Hello, from LearnEd’s in-house writer!
I recently wrote a post for our blog about my journey with the English language so-far. In spite of all my travails with English, both academically and otherwise, in some small way, I still remain a bit of a snob when it comes to my English ability, if not others’. Imagine my absolute horror then, when I completely fell face first while attempting a mock-IELTS test!
So life recently required me to get an IELTS Score for myself, and I honestly thought it would be a piece of low-sugar cake. I’m an English graduate, I work for an English teaching company, I swallow books by the dozen, how bad could this tiny exam possibly be? I decided to indulge my ego with a sample test a few weeks before my actual exam. That first test was an unmitigated disaster, to say the least. I barely managed to get a grip on the format itself, let alone wire my brain into thinking of answers.
Thankfully that initial shock got me into action, and with the help of friends and my LearnEd team, I managed to get the right practice and the right tips, and I did well for myself at the exam.
The entire experience got me thinking though. What is it about these English proficiency exams that gets our goat (look up that idiom, while you’re already thinking)?
Be it IELTS, TOEFL, CPE, GRE or any other exam that you need to ace for your admissions, PR process, or Visa requirements, these exams hold a sword over our necks.
They seem to become a major factor to determine our future or our prospects for a better life. Why do they hold so much power, even for people who are otherwise very skilled at their jobs or academics?
One of my major learnings from my IELTS experience was that an inherent comfort with the English language goes a long way in putting you at ease with such tests.
If you are comfortable with reading and speaking in English, then it is just the format of the test that you have to familiarise yourself with, not the content matter itself. I’ve been told that this stands true for Math as well, if you’re well versed in the principles of math, then such exams aren’t as big a challenge. If you try and learn everything in the two weeks leading up to the exam, that’s when life becomes an anxiety-riddled roller-coaster.
My problem with IELTS was my unfamiliarity with the format of the exam, and the inability to focus on every single word individually to contextualise it. The fact I’m at ease when it comes to communicating, reading and writing in English was the only thing that helped me get over the problem. It takes a lot of systematic practice and frequent communication in English to get to a point where you can adapt to different exams easily.
I came to the realisation that this was also the point of these exams itself, to drive home the fact that English proficiency is a key factor for you, even if you plan to spend any time abroad studying or working. Being able to read, listen, write and speak correctly in English is the stepping stone to setting up any process of work or education in a society where English is the primary language of communication. The real-world applications of an IELTS exam aren’t just limited to a band on your mark sheet or PR application.
At LearnEd, we strongly believe that it is a matter of the right training and practice to activate your dormant English skills from school or college into daily communication. Our programmes are specifically designed with this idea in mind, and we work to refine your communication strategy, so that not just English proficiency tests, but also everyday communication is easy for you, both in India and abroad! As a staff member, I’ve already benefited tremendously from the philosophy at LearnEd, but I know that as a client, there is so much more to be absorbed, and no IELTS or TOEFL or GRE can ever frazzle you again!