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.