When I decided to apply for the MBA program at ESMT, I started thinking of taking the IELTS. At that time I was familiar with the main structure of TOEFL, because I had passed a paper-based TOEFL for my PhD studies in Armenia. In addition, some of my friends who passed the TOEFL told that it was all about techniques and time management. I decided to study and try taking the IELTS test, because it was something new for me and I had heard that it was more than a mere test.
Before starting my studies, I took a practice IELTS test at one of the recognized language learning centers in Armenia in order to see my current score and understand which aspects needed improvement. It was not surprising to me that my weakest areas were speaking and writing; usually, English was not the language in which I wrote or spoke often in Armenia. But my initial score was not so bad, so I set a target to achieve the desired IELTS score in a month and a half. In order to have a rigid motivating factor for keeping the set deadline, I registered for the IELTS that would be held exactly 6 weeks later. By the way, sometimes you really need to register many days before the test day, because, there are many people taking the test and there may not be available places for you on the date you want.
I took personal IELTS study classes. My tutor was a very smart, ambitious and multilingual person from the US. He spoke 6 languages. We practiced all the four parts of the IELTS, but concentrated more on speaking and writing. I think that reading and listening skills can be practiced alone without attending any special classes, because there are plenty of study materials and samples in the Internet. But, writing and speaking skills are difficult to practice alone. Of course, you can write as many essays as you want, but you need someone who can advise you on your mistakes and show direction for the improvement. The same can be said about speaking. You need to speak more to train your speaking skill, but you need a tutor to correct your mistakes and encourage conversations.
Now when I think of my IELTS study and exam experience, I can say that I enjoyed it. IELTS was not just an exam; it made you think about different topics from different perspectives. What I really enjoyed about IELTS was that I needed not only to remember strict rules of grammar and have a good vocabulary, but I also needed to actively listen, think and use logic for almost all the questions of the exam.
About Sona Rostomyan
Sona Rostomyan is a full-time MBA student at ESMT who was nominated as one of the Kofi Annan Fellows this year. Prior to joining ESMT as an MBA student, she started her career at one of the most rapidly growing banks in Armenia (Ameriabank CJSC) working first in the customer service department and then in the back office. She has more than 4 years experience in the banking industry (including customer transactions formalization, and account management). She enjoys solving mathematical puzzles, reading books and has a passion for photography.