It has been a year now since I took my International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. I am a nurse and I have always dreamed of working in Australia. For me to be qualified, I had to take the IELTS. When I was told that this was an English proficiency examination, I felt confident since I know how to speak in English; however, there was a feeling of anxiety since English was seldom used in my workplace.
I checked online and found a review center. I decided to enrol in one since I had some time to spare and, my friends insisted. On the first few weeks, I was able to understand the flow of the speaking test. It was a shock for me to know that a native English speaker conducts the interview. The anxiety started to get heavier and it was weakening me inside. As days went by, we were taught different vocabulary, word expressions and even behaviour displayed during the speaking test.
On Wednesdays, we had our speaking mock exams. One by one, we were interviewed by our instructors. Some of them even used an Australian accent during the mock test. What I like best about this mock test was the instructors were very helpful in pointing out the weakness in my responses and suggested ideas for me to make it better. They were straightforward in giving their feedback which I found helpful as I was pushed to do it right and much better next time. Finally, my real speaking test happened.
Upon arriving in the test center, I suddenly had cold feet. Feeling nervous is totally normal; however, you have to know how to control yourself and not let this feeling consume you. When my name was called, I went in and saw my interviewer. He was using an Australian accent, so I reckoned he was Australian. Introductions were made and I was very pleased as he was very friendly and warm. There were times that I was not able to hear clearly the question, so he would repeat it without the annoying facial look. The thing I remembered my instructors told me is to keep calm and to feel comfortable in the interview. This helped me a lot, most especially with the content of my responses. The test became an interactive discussion on the third part and I was able to cope with the pace of the discussion. Fifteen minutes later, the interview ended. We shook hands and off I went out of the room.
Two weeks later, I got a speaking band score of 8.0. I reached my target score and even did better. I was so thankful with the suggestions and comments of my instructors since I was able to handle myself very well on the exam day. Now, I am in Australia working as an ER nurse. The test is a good experience and practice especially for those who plan to work overseas.
A piece of advice: trust IELTS review centers. Instructors know what they are doing and they are the best when it comes to training and teaching.