Remember when I said that I wanted to do a MA right after CELTA, last year? I didn’t know about the IELTS yet, I was naive enough to think that my Proficiency Certificate from Cambridge would be enough. But sadly, it wasn’t the case, so I bought some books about IELTS and I planned to take it in December.
Spoiler alert: I couldn’t. I started a teaching job in September and I just couldn’t find time to study. In the mean time, I applied to my dream university, Yale, crossed all my fingers, wrote the best cover letter I have ever written (that’s my personal opinion, but still) and I GOT IN.
IELTS was still a requirement for my MA, but I couldn’t focus on it and I never managed to find time to practice, until February. I was thinking, well, either I know, either I don’t, and I don’t, I don’t know why I am an English teacher.
I was scheduled to take my test by the end of February, so by the end of January, when I was in London, I went to Foyles and I found some other books. All the books I bought for IELTS in France were useless (sorry, but it’s true.). I found at Foyles Vocabulary for IELTS (great for the writing part, it provides really specific vocab) and IELTS Practice Material (I am not getting paid to say that).
I didn’t do a lot of practice, to be honest, but I tried to read more than usual and more specifically, read more the kind of books that I would have never read normally, to get vocabulary (which means that I read something else than historical biographies and Bill Bryson’s work for four months at least) and I subscribed to the New York Times. That’s all I did for reading, I didn’t reinvent the wheel here.
For the listening part, same, I just watched movies, a lot of movies, from everywhere, with different accents and different situation (stress, pronunciation..). I did one practice test and that’s all. (I understood most of Darkest Hour so I was reassured about it!). I also listened to podcasts, but I didn’t like it.
For the writing part, I wasn’t confident, because writing is not my forte, speaking is. I didn’t really know what to do, and how to practice it, so I thought reading would help anyway. I know I am not supposed to say that, as a teacher, but I didn’t practice writing.
I was really surprised to meet a lot of people during the test who had no idea what the scores meant. A lot of parents were pressuring their kids, a lot of kids were taking the test for the second or the third time and I was in the middle of it, vaguely amused by the British Council staff and the whole environment. One of the girl actually threw up because she was stressing out.
I got my results yesterday, and I am pleased to say that I nailed it (my personal challenge was 8, I got 8 in overall, so I can say that I nailed it, right?) and now, I have a ton of questions about MA, because the whole point of IELTS is to do a MA, not just having a piece of paper.
Dear readers, if you have any recommendation about distance learning MA, I am all ears.