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.