dreamWelcome to the first blog entry on I am IELTS.

Every journey begins with identifying what one’s dreams and goals are, as well as the ‘instruments’ that are needed to achieve these. Many people have dreams of various sorts in life.

Yet others also daydream about different achievements or hope for changes that they then do not proceed to dissect into smaller, manageable parts and go about actively constructing step by step. What distinguishes a dream from a goal?

These three key components:

1, Can you break down the process into smaller, concrete chunks, also known as mini-steps? If you cannot, you need to think harder, to clarify what exactly your goal is. Vague ideas will not be implementable if you cannot put a finger on what exactly it is that attracts you about a certain dream. Being able to identify the ‘ingredients’ of it makes it a more easily achievable goal in the long run.

2, Is there a realistic chance that you can collect the instruments identified as necessary for the end goal? What resources (i.e time? money? energy?) and now much of them are going to be necessary and how can you restructure your life to obtain these?
As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. To get where you want to go in life it might be necessary that for a while you make sacrifices either with your money, time or energy, or, in many cases all three.
If your dream is, say, to move to Canada and you need a certain IELTS band for this, you may have to grit your teeth for a few months and devote some time, energy and money to getting closer to achieving this.
If, after you have realistically assessed the amount of sacrifice that reaching this goal would require of you and realize that you currently simply do not have the resources, it is better to acknowledge this and postpone pursuing the goal than to set yourself up for failure by not being able to allocate the necessary resources to the process.

3, Are you optimistic/confident/disciplined enough to be able to obtain the tools? In many cases our own psychology gets in the way when we try to ‘visualize’ and obtain a goal. Some people are excellent at analyzing what tools they would need to get where they want to go, but simply cannot visualize their arriving at it.
Every process includes some ambiguity and, potentially, even moments of despair or setbacks. Therefore it is important that you have role models around you, who have already successfully achieved something similar to what you are aspiring to, for these times of temporary confusion or pessimism.
Perseverance is also important not only psychologically, but in practice: if you cannot imagine yourself sitting down every other day to study, and/or to study hours on end, try to improve your mental stamina and ability to concentrate first. Other than always having the clearly identified goal and its benefits in front of you it might help if you choose a favorite learning place (e.g your desk, the library, your bed, the balcony); stand up from time to time, stretch, go for a walk or do some exercise, or even get yourself (healthy) snacks such as fruits and vegetables or nuts and your favorite drinks (for example tea?).

So can you answer these questions honestly to yourself and then share your answers with us too: Is achieving a certain band score in the IELTS a dream or a goal for you? And once you have it, what will you do with it? In other words: is IELTS just a dream, or a tool towards achieving a concrete goal for you?

Happy studying,