According to IDP/Australia band 7 - 8 means you are a “good to a very good user” of the English language. The test is a 4 part multi-section examination, the Listening, Reading, Writing and the nerve wracking Speaking test. But of course there are factors that would affect your actual performance,,,
1st, the sample test on the review material might be easier compare to the actual one,,, therefore my 7 - 8 could be just 6 - 7,,, or even less, 2nd, nervousness – it’s been 17 long years since the last time that I sat for an examination, not to mention my bad habit of always being nervous every time I’ am in an unfamiliar territory, away from my comfort zone. Get nervous, and you could loose 2 band so easily,,, so my 6 - 7 would end up 4 - 5, way low than my target of 5.5,,, I don’t think I can do anything anymore with my English in two weeks so my battle plan would be around the “nervousness” department,,, search and destroy mister nervous, at all cost! If I could work on it I have a very good chance of getting 5.5
After a week I receive a letter from IDP/Australia informing me of my schedule test dates, the speaking test would be 2 days earlier from all the other ones, the venue would be the same where the workshop will be held, just around the IDP office in Makati’s central business district, so here is the coming week would be like for me,
10Dec. - Workshop, 9am – 5pm, Salustiana Bldg.
11Dec. - Speaking test, 11:20 – 11.35am Salustiana Bldg.
13Dec. - Listening, Reading and Writing test, venue: Hotel Nikko, still in Makati,
We were told unofficially that the result might be out before Christmas,,,
until something came up.
2 days before the workshop, on 8Dec. before dusk I had a terrible fever,,, that progress into a full blown “hassle” I feel very cold and yet very hot all night long, didn’t get enough sleep that went on until the morning of Tuesday, 10Dec. Workshop day.
10December2008, Workshop day - I woke-up 6am just in time to prepare my self, but,,, I’ am not feeling well yet, in fact I feel weak and my fever got himself a buddy to bother me, the nasty cough, I am thinking of not taking the workshop anymore, I’d rather rest for the more important speaking test the next day,,, all my week long of preparation, my 'search and destroy' thing went down the drain, I’ am back to square one, now I’ am not only nervous, I’ am also sick, pressured and disoriented with only a day to go before the speaking test. I collected my self and still went down for the one day workshop, because the workshop is also where the speaking test will be held the day after, it would really help me in my mental preparation if I could see, feel the venue before the actual test. As expected we were given a tip on things to do and not to do and informed us that the speaking test is done on the rooms next to us, they were like well arrange torture chambers, one after the other a row of 2 meter by 2 meter room, a table and chairs on each side, I would visualize myself sitting on one chair while torturing my examiner on the other side, but,,, the day ended with my condition gone from bad to worst.
The next day,
11December2008, Speaking test day - I don’t want to be pressured and tense trying to get to the venue in time, so I went off a few hours earlier, too early actually that I’am already in the vicinity 2 hours before, I strolled down the nearby shopping malls for awhile, taking my time, walking very slowly as if I was meditating. I’am too weak anyway to walk a little faster, diverting my mind on other things, not on my fever or the test. When the time came few minutes after 11:00 I reported in to the test reception table, and waited a few minutes more in a holding room together with all the other examinee. The atmosphere was tense, not a word from anybody, all you can hear are heartbeats pounding like crazy we were like waiting for the executioner to call out our names, it was the longest 15 minutes of our lives, one by one we are being called, until the time came and I heard my name being called out. I was compose, a bit tense but relax, cold and chilly but hot to take the test. But when I was all done but the test, the reception guy asked for a piece of paper to confirm my identity and my schedule, something that should have been given to me when I booked for the exam, lo and behold i do not have it with me, not again… I rushed back to the IDP office a few meters down the road, ran as fast as I can upstairs and asked for the “piece of shit”,,, I mean that piece of paper, unlucky, the girl in-charged who assisted me is not around they insisted the confirmation paper was surely given to me, according to them it was their S.O.P. [standard operating procedure?] they will allow me to take the exam later in the afternoon but I would have to fill up a new form only to find out 2 days after that indeed they forgot to give me the confirmation paper, IDP’s S.O.P. is actually sometimes S.S.O.P. [sub-standard operating procedure] it was almost lunchtime have to go to the nearest photo studio and have my picture taken,,, again… have to ask somebody, must be a total stranger to fill up the bottom part of the form to confirm my specimen penmanship,,, again… have to wait an hour more,,, again,,, before I can take the test, get nervous and tense all over again,,, my second visit to “square one” and “down the drain”, to top it up a sudden rainfall, the last thing that I wish for because of the 3 day old fever I have. At exactly 1:00pm I took the test, a British guy wearing a short pants walked inside the room, i talked him out even before he starts asking and recording our conversation, it went well and over in minutes, a sigh of relief at last. My fever went in and out and I was up and down for the next two days.
2 days after,
13December2008, Listening, Reading and Writing test - as usual I was trying to compose myself again for the second part of the Exam I had a taste of it 2 days ago with the speaking test and I don’t expect this one to be anything easier especially the 'listening'. You would be asked to listen via pipe-in speakers to people you don’t know talking about things you don’t care, then you have to answer a few questions base from this conversations. Miss a part of it and you miss it forever because they would give you only one chance hear the dialogue. it reminds me of how life is, you only have one shot of opportunity. That’s the easy part. You are actually going to read the questions while listening to the conversations while thinking and writing the answers and on my part I have a little extra, while coughing in a twenty-second interval,,, you have to do all of that at the same time. Walking along the polluted streets of Makati is enough to stop you on wherever you would want to go, I had to walk a distance and climb the steep stairs of the pedestrian walkways before I could get to the venue, the prestigious Hotel Nikko, at the intersection of Ayala Avenue and Paseo DeRoxas in Makati, this multi-level five star hotel will serve as my Golgotha, as if climbing my way up to my crucifixion. The test is scheduled from 9am to 12noon but we had to report in an hour before, not feeling well and skipping breakfast made me dizzy on my way, I had to stop almost in the middle of the stairway, the whole experience is like the steps, when I look down I went far enough to return but when you look up I had to go farther more to continue, its like something or someone is keeping me from finishing this task. Slowly I carried on and reach the test venue on time that alone made me feel victorious and accomplished. And the exam itself is equally worth telling, just when you need to concentrate and be very quiet during the listening test that’s when I cough violently, continuously and more, I was shaking maybe because I took too much pills or maybe because I was too hungry or maybe both but I was still able to finish it in one piece. The fever went on for another three days or so.
The result of the exam came out 2 days before Christmas, it was tense again but this time no more preparation is needed only anticipation hoping that everything will be fine and okay, that the results will be favorable and according to what is expected and required. Having done the “ielts” test validates your ability to speak and/or write the English language, its how much you can and how much you cannot. (fr. Random Thoughts 031809)