. My program is Masters in Tropical Paediatrics and one of my jobs right now as a pediatric hospitalist in a government hospital can help me prepare as I look forward to pursuing a Masters degree in the UK. 

Local Second Prize

Hui Jun Ho

DEdPsy Educational Psychology, University College London, UK

I am full of gratitude to the British Council! Thank you for believing in me and supporting my cause – to be an Educational Psychologist and be an advocate for children with special needs.  

I chose the IELTS prize because of 2 reasons. First, the IELTS prize, is by the British Council, and the British Council is a believer in human potential – where all dreams and all career paths are supported by the IELTS prize.  Second, the vision of the British Council resonates with me – whereby people of all cultures live and work together, to build on the foundations of education, mutual understanding, respect and trust.  

With the tensions arising from the COVID-19 crisis, which some call the end of globalisation, this need for understanding, respect and trust between people all over the world is greater than ever.  The IELTS prize will allow me to interact and collaborate with a global community, examine my innate biases, and open my heart and mind to a range of new ideas, perspectives, competencies and skills and develop respect and trust between people. 

The IELTS prize will also support my studies at the top education institute in the world, where I hope to be able to learn the best practices of the UK Education system, and in turn, to share some of Singapore’s best practices as well. I seek to learn from the best, and attain the highest standards as an Educational Psychologist. 

I intend to start in 2020, where my course will be mostly online in the first term (till Dec 2020). I intend to travel to London some time nearer the end of the first term, and hopefully term 2 and 3 will be more of a hybrid model. 

Local First Prize

Sawas Stevens

MSc Human Resource Management, University of Lincoln, UK

Winning the IELTS Prize is a reward of my perseverance and my determination. Since the time I decided to take the IELTS test to the moment I applied  for the IELTS Prize, I had always kept my eyes on the goal and right now it pays off. Receiving the prize is a privilege and I am grateful for the opportunity the British Council has given me and how my hard work pushed me further in my achievements. Pursuing a higher degree of education will be even more meaningful because the IELTS Prize will play an essential part in my journey, and will contribute to my future success as a person and as a scholar. 

The reason why I chose the IELTS Prize is because I would like to make use of my own ability to achieve something which will change my life. Later this year, I took my first ever IELTS test, and the scores were surprisingly impressive. With such achievement, I decided to apply for the IELTS Prize because I saw this as an opportunity to challenge myself further. Also, with the openness to diversity in terms of the interests and fields of study one wants to pursue, I was determined to win the award and to prove successful of my area of interests . Moreover, I believe that with the accreditation I will receive from the British Council, it will open up much more opportunities for me in the future.

With the British Council being a proud co-owner of the IELTS test, I believe that there is not better way to benefit the privilege of getting my skills tested rather than with the originator of the test. The experience with the British Council service on the examination day was impressive because of how attentive the staff were to the examinees. The process was exceptionally smooth and the team, also the examiners, were very professional in their responsibilities. Also, I was utterly impressed by that the British Council took the COVID-19 preventative measures during the test dates and provided the examinees with the sanitary masks and hand sanitizers to ensure everybody’s safety as well.   

Due to the global situation of COVID-19 pandemic, I ,with the heavy heart, have to defer my study to the 2021/2022 intake in order to wait for the global recovery. However, it is an opportunity for me to prepare myself for another year before taking another step towards higher education. I will continue working and will gain more experience which will be of value when studying a master’s degree. Also, I will take this opportunity to inspire people who would like to take the IELTS to follow their callings and excel in the test because I understand the hardship of getting ready for the test. Thus, this year is going to be full of fun and challenges which I am ready to face and conquer. 

Local Second Prize

Tatiyapot Srikarnchanakas

MSc IT Cyber Security, University of Glasgow, UK

With a mere intention of trying my best, getting to know that I am chosen as an IELTS Prize winner was a bit surprising and unreal to me at first. I feel overwhelmed with joy and so grateful for the British Council that recognise my potential and goals. Winning this scholarship helps me financially and also reaffirms my purpose of living as a person who wants to ameliorate the rising cybersecurity issues in Thailand. 

IELTS Prize, unlike other scholarships, gives me a chance to become an IELTS ambassador. As IELTS is one of the most well-known English proficiency tests worldwide, I realised that being the IELTS ambassador would give me opportunities to give back to society by advising those who wish to study in world-leading institutions. I believe that English should be a bridge that connects people of all different nationalities, not a barrier that inhibits those whose will is to explore the world. I, therefore, will invest my efforts to make others understand IELTS better and improving everyone’s chance to study anywhere in the world.

I knew so little about IELTS in the beginning, so I looked up on the internet and found the British Council. Thanks to the British Council's efficient website, it provides a great overview as well as important details on literally everything I needed to know about IELTS. I studied what IELTS is, how different between taking the traditional paper-based and the modern computer-based IELTS exam, and I even practised doing IELTS exams on the website. By far, such unparalleled experiences on the website have somewhat convinced me to choose nowhere else but the British Council as the IELTS test provider. 

Although I started to learn more about IELTS just to meet English proficiency standard of my prospective education, the straightforward and simple way of IELTS online registration was so convenient that I had not had a second thought about registering for other English proficiency tests. The best part about choosing IELTS were the facts that there were plenty of test locations available and I could finish all four sections of the test within one day. Furthermore, result delivery was quick and easy, which was crucial for me as I had to submit my result as soon as possible. 

I am planning to study on-campus as I am certain that it would be advantageous for my learning. Though the spread of the Covid-19 virus pandemic is only decreasing at a relatively slow pace, I am reassured by the efforts of the UK’s government and I am willing to register for health insurances which would reduce my concerns.

Local Third Prize

Wanwarin Yensuk

MSc in Gender and International Relations, University of Bristol, UK

I am thrilled and over the moon when I received the news. This award has taken me a step closer to achieve my dream of studying in the UK. I already took the IELTS test when I came across this scholarship, so I applied. Also, I’ve been presented with a great opportunity and a privilege to become the IELTS Ambassadors. 

I choose to take the IELTS exam with the British Council because it’s very easy to register and the British Council provides practice tests and preparation for test-takers. IELTS is a test that evaluates all of the four English skills. It is also accepted by every university that I’m interested in. The test is standard on the international level. Also, there are many test dates that I can choose from.   

My plan is I will do a hybrid model. I will complete the first semester online, and I hope to move to Bristol in mid-January 2021 to complete the rest of my academic year there.

Viet Nam

Dang Tran Tung

MSc Teaching (Secondary Education) Economics, Curtin University, Australia

Viet Nam

Pham Hoang Yen

MSc in Economics and Business Administration, Aalto University, Finland

Viet Nam

Huynh Anh Tuan

BA Commerce, University of New South Wales, Australia


Danielle Theophilia Pratama

BA Computer Science, Nottingham Trent University, UK

IELTS Prize plays a very essential part in my educational journey and not only does IELTS Prize provide financial support for my education, the award also has a significant role in boosting my motivation and confidence to go forward.

Regional First Prize Winner

Dillon Chew Wei Xuan

M.Phil in Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

With the original intention to simply do my best, it was a great surprise when I was informed to attend the regional interview, and then ultimately chosen as a regional winner from the East Asia region. I am deeply honoured and grateful to the British Council for recognising my potential and providing such an opportunity for me to develop myself further. Through the graduate program at the University of Cambridge, I hope to deepen my perspectives and contribute to biotechnological research in the areas of fuels, chemicals and drug production to develop technologies which would help in creating a sustainable future. Being able to study abroad is a privilege, and thus I truly appreciate the financial support from the IELTS Prize provided by the British Council which enable me to fulfil my aspirations.

Upon completion of the IELTS test, I received an email from the British Council regarding applications for the IELTS Prize. Compared to other scholarships available in my home country, the IELTS prize is an award that would allow me to keep my options open, explore my interests freely and stay flexible for whatever I want to pursue in my future career. The selection process consisted of a personal statement essay, followed by two rounds of interviews for the local round and regional round respectively. Although the interview questions might have been a little tough, the interviewers were professional and friendly and often encouraged me to share more about my experiences and aspirations with them. In all, I have no regrets in applying for the IELTS prize.

With top universities requiring applicants to demonstrate a high level of competence in the English language, I ultimately chose to apply for the IELTS because it is a globally recognised English Proficiency test which is not only convenient to the test taker but also an accurate assessment of your language ability. The registration process is designed to bring convenience; I signed up online for the computer-delivered IELTS which offered me flexibility in test dates and venues. For the younger generation, typing on a keyboard might be a lot faster than writing on paper, and thus I believe that the computer-delivered test was an advantage which I could put to good use. Nonetheless, the speaking component was still carried out face to face with an examiner, and I believe that this form of assessment is a much fairer one. To sum up, I received the results within a week through SMS, and the hardcopy was mailed to my home address. By and large, the overall experience is a really pleasant one, and I was delighted with every aspect of the test.

Taking IELTS has allowed me to realise the importance of having a strong command of the English language, especially in our globalised world today. With the English language being the lingua franca of the academic and business world, it is increasingly crucial that we master this language such that we can be well understood in nearly every corner of the world. On a personal note, I found that preparing for the IELTS also changed the way I speak for the better, as I now constantly remind myself to speak clearly and confidently on all occasions, be it formal or casual. 

For students who are planning to take IELTS, I hope that the following advice will be of help. First, I believe that being familiar with the test format is extremely important as it will help with time management and more importantly, limit the number of surprises you may encounter, thus helping to reduce any test-taking anxiety. For instance, get to know the type of questions, which reading passages to expect and also the topic areas that you may encounter during the writing section. Secondly, make full use of the resources available in print and on the Internet. During my preparation, I found a large number of practice materials on the web that have been made available for free by the British Council. These include free practice tests, eBooks, tutorial videos and even mobile apps for you to practice on the go. Using these resources will not only help you understand your weak areas but also give you a better idea of what to expect for each component of the test. Feedback is also provided which would allow you to tackle each component with confidence. Lastly, practice makes perfect – practising is especially important for the speaking component as you may not have the luxury of time to think as compared to the other sections. I would suggest practising with a friend, parent or even a teacher as you will be having a conversation with an actual person during the test. For the test day, stay calm, believe in yourself and do your best. With adequate preparation, I believe that you will definitely reap what you sow!

For those of you who are reading this, I hope that you feel inspired to take up the IELTS as your choice for an English Proficiency Test and also apply for the IELTS Prize if you can do so. IELTS is not just any ordinary exam; it thoroughly prepares you and opens the door to help you study, live or work almost anywhere around the world.

Regional Second Prize Winner

Praveena Mahadevan

MSc Public Health, University of London, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Finding out that I had won the IELTS prize was a little overwhelming and felt somewhat unreal at first. Mainly because pursuing a Masters in Public Health is something I have wanted to do ever since I was in medical school, and now with the IELTS Prize, I can make it a reality. It’s also humbling to know that the British Council felt my interests and goals were worthy of their support, and this has given me a boost of confidence in myself and my capabilities.

After completing the IELTS test I received an email about the IELTS Prize. I felt that it was different from other scholarships that were available because the focus of the prize seemed a lot more personal. Interviews are always nerve-wracking, and despite attending my fair share over the years, I went in for my IELTS Prize interview nervous and a bit unsure of what to expect. I was put at ease immediately as the vibe from the get-go was friendly and welcoming. Throughout the entire process, I felt like I was having a conversation with people who genuinely wanted to get to know me. I thought that I did not have to worry too much about whether I provided the “right” answers - I just needed to be myself. This has definitely been one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve had so far for an interview. 

