Last updated on May 22nd, 2019
What the Joker is to The Batman is what an English skills assessment is to a skilled visa. It’s evil, it’s pain in the butt and yet its role cannot simply be dismissed in your successful migration. It’s a decisive milestone, one that will literally change your fate. In fact, it is so crucial and yet so scary that many people want to tackle it first and then proceed ahead with a skills assessment.
Why it is important?
Well because you need those valuable 10 points (or 20 points, yum!), but even more importantly it tests one of the most important skills you will need to live happily in Australia – English language.
The Horror of IELTS
When I finished gathering documents for skills assessment, I had no idea how deadly my next opponent was – IELTS. Back in 2014 when I was preparing for English skills test, IELTS was the only option available, unlike today where you can appear for either PTE-A, TOEFL iBT or CAE.
If you scour online forums, you will easily find sinister stories about repeated attempts and failures in IELTS. People have lost their sleep and mind trying to get just an additional 0.5 score.
The best one I heard was about a person who did a whopping 23 attempts to clear IELTS. I think he deserves an Australian visa just for his perseverance and hard work.
23 attempts, wow! If one combines all these stories, it can be a good material for a true horror TV series. Mr. M Night Shyamalan, are you listening? 😛
When it comes to IELTS, there is no discrimination. Whether you are born with an English tongue or not, there is no guarantee that IELTS will be easy on you. Even people whose native language is English, find it difficult to get the minimum score in IELTS. It’s no wonder that it scares the hell out of us Indians, especially people like me who are from vernacular medium.
Statistically speaking, I had a very little chance of surviving IELTS the first time. All my high school education was done in my native language – Marathi. As there was no YouTube in my childhood, I didn’t sing Ba Ba black sheep or even twinkle twinkle till I was in high school. In fact, my first exposure to English alphabets didn’t happen till 5th standard. At this point, I must thank Pune education board who designed our syllabus. Somehow, they compiled all the exciting and fun stuff and put that in an English book. On the contrary, Marathi book was littered with the social injustice, women’s rights, socio-political divide – that kind of mess. You see why English is so popular in India!
Anyway, I loved English and had no fear of it since the beginning. But I must say that if there was anything that kept my English above average, it was my passion for reading and my love for watching movies. Cheers, JK Rowling and Hollywood!
The Divine Intervention
I will say I am lucky to be always surrounded by the right people. This is what single-handedly helped me steer through IELTS maze. One of my colleagues and now a close friend – Rohan, was also preparing for Australian Immigration at the same time, though I had no idea about it. As fate would have it, he came to know about my situation through a common friend and then started a series of “secret” meetings in the company cafeteria, smoking zones, waiting lounges, lifts, bus rides and so on. Rohan had already spent a few years in Australia as a student and hence, he had pretty a good idea about the whole immigration process and life in Australia. From time to time, he helped me with my queries patiently and it was him who suggested joining IELTS coaching – a million dollar suggestion indeed.
I cannot stress how important it is to have professional coaching for IELTS, no matter how proficient you are in the English language. This is THE most important step one has to take to clear IELTS.
Why English Professional Coaching Is Important?
I believe that opting for professional English coaching is worth every penny for the below reasons.
The first and most important step to improve your English is to understand what mistakes you are doing. I have seen many people, despite practising for months, fail to clear IELTS and struggle to understand why. It is simply because they don’t know what their mistakes were. It’s like singing in the bathroom, you may feel that you sing like Bob Dylan, however, in reality, you may just be an amateur version of Justin Bieber. The human mind is such an ego-pleasing apparatus that whatever you do will feel perfect to you. Hence, you need another pair of eyes to look at your mistakes and correct them.
The proverb “Practice makes perfect” proves true beyond doubt when it comes to IELTS preparation. It is only after a lot of practice with different write-ups, I started to realise what structure to follow and what mistakes to avoid. Same was the case with reading and listening, where you learn to speed read and understand different accents respectively. When you speak on different subjects, not only your vocabulary increases but also your confidence to communicate with proper body language. In my experience, having a professional English teacher helped me a lot to review my progress, suggest improvements and prepare for difficult scenarios.
Sometimes, you need to get into the examination mode to get serious about the test. This is especially true for people like myself who always procrastinates stuff until the last moment. Having a coach who can nudge you towards your goal is very useful in such a case. Plus, when you practice in a dedicated place and time, free of any intervention, your focus and grasping power improves ten-fold. Moreover, frequent mock exams, practice tests and mock interviews made me so confident that by the time I faced the real thing, it was almost routine.
Initially, I was sceptical of getting into English coaching. It brought back scary memories from my schools days (shudder!). But as it turned out, it was absolute fun. I studied among the group of at the most 5 people, creating a team-like atmosphere where you learn from each other, compete with each other and get into the flow. I met people from different backgrounds and even from different countries. In addition, our mentor acquainted us with the Australian culture as he shared his personal experiences and stories about the Australian lifestyle. You cannot get all this by studying on your own.
Sense of achievement
As I studied in a small group, there was always a healthy competition among us. That really pushed me to work hard on my homework and do well in the mock exams. Though the reward was a mere appreciation by my teacher, the boost it gave to my confidence was invaluable.
My coach, in addition to the wealth of experience that he had, also possessed a vast number of resources to help us sail through IELTS. He provided me with different techniques for writing essays, grammatical exercises, mock exam kits, vocabulary crosswords, puzzles, reading essays, listening tracks, books, videos and so on. In fact, he also provided me with a mini voice recorder through which I would record answers to the mock interviews and listen to them myself to understand my mistakes. This helped me a lot to perfect my voice modulations, pauses and sentence structures during the speaking.
To sum up, I joined English coaching for IELTS and it was one of the best decisions of my life. In the next instalment, I will share some of the tips and tricks I learned to clear IELTS. Meanwhile, why don’t you tell me your stories (fun or scary) about IELTS or it’s counterparts?
Moving To Australia Series
- Moving To Australia – The Idea
- 10 Reasons Why I Chose Australia
- Which Work Visa Is Right For You?
- Should I Go With Migration Agent?
- Introduction To Skilled Visa Points System
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 1
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 1
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 3
- EOI – Express Your Desire To Migrate
- Getting Visa Invitation
- Lodging Visa Application And Making Visa Payment
- Getting Evidence of Functional English
- Undergoing Health Examination – The Whole Story
- Getting Indian PCC And The Road Ahead