A human being experiences a great deal of milestones in life. At the age of three, we were able to speak the very first words to communicate with outside world. Three years later, we went to school and got in touch with initial human understanding. After high school graduation, we stood in front of many choices of occupation. All of those milestones have remarkable impacts on our future; in other words, they create our character. However, there does exist other factors influencing greatly our lives and these events differentiate us from others. They might be an inspirational speech, an emotional book or even a quote from a well-known person. In my case, it is simply a language – English. Through the lens of mine, English carries more significances than a foreign language.
When I was in high school, like most of students in my school, I concentrated only on natural science subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics to get high scores in University Entrance examination. At that time, to me, English was no more than a conditional subject. I spent all my time on studying natural science and finally, the result came up to my expectation, I achieved 27 out of 30 points. I knew the fact that less than 5 percent of participants could reach this score and obviously, I had rights to be proud of it. However, that pride soon came to an end when I received an invitation to a farewell party from my friend as he was going to study pharmacy abroad in USA. After that party, I was silent and could not help making comparison between his potential and mine. My friend was admitted to a top-50 pharmacy college in the world while my school was just in the middle of nowhere in world map of universities. I wondered what made this difference and the answer was so simple, my insufficiency of English skills.
I still remembered my reaction at that moment. Overlooking all my recreational activities, I just spent whole three days in front of computer screen, conducted my research on English. I just concentrated on everything relevant to English. Visiting dozens of English forums, reading experience of predecessors and downloading English materials, those were all I did in the following months. I no longer spent too much time on television, video games or sleeping but finding information about English. The understanding completely changed my thoughts about English. Indeed, English was not merely an international language that could help me communicate with other people on this planet, but also the most powerful tool to make my dream come true. I wrote a minute plan of studying English and carried it out immediately. However, I encountered many difficulties in learning English in the very first months; regardless of my attempts, my English skills seemed to be unchanged, I still could not catch the content of English articles; those English sounds seemed to be unfamiliar to me. I was told that the progress would come very slowly, but I could not imagine that the study was like running on the spot. There were many times I fell into great depression and hopelessness, I always wished that I had learned English when I was a child so that at that moment, I could be a master of English and had full potential to apply to famous universities. Looking at people who was well-educated at English in their childhood, there was always an indescribable sorrow occupying my mind.
Fortunately, my dignity was unable to accept this embarrassing failure, I returned to my study campaign with a concrete belief consolidated by previous accomplishments. Everyday, I tried to listen to whole recording even though I just understood around 40 to 50 percent of its content. In terms of reading, I read online articles in various themes, from business, technology to health with the purpose of broadening my vocabulary. In addition, I always visited English forums in order to inquire precious experiences from other English learners. In short, English has changed totally my routines and I gradually got used to my new daily life.
Three years have passed by, three years of self-studying, and now English truly holds an integral part of my life, it not only helps me update information from international news, but also become a key factor of my scientific research. Looking back on my pathway of studying English, I could not measure how much efforts that I made, how many articles and recordings that I read and listened to. I just kept studying, studying and studying with constant faith. Now, I recognize the truth that what I gain is more than a language, I understand thoroughly the nature of perseverance and definition of a simple word – “process”. Cambridge dictionary defines “process is a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result”. The most common question that everyone often asks is that “How long does it take to accomplish ?”. The lesson I learned from English is that you had better not ask these questions like that but consist on studying. “Try your best and God will do the rest”.
Three years ago, I never imagined how a language could change my life like the way that English did. Indeed, what I yield from studying English is more than a language. My soul has been forged, my will has become stronger than ever and the most important lesson is that English helps me realize the nature of life – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm and great perseverance”.
TWO YEARS LATER …
The 900-word essay that you have just read was my first writing in an emotional night two years ago. Now, I still keep those routines, reading newspaper, listening to English recordings and more importantly, I overcame my fear and took the IELTS test. The result was amazing, overall band score is 7.5 with 9.0 for reading and 8.0 for listening. People gave me praises, great respect to my resilient efforts, I was even trusted by my friends to open a class for IELTS preparation. Nothing could describe my feelings at that time, proud mixed with little bit worried, I suppose.
However, only few months later, I began thinking about my English study. “Did it end ?”, “why should I learn English because I already had IELTS certificate ?”. Though my reading band score was maximum, but I was still stuck in some articles or scientific reports; as for listening skill, I could not follow the speed of spokesman in BBC channel. Then, I have gradually recognized the fact that IELTS is not everything, IELTS is not the certificate that prove your fluent, free and effective English, it is mere the certificate that you are capable of adapting in an English environment. There do exist many, many obstacles in the pathway of mastering English, IELTS is a just ticket you need to possess in order to get into the play.
Many people asked me about my experience for this test. Well, as for me, it is not so complicated, just “sharpen your skills everyday” and the key word is EVERYDAY due to the fact that you cannot cram a language into your brain, but be patient for it. Language is something simple like rice in our daily meals, it is also an art of communicating, not merely using. It cannot be learnt by heart, crammed or by any trick, tip or hint. Studying a language is ACCUMULATING.
Sharpen your reading by … reading everyday, you like sports ? so read sports; you like healthcare ? read medical or pharmaceutical articles. Read and take the ideas, structures and new words, you need only to read 3 to 5 articles per day, so you will have over 1000 in a year. For the number of 4 years of accumulation, please multiple this number. Amazing result comes from a simple act EVERYDAY.
It is all the same to listening, you feel bored when listening to IELTS tests ? so try Youtube interviews or Vlogs. You think IELTS listening tests are so fast ? try to listen to some slower recordings. Your brain needs time to get used to the new language. Be patient, make yourself feel comfortable and time will complete the rest. I promise !
For speaking, you cannot wait for your skill becoming perfect before using it. That’s ridiculous, speak ! this is the only way, you need to remember that English is your secondary language, it is so normal when you cannot speak it fluently, you are not a freak or a loser when you encounter big problems in English speaking. That’s totally normal. Language is for understanding each other, always think about it.
In terms of writing, still remember how to sharpen your reading skills ? It’s time to use all structures, ideas, collocations and new words you have accumulated for such a long time. This is the only skill that you need a master to correct your mistakes in grammar, spelling and the most important, your cohesiveness. Format is for the beginning, everyone needs it, but in the long way, your style will replace it, try to create your own style and signature. You are unique !
And final words I want to say to IELTS candidates are that IELTS is the perfect solid goal for us to master English, it is a very annoying test and I do not deny your efforts when you achieve high scores in IELTS. However, it only lasts 2 years, everybody; but English will follow us for entire life. Make your English study be your friend, your routine and the highest, your life. It is like a tree that needs to be watered EVERYDAY.
Written by hieupharma