I chose to take IELTS with the British Council because it was convenient and straightforward. Not only did they have more dates available for a computer-based test, but I could do everything online from registration to preparing for the test with ease. On the days of my test, I found the staff to be friendly, organised and efficient, ensuring that the test went on smoothly.

It was the second time I had sat for the IELTS test, the first being when I applied for my undergraduate medical degree. Aside from being familiar with the test format, I chose IELTS because it is widely accepted around the world by many universities. It is recognised for professional exams and also for memberships and registration with professional regulatory bodies. I also believe that the IELTS test, with its individual components, assesses my language abilities across a range of skills. This was especially important for me as I was a bit insecure about my writing skills. I have been away from academic writing for some years, and it is a skill I will need not only for the academic tasks associated with my Masters but is a requirement for a career in any field.

So, even though I do consider myself to be a native speaker of English, I definitely still needed to prepare for the test. I predominantly utilised the Road to IELTS online course which provides access to videos, sample tests and answers. I found the sample answers with their respective grades, useful in understanding how the exam was scored and how to approach the test. It also made me aware of some bad habits I have picked up over the years and served as an excellent refresher of the basics and highlighted how to construct my essays better. I also found it particularly helpful to utilise the sample exams as a timed mock prior to the actual test. I did this specifically for the writing components, as I have not had to write a non-medical essay in over a decade, so part of the difficulty for me was coming up with ideas and planning my essays in a short period of time. For those preparing for the IELTS test, I recommend using the online preparation course and the materials provided. I also believe that practice is crucial. Do attempt as many tests within the time limit as possible, so you get a real feel for the test and know how to manage your time. 

Regional Third Prize Winner

Phyo Thura Htay

MSc Chemical Engineering, National University of Singapore

I am genuinely delighted and grateful for being awarded the IELTS Prize. I have long dreamed of studying abroad at a prestigious university, and winning the Prize has enabled me to pursue a Master’s degree at the National University of Singapore. There are many applicants across East Asia who have great passion and enthusiasm towards their academic endeavours, and so I feel humbled to be selected by the British Council to be counted amongst those bright young minds and truly proud to represent Myanmar.

I will be studying Chemical Engineering, which is an urgently needed discipline in an emerging economy. Often hailed as universal engineers, chemical engineering lies at the core of the industrial processes, and for me in particular, I will be focusing on food processing, manufacturing and safety parameters. ‘Food diplomacy’ has propelled our regional peers to be export economies on the global food shelves. Upon my return, I am determined to drive Myanmar on a similar path and beyond.

Each step of the IELTS Prize selection process was a thrilling yet rewarding experience. It allowed me to reflect on my motivations and lifelong aspirations regarding academia, professionalism and nation-building. The interviewers, both at the local and regional stages, were incredibly kind, understanding and supportive. I managed to reach out to previous years’ winners and took sufficient time in preparation, which allowed me to articulate my responses thoroughly. Compared to other scholarships, the British Council IELTS Prize aims to empower and elevate the winners rather than pose certain restrictions on the awardees. It also grants me the opportunity to serve as an IELTS Ambassador, which is a big boost in confidence for my English proficiency.

It was my first attempt taking the IELTS. I heard that some people struggled with the test, and to be honest, I was not entirely sure if I would do well. However, the process went really smoothly, from registration and pre-test arrangements to post-test follow up. I was clearly informed about the registration procedures, appointments for the speaking test, and also the instructions for the listening, reading and writing components were concise. I had a chance to practise with Word Power and IELTS Prep, both of which are mobile apps developed by the British Council to help the test takers efficiently practise IELTS anytime, anywhere.

I am pleased that IELTS is recognized by a wide range of academic institutions as proof of English proficiency. Universities have a specific set of requirements on an individual’s skills, and the IELTS scores are a simple quantification of such requirements. The test results are also a validation of one’s capacity in English within the workplace and other socio-cultural encounters. While preparing for the test, IELTS practice tests are a great source for improving English proficiency; and at the same time, a great platform to be introduced to various occasions that students might face in an English-speaking society, ranging from telephone reservations to academic lectures. 

For future test takers, I would highly encourage them to be calm and focused. This is especially useful for the speaking test where the examiner may seem strict and direct. That doesn’t mean that you should be similarly formal; while still keeping the academic tone, you can try to have a casual, light, natural conversation with them. Smile often and let your personality shine. For the listening and speaking tests, I would advise not to overthink and keep the answers straightforward. Lastly, for the writing test, you must be familiar with the common formats for Task 1, and you must be able to pick up the nuances in the statement to give an accurate response.

Hong Kong

Tracy Lok Yiu Tang

Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours), University of Queensland

I feel incredibly grateful to be chosen as an IELTS Prize winner and IELTS ambassador. Not only will the prize be a great help for my studies as a veterinary science student, contributing to both my tuition fees, travelling costs and living expenses for external placements. It is also a great honour to take on the role as an IELTS ambassador, knowing that I will have the opportunity to share my IELTS journey and study experience, hopefully inspiring and helping others who are unsure of their abilities or uncertain about their options and opportunities.

The selection process of the IELTS Prize has inspired me to reflect a lot on my journey. Especially how continuously improving my English proficiency has opened doors and led to some wonderful opportunities and memories. Compared to other scholarships that I have applied for, the IELTS prize emphasis is more about my views and experiences, especially on how I can make use of this opportunity as a prize winner and ambassador rather than focusing solely on academic merit. I have thoroughly enjoyed my interviews and cannot wait to meet and work with the interviewers again.

My experience of taking the IELTS test with the British Council was smooth and straight forward; from registering, preparing for the tests, arrangements made during the tests, and to accessing my test results. Everything was arranged quickly and efficiently. The well-organised in-test arrangement certainly played a big role in ensuring that every candidate would be able to do their best and for me personally this was an important factor contributing to my great overall experience, especially as I am usually quite nervous during tests. Getting the results were quick and easy, which is essential for candidates who need to submit their results to universities as soon as possible.

I have taken the IELTS test twice. I chose IELTS over other English proficiency tests the first time after completing Grade 10 because I didn’t know where I would be applying for university. IELTS is recognised by universities all over the world, including the most popular ones in the US, UK and Australia. Taking the IELTS meant that I would be able to keep my options open regardless of the language courses, universities and majors I chose afterwards. When I was taking my second IELTS test, I chose IELTS again as I had learnt from my previous experience that the test would be able to help me immensely in both daily and professional contexts. As a veterinary student, IELTS has strengthened my English ability and given me the confidence to interact with my colleagues. I have been able to fully enjoy my experience on campus in Australia, to communicate with clients and mentors during placements, and to read scientific research articles efficiently for assignments.

In terms of improving my English proficiency, I have learnt from my own experience that you always improve the most when you fully immerse yourself into an English-speaking environment for a long period of time. Especially when you can communicate and interact with other people in English outside the classroom environment. In terms of preparing for the test, apart from doing practice tests, there are other ways I found useful. Especially when the test was approaching, listening to podcasts, watching news reports or documentaries, reading short stories or articles from authors with distinctly different styles, and in the end writing my reviews or analysis of what I had listened to, watched or read, helped my preparation in acing the test. I also find reading what I have written out loud helpful when it comes to improving my speaking and writing ability.

Hong Kong

Johnny Chun Lai Pun

Guildhall Artist Masters in Performance, Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Winning the IELTS Prize was an incredible surprise for me, and without a doubt, it is one of my greatest achievements. Due to the intensely competitive nature of music as a subject, it has been challenging to acquire funding to sponsor my musical endeavours. Apart from the obvious aid it gives to the financial side of things, the Prize will also serve as an encouraging acknowledgement of my hard work and passion for both English and Music. With the proper knowledge and qualifications, I want to help promote music learning and appreciation in Hong Kong through community outreach programs.

I first found out about the IELTS Prize through the promotional leaflet that came with my test results. I discovered one of the biggest and best differences between the IELTS Prize and other prestigious scholarships is that the British Council considers people from all walks of life for the Prize, as opposed to some other scholarships that choose only to focus on applicants from a particular discipline. The requirements for the prize application are reasonably easy to meet, a decision which I believe the British Council has cleverly made in order to benefit as many people as possible.

IELTS is one of the most widely recognised English language proficiency tests and is accepted by many reputable universities and companies in English-speaking countries, which is why a lot of people want to do well in the test. Although there are numerous organisations that provide support and services for IELTS, choosing to take the test with the British Council was ultimately a natural choice for me to make. It was a hassle-free experience to register and check the test results online, not to mention the complimentary “Road To IELTS” online exercise which was perfect for someone like me who wanted to prepare for the test but did not want to break the bank to buy various guides and mock papers. On the day of the test, I remember being amazed by how professional and efficient the staff members were. Their friendly attitude also helped calm my nerves, and before long, I found myself leaving the test venue satisfied!

As a newly appointed IELTS Ambassador, I do have a few tips that I would like to share to help others do better in their IELTS test. A lot of people in Hong Kong are probably worried about the speaking section of the test, thinking they could never get a good score because they don’t have perfect English or can’t speak with a good English accent. To these people, I would say that their concerns have been misplaced. While these factors are accounted for, they carry less weight than you would believe. The most important thing is to be calm during the test and speak as naturally as possible. In the end, it is more of a friendly chat than an interrogation - the examiners don’t need you to be a search engine for them, they just want to assess how you would fare in a daily casual conversation, so just head into the room with a smile on your face and enjoy the test!

Hong Kong

Cindy Qiaolin Sun

BA Illustration and Visual Media, University of the Arts London

I am thankful to the British Council for selecting me as an IELTS Prize winner. Not only does this prize support me financially, but it has also given me a huge confidence boost in my English abilities and encouraged me to reach my goal of becoming a successful graphic designer and illustrator based in London. The IELTS Prize is also a reminder of the passion, dedication and perseverance I had at the beginning of my journey. As an IELTS ambassador in collaboration with the British Council, I hope my experience and advice can inspire future candidates to follow their passion and achieve their goals in an English environment.

I first heard about the IELTS Prize through the leaflet that came in the envelope with my test results. Since the cost of living and tuition are relatively expensive in London, I was excited to take this opportunity as a way of relieving the financial burden on my parents. To me, the most impressive part of the selection process was being interviewed, in-person, by the IELTS panel. At first, I was nervous and unsure what to present about my university and course choice, but I quickly realised it was an excellent way for the panellists to understand my passion as well as me as an individual. In the end, I specifically drew a series of illustrations to depict each step of my journey as an illustrator for the live interview as it conclusively demonstrated both my dedication to the arts and my determination to earn the prize.

I chose to take the IELTS test because IELTS is internationally recognised and accepted by many universities. Every part of it, from pre-test to post-test, was smooth and straightforward. The preparatory materials on the IELTS website, such as mock questions and mock tests were especially helpful in getting me ready for the actual test. The design of the test venue and facilities were highly professional and considerate as these gave me sufficient personal space to fully concentrate on the test questions. Overall, I had a great experience with the British Council and was delighted by their service.

