• My IELTS Experience (IDP Australia 2013)

    Posted on January 26, 2013 by P-May in Nursing.


    So I gave up the London ambition for a bigger American dream. Hehe! Yeah, the only unfortunate thing is, my IELTS results were already more than 2 years old, so they’re now invalid. -_- I didn’t have any idea on how to apply for another exam all by myself, so I decided to get another agent, this time, the Brainstorm Review Center.

    I’ve initially chosen British Council and I thought of going for them this time again as I already felt comfortable with them. So when the reviewers at Brainstorm told me that they’ve ran out of forms for British Council, I was like: NO WAY! And then the earlier gossip of getting lower scores from IDP suddenly appeared in my mind. I was waiting for them to say they’re going to get the form online instead to accommodate my choice. They actually talked to each other about the idea, but then decided to convince me at the last minute to give IDP a shot. I hesitantly asked them, somehow getting the assurance that I need, whether there really was a difference between the two, and they said none. Both are having the earliest next exam at the same date, and besides, IDP fee was less than that of British Council which is now P8,980.00. Really BC? What happened to P8,640.00? And how come IDP Australia was able to maintain the original fee, which you weren’t able to do? Hmmm.. Anyways, I ended up with the 2nd choice. I only uplifted my spirits on my way home by telling myself that if ever they did give the examinees lower scores than BC do, Alaska Board of Nursing require lower scores than the London NMC anyways, so no need to dream high. The inner P-May though was determined to equal her last IELTS performance, if not beat it!

    I did the registration December 20 something? uhm, basta before Christmas of 2012! ;P Then I got the notification via email (as opposed to BC’s paper mail):



    So there! There was definitely no more excuse for me to be forgetting my pencils and bothering my sister into impromptu buying! But, uhm, they had no free online practice tests the way BC did! Aaawww.. =(



    My sister, yeah, my ever supportive sidekick sister, and I, were kinda exhausted already by the time we reached Burnham Suites January 11th afternoon. We, the ever budget-conscious people that we are, decided to walk from where the jeepney stopped, which turned out to be 15 minutes walking distance to BhS. -_- I’m just so glad we decided to go early, so I had plenty of time to relax.

    So going up to the main interview area, I surrendered my belongings and went for the registration. I was told to go to the waiting area, a room where the other interviewees were waiting (of course! lol). Another IDP lady called us individually and had our index fingerprints digitally scanned/recorded, and pictures taken/saved into their database. I was able to meet the other examinees from the Brainstorm Review Center and had small chat while waiting for my turn happening in around 75 minutes. Yes, that early. I wasn’t at all nervous, though I’m just aware of my heart’s beating. Yes, there’s a difference there. I remained calm during the long waiting, even felt sleepy at a certain point.

    2:03, the first IDP lady (who collected my bag earlier) called my name and ushered me through the hallway, and instructed me to sit outside one of the bedroom doors with the label (IELTS Interview Room 2). Here, I prayed for the wit and confidence to be able to answer the questions smartly. Then a Filipino guy in his mid-20’s came out and looked at me. “You’re Precious May?” “Yes sir.” “Okay, come in.” “Okay sir.”

    The first part was more like my first speaking test experience, him telling me that everything’s going to be recorded, and then actually starting off with all the necessary intro before the main interview. There’s somehow an obvious difference between him and my British interviewer three years ago: this one doesn’t know how to smile, super serious face who looks you straight in the eyes while you’re speaking. Hmp.


    Task 1

    “What do you do? Do you study or do you work?”

    “I used to work as a staff nurse, but I decided to stop for a while to focus more on my personal blah blah blah.” I talked endlessly about my job.

    He also asked what I loved and hated about it, if I’ll recommend it to my friends, and other stuff. I answered promptly and confidently.


    Task 2

    My Task card:  Talk about a team or group work you participated in.

    You should say: What it was.

    Who you were with.

    What you did.

    I thought about school. But I can’t remember anything specific which will make me talk for 2 minutes non-stop. Then I decided on the medical missions I went to. I believe I went thorough with my discussion and I didn’t even realize that my time was up until my interviewer said I could already stop. ^^,

    Task 3

    The next questions asked were related to my task card. The importance of team work, the possibility of having two leaders in a team (how and why), what factors aside from the members could contribute to a team’s success (how), the reality of other people preferring to work alone than in teams (good/bad/examples). Then the topic shifted to museums: the ones I’d been into (why),  other museums I would want to visit in the future, their importance, should they be preserved, blah blah. Then the last, about portraits, importance, do people today take pictures more often than they did before, why did you say so, when was the last time you took pictures, tell me about your favorite family portrait, blah blah.. And yeah! we’re done!


