Has IELTS become a nightmare for Pakistani Students?

By Muhammad Ayaz Aslam, IELTS Trainer and Educational Research Scholar

In truth, the word ‘assessment’ is enough to invite depression and chaotic feelings among people, and further, when it comes to an academic assessment where you need to manifest your linguistic skills of a foreign language, an electric wave passes through your body all the way from your head to toes.

IELTS, International English Language Test, is widely considered as a door to heaven for most of the struggling people, as they consider Europe and other English countries as a Utopian land. Their desires – such as dreams of a lavish life, and a fantasy in liberal ways of living – ignite their ambitions further to an extent that they perceive no life in their home country.

However, the moment when they come across the first acid test of this journey – IELTS – after paying a huge some from their savings, they learn that their destination is not as easy as they were perceiving. Now, when most of them who foresee their children playing around deep frozen lakes of Canada or who go out with their partners, in their dreams, to visit Australian forests, they realize that listening, speaking, reading and most fearful writing are not simple tests, yet they are four fierce monsters. And, they need to knock out all of them in one row.

Driving the point home, one needs to understand the four reasons behind the fear of IELTS assessment: the first is frequent failures, the second is an expensive test, the third is high expectations of friends and family members, and the last is limited time for preparation. Other than these four factors, there are several other worth considering reasons too, making this test something which is unachievable such as the selection of wrong teaching or academic resource.

The high frequency of unsuccessful attempts is a reasonable and logical cause of having scary feelings. Here, teachers and language trainers are blamed to conceal the reality from the students because in most cases learners do not have even the iota of understanding that there are not ready for the assessment yet. Only to get rid of laborious teaching, some instructors present a false picture to their pupils.

A country where people on a large scale live under the poverty line, they cannot afford to pay a huge sum in terms of paper fee. These days, only few can afford to pay their examination charges and this factor also aggravate the level of anxiety and fearful thinking among the test takers. In this context, a paradigm shift and a drastic change in their personality is required.

If you are a reactive by nature, you need to be careful that this test can turn into a nightmare for you. Those who pay unnecessary attention to people’s arguments and on unproductive criticism, they often become the victim of this third factor. Being a teacher, I observed, the family, including spouse - usually husband, is consciously or unconsciously exerting unnecessary pressure on her wife: he often make her wife realized regarding his relentless efforts in paying exam fee, and sometimes try to convince her wife – the test taker – that she is the only reason behind their miserable life.

One frequent limitations, the test takers often present to their mentors is having a limited time for preparation: There are only thirty to twenty days left etc. In such circumstances, only few could understand that language is not something which can be learnt over the night. Thought there are some techniques and tricks to score good grades, yet it takes years, otherwise under normal circumstances, to overcome the grey areas from a foreign language.