I studied first in China and then in Hong Kong for secondary school, so IELTS gave me the perfect opportunity to confirm my English ability to study abroad for an undergraduate degree. Most of the test questions also mimic real-life situations such as navigating through maps and answering phone calls, so the test prepares you for life in an English environment.

The Illustration and Visual Media course I applied to specifically asked for an IELTS result and the high score I achieved made my application stand out amongst the other applicants. Therefore, I would highly recommend anyone thinking of studying abroad to take the IELTS test to improve their English while meeting their university requirement.

Even though the idea of a timed English test may seem overwhelming at first, with sufficient practice and training beforehand, you will be absolutely fine. The mock tests, practice resources, and free online training provided by the British Council helped me immensely in preparing for the test. I also started reading news and journal articles about a range of subjects a month or two before the test to train my reading comprehension skills. Practising is a must, but most importantly, it is vital to make sure you feel relaxed and confident on your test day. Good luck!


Andrea Feraldho

MSc Clinical and Public Health Nutrition, University College London

To have other people believe in your dreams is not to be taken for granted. I am both humbled and grateful to the British Council Foundation Indonesia for believing in me. I was not expecting to get shortlisted, let alone to win a prize because there were so many applicants whom I believe also did well. Nonetheless, by winning the IELTS Prize I feel even more motivated and focused on turning my goal into reality. I have always been interested in studying Clinical and Public Health Nutrition, and I hope I can influence people to make better nutrition choices and also help them to be aware of how nutrition affects our long-term health and its role in maximizing the physical and mental growth of children. I cannot wait to come home after my studies with knowledge that will benefit the development of my country.

I heard about IELTS Prize through an email sent by the British Council in December. It was very interesting because the British Council is providing a full scholarship to the winner. So, I thought I would give it a try by submitting my IELTS Test Report Form and my personal statement. The most exciting part about this process is how much the examiners wanted to get to know me in person and understand my goals. They asked personal questions about what I would enjoy doing in the UK other than studying, and how I could present myself as an ambassador. This showed that the British Council was not only concerned with my studies and any future contribution to my country, but also my personal growth, and how I could use this opportunity to inspire people to study abroad and see the world.

The test experience with the British Council went smoothly. To begin with, the British Council provides many test dates and accessible venues all over Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia. As the test was quite challenging, being able to do it near home eliminated any unnecessary stress like travel issues. The registration was easy, everything was online, and it took less than 10 minutes to complete. The test was also well-coordinated and took place on time. The audio was very clear with no technical issues and we were provided with more than enough stationery during the exam. The British Council made sure that we did not need to worry about anything else other than the test.

IELTS evaluates the 4 basic language skills very thoroughly. These basic skills are very much needed not only in academic life but also in daily life. It is no wonder that many universities acknowledge IELTS as their language qualification upon admission. The listening and speaking components introduce many different English accents, therefore helping us get used to communicating with people from different places. The academic reading component was also very educational, providing articles we might be given as a university student. It introduced us to how complex the reading material might be when pursuing a masters degree. It also enhanced our skimming and scanning skills that would be very useful during our study. The writing component evaluated our ability to work on assignments and to think fast and elaborate ideas for a final degree thesis.  

The key to succeeding in the IELTS test is to practice as much as possible. Become familiar with the IELTS questions and understand what IELTS requires. Work on as many practices exams as possible - the more you practice, the more you are familiarised with the IELTS test, and therefore you can wisely manage your time as you work through the exam. Know your weaknesses and practice daily.


Michael Wijaya

Global Business Management, Humber College

First of all, I am honoured to win the IELTS Prize. When I received the official announcement from the British Council about this achievement, I could not stop smiling and feeling grateful. Winning the IELTS Prize means a lot because it gives me the confidence and confirmation that I have sufficient English skills to pursue higher education abroad. The IELTS Prize also provides financial support so I can focus on my studies. Choosing a different field for my post-graduate study was not a natural choice for me, but I believe that I can combine my previous Biotechnology background and my future business management abilities to become a specialist in the field. So, I will be sure to give my best to this post-graduate study and will not take this accomplishment for granted.

The multicultural diversity, combined with an excellent reputation makes Canada a top destination to pursue higher education. However, the availability of scholarships for international students is very limited, so when I received an email from the British Council about the IELTS Prize, I did not have to think twice before applying. The IELTS Prize is different from other scholarships because it is not limited to a specific country or Education Institution. I was delighted by the professionalism of the British Council Committee and the overall selection process. I was also impressed with the British Council Staff and their assistance in providing information and following up on the progress of my application.

Taking the IELTS test with the British Council was convenient because it meant I could choose the test date and location of my preference online, which was simple and user-friendly. Another benefit of taking the IELTS test with the British Council was that we were provided with a free IELTS online course to help us to prepare and practice before the actual IELTS test. Also, I received a free IELTS writing workshop to help me improve my ability in writing an academic essay. Overall, I was impressed by the clear instructions during the IELTS test, the guidance provided by the British Council staff, the quality of the sound system during the listening section, and also by the informative schedule for the speaking section.

The two most common English proficiency tests are the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). I chose IELTS over TOEFL because it takes approximately 3 hours to complete and I prefer to have a conversation with a native speaker during my speaking test rather than to make a recording of my answers using a computer microphone. I believe that by taking the IELTS test and reviewing my scores, I could determine my ability to live and study abroad. The variety of topics and questions discussed during the IELTS test will help me to face and overcome any upcoming challenges during my future study in Canada.

There is no doubt that the only way to get a high score is by daily practice. In the IELTS test, there are different types of questions. I always recorded the time required to complete every part of the IELTS test as a simulation and projection of my time management skills because these skills are a crucial part of the IELTS test. I also read various magazines and newspapers to have a better understanding of current issues and topics. Also, I spent time practising my writing and speaking because I felt I lacked those skills. I believe that practice and the evaluation of mistakes is the key to a successful IELTS test performance.


Elmer Wahyu Bramantyo

MSc Management, University of Edinburgh

I am incredibly grateful to have been chosen as one of the winners of the British Council IELTS Prize. It has given me the confidence not only to continue my master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh but also to practice my English skills as a student. I am aware that practising English, reading, writing and speaking, will play an essential role as I study my postgraduate degree in the UK. Therefore, to be selected as an IELTS ambassador considering how vital our English skills are as an international student is a responsibility that I am honoured to have.

Financially, winning the IELTS Prize will help me to survive in Scotland. It is known that the living cost in the UK is higher compared to other countries, so this is added motivation to make sure I complete my studies on time.

When I applied to the University of Edinburgh, I knew that IELTS was one of the requirements of the admission process, and so I applied to take the IELTS test. Overall, taking the IELTS test with the British Council was an enjoyable experience. The test was available in several convenient locations, it was well-organized, and a good audio system was provided for the listening section. It was conducted professionally, thereby maintaining the international standard that this test has.

I believe that preparing for the IELTS test enhanced my English capabilities considerably. During the preparation, I rehearsed the questions and learnt from my mistakes. As I worked my way towards the IELTS test, I learnt how to skim-read, gained new vocabulary and learnt how to write correctly which all improved my skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. I believe that these skills will help me to get through my postgraduate degree in the UK.

I don’t believe in overnight magic. Preparing for the IELTS test was a long-term process; the more you practice, the more you will gain the confidence to face the test and achieve a better test result. Indulge and familiarize yourself with the IELTS test and learn from your mistakes, because that is what will enable you to achieve your target score.


Serin Lee

PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When I first heard that I had won the IELTS Prize, I was thrilled and incredibly happy. I am honoured for the British Council to recognise my potential and capabilities, and I will work hard to ensure the British Council that I am worthy of their support. There were many competitive applicants with impressive backgrounds, so being chosen has given me the confidence to start my journey at graduate school and pursue my career as a material scientist and engineer. I will work diligently to reach my goal of bringing positive changes to the world using the power of technology and will always remember the moment of winning the IELTS Prize whenever I encounter hardship during my degree course.

I applied for the IELTS Prize because I wanted to be recognised by an organisation of international renown such as the British Council. The selection process for the Prize was well-organised, and overall I found the local interview particularly interesting. All of the applicants for the Prize were required to prepare a presentation about their life story and aspirations. Preparing for this was a great experience because I was able to look back over the past and write down my own story including the valuable lessons that I had learned. I enjoyed the Q&A session because the interviewers asked detailed questions about my aspirations and goals. By answering their questions, I once again consolidated my motivation to study and earn a PhD by studying abroad.

The best part about preparing for IELTS with the British Council was that the whole process could be done online. There were no difficulties during registration, payment or getting my scores. I used the service provided by the British Council to send my Test Report Form to MIT DMSE (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) graduate admissions office via the electronic reporting system. I did not have to spare time checking the shipping status of the report form, which greatly alleviated any anxiety or concern during the application process. Also, test-related information was clearly organised on the website, which saved my time searching for tips about the test.

While studying and researching for the test, I became interested in studying abroad and working with talented people from various backgrounds. To network with people around the globe, I had to greatly improve my English skills so I could become fluent enough to communicate in English. All of the sections of IELTS were deeply relevant to my future goal, of being a global researcher. The Reading and Writing sections helped to develop my academic use of English. As a researcher, reading skills are indispensable because you must be aware of fellow scholars’ ideas and research results. The Reading section improved my skills of choosing important information from a given article in a limited amount of time. As I prepared for the writing section, I learnt how to analyse data and organise my thoughts, which is required when I write a paper for publication in a scientific journal. The listening and speaking sections improved my practical use of English, as they are perfect simulations of real-life situations; so by preparing for these two sections, I gained more confidence in my spoken English.

For other English proficiency tests, the improvement in your English skill is often not directly related to earning a satisfying score in the test. However, for IELTS, perfecting your English is the only tactic to get a high score. My best advice for any test takers is to expose yourself to English constantly in an enjoyable way. For example, you can try to watch television or entertainment shows without the subtitles of your mother tongue. These will greatly improve your listening skills and help you to capture useful vocabulary. Achieving good writing skills is a time-consuming process. When I prepared for the IELTS writing section, I wrote six essays a day; this helped me to brainstorm and logically organise my thoughts in a given amount of time. Always remember the quote “Practice makes perfect”, and never lose faith in yourself or your potential.


Jayoon Choi

MSc in Education (Child Development and Education), University of Oxford

I feel very privileged to have won the IELTS Prize. Winning this prize reassures me that I am on the right path, and it has given me the confidence to pursue my goals and aspirations. With the support of the British Council, I have lifted some of the financial burdens of studying abroad and will be able to focus on academia fully. The programme I will pursue will empower me with the expertise I need to become a child policy advisor devoted to creating inclusive policies. With a rapid increase in the number of foreign populations in Korea, creating an inclusive environment that embraces diversity will be sorely needed. I am confident that studying in the UK will give me insights into policy development so I can contribute to related issues in Korea.

Applying for the IELTS Prize was extremely efficient. The application process was clear and minimal documents were required, which saved me a lot of stress. I was, therefore, able to focus on my personal statement and thoughtfully organise my goals and motivation for studying abroad. Winning the prize has made me even more motivated to keep pursuing my goals, and it also served as recognition of my passion and capability.

