There are many students who want to take the IELTS exam. Many of them simply have no idea why they want to take it, but may have heard about it from friends. Others may simply wish to take it for professional purposes and as a hobby to work on their English, but have a valid certificate that could be used in the future. It could also look great on their CV! Others on the other hand, some may decide to take it for more serious purposes. They may have been asked to take it by an academic institution. This could be for an undergraduate programme or a postgraduate programme. Some students may wish to broaden their horizons and expertise by studying abroad in their area of expertise. A country overseas may have much more experience in the field and getting the extra education will no doubt aid them in their prospective careers, help them to work themselves up the career ladder and much more! Furthermore, doctors or nurses may wish to take IELTS to work in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. IT professionals, engineers and people of all backgrounds including dentists may wish to take the exam. However, the exam is not suited for everyone. 1) Think about the timeframe you have. Will you be able to devote continuous time towards your studies? It could take more than a year. Could you invest this time? Not only the money, but the time and effort. 2) Think about if you will use the exam. Will you really use it to emigrate abroad? Will you use it to study overseas? You may wish to choose other more professional exams, which are a lot easier if you only want to have a certificate. IELTS is excellent, but don’t forget the results do expire, so really think about the motivations behind why you want to take the exam. 3) You will have to think realistically about your existing skills. Do you have what it takes? Are your skills good enough? Many take the IELTS exam, as they have taken more easier exams like the FCE (Cambridge First Certificate). Unfortunately, if you look at the framework – IELTS is at the top and by far one of the most difficult exams. 4) Can you take time out of your busy schedule? You will need lots of time to study – around 2 hours per day, every day. If you don’t have the time then it’s not realistic. 5) Do you have any travel plans? Any long periods or gaps will hinder your learning, so you should choose a good time to study. 6) What will you do if you need to retake the exam? Will you give up? You should think realistically about having a good level of motivation. Being clear that you will re-take if necessary and do it as many times as required. 7) Can you afford the fees? Course fees will be required. Perhaps a private tutor if you can afford it. We try to make our fees as affordable as possible, but you also have to factor into the exam fees. Can you afford to retake the exam? The exam fees vary, but they are not cheap. 8) Do you have the willpower? Can you do what it takes to succeed or will you give up? 9) Are you prepared to hear critique about yourself? Quite often students quit when they hear bad news or receive a disappointing score. You will have to have a very thick skin and perseverance. If you want to persevere – you will have to stick at it! 10) Do you have the correct study ethic? You will have a lacklustre approach to your learning and not really care if you are not serious about the exam. However, if you are – you will need an excellent study ethic, a detailed approach and you will need to be invested 110% into your studies. All-in-all, IELTS is by far the most reputable, recognised and best exam you can take, but it’s not a piece of cake if you don’t work hard for it. It’s not the hardest exam if you work hard. The harder you work – the easier it gets. After all, nothing is impossible and the word impossible spells possible itself.