• Alex Halim

Achieving a Proficient Level of English

For many people achieving a proficient level of English on an International English Test is an important achieve a crucial step in their lives for many reasons. Some might require achieving this level of English for academic purposes i.e. to be admitted for a higher education course such as an Undergraduate degree or Postgraduate degree (Master or PhD). For others, achieving a proficient level of English is a registration and/or validation requirement to developed a professional career overseas. For example, English language is a requirement for registration in some professions (i.e. Nursing, Accountancy, among others) in Australia. In addition, a proficient level of English language is a requirement to have a skill assessment of overseas qualifications approved by a professional body. Lastly, for most people achieving a proficient level of English level is a requirement to migrate to Australia.

I was first required to achieved a proficient level of English to study a Master Degree in Australia. Three years later, I was required to provide evidence of proficient level of English to registered as a Migration Agent by the office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority. I sat for an International English Language Testing System (‘IELTS’) academic version in both occasions. I was required to achieved a minimum of 7 points on each band score and overall band score to meet the proficient level of English language.

From my own experience, I can honestly say that achieving a proficient level of English on IELTS academic can be quite stressful and extremely challenging but not impossible! I would like to share some valuable tips that helped me to achieve my goal. First tip, engage a tutor or study an English test preparation course. This will provide you with a good base and/or reinforce your knowledge of English language. Particularly, this will help students who need to reinforce their grammar. However, this study method does not suit many people. For example, people that have a full-time employment much rather study on their own due to time constrain; or students who cannot afford paying for English classes. Hence, my second tip is to prepare a study plan for your English test. In order to achieve proficient level of English, practice is the key. Therefore, you will need a good study plan that allows you to efficiently organize your time to study. Third tip, never stop practicing. Either watching movies in English, listening to music in English or browsing on the web after changing your computer language settings to English. Avoid speaking your native language as much as you can for the period you are preparing for your test. This will improve your speaking and listening skills and even reading and grammar skills to a certain extend. Lastly, for those who suffer with the grammar section of an English test. I highly recommend you counting your words prior the end of the exam. It may sound silly but a lot of people loose valuable points for writing less than the required words. Therefore, I recommend you to allocate at least 5 minutes to count twice your words on the grammar section.

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