I chose to take the IELTS with the British Council as it provides credible online materials on exam preparation and supports students through scholarships. Applying for the test through the British Council was simple and hassle-free, and I was amazed by how fast the test result was delivered. The test was carried out in a comfortable yet professional environment with clear guidelines. The free online preparatory course, Road to IELTS, was extremely helpful as it provided a precise idea of what the actual test would be like. I also gained valuable insight from sample answers and advice given by the IELTS experts. Although I had a relatively short time to prepare for the test, these resources were truly beneficial and enabled me to achieve my desired score.

The academic module of IELTS is helpful for students that are planning to study abroad. Although I started studying for IELTS only to meet the conditions of my graduate school, studying for the test also prepared me for the academic use of English. Not only was the content based on real-life scenarios, but the test required logical and critical thinking, enabling students to prepare for the academic tasks they will soon encounter in their course. Studying for the writing session was especially useful because it trained my summarising and data analysis skills which are going to be essential during my study. Overall, preparing for the IELTS test meant more to me than just being a required test to take. By studying for the test, my academic English skills are greatly improved, and  I feel more confident in the academic tasks in my study.  

One piece of advice I would give is to use the IELTS resources. Regardless of your English proficiency, you should carefully review the instructional videos and tutorials for IELTS. I made a mistake when I first took the exam; I was not familiar with the exam format and so was not aware of what the examiners were looking for. The instructional videos provided on the British Council website and Road to IELTS, give clear directions on how to prepare for the exam most effectively. In addition, I would suggest you take the mock tests several times before you take the actual test; and most importantly, review any wrong answers and compare with the model answers.


Toe Kyaw Htet

Bachelor of Computer Science, University of Adelaide

I am extremely honoured and elated to have been chosen as an IELTS Prize winner. Getting a high band score is an achievement in itself already but receiving the prize takes this achievement to the next level. Studying abroad is expensive. Tuition fees are not the only cost to consider when studying abroad. Also living costs and other miscellaneous expenses can be high depending on the country, but this prize has lessened the financial burden on my family. In the future, I wish to bring about a change to the internet regulations in my own country. Internet usage has escalated exorbitantly in my country, but many are yet to realise the dire consequences of improper use. Online crimes like cyberbullying, hate speech, kidnapping and scams are also growing rapidly; therefore, I would like to contribute in ending these dreadful incidents.

The British Council IELTS Prize selection process is very straightforward and efficient. Applicants are required to write an essay. I was comfortable with writing the essay as it gave me more than enough time to revise and correct my work. Moreover, the instructions and timeline were clearly stated on the website, so I did not need to worry about missing the deadline. The application had to be completed online which is unlike the other scholarships that I had applied for before where I had to fill out long and tedious forms and submit them in person.

My experience of taking exams with the British Council has always been good. I took my IGCSE exam with the British Council and so the IELTS is the second exam I have taken with the British Council. I have also sat other exams abroad, so it is clear to me that the services for the IELTS, from the registration process to in-test regulations are on par with international standards. I was able to easily book the exam online as the instructions were stated clearly on the website; however, because I took the IELTS UKVI exam, I had to go to the bank to make the payment instead of paying directly at British Council. There are also free online resources for exam practice. In a nutshell, I had a pleasant experience taking the exam with the British Council.

The IELTS exam is internationally recognised and is an accurate way of testing the four key English skills. It is designed so that students master different essential abilities in each of the four skills. For instance, in the listening session, students need to listen and understand the conversation between 2 speakers. By the last session, students need to listen without pause and take notes of what they hear. These abilities are vital for students who are studying abroad as these are required in lectures and other life activities. I decided to take IELTS as it is structured to help students grow academically, and it is accepted worldwide.

This might be an obvious advice, but I would like to urge my fellow test takers to keep practising. I believe that you will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses after taking a few practice tests. Review the completed tests and pay extra attention to the questions which you got wrong. I strongly suggest you focus on getting answers correct first before trying to get answers correct within a set time frame. Indeed, you need to be fast and accurate in the actual exam but keep in mind that accuracy comes first before speed. Finally, take as much time as you would need to prepare yourself to get your target score.


Mi Mi Khaing

Master of Business Administration Degree, University of Manchester

I am grateful and honoured to have been awarded the IELTS Prize by the British Council. This award not only supports me financially but also has boosted my confidence ready for my postgraduate study in the UK. I completed my undergraduate programme in Myanmar and had no experience of studying abroad before. IELTS is the start of my international exposure. I am more than grateful and excited to start my life-changing experience in the UK. I hope my experience of applying for IELTS Prize will inspire other students in Myanmar to take action now and chase their dreams.

The process of applying for the IELTS Prize included essay writing and presentations. During this interview, the panellists asked me about my plans and what I had done in the past to try to reach my goal. I had to have a strong belief in what my goal was before being able to convince others to believe in me. I had not been sure about what I wanted to do before taking the IELTS, but this was definitely a life milestone.  I would encourage all IELTS test takers to apply for the British Council IELTS IELTS Prize because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

The experience of taking IELTS was seamless from booking the exam and taking the test, to receiving the exam result. As soon as I confirmed that my target school required IELTS as compulsory proof of English language proficiency, I booked the exam for the following month. The British Council website showed the available test dates and locations, so I could easily book online. It took a few minutes to book the test and then I only had to go to the British Council twice; to pay the exam fee and then to get my official IELTS certificate. I was able to check my result on the website with my ID number 10 days after the exam. So overall it was a convenient and pleasant test experience.

As I was applying for an MBA, I had a list of target schools in the UK, USA and Canada. IELTS is a compulsory proof of English language proficiency regardless of the school, which is why I decided to take IELTS as the first step of my MBA application journey. IELTS has not only helped me to get school offers and gain confidence in my English ability, but it has also improved my spoken skills. For example, I can communicate efficiently and get listeners to engage in conversation; this was achieved by practising hard for my speaking test.

As an IELTS ambassador, here are my tips for preparing for the IELTS:

  1. Get familiar with the test format and question types. The test guide information can be found on the British Council website.
  2. Take the mock tests provided to get the proper understanding of your English level, both strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your weakness as most schools ask for a minimum band score and each section contributes to your total overall score.
  3. Practice! Practice! Practice! There are plenty of resources on “the road to IELTS” website such as question papers and tips, please make good use of them as they are free. Also, don’t forget to incorporate English into your daily life - both reading and speaking.

Be over-prepared as a good IELTS score will make you stand out competitively among the other IELTS Prize applicants and could bring a


Saw Min Nyo

Bachelor of Business Management, Singapore Management University

Winning the IELTS Prize makes me feels incredible, especially knowing that the IELTS Prize is conducted in such a large scale across Myanmar. It is an affirmation of the hard work put in. The IELTS Prize will henceforth act as a nod at - not just my English proficiency - but also my conviction to contribute back to the community. Additionally, the prize money will lighten the financial burden of studying abroad. This award will help to cover any miscellaneous fees that come along with starting a new phase of education.

It is my belief that one has an obligation to give back to the community that has enabled him to succeed in various ways. Hence, I plan to return to Myanmar once my education is complete with all the useful skills I have learned during my experience in Singapore. I will then ensure to impart these “best practices” to Myanmar - especially among the SME’s where industry standards are in need of improvement.

As an international student in Singapore, scholarship opportunities are extremely limited. The few available are extremely competitive, and preference is still given to students with a background in specific subject combinations. Therefore, I had to seek scholarships that are specifically open to Myanmar nationals and are, to a large extent, “non-bonded” scholarships -which might limit what I could pursue post-studies.

The main attraction of the IELTS Prize was its largely “bond-free” nature, which means I am not stipulated by contract to expend a large portion of my time to fulfil tasks after I have completed my studies. This is crucial as I have plans to quickly engage in Myanmar industry after my studies and do not want to be tied down by obligations. Also, the award has an equitable aspect in the sense that it compares you among a similar pool of student applicants from within Myanmar. This is important as student applicants from other countries may not have similar socio-economic backgrounds as those in Myanmar, which might put certain students at a disadvantage.

The British Council was the most popular venue to take the IELTS test in Myanmar and is reputed for its efficiency and helpful staff. The whole process of taking the IELTS test was a breeze thanks to the ease of communication with the test centre and the clear instructions provided. During registration, the staff were friendly and helpful. Everything was done in an orderly manner, so there was minimal anxiety before the examination. During the examination, the invigilator was strict in enforcing the rules to ensure a conducive environment for everyone. After the exam, the results came promptly and I was glad they allowed the viewing of results online because I live far from the capital and so I would have had to travel far before I could receive my result slip.

The IELTS test is widely accepted across the world. It is accepted by almost all tertiary institutions in the UK as proof of English proficiency. In Singapore Management University, they explicitly stated on their admissions webpage that they allow IELTS as a supplement certification to the academic qualifications already submitted for admission (given the IELTS test is of sufficient score).

IELTS has prepared me to be mindful of the multi-cultural environment that exists in foreign universities and to respect each culture. This awareness came from the content of practice papers for the IELTS exams and during the actual test. I am convinced that it is part of the IELTS test to create this awareness so that people taking the tests are made aware of other cultures and encouraged to learn to treat one another with mutual respect.

During my preparation, I initially set out a plan to complete specific assignments for each of the 4 skills on a regular schedule. However, I soon realized how stressful it was to keep to such a plan and saw little progress doing the practice papers. I made the difficult decision to switch towards a flexible study plan. It was a mix of listening to English news podcasts (like the BBC), and reading English newspapers (The Straits Times, The Economist, etc,.). I also tried including English media sources into my Facebook feed, so I would not miss out on daily reading. After a few weeks, I saw significant improvement in my English and have stuck to this practice ever since.

Do not take IELTS as just another school subject to study for. Since it is a language, I would advise you to have English learning become part of your lifestyle. Do it because you enjoy it - not because you have to do it!


Joanne Loo Ying Jia

MA Illustration, University of the Arts London

I was humbled beyond words when I knew that I had won the IELTS Prize. I worked hard to win a prize, and it is fulfilling to be told that my efforts paid off! This has undoubtedly given me renewed confidence in my English language proficiency.

Pursuing MA in Illustration has been a personal dream. For many years I felt a deep desire to expand my horizons and to seek engaging experiences with international creatives; what held me back most was my financial capabilities. Furthering my studies in the arts often felt more like a wish and not a need; though as the years go by, it has become clear that visual arts have a growing importance in sparking positive change in Malaysia. Winning the IELTS Prize has given me the much-needed boost to strike forth with courage and develop my personal artistic narrative.

I have great faith in spreading positivity through creativity. To me, it is a way to forge strong bonds among people, bridging generation gaps and bringing nations together. I look forward to sharing my experiences in the UK with my fellows in Malaysia and encouraging them to develop their pursuits.

Many scholarships that I looked into were available to applicants pursuing a specific course or field––but arts was not one of them. I found it challenging to find suitable scholarships that were open to the visual arts in particular. The IELTS Prize is open to all fields of study, which was the main driving force for my application. I was pleasantly surprised at how organised and courteous everyone in the selection process was. They treated me with the utmost fairness and friendliness. I was very comfortable in sharing my thoughts, hopes and dreams with the interview panel during the selection process and I was never made to feel inferior or unwelcome in any way.

