Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Preparing for English language proficiency tests

"Preparation centers are convenient, but self-preparation is good enough, too"

Prabhash Rai, 20, who’s currently studying English Literature at University of Cambridge in the UK, reminisces that he took his IELTS (International English Language Testing System) four years ago. Since he wasn’t much aware of the institutes that offered preparation classes for the test during that time, he prepared on his own. “I had some books and a CD as the only materials to go through,” he recalls. Preparing for the test on his own helped him get a good score, he believes.

At present, there are a lot of institutes and preparation centers providing classes for the tests in Kathmandu. Sajina Bhandari, 24, felt that it would be easier if she joined one of these institutes for her GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) preparation. She’s completed her Bachelor’s degree and aspires to go to the US for further studies.

She chose Collins International Education in Putalisadak for the three-month long GRE course. “Before joining the classes, I had zero idea on how to prepare for GRE,” she says. Even though she had all the study materials required from a senior in college, she was totally clueless when she sat down for preparations, she shares.“At the institute, the instructors made us well acquainted with the questions patterns of the test and also gave us extra study materials for reference. This made the preparation very convenient,” she says.

Sajina also shares that since she joined the classes with her classmates from college, it was easier for her to discuss and practice with friends.

Sharing about the significance of preparation classes for students to appear the language proficiency tests, Navin Adhikari, English instructor to students preparing for GRE at Abhiyan Tourism and Hotel Management Training Center in Lalitpur, says, “Even though many institutes charge a large amount to students for the preparation classes, it’s totally worth it in the end.”

Preparing at an institute saves time, he suggests. “It may take four to five months for a student to complete their preparation if they do it on their own, but if they seek help from an institute, they’ll be able to finish it in around two months,” he calculates.

He adds that since the learning technique at institutes is standardized, students can learn only what’s important for the tests. Students preparing on their own usually go for a detailed study, which is not really necessary, he observes.

“Group studies is very common among students who come to preparation classes with their friends. This makes learning fun and they learn faster, compared to those who prepare on their own,” he says.

Prabhat Shrestha, 21, who took TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) before leaving for Israel for his higher studies three years ago, prepared for the tests on his own. He went through the sample tests and practice tests on the internet and managed to get good scores.

“If you’re good at English and are acquainted to managing time during timed tests, you can definitely prepare on your own,” he says. But if one wants to better oneself in English from the foundation itself, institutes can be of great help, he adds.

Agreeing to Prabhat’s opinion is Bikesh Shrestha, the officer at British Council in Lainchaur. “If a candidate feels that s/he is good at English, s/he can easily appear the tests after some self-preparation,” he says.

He also informs that at British Council, there’s a learning center where candidates can take a membership and come for self-study. The center provides the candidates with study materials and they can also buy them if they want, he says.

“Monthly workshops on IELTS are conducted where students can learn about what IELTS is all about and the most appropriate ways of preparing for the same,” he informs.

Along with that, British Council also organizes mock tests twice a month so that candidates can check their proficiency level and improve on the same, Bikesh concludes.

source:SUPRASANNA ARYAL , republica,18 august 2014