Alhamdulillah, at the moment, I felt secured and grateful for finally having a firm plan on what to do in 2012 or precisely in the period of 1 year (26 September 2011 to 25 September 2012). I finally able to pursue my dream to study abroad. Thanks to JPA for willing to sponsor me...=)

Alhamdulillah, only this words I can say right now..Everything happens because of Allah's will, and He makes it happen for me.. ALHAMDULILLAH....

My IELTS Experience Part 2 : The Advices

Αfter a rigorous efforts and preparations, I was 90% ready. Hey, wait.. where goes another 10%? Well, that 10% constitutes my nervousness and insecurity when thinking of what I will have to confront on the test date. So, I would say that’s normal. It’s good though to be quite fret as you will keep revising when you realized that your preparation is not adequate enough.

* * * * * * * *

As already scheduled over a month before, I came to UniKL on 19th February to sit for IELTS test. Though it was supposed to start on 9.00 am., but I came way earlier as I don’t want to be stuck in any traffic jam on my way to test venue. Pheww….., that would be the worst-case scenario ever that I’m trying to get rid of.

Advice #1 : Do come early to your test venue.

* * * * * * * *

At 9.00 a.m the exam started with Listening Test.

There are 4 conversations in total with diverse accent, from Australian, British, Canadian and American as well. The first 2 conversations was clear and comprehensible for me. But in the middle of the 3rd conversation, suddenly the tsunami of my IELTS strike! =( .

The conversation is actually about travelling at several Australian mountains and activities that you can do over there. What makes it harder is that, the speakers talk rather rapid, despite the fact that I’m not familiar with strong Australian accent which makes it even worst.

I was astounding with such situation and loss for about 10 seconds I believe. But that 10 seconds cause me to miss 3 questions already (that means a farewell to Band 8 and Band 9 of course). I suddenly realize most listening tests that I have done were British accent, which was much understandable. I should have acknowledge before that Australian accent is much harder.

It was demoralizing, but at the same time I realized there is no room for mistakes anymore. I quickly reaffirm my mind and become extra-focus for the 4th conversation which I think I have done it fairly well.

Advice #2 : Do practice your listening with diverse accent, particularly Australian and American accent.

* * * * * * * *

Reading Test next.

Reading Test I think is the easiest task among the 4 modules (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking). Most candidates obtained high marks here, which helps to increase their overall band. The questions are rather straight forward. The answers are all hidden inside the passages . However, those three articles are very very long. Like I had said in Part 1 of this series, in Reading Test, efficient time management is absolutely crucial. If you do not manage your time well, you won’t have enough time to answer all 40 questions in an hour.

You may divide your time to 20 minutes for each articles, ie. using 20-20-20 rule. Meanwhile, since the articles are getting harder, it is advisable to use 15-20-25 rule. which indicates that you can allocate 15 minutes for 1st articles , 20 minutes for 2nd articles and 25 minutes for the last one. If you do this, trust me, you would have sufficient time, enough to answer all questions.

Advice #3: Manage your time well. Use 15-20-25 rule.

* * * * * * * *

Afterwards, it’s time for Writing Test.

To be honest, the day I’m going to sit for this Writing Test, is the first day I’m going to write! Haha, my mum surely be surprised if I told her earlier . Nevertheless, I do read a bunch of IELTS reports and essays, as well as enriching my vocabulary. But that woul’nt be the same if you have done some writing, right? So do it. Perhaps at that time, since I was studying all by myself, I was just thinking “Who gonna check my grammar and essays structure if I write one?” . Well, previously I have no idea that I can indeed post it to my blog and request for anyone to review my essays.

Accordingly, here I share with you my Writing test questions.

Writing Task 1 (Report)
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are given a line graph that shows the number of CDs that were purchased from three different locations which are supermarket, music store and internet. Write a report that describes the trend of CDs purchases based on the graph provided. You should write at least 150 words.

Writing Task 2 (Essay)
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
Some people thought that the role of women in army or police organizations are very relevant and becoming more significant. However, there are people who argue that women are not suit for this kind of job. Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. You should write at least 250 words.

Advice #4 : Please, do write!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Finally, it’s time for Speaking test.

