Cinco semanas se passaram desde nossa última conversa aqui no blog, sei que minha frequência aqui não anda das melhores, mas hoje a história é boa!!!
O relato que segue não foi escrito por mim, mas sim pelo meu marido, Lucas. O relato foi escrito originalmente em inglês, e apesar de meu maior público ser brasileiro, não faria nenhum sentido traduzi-lo: 1) quem chegar aqui pelo título e temática do texto deverá lê-lo em inglês, fará mais sentido dentro da proposta; 2) aos leitores que não dominam a língua inglesa peço desculpas, os próximos textos serão novamente em português, e a alternativa para leitura desse pode ser copiá-lo no tradutor (clique aqui).
Segue então o texto:
The story of how I scored a 7 in IELTS on my first attempt
If you are a native English speaker, you might not know how a proficiency English exam is a Door Opener. Being successful you are able to start a college degree, kick a masters or a PhD and work in a field related to your experience. Those possibilities mean the world for lots of people, me included. Therefore failing is not an option.
I often have been told that you can’t really master a foreign language unless you leave your country and live abroad for a while. However, I feel that this is totally false. As I have seen other foreign people here in Brisbane-Australia, I come to believe that not only do not students improve their English that much but it is possible to live here with zero English.
So back to the main story, I studied English not seriously as a child. Not only have I had to deal with it in my regular school but I also went to a specific English school. As I took it soft, I did not learned much. Although this early years gave me some foundation on grammar, what really expanded my vocabulary was videogames. As I am old, games back then did not have translations, and I used to play them with a dictionary on my side.
After leaving school and finishing the specific one, at 14 years old I believe, I did not studied English. All my focus was on Vestibular (college entrance examination). Then I started and finished my Physiotherapy course, where my contact with English was continuous while reading articles. At that time, despite reading stuff in English related to physio was a nailed skill, I could not speak, listen or write.
My English skill really took over with the idea of moving to Canada one day. I stuck this in my mind and I started studying through two measures: I started a course in a private school and I hired an American teacher. The later was rubbish, as the school stimulated students to translate instead of thinking fully in English; therefore as soon my contract expired I dropped off. Now, the former was quite the opposite.
James my American teacher, he was very good and enthusiastic. I had classes after work together with a physio friend. So he often used scientific videos and things that we enjoy to develop our listening, speaking and writing skills. Another important detail was that those classes were fully in English, meaning no time to translate stuff so you shall think straight away in English.
After 2 years (2011 to 2012), routines at work changed and we were unable to continue our classes and the Canada idea died away. I felt that I could quite communicate a little bit efficiently as I had the experience of assisting patients in English, so I was satisfied with my overall communication and did not have classes for another 3 years.
In 2015 the idea of Australia was an embryo and the barrier of IELTS was upon me. Instead of ignoring it I took action. As James wasn’t available I started to study by myself. I have found some great free websites on the test, and bought some IELTS books as well. After a few months I realized that having no feedback on my writing was not ideal for a person who aims for a high score. So I hired my second teacher, a Britain named Kevin.
I have found Kevin in one of the IELTS websites, I do not know much about him, as our classes were online, but his influence on my English skills was gigantic. I think I had only 15 classes and in each class I had 2 to 3 tasks corrected and some speaking practice focusing the exam. This process really brought up my writing skills in terms of speed and objectivity. In the end of those classes he said that I should try the exam, but I was unsecure so I tried a mock exam first.
In the mock I failed miserably. Curiously, in my strong skills which were listening and reading I hit the lowest, a 5 and 5,5 respectively. Most questions were True, False or Not Given in the reading part, and the listening I have got confused in a table question and committed spelling errors. However the speaking I was close 6,5 and writing I hit the 7. In conclusion, I dropped this all off and started doing other stuff.
Fasting forward a year, I got my physio skills certified in Australia, so I had to take the IELTS for real. Then I met and hired my third teacher, an Australian named Megan, and in such a short period of time my confidence towards this exam hit the lowest and the highest point, just like a roller coaster.
I had 20 days to prepare for this. So I started taking mocks by myself every day before starting classes with Megan. I was quite secure with all parts of the exam so I thought I needed just to polish a little bit my writing. That confidence ran away the moment I met her. In our first class she destroyed two strengths that I thought that I had. Firstly, saying that my writing structures were wordy and repetitive. Second, my pronunciation was poor.
Although the first class really shook my ground, it also brought me to reality and I have little time to make a huge progress. I had two weeks studying full time, working on grammar, writing, and working on speaking recording myself reading out loud. Things that I hate to do, but I had to. I was planning to take an attempt in two months, but my wife convinced me to take a “real mock” earlier, because she said that I was turning all this into a monster, so she paid for the test to be placed within one week.
So the date was set and I was comfortable with all other parts but speaking. In the day of speaking exam Megan scheduled a warm up for it. We met in a busy restaurant and spoke out loud for a couple of minutes before the exam. I can affirm that I could only reach the mark because of the warm up. It really boosted my confidence into speaking.
In the next morning my confidence was at the top, because I had the feeling that speaking was behind me, and the other three would be easier. So they were. I felt that reading and listening on the real test were much easier than some mocks that I used for practice. Despite committing some errors regarding fully developing some points in writing, I had time to write and review grammar.
In the end I have got what I needed in the mock attempt. An overall 8, with 9 in reading, 8 in listening, 7 in writing and 7 in speaking.
Summary of main Lessons from my English teachers:
Early days in school – This is so boring; I want to play video games.
Adult life Private English school – All bullshit.
James – KISS – Keep It Simple and Stupid.
Kevin – To be understood you must have structure and organize what to write or to say.
Megan – Less is more, do write only proper words. And do open your mouth to speak.
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