The IELTS test experience is very new to me, as I have not done an English language proficiency test before. The British Council made the IELTS test experience a very accessible one, beginning with the registration, right up to the collection of results. The examination dates were convenient for a working professional like myself, and I found ample material to prepare for my test on the IELTS and British Council websites. The test itself was well structured with clear indicators of how test-takers would be assessed. Combined with the guidance and revision materials provided, I had a clear indication of what was expected from each section. The writing test was the most challenging section for me by far; however I felt better prepared having practised with the sample questions and then reviewing with the model answers online.

The overall experience on the day of the test was good too. I knew exactly what to do from the clear instructions provided by the British Council invigilators, assistants and personnel. Receiving my results was a simple, fuss-free affair as well. I was able to check my results online easily and then collected my certificate from the British Council centre with no issues whatsoever.

IELTS was the first and only English proficiency test that came to mind during my university application. I believe it is because the IELTS test is well-known for its fair assessments as well as its recognition across many universities around the globe. I found the listening test particularly helpful, as it used the different accents in English-speaking countries. Through my practice sessions I learnt to define better the subtle tone and inflexions of each accent, which I am sure will be indispensable during my time in the United Kingdom. I feel that I am now better equipped to interact with different native English speakers and will articulate myself better in their presence.

As a native English speaker, I stress on one important tip: do not take anything for granted. There will always be something new to learn; just because English is your first language does not mean that you are exempted from making the simplest of mistakes. Identify your weakest areas and allocate more time to improve them. For non-native speakers, I would advise them to practice reading, writing and speaking English at every opportunity and make opportunities for yourself whenever possible! We all have to start somewhere, and it can only get better with practice. If you find yourself short on time, I recommend starting at the British Council website and doing all the model questions available. I agree that it is essential to know the format that you will be assessed during the IELTS test; familiarising yourself with the test questions and requirements are integral to a good score. I wish every future IELTS test taker the very best!


Nicholas Tan Hao Yu

BSc Mathematics and Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science

It is my goal to involve like-minded parties to create a joint scholarship program which will provide the brightest minds of the future from every country in the world with an opportunity to further their studies in the best institutions. This collective venture will award scholarships to the future heads of industries based solely on merit and hone the skills required for leadership and governance. Throughout my tenure as Ambassador and beyond, I intend to meet and connect with a diverse community of peers and academia who share my vision, in the hope that the great minds of the current and subsequent generations can make our world better.

The IELTS Prize provides me with the potential opportunity to work with managing bodies which have a presence globally. In addition, a lucrative aspect of the Prize is the lack of requirement of national examination papers, income bracket of household, or one's ethnicity for its applicants, which almost all other scholarship and sponsorship-awarding bodies require. This alludes to the fact that the traits of the recipients of the Prize that matter most to the Prize committee are merit and personal character, both of which are within the control of the Prize recipients. It was indeed a very straightforward application and interviewing process. Surprisingly, I felt that I had learned more about myself and my goal direction after the interview and subsequent discussion with the panel of interviewers. I enjoyed the entire journey.

From my understanding, the British Council has close ties with many educational institutions, including the College where I studied as I took the IELTS test. Through arrangements with our IELTS teachers, we decided that sitting for the papers through the British Council would be the best choice. Given the pristine reputation of the British Council, I felt assured that the IELTS testing process would be managed well by this organisation. The application process for the tests was effortless, and I could focus solely on the test with ease of mind. The arrangements made for the test and the subsequent results were handled efficiently with no delays. All in all, the experience was a fuss-free one.

Browsing through the admission section of various university websites showed that proficiency in the English language was always a requirement. Looking in detail, the most common metric for assessing this linguistic skill was the IELTS band scores. Intending to be accepted into the top universities of the world, I wanted to take as little risk as possible and so chose the series of tests which were among the most widely accepted and the most convenient to sit for, based on the test dates available.

In the lecture hall, the English language is crucial for the subjects Mathematics and Economics, where complex jargon must be understood and then utilised in mathematical equations for economic modelling. With high English standards a pre-requisite, it is comforting to know that my university studies will not be hampered by any language barrier.

On a personal level, I feel relieved knowing that with such stringent language proficiency standards, I will be better in conversing with peers from all walks of life, which will in turns allow for a greater sharing of ideas and the heightened ability to brainstorm to create something new, together.

Two habits of mine which helped tremendously in the test are reading from a variety of sources and often conversing with others. The IELTS test will assess your ability to interpret and infer material, to think analytically, and to speak with confidence. The most challenging portion of the test for me was the writing component as I had little experience in analytical writing, but visualising the questions as verbal presentations allowed me to answer the questions to a satisfactory degree.

For some, the speaking component may be difficult due to a lack of experience in English conversation with peers. A practical method of improving this would be to talk to different people, even acquaintances, to get firsthand exposure. Most importantly, love the process! As difficult as it may be, understanding English to a high level is a skill which will pay dividends in your personal and professional life.


Nadia Izzati Binti Zamri

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours), Monash University

I was beyond ecstatic to have won the IELTS Prize! I remember walking back from a workshop, having an unscheduled existential crisis and lo and behold, and an email came in that grounded me back to earth. Needless to say, I was skipping my entire way back to the car and admittedly at home, feeling much stronger.

I absolutely love studying! Unfortunately, nowadays, the choice to further your studies often involves innumerable massive decisions here and there due to various financial situations. This is especially true considering that my next plan involves a rather costly transfer to Australia. The financial feasibility of transferring to Australia was the only barrier left for me to solve and to which now I have an answer. The IELTS Prize has undoubtedly removed a significant financial load off my back and placed me one step closer to achieving my dream to be a skilful pharmacist and renowned researcher in the field of pharmacology.

As I intend to pursue my career in the research and education sectors, I plan to use my knowledge and expertise to develop drug types, therapy and delivery, as well as optimise drug use. As a current pharmacy student, the further I traverse through my course, the deeper my fascination with drugs becomes and thus I cannot quite pinpoint my interest to one specific area. However, I do see there is room for development in terms of drugs concerning coronary heart diseases, nervous system disorders and lung diseases, the top killers in Malaysia. In the education sector, I hope to be instrumental in the cultivation of new pharmacists who take pride in our field. We should not be constrained by the boundaries of our profession; we have our roles to play, and I intend to raise that awareness.

IELTS Prize is a prestigious scholarship that does not seek to bind or limit, but rather, it prides itself on being a bridge that offers aid. In comparison to many other scholarships, it attempts to not only unblock the road we have chosen, but it also endeavours to impress a certain sense of comprehension of our potential capacity to reach our end goal. This is evident from the extra mile the organisers went to as they had sent out emails and notifications to eligible candidates inviting them to apply for the scholarship. It is a scholarship that judges based on our ability to integrate ourselves as a person, and how we plan to use our skills to contribute back to society.

The selection process is one of the most transparent ones I have ever encountered. I was very much aware that there was a strict selection process whereby to win, candidates must truly outshine many others in various aspects. But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying it every step of the way. Following the initial application, the shortlisted candidates were required to participate in an interview alongside a presentation according to the theme given. A week of panicking and brainstorming ensued rapidly, and when the day came, I was astonished by how uncharacteristically comfortable I was talking to the utterly friendly interviewers. It was entirely at odds to the radical cop-like interrogation scenario I had built up in my mind because they genuinely seek to help. I could see the interviewers trying their utmost to allow the candidates to showcase their best.

I had chosen to take IELTS because the structure of the exam covers the complete linguistic sphere and ensures proficiency in reading, speaking, listening and writing. It inculcates the necessary language skills that allow you to fluidly transition into life abroad while building a stable linguistic foundation. The results are accurate and denote the level of proficiency required for you to build yourself a comfortable experience while providing you with an asset to excel in the academics.

I have applied to many top-notch universities in numerous countries for my Pharmacy degree, including those in the UK, Ireland, US, Australia, New Zealand and within my own country, Malaysia. All of the universities I applied to specified IELTS as one of the requirements and as such, I was very much privy to how crucial my IELTS results were. I worked hard to obtain the grades I needed, and it was with these grades that I gained acceptance to the most highly regarded universities in the world for the Pharmacy course including Monash, Australia; UCL, England; Trinity College, Ireland and Otago, New Zealand.

The British Council is an established and trusted examination body. They possess an incredibly long experience in conducting these exams, which has led to very smooth flows of procedures and transitions for the candidates. They organise the exams as such that they can provide exceedingly convenient options for venue and time to suit the candidates’ hectic schedules. On the day itself, the staff did an excellent job of easing me into the atmosphere, kindly answering whatever queries I had. I have never been particularly good with tests, or pressure, or silence, or large crowds of people who were taking tests under pressure in silence. Yet, I walked out of the room feeling ridiculous that I had been terrified of such a delightful test.

I knew the only reason I had felt that way was due to the preparation I had done. The British Council had provided an incredible amount of support in terms of tutorial videos, online materials, books and various tips to ace the exams. I had met some of their staff before and their sincere support and genuine desire to help cemented my opinion that if I wished to take an exam that would determine whether I could enter the university of my dreams, I would like to take it with people who can instil faith in me.

A definite resource to use for IELTS is the abundance of fantastic materials provided by the British Council online! Even for those who are already exceptionally proficient in English, the online materials may serve perhaps as a reminder of grammatical rules not often used or direct you on how to get the best scores in the written exam. If you need something physical to hold, the British Council has provided some magnificent books on how to prepare for IELTS in an impressively compact and comprehensive manner. Up until the last minute possible, speak the language as much as you can! Go out and speak with a friend so that you become more comfortable in expressing yourself in the language. For those who do not have a reading habit, it would be a great time to grab a short book and sit down for a good read. I highly recommend reading some academic literature to those taking the Academic IELTS, to increase familiarity with the language and general reading speed. And lastly, keep going! Keep practising, keep speaking and keep writing because in the end it will be worth it.


Jestine Jennica Cabiles

MSc in Strategic Marketing and Data Analytics, Paris School of Business

It is a great honour to be a recipient of the prestigious IELTS Prize. Being aware of how competitive it is, I am beyond grateful to the British Council for this life-changing opportunity that has brought me closer to my goal of gaining a global education which will result in me becoming an analyst for social impact. Winning the IELTS Prize is a solid affirmation of my communication skills; which I will use at the Paris School of Business where I am going to specialise in innovation, strategy, and data analytics.

When I first learned about the IELTS Prize through social media, I was amazed by the support the British Council offered to those aspiring to pursue higher education abroad. More than financial support, it was the organisation’s encouragement of individual ambition. Personally, the entire process of applying for the IELTS Prize paved the way towards the realisation of my academic aspiration to obtain a master’s degree. It has fuelled my drive to contribute meaningfully to the Philippine society.

The British Council’s long-standing reputation of excellence in creating opportunities through English language proficiency is unparalleled. Even among my family and circle of friends, the British Council is the recommended IELTS testing centre because of the professional service and resources offered. Choosing the British Council has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made. From the convenient online test registration to the well-organised exam. The staff were always accommodating to my enquiries whilst the post-exam support service was particularly outstanding.     

I had no second thoughts on which English proficiency exam I would take. As a matter of fact, I had already decided to take the IELTS even prior to choosing which graduate school I wanted to apply to; because the IELTS is recognised by many educational institutions worldwide. Compared to others, it is also very life-oriented, and I am certain that it will get me ready for real-life situations and conversations with its four practical components – listening, reading, writing, and speaking.      

