1. Be familiar
Be as familiar as you can with your university’s activities, the country you will be going to and the culture of your study destination. While the best way of achieving this is really by being on campus or in the country itself, try to gather insights from campus enewsletters, forums and seniors. Find out about the past experiences of foreign students to prepare yourself for what is to come. Furthermore, be as familiar as you can with your modules and topics of study through your school portal.
2. Take an English language test if required
Depending on university requirements, you may need to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You may do so by either providing evidence that you have completed certain tertiary qualifications or by taking an English language test such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Different universities look at different English tests, so be sure you know what the university requirements are!
If you are taking the IELTS, here are some tips to help facilitate your journey:
- Speaking hint: Try to speak more than the examiner during the oral component of your test. You will not be marked down if the examiner disagrees with you. Expression and style is more important than the actual content in this case.
- Reading hint: Try to master speed-reading – you may not have enough time to go over everything. Remind yourself of the purpose of the text. Look out for the title and skim through the contents of each paragraph, paying special attention to the first and last sentences.
- Writing hint: Write crisp and concise paragraphs with one well-defined idea in each. This should be highlighted with a topic sentence. The rest of that paragraph can expound and illustrate your idea further.
- Listening hint: This component demands that you focus on writing exactly what is asked of you. When asked to complete a phrase, fill in the required word only.
- Things to note on test day: You are required to carry the same original identification document submitted on the application form for all test days (written papers and the speaking test).
- Be ready: Make sure you have had a proper breakfast so you can stay sharp and try to arrive at the venue early. Latecomers will not be allowed into the examination hall. You can gather more information about IELTS from www.britishcouncil.sg/exam/ielts
3. Bring something that reminds you of home
This could be anything, from instant noodle packets to your favourite plush toy. This might help you to feel slightly more “at home” away from home. It might also serve to remind you that you have a goal to work towards in order to progress in Singapore, helping you stay grounded and focused on achieving results in school.
Overall, studying overseas will be an experience of a lifetime if you allow it to be. Step out of your comfort zone and seize opportunities that will enable you to meet new people and embark on new experiences. This is your chance to broaden your horizons and discover new things this big world has to offer. All the best in your pursuit!
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