I am grateful and honoured to have been awarded the IELTS Prize by the British Council. This award not only supports me financially but also has boosted my confidence ready for my postgraduate study in the UK. I completed my undergraduate programme in Myanmar and had no experience of studying abroad before. IELTS is the start of my international exposure. I am more than grateful and excited to start my life-changing experience in the UK. I hope my experience of applying for IELTS Prize will inspire other students in Myanmar to take action now and chase their dreams.

The process of applying for the IELTS Prize included essay writing and presentations. During this interview, the panellists asked me about my plans and what I had done in the past to try to reach my goal. I had to have a strong belief in what my goal was before being able to convince others to believe in me. I had not been sure about what I wanted to do before taking the IELTS, but this was definitely a life milestone.  I would encourage all IELTS test takers to apply for the British Council IELTS IELTS Prize because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

The experience of taking IELTS was seamless from booking the exam and taking the test, to receiving the exam result. As soon as I confirmed that my target school required IELTS as compulsory proof of English language proficiency, I booked the exam for the following month. The British Council website showed the available test dates and locations, so I could easily book online. It took a few minutes to book the test and then I only had to go to the British Council twice; to pay the exam fee and then to get my official IELTS certificate. I was able to check my result on the website with my ID number 10 days after the exam. So overall it was a convenient and pleasant test experience.

As I was applying for an MBA, I had a list of target schools in the UK, USA and Canada. IELTS is a compulsory proof of English language proficiency regardless of the school, which is why I decided to take IELTS as the first step of my MBA application journey. IELTS has not only helped me to get school offers and gain confidence in my English ability, but it has also improved my spoken skills. For example, I can communicate efficiently and get listeners to engage in conversation; this was achieved by practising hard for my speaking test.

As an IELTS ambassador, here are my tips for preparing for the IELTS:

  1. Get familiar with the test format and question types. The test guide information can be found on the British Council website.
  2. Take the mock tests provided to get the proper understanding of your English level, both strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your weakness as most schools ask for a minimum band score and each section contributes to your total overall score.
  3. Practice! Practice! Practice! There are plenty of resources on “the road to IELTS” website such as question papers and tips, please make good use of them as they are free. Also, don’t forget to incorporate English into your daily life – both reading and speaking.

Be over-prepared as a good IELTS score will make you stand out competitively among the other IELTS Prize applicants and could bring a