My speaking test was actually conducted two days after,  in British Council, KL. As usual, I arrived much earlier. As I approached the entrance door, I can see a group of Indonesian students practicing their English conversation with each other. I’m not sure from which institution they came from, but obviously it was a fascinating sight to see more Indonesian speak English very well =).
After registering myself, I wait in a waiting room where candidates have to wait for their name to call upon. I wait patiently and about half an hour later, a Chinese lady called  upon my name,  and consecutively I know it’s my time. She then give me a card with “Room 2″ written on it.

For your information, for speaking test, each candidates will have a one-to-one conversation with an examiner in a semi-transparent room. So, you can see other candidates undergoing their speaking test, as you are doing yours, which makes you even nervous.

As I continue searching for Room 2, I passed through a room with an examiner with sheer serious furious face. There was no a single sight of smile on her lips and I was like..”pheww.., fortunately she was’nt my examiner”. =D Then, I passed through another room with ‘Mat Saleh’ inside, and he was busily having a conversation with a candidate. Well, to be honest at that time, I was quite fret of having a conversation with native speakers. Remember about Australian accent that I have to deal with during speaking test?  Wuwu, I just thought that -  if it was hard enough to hear them speak, what’s more to have a conversation with them hehe… So, again I feel lucky that I’m not going to do my speaking test with any ‘Mat Saleh’.  

Only later, I was told by one of my friend who takes IELTS test earlier, “Hey, you should be grateful if you got native speaker, they usually give you higher marks, you know”. Is that so? OMG..if I knew it earlier, I may request that Chinese lady to change my room ..^^

Nevertheless, finally I found my room. As I open the door, I was really delighted to see my examiner giving a pleasant bright smile for me. She even greeted me cordially and try to make myself comfortable with the test scene. My heart which was palpitating vigorously turn ease as I was relieved knowing how professional my examiner is. We introduced each other briefly and the speaking test started then.

Here I share with you my Speaking  test questions.

Since English is not our first language, sometimes we do need several seconds to seek  for the exact words to use which eventually cause a short or long gaps which most people filled with  “uhm, aaa…., errr…., ” or just saying “you know” too much.

For example Umm, i saw this really huge building.. you know in the middle of aaaa… aaa the street near Wilson’s garden..aaaaa …you know that street that’s like..… really desertedor another example , It was like, amazing, I mean they were just, like, so gorgeous, and like, I dunno, everyone was like, just really excited, and like, screaming and yelling…”

Pheww..that was terrific. So, instead of saying those meaningless fillers, we can use more effective gap fillers like this.

I’m trying to remember  : “Let me see”, “as far as I remember”
I’m not sure                       : “I think”, “… or something like that”
I’m telling you the truth : “the fact is”, “to be honest”, “as a matter of fact”
I don’t want to force it on you : “I was just thinking”.

It’s much better is it? =)..Find more “gap fillers” here.

Advice #5: Avoid short/long gaps by using “gap fillers” that do actually serve some purpose and add a degree of meaning.
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
The result finally came out 13 days later. It was a hectic Friday morning in KL as I passionately went to British Council once again to collect my result. After giving my ID to an officer and he handed to me an envelope with the result inside, my heart was like to fell off. Wuwu, I was damn nervous.  I recite “Bismillah”, inhaling a very deep breath, and taking the result transcript out…..and this is what I had accomplished.

Well, it was’nt that excellent. But,  it’s sufficient enough to meet the university’s requirement. As I expected, my writing marks is the least, hehe…so don’t forget to practice your writing skills okay.  Provided that you do so, you will surely get better outcome than mine.
In the end, to those who are going to take IELTS soon, I wish you all the best.  It’s your chance to be successful next time!

Best wishes from me,

My IELTS Experience Part 1 : The Preparation

For those who are planning to study abroad , or attempting to secure a scholarship, there is a common condition that they need to comply with which is; a prove of English qualifications. Among international recognized test specifically to meet this purpose is IELTS, which I had taken last February. Accordingly, now I just want to share my personal experience, which I think might be valuable for those who are going to take this test sooner or later.

* * * * * * * * * *

I have already secured a place in one of top 10 universities in western countries, but the status is conditional, and the condition is that I need to provide acceptable evidence of English qualifications at “Good Level”.

