The International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication. Philippine Registered Nurses seeking to get registered in most first world countries are required to have a certain level of competency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking the English Language. Filipino nurses are trained enough from childhood to have a good grasp of the language; trouble arises when they do not get the required marks for each and every exam. It is always best to prepare for any exam especially if it is a main qualifier for your prospects abroad.
The first part of the IELTS exam is listening test which lasts for about 30 minutes. It consists of four sections, played on a recording, in order of increasing difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or a monologue. The test is played once only, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening, although time is given for students to check their answers. The examinee should clear his thoughts prior to this part and keep an open mind. He should also be mindful to details. A good tip for this part is to immediately write down the answer as you hear it as your thoughts may be fleeting as you listen more and more to the recording. Write your answer using a pencil on the questionnaire and just transfer them at the end of the test as the examiners give time for review of answers before collecting the answer sheets.
The second part if the IELTS exam is the Reading test which lasts for 60 minutes. Nurses are required to take an Academic Reading test. The test consists of three sections and the sections are in order of increasing difficulty. The examinee should manage his time wisely during this part of the exam, keeping in mind that he will need more time to go through reading and answering the latter parts of the test as the difficulty increases and the reading material gets longer. A good tip in answering the exam is to underline the main sentence in each paragraph so you can use them as markers when answering the test that goes after each article.
The next part of the IELTS exam is the Writing test which also lasts for 60 minutes Nurses are required to take an Academic Reading test. The examinee must perform two writing tasks, which require different styles of writing. There is no choice of question topics so a good way to prepare prior to exam day is to read up on current events. Socio political and environmental news are always good sources of information and may be helpful when it comes to this part of the exam. The examinee should a lot 20 minutes for the first part of the exam and 40 minutes for the second part. Grammar and spelling check is a must and legible handwriting will make or break the examinee. The flow of your discussion and/or your argument must organized so as not to veer away from the topic and possibly confuse the reader. No need for “big” words, you just have to make sure any person who reads your article understands what you’re trying to get at.
The last part of the IELTS exam is the speaking test. This may be done before the actual exam day or even after the 3 other tests are done. It consists of a one-to-one interview with a specially trained examiner. The examiner will lead the candidate through the three parts of the test:
- An introduction and interview
- An individual long turn where the candidate speaks for one or two minutes on a particular topic
- And a two-way discussion thematically linked to the individual long turn. This interview will last for approximately 11-14 minutes.
My tip for the examinee is to relax and be confident. Confidence is a good indicator of your ease in conversing in English. Do not use words that you cannot define and be casual and friendly. Imagine talking to a person you have just met in an office setting and striking up a conversation with them.
These are the things that worked for me and helped me pass the IELTS exam. The execution and results will still depend on the individual’s effort and preparation. I wish my fellow registered nurses all the luck in their endeavors. For those who did not pass their initial take, remember to pick yourselves up try again. Dreams come true to those who persevere and never give up.