As a piece of advice to other IELTS exam takers, pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. Doing this during my preparations helped highlight which areas I needed to work on more. Despite being preoccupied with work at the time, I made sure to allow several hours each day to study and practice – be it through consulting the Road to IELTS course provided by the British Council, listening to English podcasts, or even conversing with my colleagues. As it is a combination of spoken and written skills, familiarity with the test structure and practice of time management will also help you ace the exam. Ultimately, stay focused, aim high, and let your confidence shine through!


Rey Mejias

Education Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Winning the IELTS Prize will significantly change my life, especially the way I look at my capabilities in learning the English language. This experience is a validation that I can be proficient in English. Through the IELTS Prize, I will be accomplishing much of what I thought of as impossible. Studying abroad is not easy if one is struggling with the English language. Also, pursuing higher studies abroad is expensive. Considering the cost associated with studying abroad, the financial support provided by the IELTS Prize is vital to me.

Taking the IELTS and receiving the IELTS Prize has enabled me to pursue my dream of acquiring a graduate degree in educational leadership abroad. My main motivation is to expand my contribution to Philippine education through educational leadership. I feel privileged that I am given a chance to learn at a prominent university abroad and subsequently share my knowledge in the field. But besides knowledge, what makes this opportunity different is that it gives me hope and inspiration to do something for my own country.

After passing the IELTS exam, I received an invitation to apply for the scholarship. As I went through the application, I discovered that the British Council IELTS is not just about helping non-English speakers gain confidence or providing opportunities for them; the British Council also promotes inclusivity in the world through arts and education. I am personally drawn to this advocacy, and this reinforces my sense of purpose as an educator.

What impressed me the most about the selection process was the outstanding professionalism. I felt that the goal of IELTS Prize was not limited to finding ‘genius’ applicants, but rather listening to the story of each applicant and enabling an ordinary person to afford higher education abroad when it might, otherwise not have been possible.

I am truly filled with gratitude that I chose to take IELTS with the British Council. The learning experience included individual coaching with teachers who assist students with real practice on the questions and the essays before the actual test. I think this is important - to focus on the real structure of the test and ensure that students become familiar with how to take the test. I am genuinely grateful to the British Council for its contribution in making it possible for students who would have otherwise thought a graduate degree abroad was not an option.

Anyone can ace the IELTS test. The key is thorough preparation, constant practice, and lots of courage. Confidence is built when one is able to see his or her weaknesses and improve upon those.

Overcoming fear is not easy. Somehow, seeing a timer ticking the seconds away can make people nervous if they’re not used to it. So, try to find a friend and practise speaking continuously for a certain period of time using a timer. Also, practice writing out a complete essay within a set period of time. Most importantly, get plenty of rest and eat well before the test. During the exam, take deep breaths and enjoy the moment.


Dazzle Cortel

International Development Graduate Certificate, Humber College

Being awarded the IELTS Prize has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I never expected to win. The whole process has taught me a lot of things that have caused me reflect on my life. Personally, this award has further proved my capability to compete with others, not just in my country, but also as a proud Filipino here in Canada. Since I am currently taking International Development at Humber College, I believe that this award is a stepping stone towards me being able to work and interact well with people from other nations. Further, being a British Council IELTS ambassador has given me the confidence to inspire others to strive more and not underestimate their capacity to be open for global opportunities. This is not only an award for me, this is an opportunity that will surely change my perspective on life forever.

I was processing my Canadian student visa when I received an email from the British Council congratulating me on passing the IELTS examination and inviting me to apply for the IELTS Prize. Back then, I had nothing to lose, so I took the opportunity and applied for it. I never expected to be shortlisted, less so to win the prize. “Do you plan to come back?” was one of the questions that stuck with me the most during the interview. The encouragement and support of the IELTS Prize committee for their ambassadors to return and help their home country was one of the traits that I admired most and I was not able to see this from other scholarships. It is my goal to further my knowledge by studying abroad to get a better understanding on how to improve the current situation of the Philippines and it is comforting to know that the British Council is supportive of that.

IELTS was the first English proficiency examination that I ever took and I had no information about the test before I registered. Thankfully, the British Council website was very informative and helpful in terms of registration, reviewing materials, test expectations and post-test concerns. Since I was working full time, enrolling at a review center was not an option for me. It was great that the British Council provides review materials for all tests, such as audio files, sample articles, and essay questions for the examination. I was able to obtain all these materials which were readily available whenever I had free time to review. These also gave me an overview on what to expect during the examination.

As I was browsing for a possible course program to take in Canada, IELTS results were one of the requirements specified by almost all programs, especially for the top universities and colleges. This is proof that the IELTS is a globally recognised and highly reliable English proficiency test for these institutions. Also, the IELTS Test Report Form has a longer validity period which lasts up to two years. This means that it can be used not just for school admissions but for other purposes as well, such as credentials for job applications and even future academic plans.

One of the regrets I have is that I should have been more confident, especially during the speaking test. You can practice for the speaking test by trying to involve the people around you, asking them to communicate with you in English. This will boost your confidence and will help you in your actual speaking test. During the speaking test, feel free to converse with your test proctor. If you are feeling nervous, you can tell the proctor but make sure to try your best to convey it in English. I believe that this could also increase your points, even though it is not a part of their questioning,  you are still trying to converse with them. Immersing yourself in the language will help with your proficiency in listening, reading and writing whilst also giving a glimpse of what to expect during the actual examination. Last but not least, do not forget to register for IELTS with the British Council to get free review materials, which will definitely help with the examination.


John George Varughese

BA in Law, Wolfson College Cambridge

I am delighted and humbled to have been awarded the British Council IELTS Prize. The thought of studying in a foreign land can be quite daunting, so it is reassuring to have the support of the British Council, both financially and through their confidence in me, as I embark on this journey. Receiving this award has reaffirmed my desire to pursue a legal education in the United Kingdom, and I will make good use of this opportunity to learn from some of the top academics in the world.

My experience applying for and throughout the selection process for this award has been outstanding. One noteworthy feature of the IELTS Prize is that there are no restrictions on the choice of course or university, unlike many other scholarships or awards. Students are given ample opportunity, both through their personal statement and the interview stage, to demonstrate that they have a genuine interest in their chosen field of study and that their university of choice is the best place for them to thrive. In particular, the interview component of the selection process makes you speak at length about how you intend to contribute to your society through your chosen career. 

Sitting for the IELTS test with the British Council was a seamless experience and one that I would recommend to anyone thinking about doing the IELTS. Firstly, there were many test dates available each month, making it incredibly convenient to plan for, even with a busy schedule. Secondly, the test was administered professionally, with attention paid to even the smallest of details such as the printing out of individualised cards with each candidate’s number and test times. More than this, the British Council clearly spared no effort in ensuring that things ran efficiently. As evidence of this, I was given the option of pushing my speaking test forward by an hour as another candidate was unable to make it for their slot. This was communicated promptly to me by a British Council staff member through a phone call, a truly commendable level of service.

Of the many reasons to take the IELTS test, the one that stands out to me most, is that institutions in over 140 countries accept the IELTS as proof of English Language proficiency. In particular, all British universities and colleges accept IELTS. Based on my experience, the test equips you to deal with a wide range of scenarios in which the English language is used, in both academic and conversational contexts. Preparing for the IELTS test will therefore invariably improve your command of the English language which will put you in good stead if you intend to pursue your studies in a native English-speaking country.

For those intending to sit for the IELTS test, I wholeheartedly recommend attempting the practice tests on the British Council Singapore website. Not only does it help with familiarising yourself with the format and time constraints of the test, it also allows you to gauge your readiness for the test. From there, I found it helpful to work specifically on areas of the test that I wasn’t as strong. One important piece of advice is not to underestimate the test even if you are a native English speaker. It is vital to be familiar with the format and question style before attempting the IELTS.


Stephanie Yun Wen Wong

MSc in Gastronomy, Queen Margaret University

I am very happy, honoured and humbled to be one of the recipients of the IELTS Prize. This award will help lighten the financial burden of studying aboard and allow me to focus more on my research instead of worrying about educational expenses.

Finding a scholarship had been much more challenging than I had expected as there are very limited opportunities available in funding postgraduate studies in the field I have chosen. If not for the IELTS Prize, I might have reconsidered studying abroad. Therefore I am extremely grateful to the British Council for giving me the chance to pursue my passion.

The staff at the British Council were friendly and helpful, making the IELTS Prize application process a very positive experience. My interview had to be postponed, but the interviewers were very accommodating in working around my schedule and even offered ways to make the process more convenient for me. The coordinating manager was also very thoughtful in sharing event dates with me as soon as they were available so I that I had enough notice to apply for leave from work.

I was quite nervous about taking the test because I did not have a lot of time to prepare for it. I was working full-time and was late in applying to the university. Thankfully the online resources provided by the British Council were very helpful and insightful. Going through the materials helped me become familiar with the test format and gave me a great boost in confidence. I also really appreciated the British Council’s informative Road to IELTS online course, which I was able to study at my own time and pace.

The IELTS test is a widely recognised English language proficiency test that helps ensure test takers are well equipped to live, study, and work in the new linguistic environment and better assimilate into the culture. I have taken other language tests previously, and I find the IELTS test more rigorous and comprehensive because, in addition to syntax and lexicon, the test also includes practical applications, like exposure to different regional accents.

The most effective way to improve your proficiency in English, or any language for that matter, is to keep practising. I had an undergraduate foreign language professor whose tests would only include long open-ended questions and essays. He would say that it did not matter what you were writing as long as you wrote something – even if it was riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors. In fact, the only way you could receive a lower grade in his class was to give safe one-liner answers. It was an intimidating task, but also one that propelled my language skills. I would often surprise myself by how many words I was actually able to use correctly, and how I was able to form well-structured sentences under the pressure of a timed paper.

My advice to the people who are sitting for the IELTS test is to be brave in using the language, be consistent in doing practise papers, and be confident in the preparations you have made.


Alvin Wong Siew Fei

Executive MSc in Social Business and Entrepreneurship, The London School of Economics and Political Science

The British Council and IETLS are both internationally well-known and reputable. I am therefore grateful and honoured to receive the IELTS Prize from the British Council, a recognition which firmly encourages me to embark on my overseas post-graduate programme in the UK.

Inspired by my previous start-up attempt, I will be studying a first-of-its-kind Executive Masters in Social Business and Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). It is a newly launched ground-breaking degree programme on social business which is only available in the UK. As my school recommends IELTS for the English proficiency test, it was only natural for me to take the exam at the British Council, the UK's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

The financial support from the IELTS Prize has made it possible for me to pursue my dreams and study at the LSE. I look forward to meeting and collaborating with like-minded classmates and initiatives on social business in the UK and then spreading these initiatives in Southeast Asia with Singapore as the regional hub after my graduation.

The IELTS Prize has also given me unmatched benefits and experiences that a conventional scholarship award would not. First, I was doubly motivated preparing for the IELTS, because it was for both my post-graduate programme and the prize application. Next, the IELTS Prize selection process was fun as I was encouraged to present myself creatively. This process has also sparked my new interest in storytelling, motivating me to spread my ideas on social business via public speaking in my region. Moreover, sharing the good news of the award with my professional contacts around the globe needed no further introduction as both the British Council and IELTS are well-established worldwide; being a prize winner and an ambassador raises my profile.