 I have to show a prove of English qualification at Good Level

Originally, I did’nt know how much I need to score in order to achieve that “Good” level. So, I’m google in for English Language requirement from respective university website and this is what I found.

Wow! Its 7.0! I was surprised. Consequently, I realize this was’nt an easy task. It’s rather daunting indeed. I know if I fail to get 7.0, then that’s’s time to say goodbye to the offer that I had received earlier. But, I promise to myself, I won’t let that to be happen. I had done a lot to be in this level (ie. experiencing the hardship of studying in undergraduate level, not enough sleep and sacrificing a lot of time to study)…I could not then make any mistakes in these subsequent few last steps of achieving my dream to study abroad. Upon realizing how imperative this test could be, I start to prepare for my IELTS test aggressively.

* * * * * * * * * *

I register for IELTS test in British Council Malaysia, located at the central part of Kuala Lumpur. The fees is relatively expensive which is RM 570.00. This is another reason why I cant fail in the test…hehe =). I choose to sit for the test, on 19th February, which means at that time I have a month and a half to prepare for it.

IELTS test comprises of 4 set of modules, mainly Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The total test time is two hours and 45 minutes. Most of the time, all those modules can be finished in a day only , but due to some inevitable reasons, I have to take the speaking test on the other day. Well, I had no problem with it. It’s indeed beneficial to me as I got much time to focus on the other modules first.

As a matter of fact, actually British Council do provide workshop or training purposely designed for those who are going to take IELTS test. But, I’m just not among those who are attending the workshop. Why?? hehe… because it’s way too costly. The workshop if I’m not mistaken is about RM 800.00 which is much higher than the fees itself! Unless your English level proficiency is very weak and you really need some guidance , then it is advisable for you to attend the workshop. Otherwise, you better keep your money for other purposes right?? < hehe, British Council surely hate me for saying so, =P >

Then, since I’m preparing all by myself, it’s vitally important for me to do it seriously. There are actually a vast source of information and sample of questions that you can find and download from the internet.

Here, I provide some links that I think could assist you in your preparation in some ways….the great news is that, it’s all FREE OF CHARGE!! ^^

3. Mock IELTS Papers (I personally love this one =))

5. Darsana IELTS (they really have a good collection of essays here )

You can also download IELTS’s books at Scribd, for example IELTS-Preparation-and-Practice-Reading-Writing-Academic-Module.

So, as I told you earlier there are a major sources of IELTS samples on the internet. You just need to browse and search for it using the right keyword. For example,”IELTS essays sample”, ” IELTS mock reading”, “IELTS reading passages”, or “preparation for IELTS”. If you are targeting a particular band for a certain module, then your keyword need to be more specific; eg. “IELTS sample essays band 8″ or “IELTS speaking band 7 tips”. ..yeah pretty much like that. You got my idea are you ?=)

But even if you do all these exercises, it still quite difficult to obtain your desired result unless you know the golden tips of answering the questions. This is because, IELTS exam not only designed to examine your English proficiency but also your time management as well. You really need to manage your time well in that limited examination’s period. Even a very eloquent native English speakers could possible get a not-so-welcoming result if his/her time management in the test is very poor. So, here I provide some links of tips that you can adhere to Please do pay a special attention on tips on managing your time particularly for Reading and Writing test.

Okay I think that’s enough for now, later I will tell you my IELTS results hehe…but please dont expect me to get band 9, that’s impossible for me (You can judge by reading this posts indeed right? There are grammar mistakes everywhere.hahaha,..but don’t afraid to make mistake, the more you write, the better you will be).

Nevertheless, considering I’m studying all by myself in a relatively short period, I’m grateful enough with my achievement =).

For those who are going to sit for this exam soon, I wish you all the best and good luck!!

