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.