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!