Warm Regards,

Securing a scholarship: My Experience

Honestly I’m not the best person to give you an advice on securing a scholarship. But, what I’m going to tell you is just merely based on my personal experience. Since, the perspective is much narrower for Malaysian scholarships, then I think I would rather talk in Malay, can I? =D

* * * * * * * * Malay section * * * * * * * * *

Sebenarnya, saya dah lama mengidam nak pegi oversea ni..hehe. “Mengidam”?? macam orang pregnant jer. (Insya-Allah tak lame lagi kot ..ahaks).
Saya bukanlah tergolong dalam kalangan anak-anak datuk, or anak-anak raja ke, saya orang biasa2 jer. So, kalau tak dapat biasiswa, jangan mimpi la nak gi oversea tu wuwu. Jadi, atas kesedaran tersebut dan dengan semangat yang membara, saya pun study giler2 lah waktu undergraduate. Ya, sejak undergraduate study lagi saya dah target biasiswa yang saya nak mohon nanti untuk sarjana.
Alhamdulillah, since saya ditaja oleh JPA (undergraduate) , so saya pun merancang untuk memohon biasiswa JPA juga untuk master saya. JPA ada menyediakan biasiswa Ijazah Sarjana dan Profesional. Biasiswa ni disediakan untuk pelajar tajaan JPA yang memenuhi syarat2 tertentu untuk menyambung pelajaran di peringkat Sarjana dan PhD di dalam dan luar negara. Waaah, baguskan biasiswa ni. Sayang sangatlah kat JPA .. (padahal kalau scholar lambat masuk skit dah bising2, hehehe..). Untuk maklumat lanjut tentang biasiswa ni bolehlah baca kat link di bawah ni.

Tajaan Biasiswa Sarjana dan Profesional

Sayang2 jugak, tapi JPA sangat ‘strict’ dengan syarat2 dia. I really aware about that. So, that’s what actually motivate me to study harder. Kalau waktu nak exam tu, wah sampai tak tido malam, minum nescafe bercawan-cawan nk stay up, nk score punye pasal. Lepas tu, selalu stay kat fakulti sampai malam, kene gigit nyamuk, tido kat dalam surau fakulti, kene kejar dengan pak guard sebab balik kolej lewat (hehe, ni pengalaman paling best, takde gantinya sbb pak guard tak dapat kejar saya waktu tu, yes!!)..emm semua dah rase.
Btw, Alhamdulillah, berbaloi jugak ‘pengorbanan’ yg saya lakukan. (ayat ‘pengorbanan’ tu macam tak boleh blah jer kan? haha). Saya akhirnya dapat result yang dihajati =)
Ye, memang susah nak dapat skor yang best2. Tapi tak mustahil kan? Yang penting cita-cita perlu seiring dengan usaha. Kalau takde usaha bukanlah cita-cita, tapi angan-angan. Dan penting jugak untuk kita berdoa =D. Resepinye Cita-cita + Usaha + Doa + Tawakal. Insya-Allah berjaya.
Dan lagi, kita kene selalu berfikiran positif dan optimistik dengan perancangan Allah. Dah usaha tapi still tak mencapai matlamat. Mungkin Allah ada rancangan yang lebih baik untuk kita. Saya secara personal selalu merasakannya begitu. Alhamdulillah…
“Kita merancang, Allah juga merancang. Dan Allah lah sebaik-baik perancang”
Selamat Berjaya untuk semua.

Hey, I'm blogging again!

Alhamdulillah, I’m start blogging ..AGAIN…=) Oh, what does that “AGAIN” means? Well, to be honest this the second blog of mine.

The first one, was a “pretty good blog” ~ well at least that’s how I feel about it, hehehe. But due to time constraint, I rarely updated it and now, I forgot the password already, wuwu.

However, since I really want to write again, then I’m thinking of having a new blog then. And THIS IS IT ~^^, emm yeah I know it isnt that awesome yet, but it’s a pretty good start right?

Apart of my intention to write again, there are several other reasons as well….

1. Firstly, I want to write again ( well I mentioned it already, it should’nt be in the list hehe.. =D )
2. Secondly, I want to improve my English…I was surprised by IELTS result for writing module. I only got (6.0/9.0). which I did’nt expect that low earlier. Oh yeah, I will talk about this later.
3. Thirdly, there are several occasions, that I need to make a certain decisions lately. For example, choosing a university, choosing a job or preparing for an interview for a certain company…and you know what, blogger help me a lot. I love reading their experience in their daily life, what they thought about certain issues, and how they deal with it. It does really help me in thinking wisely in making my own decisions.

Emm, yeah that’s all. Isn’t these enough to make me start blogging again? =), for me …it does..

For this time, I don’t know how long this blog will keep updating. But, I will try my best to keep it up-to-date as much as I can.

Thanks for visiting.

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