(above) Alicia Hiew, the IELTS teacher, and her student John Lopez
John William Lopez Diaz was born in Bogota, Colombia, where he studied Industrial Product Design at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, Bogota. After graduating, he worked as a teacher at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University for 5 years as a thesis advisor. He needed a successful IELTS result to study in an English speaking university, and through studying with Cambridge College International (CCI), he achieved his desired results! The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. John had studied CCI’s Advanced level of General English for one term, and then proceeded to study the IELTS Preparation class under the guidance of Alicia Hiew (IELTS teacher).
Thanks to the hard work and preparation in Alicia’s class, he achieved the required score in the official IELTS test and has been granted with a scholarship for studying at North Carolina State University of United States (NCSU). To be admitted to NCSU, the IELTS requirement is 6.5; John achieved a 7.0, with a speaking score of 7.5! He will study a Master in Industrial Design and Engineering with an emphasis in Design Research and Development at NCSU. Not only that, but he will also be lecturing as a teacher assistant for the Graduate Design Department.
His classmates wanted to know more about how to prepare for the official IELTS test and had a chance to ask him during his last day of class.
How did your IELTS preparation help you to achieve your goal?
“Before this final test I have taken the official test twice in the past without good results until now. The preparation course at Cambridge College International was the key because it was targeted in the whole process to know exactly where I was and helped me to follow the right path of what I should do to get the score I was looking for.”
Why is taking the IELTS preparation course important to students who want to go on to university (post-grad)?
“It is the best thermometer for you to know what level of English you have before proceeding onto further studies. In my opinion prepare for the IELTS is relevant to be ready for what is coming ahead in the academic English environment in terms of all the components, but especially in writing essays and academic reading skills.”
How much do you think the IELTS preparation will be useful for your future endeavours?
“It would be very useful even though I’m aware that I will have to take it again for the next academic goal that I have in mind, which is a PhD. Taking the preparation course helped me to know exactly what I needed to work on, how the test works and how to learn all the techniques to achieve better results.”
What were the steps you took before you sat the IELTS test?
“The first thing was ensuring that the IELTS test was the right test for what I wanted. Before that I took the TOEFL test, but I found out that the IELTS was the better fit for what I needed.”
What was the extra work you had to do in order to maximise your chances of attaining the scores you needed?
“The extra work I had to go through was according to what my weakest skills were at that moment. For instance, I went through a lot of writing, and a lot of reading exercises for the test and extra material apart from the one that is offered from the course, for instance, websites, and you tube tutorials were very helpful too.”
How did you come across this opportunity of a scholarship?
“Basically it was an idea that I had as soon as I finished my undergrad course in Industrial Product Design. It took me five years to be professionally ready to apply for the top universities in Europe and in the United States. I found some opportunities by friends’ references and some by myself.”
Thank you very much for the interview and good luck in your future endeavours!
Cristina Dominguez Iglesias