I am extremely honoured and elated to have been chosen as an IELTS Prize winner. Getting a high band score is an achievement in itself already but receiving the prize takes this achievement to the next level. Studying abroad is expensive. Tuition fees are not the only cost to consider when studying abroad. Also living costs and other miscellaneous expenses can be high depending on the country, but this prize has lessened the financial burden on my family. In the future, I wish to bring about a change to the internet regulations in my own country. Internet usage has escalated exorbitantly in my country, but many are yet to realise the dire consequences of improper use. Online crimes like cyberbullying, hate speech, kidnapping and scams are also growing rapidly; therefore, I would like to contribute in ending these dreadful incidents.

The British Council IELTS Prize selection process is very straightforward and efficient. Applicants are required to write an essay. I was comfortable with writing the essay as it gave me more than enough time to revise and correct my work. Moreover, the instructions and timeline were clearly stated on the website, so I did not need to worry about missing the deadline. The application had to be completed online which is unlike the other scholarships that I had applied for before where I had to fill out long and tedious forms and submit them in person.

My experience of taking exams with the British Council has always been good. I took my IGCSE exam with the British Council and so the IELTS is the second exam I have taken with the British Council. I have also sat other exams abroad, so it is clear to me that the services for the IELTS, from the registration process to in-test regulations are on par with international standards. I was able to easily book the exam online as the instructions were stated clearly on the website; however, because I took the IELTS UKVI exam, I had to go to the bank to make the payment instead of paying directly at British Council. There are also free online resources for exam practice. In a nutshell, I had a pleasant experience taking the exam with the British Council.

The IELTS exam is internationally recognised and is an accurate way of testing the four key English skills. It is designed so that students master different essential abilities in each of the four skills. For instance, in the listening session, students need to listen and understand the conversation between 2 speakers. By the last session, students need to listen without pause and take notes of what they hear. These abilities are vital for students who are studying abroad as these are required in lectures and other life activities. I decided to take IELTS as it is structured to help students grow academically, and it is accepted worldwide.

This might be an obvious advice, but I would like to urge my fellow test takers to keep practising. I believe that you will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses after taking a few practice tests. Review the completed tests and pay extra attention to the questions which you got wrong. I strongly suggest you focus on getting answers correct first before trying to get answers correct within a set time frame. Indeed, you need to be fast and accurate in the actual exam but keep in mind that accuracy comes first before speed. Finally, take as much time as you would need to prepare yourself to get your target score.