    The Written Exam (L-R-W)

    I went to the exam venue (CooYeeSan Plaza Hotel) alone because unfortunately, my sister was suffering from dysmenorrhea and diarrhea that morning. I was early that I got time to go online mobile (via 3G, no wifi! boo!), checking in at Foursquare! I don’t know why but whenever I get to new places, I just want to check in to FS, that’s kinda automatic (only when there’s internet) LOL. There were just a few examinees yet and it’s boring, I wished Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao had a coming fight so I get to watch him when he’s having his training here in this very building. I proceeded to the white board to look at my number and seat location, hoping to be in the front row again. But no. I was at the 4th column from the left, 4th row. Hmm.. I told myself it’s ok, I’ll manage.

    It wasn’t long before the registration started, and the place got somehow packed in an instant. They checked my identification card (my passport). Then they had my fingerprint scanned, which automatically revealed my picture (the one they captured before the speaking interview). Since it was still early, I went for the girls’ room before going inside the exam hall.

    Once seated, I started to get bored again. I feasted my keen eyes to everything inside: above, below and around me. Two light bulbs needed replacing. One IDP proctor wasn’t wearing their uniform shirt. The old korean guy at the 3rd column, front row was the only person wearing slippers. The seat label didn’t have a picture of me like that of the British Council’s 3 years ago. The eraser at my desk is not a new one, probably used twice or thrice by the earlier examinees. Almost 80% of the girls were wearing doll shoes. The not so early mid-30’s guy who just came in didn’t check his seat location at the white board outside because he checked almost all vacant seats/tables for his name before finally getting seated. The analog clock in front was 3 minutes ahead of my watch. And so on..

    After around 15 minutes, we were already down to business, listening to the audio material while answering items as much as we can.  One hour. Next was the reading test. Another one hour. Then last came the answer sheets for the writing test. My module was academic, and the my tasks were:

    • A bar graph showing the rate of childbirth in four countries within 10years.
    • My side regarding the practice in some countries of lengthening the study time among children which leaves them less free time.

    After the whole exam, the lead proctor announced about the results of the exam being available online after 13 days. We left the hall, all relieved that the 2-day exam was over. Outside, plates of pancit bijon were neatly arranged on a large table in front of 4 pleasant servers. I was so hungry, but I decided to just go back to my aunt’s place instead, wanting more than just a plate of snack, but a complete meal – besides, it was already lunch time.


    13 days later…

    I checked for my results online and there.. A bit disappointed with the score I got in writing, when I thought I did well. IDP does give lower scores in writing and speaking (the subjective exams) than the British Council. Overall, I was still pleased that I got the scores the AK BON required from its foreign applicants.


    Oh, and by the way, I had a friend, also a nurse, who happened to take the exam the same day I did, administered by the British Council. Their writing exam venue was at the CAP building in Camp John Hay (which answered my mental query, because BC used to be in Cooyeesan). She also didn’t know why the testing fee costs higher now. 🙁



    Lesson learned:

    Just be contented with what you have achieved. If you know you did everything you can then there’s no reason to feel bad. We should remember that in life, it’s really not about winning. It’s more about playing the game our best way. ‘Di po ba? ^_^

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8 Responsesso far.

  1. mary grace de castro says:

    Hi! Do the Alaska BON require a specific IELTS module for their application? Is it ok to have the General Traning?


  2. P-May says:

    Hi Mary Grace! It’s the academic module they require from nursing applicants. 🙂

  3. Eva says:

    IS it better to take IELTS test with the IDP than with the British Council? Or is it the other way around?
    Here’s the link to an article which clears all the confusion:

  4. Emelda Serosa says:

    Hi P. May i hope you will write something about your experience in taking nclex. I do not have any idea about the environment inside the testing center, like how much time will the computer give you to answer a question and the like. Thank you P.May

  5. Marjorie says:

    Oh My gosh!!
    My situation is exactly as yours, I ddin’t achieve the required band score on IELTS on NMC registration in England. I am planning to register as a nurse in the USA…!

  6. P-May says:

    Hi Eva! The first time I had to take the IELTS, I’ve already heard about this issue. In my case being in the Philippines then, I would often be told to take it with the British Council and not IDP Australia, because the Speaking examiner for IDP Australia is Filipino and is less likely to give a high score than the British Council’s British examiner. I think that is really ridiculous. I had taken the IELTS with both and did not have any bad experience with either of them. The Speaking part of the test is actually recorded and further reviewed, so there is no need to worry about biased scoring.

  7. P-May says:

    Hi Emelda, I would say I felt everybody had some kind of tension/pressure going on in the room that time. But try not to get distracted, just focus on the exam. The computer doesn’t give you any limit on how much time you need to answer a question. But keep in mind that if you dwell on a single question for too long, that leaves you less time to answer the following questions. Also remember that you can have 75 up to 265 items in your exam, so you better manage your time well. Good luck on your exam! 😉

  8. P-May says:

    Hi Marjorie, I actually got the desired band scores required by NMC but had to give up on my application to be with my husband here in the US. Anyways I hope you well with your American plans. Keep us in the loop 😉

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