As my chosen field of study is new and unique, the ability to proficiently communicate with others when I apply my learnings in the real world will be vital. Preparing for the IELTS has improved my English to a level higher than I ever imagined. The four components of IELTS (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking) has helped me to identify the specific areas that I needed improvement. Through the process, I learned about the inter-relationship of the four language skills. For example, during my second IELTS attempt, working mostly on my writing skill increased both my Writing and Reading band scores by two levels.

I registered for the IELTS exam twice within a relatively short period of time, and my entire experience with the British Council was seamless. I was genuinely impressed by the professionalism and efficiency of the British Council Exam team who assisted me with their first-rate services. The exams were well-coordinated by the friendly staff who provided clear instructions to all candidates. Also, how we received the exam results came in various convenient options, including mailing as well as accessing their digital platform.

To prepare for the test in a short period of time, I would suggest identifying your weakest areas and customising your strategy. I recommend taking the practice tests from the British Council, followed by spending time reviewing your mistakes in-depth. On the reading part, for better time management, start with the question you find easiest; this will allow you to understand the passage better before attempting those that are harder for you. For the essay questions in writing part of the test, having plenty of ideas makes writing more manageable; also, prepare ideas that could be used for a variety of subjects. Furthermore, attending British Council workshops conducted by official IELTS examiners will give you the greatest benefit as you will be able to get first-hand information about the test rather than referring to unofficial sources on the internet.


Aiyakan Traichaisit

MSc in Psychology in Education, University of York

I am very grateful to the British Council for the pleasant surprise of being selected as one of the IELTS Prize winners. This is a huge privilege that has boosted my confidence and offers great support for my master's degree at the University of York in the field of Psychology in Education. The prize will substantially subsidise the cost of my tuition and living expenses in England. I also look forward to actively collaborating with the British Council in the future. The role of a British Council IELTS Ambassador will provide me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share my experiences and hopefully inspire others to pursue higher education abroad.

The IELTS prize is one of the few scholarships which aims to motivate students to fulfil their dreams of studying abroad. It is awarded to applicants to assist their study, of any program, from any educational institution that accepts IELTS score as parts of its admission requirements. The selection process was convenient, and I particularly liked that almost everything could be done online, while the interview session went well because of the generosity of the committee.

I’ve completed the IELTS Test twice, and each time I was welcomed by staff who ensured that every stage of the test went smoothly. The service of the IELTS test was very customer-oriented, from the registration to the post-test results. The British Council also greatly helped me prepare for the test using the pre-test online course that allowed me to familiarise myself with the format and gave me useful tips before I took the exam.

For me, the IELTS is an excellent indicator of an individual’s English proficiency, and it is widely recognised by universities around the world. The results of the IELTS test can imply how well adapted one will be under the new language environment of living and studying aboard in an English-speaking country. In preparing for, and taking the IELTS exam, I realised my potential and gained much more confidence in my ability to listen, read, write, and speak the language and hence I know that my English will not be an obstacle to my academic growth in the future.

As an IELTS ambassador, my best advice for taking IELTS is to practice as much as possible. This will help you to identify which parts of the test you should work on the most. It is also a great idea to incorporate the English language in every aspect of your everyday life, such as reading and listening to news on the internet in English or practising speaking English with your friends. These efforts will undoubtedly improve your language skills over time.


Kulinthorn Kleephun

Master of Business Administration, University of Cambridge

I feel privileged to have been awarded the IELTS Prize, and I am very grateful that the British Council has this initiative to fund students who are pursuing higher education for the betterment of their countries. For my long-term career goal, I am looking to improve the quality of life for senior citizens in Thailand by providing them with post-retirement employment. I have seen this executed successfully in some organisations around the world. To be specific, I plan to open a restaurant that hires senior citizens as full-time staff, and I hope that this initiative will both attract the public’s attention and raise awareness of how serious the ageing population issue is in Thailand.

I apply for IELTS Prize solely because of the British Council’s open-mindedness to candidates’ fields of study. Funding programmes from other organisations usually specify what areas of business they will sponsor a candidate for. At the British Council, every area is of equal importance as long as the candidate has a clear goal of what they want to achieve post-graduation. I think this emphasises the fact that all sectors or industries are essential when contributing to the development of a country. This has demonstrated that the IELTS Prize, and the British Council as an organisation, values diversity and places equal importance on all ideas and good intentions. This open-mindedness drove me to apply for the IELTS Prize.

Taking IELTS with the British Council has been a smooth and fuss-free experience for me, from registration, sitting the exam, to score reporting. I liked the fact that each test taker was given an individual pair of headphones for the listening task. From someone who has taken the listening test with speakers broadcasting to the whole room, having an individual set of headphones was a game-changer. It made me feel more secure about the quality of the sound I heard and confirmed to me that I would not run into unfortunate technical problems, which could contribute to a lower than average performance.

I chose to take IELTS instead of other English proficiency tests because it is a standardised measurement of a students’ mastery of English and is widely recognised by all prestigious schools in the UK. That, in itself, signifies how well the test is designed to prepare you for your higher education in English. I think IELTS has played a crucial role in refining my communication skills, especially verbal ones. I am taking an MBA course at the University of Cambridge this September, and unlike other more academic-oriented courses, the MBA requires working in a lot of group projects. The ability to communicate with fellow classmates from different cultures and backgrounds is therefore essential to succeed, and IELTS has prepared me well.

For those who are planning to take IELTS soon, my advice would be to make the English language your everyday environment. Make sure you practice a lot with real questions, preferably with mock IELTS exam questions to get yourself accustomed to the overall feel of test-taking and the nature of the questions prior to the real thing. Doing that will boost your self-confidence and help you to ace the test effortlessly. On the test day, get plenty of sleep and get sufficient fuel from food. Above all, stay hopeful and optimistic. Give it your all, and I think you will be fine.


Ming-Hsin Hsu

MSc Medical Anthropology, University College London

I feel honoured and grateful to receive the IELTS Prize from the British Council. Winning this prize is extremely meaningful to me as it is recognition of both my past efforts and future potential. I am now more confident of my English proficiency and therefore my prospective study in the United Kingdom. The IELTS Prize will be a great financial support for my study in Medical Anthropology at University College London. I am looking forward to studying the sociocultural factors and the power differentials that influence people’s health, and I hope to apply what I learn in my clinical practices to provide better healthcare to patients in Taiwan.

I applied for IELTS Prize because of its friendly application timeline and eligibility criteria. I decided to study abroad at the end of 2018; unfortunately, most of the scholarship applications had already closed at that time. Other scholarships had eligibility criteria regarding work experience or nationalities and thus made me unqualified to apply. However, the application for IELTS Prize was open until late April with fewer qualification criteria. The IELTS Prize thus became the best opportunity to aid my studies abroad. The selection process was simple. Candidates were required to submit an essay about their reasons for wanting to study overseas and subsequent possible contribution to their communities. Through the application process, I reflected on my past experience and re-thought what I want to do in the future. I would say it was a valuable experience and encourage other students to apply for the IELTS Prize!

I chose to take IELTS with the British Council because it offered many test locations and test dates to choose from. I was able to select a location and time that fits well into my schedule. Moreover, the British Council offered free resources that helped me prepare for IELTS. I received for free The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS because there was an event promoting it. I also gained free access to their online preparation resources ‘Road to IELTS’. The videos on the website gave me useful tips and advice about how to achieve a high score in IELTS. These two resources really helped me to get familiar with the test.

IELTS was my first choice among all the other English proficiency tests because I aimed to apply for a masters degree in the United Kingdom and IELTS was recognised by all the universities that I wished to apply to. The speaking and writing tests of IELTS prepared me for studying abroad. The speaking component is conducted face to face by the examiner. This makes all the practice and also the test itself, similar to daily conversation. The writing test requires the test takers to analyse different charts and express their opinion on specific topics, which are both essential skills in academic life. 

For those who are preparing for the IELTS test, I have some advice based on my personal experience. In the beginning, try to get familiar with the common question types and requirements in each section. This will help you avoid making simple mistakes and understand the structure of the test. Then, make sure you go through the scoring system and official examples of oral and writing tests. By doing this, you will have a clear idea about what to achieve in the test. Most importantly, take mock tests and practice as much as possible! Routine practices and exposures to English also help. It is even better if you can find some friends and practice oral and writing skills together. Good luck with your IELTS! 


Chun-Yu Cheng

M.Sc. in Clinical Speech & Language Studies, Trinity College Dublin

Studying abroad to pursue a higher degree has always been the biggest dream of mine. Now this dream is coming true, but along with my dream has come the financial pressure this pursuit will bring to myself and my family. Winning the IELTS Prize has alleviated my burden by covering almost all of the accommodation expenses. With the funding from the IELTS Prize, I will have less to worry about and more time to focus on my study which is an entirely new discipline for me. I am looking forward to learning more about machine-assisted speech therapy, and I hope the result of my study will benefit patients with speech impairment in Taiwan.

IELTS Prize application requires information only from the applicants themselves. As an applicant who graduated two years ago from college, I no longer had to worry about bothering my old professors to ask for a reference, especially when they have already helped a great deal in my graduate school application process. The committee was interested in the applicant himself/herself and wanted to listen to the applicant’s story, more than anything else. The interview process was familiar to candidates who have taken IELTS speaking tests before. The interviewers were pleasantly amiable, and from their questions, I felt that they cared not only about my study but also about how well I would fit into a different community as an international student.

The British Council has built a good website for IELTS candidates which provides Chinese as a language option. It made the preparation for taking IELTS part of the process of learning English. Road to IELTS programmes and loads of free mock tests all show the British Council’s determination to help candidates fully display their English proficiency in tests instead of being misjudged due to unfamiliarity with the test process.

IELTS manage to recreate scenarios in all aspects of life for students who are going to study abroad. The sources of the IELTS test content are not limited to academic essays. The listening tests are largely based on real-life events, like registering for membership, contacting a landlord or participating in a guided tour in a park or museum. The IELTS tests prepare the candidates in a comprehensive way. I trust that this is the reason that every university I applied for accepted IELTS test results as part of their requirements.

In regards to learning English, many will suggest making English learning part of your hobbies, but I understand that not everyone enjoys English TV shows or reading. However, making it a small task that needs to be done every day will make it more like a game challenge rather than an assignment. I believe everyone will agree that learning a language is like running a marathon. It is not about how fast and well you start but making small progress each day persistently. Nonetheless, taking tests requires other tactics. In the last two weeks before the test, I would do my best to familiarise myself with the test forms and learn how to keep my concentration for a longer period of time.


Chia-Yun Chang

MA in Computational Social Science, University of Chicago

It is a great honour to have been awarded the IELTS Prize. On 5 March, I received an exciting letter of acceptance from the University of Chicago, my dream school to pursue further study in combining data-oriented research method with subjects such as public policy and law. I remember quite vividly how that excitement began to fade away as I learned about the amount of tuition that I had to pay. The University of Chicago kindly offered me a scholarship which has helped lessen the burden, but still, the amount seemed insurmountable.

