Hi, my name is Jannat and I believed getting my IELTS was going to be a tough challenge, but it was much easier than I thought! I wanted to share my story about how I prepared for and achieved my required IELTS certificate, to help guide you through the process.

I graduated from an English school back in Kuwait with an IGCSE degree. Even that did not make me confident enough to do the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for getting accepted in universities in the United Kingdom.

Dealing with anxiety

I have always struggled with anxiety from exams especially throughout my school years, but this did not stop me from achieving my dreams. I went to the British Council in Kuwait and booked an IELTS exam slot. That day, my close friend was with me and she had gone through a similar experience before. She suggested some textbooks which included past papers and audio sessions. Following her advice, I went to Jarir Bookstore in Hawally, Kuwait, and bought two of the textbooks. I must say, they helped me prepare for the exam greatly!

A short course to help prepare

The employee who assisted me with booking my exam slot suggested a short course I may be interested in. The course helps students like myself feel confident and ready before the exam. It is typically recommended to students who have graduated from a government high school and to students who need to further develop their English language skills before taking the exam. I honestly felt that I did not need it as my English was considered good for a high school graduate in Kuwait, so I didn’t take this one, but if you feel less confident I recommend taking it.

Taking it step by step

Dealing with anxiety was quite challenging at that time, but I decided to take it step by step, and start preparing for the IELTS exam early. After undertaking the speaking component of the exam, which was on a different day from the reading, writing, and listening components, I felt more self-assured, and the fact that the examiner was positive and calming also helped.

The exam grades were released and thankfully I achieved the score I needed to get into the University of Salford. I feel that even if I had gotten a lower grade, it would not have been as bad as I thought, because I soon learned that Salford offers a variety of English courses for non-native speakers of English who want to study at the university. These courses are studied prior to starting the particular degree a student wishes to pursue. They are beneficial for those international students who have just finished high school but have not yet reached the level of English language proficiency for the IELTS grade or the equivalent qualifications required.

Advice for international students

Like most other universities, the University of Salford made some temporary changes to the requirements of applying to programmes due to the ongoing Coronavirus global pandemic. However, I can assure you that the new ways of applying are still flexible as I have managed to continue my course here online smoothly and without any difficulties. When applying for a university, it is best to consider all the available options they offer that can help you be more flexible, so that even if your plan does not work out, you can still change to one of your alternative plans, as you were wise and did not put all your eggs in one basket!

If you are interested in studying at the University of Salford and you are from a country where English is not your native language, visit English Language Requirements section of the University website for more information.