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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thankful Friday: IELTS results are in!

Back in April I traveled to Toronto and during my visit, many guests at the bed & breakfast thought I should try finding a job in Toronto because I reminded them of their creative child or children, that were thriving in and loving Toronto. What started this discussion was the question of what I do for a living. I told them I work two jobs to save for a move. I also told them I was thinking of looking into programs abroad because that sounded fun and like a good experience. They urged me to look into Toronto and when I arrived back home, I did and sure enough they were right. I also really loved Toronto and the people. I knew I would like to live in Toronto.

HOWEVER, it is a process to move to Canada and finding work in Canada. With the help of some friends in Canada, City-Data and a reader of this blog, I signed up for the Canadian Immigration Website. I started filling out the form for permanent residency and realized I had to take either the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or a French test. I know some French, but not well enough to take a test; I decided the English test was the right path to choose since English is my native language.

I have testing anxiety, tests scare me, even for a language that is native to me and is a language I majored in through college. I put off taking the test until some people urged me to do so and I signed up in the beginning of August for the August 20 test at Drexel University. It was $250.

The sun rising over Philadelphia - 30th Street.

When the day of the test came, I woke up at 4:30 AM to be in Philadelphia by 7 AM. Dad took me to the P&W (High Speed) station around 5:15 AM and I was in Philadelphia by 6:15 AM. I was a nervous wreck before the test and skipped breakfast. Registration was supposed to be at 7 AM, but they changed the time to 8 AM. It was then I walked to Starbucks and had a big breakfast.

After registration, I began talking to a young woman from Lebanon. I was also talking to a young woman from Saudi Arabia. They were asking me some English questions, I was asking them some Arabic questions, and we just chatted until the test. The Saudi young woman was taking an Academic test to go to school elsewhere. The Lebanese young woman and I were taking the general exam for immigration. She is trying to move to Australia.

The listening, reading, and writing portions of the exam lasted for three hours. The test was held in a lecture hall and it was freezing. I'm normally not one to get cold, but I was cold. The desk was also small and I felt cramped. However, before the test I took a deep breath and told myself, "I can and I will." The three hours went quickly.

There was also a speaking portion of the test, but they were at different times. My speaking exam was at 3:40 PM and my new Lebanese friend's exam was at 4 PM. The speaking exam consisted of a 20 minute interview. Our test ended at 12 PM, so we had about four hours of time to kill. We had lunch at the Shake Shack and just talked about many different things. I asked her about Lebanon and what it was like to live there. She was visiting her brother for the entire summer and decided to take the IELTS exam while she was visiting her brother and sister-in-law. She also asked me some English questions and I helped her with her English. She helped me with my Arabic.

We walked around before hanging out closer to the language center. When we arrived at the language center, we sat with two young men and an older man from India. We talked for a good hour before we had our speaking exams. It was actually nice chatting before the exam.

I thought I spoke too much during my exam. I was about to talk about my second job, but she stopped me for time. There was one other instance like that. When the exam ended, I had a sinking feeling that I didn't do too well. However, the test was done and under my belt. Whatever happened, it was one step closer to whatever. I went to dinner before heading home.

On Friday, September 9, when I came home from work I had an envelope from Drexel University sitting on my table. I opened it and was pleasantly surprised by my score. I scored a band of 8.5, which means I'm fluent in English. I need a band 7 for Canada, 6 for Australia (the UK has a special IELTS exam, of course). The scores that led to the band of 8.5:

Listening: 8.5
Reading: 7.5
Writing: 8
Speaking: 9 (this was a pleasant surprise)

I was super happy and very proud. Like I said, I have testing anxiety and usually fail tests despite knowing the material. Not only did I get the score I need to move on, but I overcame the anxiety for this test. I feel proud. This afternoon I will go on the Canadian website and fill out my form. I also need to do some other things, which I will do on Friday. I have no idea what will happen, but I am going to remain patient, positive, and persistent. 


  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Congratulations on doing so well on the test! I hate taking tests, too, and three hours is a lot to handle in a single day. I am very happy for you and proud of you. You said it yourself: "I can and I will." That's powerful. You collected yourself, summoned your resources, took a deep breath, remained calm and focused on the task at hand. That's what it takes to meet tough challenges.

    Once again, congratulations on this important accomplishment, dear friend JM!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Thank you! I am quite pleased and I feel like this is a big step. When I get my new laptop, I'll be filling out the form. Fingers crossed!

  2. Again, congratulations. I like it that you make friends everywhere you go.


  3. Yay! :D I was so happy for you about this.