It was great that the British Council continually sent out emails after we took our tests, inviting and urging us to apply for the IELTS Prize.  After seeing the testimonial of past winners, I realised the winners all had meaningful causes, and the British Council had the vision to help advance those causes. With no agenda in mind, I applied for the prize, and I am beyond happy that I had the honour of receiving it. As I said in my interview, this prize is not about me as an individual, but the dedication I have pledged to make. Aiming to conduct further research in international environmental law, I hope to bring the legal community in Taiwan closer to the international stage and introduce new, interdisciplinary ways of understanding the important questions in law.

The IELTS Prize has shown a clear vision in selecting candidates that wish not only to advance his/her professional knowledge and skills but those who appeal to the broader aspects of the local and even global community. This vision is reflected quite substantially in the selection process. In addition to my research proposal, I was able to talk about some of the issues that I feel passionate about. For example, the gap that exists between a test-driven education system and how English as a tool should be utilised in this globalised world. In addition, I feel like the opportunity as a British Council IELTS ambassador is going to provide a well-institutionalised platform for me to contribute to those issues. This is why I chose to apply for the IELTS Prize.

I chose to take IELTS with British Council mainly because they have an easy-to-access website. Also, as I learned after registration, they provide beneficial information, covering a variety of topics, that help test-takers plan their future abroad. These topics range from test preparation to school application. This is quite rare for English proficiency test agencies. With the British Council, I felt that we were not just test-takers being assessed, but valid candidates taking a critical step towards our future goals.

I have applied to several schools in the United States. Many of them accept IELTS scores as proof of English proficiency; some only accept IELTS scores and no other test scores. IELTS is a test that will push test-takers to learn how English is actually put to use in different scenarios, ranging from day-to-day conversations to more professional settings. Preparing for IELTS is a process that grants test-takers the chance to become really adept at speaking English rather than just passing a test.

The key message I would like to convey is to try to not see IELTS as a technical test, but rather a chance for test-takers to examine their  English progress and achievements. Enjoy the process of, not so much preparing for a test, but building on English skills. An excellent way to do this is to try to think back on what the tasks in the test are preparing you for. In this way, you can see IELTS as a helpful friend that will guide you on your English learning process. IELTS is truly a well-designed test that English learners should take advantage of.


Nguyen Duc Thinh

Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism, University of Prince Edward Island

The IELTS Prize has genuinely put me one step closer to achieving my dream of studying abroad. Over the past five years, studying abroad has always been the number one priority on my list as I have always wanted to learn new things in a foreign country. In addition, as a content creator on YouTube, I want to study abroad to explore the world and learn about new things as a way to inspire my followers, who are mostly young people. However, coming from normal working-class family background, I know I have to work extra hard to fulfil that dream. That is why when I received the email from the British Council informing me that I had become an IELTS Prize winner, I could not believe my eyes. This prize is going to be of great help to me financially during my first year of study so I can focus on studying and prepare for the upcoming years.

I initially did not intend to apply for any scholarship for my study in Canada. I always thought of myself as an ordinary person with no particular outstanding academic achievement, and so a scholarship would be something out of my reach. I came to know about the IELTS Prize quite accidentally. On the day I registered for the IELTS test at the British Council, Hanoi office, I was told by one of the staff about the IELTS Prize, which intrigued me. After coming home, I immediately went to the official website of the IELTS Prize to read all about it. What I really love about this scholarship is that compared to other foreign government scholarships, the IELTS Prize does not have any complicated eligibility requirements, which is perfect for me. The selection process is straightforward, with clear instructions given in each email.

I took the IELTS test with the British Council the first time back in 2015, and honestly, I was really amazed at how professional the process was. After I had registered for the test, I was given thorough instruction regarding the test dates and location by the British Council staff, who are incredibly friendly and professional. But, what I enjoyed most when taking the IELTS test with the British Council was the free access to 'Road to IELTS' website. This site was immensely helpful for me to prepare for the test as there are many videos with useful advice and tutorials, as well as free IELTS practice tests. That is the reason why throughout the past four years, the British Council has always been my trusted organisation to take the IELTS test with.

The first time I took the IELTS test was because my university required all students in my faculty to have at least a band 6 to graduate. In fact, many top academic institutions in Vietnam now require their students to achieve a particular band score in IELTS as a graduation requirement. Recently I retook the IELTS because my university in Canada, the University of Prince Edward Island, requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 for admission. However, to me, IELTS is not merely a test to assess one's proficiency in English. It has also helped me so much in improving my knowledge of the world. Whilst preparing for the test, I did a multitude of writing and reading tests on countless different topics such as society, nature, or economy. I believe this will give me an advantage when I study in Canada.

As someone who has taken IELTS with the British Council, my only advice for other IELTS test takers is to plan your study well. Many people when first preparing for the test often try to learn too many things at the same time, which can easily demotivate, as over time they lose the momentum and the willingness to keep going. When I studied for my latest IELTS test, I divided my study schedule very clearly, so that I would know exactly what to do each day. For example, on Mondays I wanted to learn something light and pleasant, so I would focus on the reading test because, to me, reading is quite fun compared to other skills. Nevertheless, if you don't have much time to study for the test, I suggest you focus on what you're best at, your strengths. That will definitely boost your scores. When I first took the IELTS test, I didn't have a lot of time to prepare, so I focused on my reading and listening skills since they are my strengths. Higher band scores in reading and listening can be a saviour in case the scores of the other two skills do not meet your expectations.


Truong Minh Hang

Master in Educational Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

I was elated to learn that I had been awarded the IELTS Local Prize 2018/19. As a self-financed international student, money is and always will be a constant worry during my education abroad over the next two years. The generous scholarship from the British Council acts as a safety net that will help to ease the financial strain and thus enable me to focus on my studies. The prize is also reassurance that I am pursuing something worthwhile not just for my professional endeavours but also for the collective good of society.

In my opinion, the IELTS Prize is the scholarship that anyone with a dream of studying abroad should apply for. The eligibility requirements are minimal compared to other programs: no fixed number of years of work experience is needed, and no specific study major/career is favoured over another. As long as you demonstrate a strong passion and a clear plan for the educational path you have chosen, everyone gets an equal chance of winning. The selection process was also completely transparent. Everything there is to know about the IELTS Prize is available on the official IELTS Asia website, which helps first-time candidates like me, quickly familiarise ourselves with the scholarship.

When it comes to taking IELTS, the British Council has always been my trusted organisation since day one. The first time I took the test in 2014, the service was excellent, especially in terms of pre-test perks. Official practice materials for IELTS were not as abundant as they are now, therefore the ‘Road to IELTS’ package offered exclusively for British Council candidates was tremendously helpful in the last stage of my preparation for the test. I definitely could not have gotten as high a score as I did had it not been for the authentic practice exercises and insights gained from this material. Since then, the British Council has raised the bar even higher to ensure the best test-taking experience. Registration is now available online with a wider variety of time slots, instructions inside the test room are more detailed, and the score-sending process to overseas universities is handled professionally with the help of the staff.     

The main reason I choose to take IELTS instead of other English proficiency tests is because of the diversity offered in all four components. Be it speaking, listening, writing, or reading, the IELTS test covers a vast array of topics that require learners to accumulate real-world knowledge on the subject matters if they are to comprehend the essence of the text/speech fully. The listening test uses multiple accents, which simulate realistic conversations in a world where English is the lingua franca. I believe the ability to recognise and understand the different ways of speaking English sharpened through the test preparation period will come in handy when I study in Leuven, Belgium – a university city with an international student population of almost 40 per cent.

My advice to people who want to ace the IELTS test is to be patient and take joy in the process of learning. The road to excellence may always be arduous, but whenever you feel like giving up, remind yourself why you started and work up the courage to get back on your feet. My journey of gaining fluency in English speaking is an example. When I was in high school, despite having a strong foundation in English grammar and listening skill, I was never able to utter a word in English in front of other people due to extreme shyness and a lack of exposure. I then challenged myself to sign up for a major English speaking contest in Hanoi only to undergo mind-numbing stage fright in front of 50 people. Those 20 seconds of silence felt painfully humiliating at the time; however, now that I look back at this experience, I could see that it was actually liberating. Because I knew things could not go any worse, I kept on trying to push my limits. In the next contest, I made it to the top five best candidates, and at the end of my freshman year in college I earned a first runner-up prize in a collegiate debate competition. Slowly but surely, I became comfortable with presenting myself in the English language.

To push through difficult times in your IELTS/English learning journey, it is essential that you surround yourself with a community of supportive people who are willing to answer your questions and encourage you to move forward. Form a study group, do practice exercises together and give one another constructive feedback. After each week, make notes of the most salient weaknesses you have in each test component so that you can hone in on these areas in the next practice sessions.

In the scenario that I have limited time – say, less than two weeks to prepare for the test, I would prepare myself by taking a full practice test every day. I would focus on the writing skill since this is, in my opinion, the most demanding part of IELTS. To do this, I would find a few prompts from recent actual tests, write my answers in strictly timed conditions, have them reviewed by a more advanced writer and make necessary revisions until I am completely satisfied with my answers. This is my personal best strategy to ‘cram’ for this exam.


Since 2011, the British Council IELTS Prize (East Asia) has enabled more than 270 IELTS test takers to pursue their studies around the world, including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and more. Read their stories about completing their first year or their study and get inspired to shape yours!

Dillon Wei Xuan Chew

Moving on to the next phase of my life… The idea of studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. As I grew up in a small city-state, it was natural that I wanted to ‘fly the nest’ and experience what the rest of the world has to offer!


When I arrived at the University of Cambridge, I was thrilled to meet lots of like-minded people from all over the world. Using English as a common language, we were able to chat naturally, sharing our different interests and experiences.


Even though the thought of studying abroad might seem a little daunting at first, take it step by step and believe in yourself – It is never too late to be what you might have been.


Thank you, British Council, for giving me this great opportunity and a new perspective on life.


Praveena Mahadevan

It’s finally sunk in that I’m heading to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to pursue an MSc in Public Health! It’s a dream I’ve had ever since I began medical school and, if it weren’t for the generosity and support of British Council, this dream may have remained on the back burner.


Winning the IELTS Regional 2nd Prize has really been a whirlwind experience. I even had the daunting-but-fun experience of being on Bernama TV! I especially enjoyed meeting the other inspiring local prize winners from Malaysia – Joanne, Nadia and Nicholas. I didn’t expect us to get along as well as we did, nor did I anticipate how much fun we’d have as a group given the short time we spent together.


I’m also thankful that I got the chance to get to know the people who make British Council what it is. They have been nothing short of amazing and supportive throughout this entire process. I look forward to seeing everyone again soon!


Phyo Thura Htay

I’ve always longed to study abroad so I started preparing for my Master’s quite long in advance! This hard work paid off as I’m now at the National University of Singapore, one of the top universities in Asia. Taking IELTS with British Council has really given me the communication tools I need to adapt to this new community – in both academic and social settings.


To others who also dream of studying abroad, language proficiency is really important to get accepted into your university of choice and, of course, for daily conversations in English. IELTS will help set you up for success in these areas so I highly encourage you to spend enough time preparing for the test.


Stay Connected

For previous and new winners of IELTS Prize, we welcome you to stay connected with the British Council and the fellow alumnus to build your professional network. As IELTS Prize winners, you should have received an invitation link to join the alumni community online, be in touch with us if you have not yet been added to the community.

IELTS Prize 2023

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Maria Astrid Susanti

Human Resources and Organisations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK