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.