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Darth Vader and IELTS

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not asking you to be like the infamous villain of Star Wars because that would be plain impossible. A quick visit to the Wikipedia site informs us that Darth Vader is “one of the most iconic villains in popular culture” who has been “listed among the greatest villains and fictional characters ever”. That record, you must agree, is a hard one to break.

A crowd-sourced survey of the personality of Darth Vader is quite revealing. Raters in thousands have pointed out not only to his authoritarian/dominating nature but also to the fact that he is highly ambitious, serious, and tenacious to boot. And that last bit is exactly what you, the IELTS student, should focus on. Thousands of years ago Heraclitus had observed that ‘[b]ig results require big ambitions’. And not only is it necessary to dream but also to live every moment as if you have already realised it. After all, you live only once; so, you might as well serve it up large.

Clearly, ambition is required to attain life’s cherished goals. But it is no more than the starting point of your journey, and will not take you anywhere unless you follow it up with a determined and serious approach fuelled by regular practice over a sustained period. Peter Drucker, the revered management guru, thinks that “[p]lans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” More colourfully, it has been said that, without hard work, “nothing grows but weeds” (Gordon Hinckley).

The Academic IELTS candidate can

  1. Discuss his study abroad plans with family

  2. Do country-specific research on his own

  3. Have an initial session with a Study Abroad consultant of his choice

  4. shortlist universities/colleges with the expert’s assistance

  5. Even secure a Conditional Offer Letter upon test booking, if the institution allows

But nothing moves unless you clear the IELTS hurdle. It is NOT ‘difficult’ to ace this test. Be hyper-focused and undistracted during the preparation period. There is absolutely no need to gather outside the coaching institute after class and ‘discuss’ about ‘how life is in such-and-such-country’. Learn to turn a deaf ear to that type of siren song. One of my students did not pay heed despite repeated warnings. Well, he is still in India. Doesn’t mean that it will happen to you as well. But it is a risk not worth taking.

In the excitement of planning, we often fail to acknowledge that days of hard work will inevitably follow. While enjoying the good days, we have to be also prepared to face those moments of frustration and disappointment that will sorely tempt us to throw in the towel and call it quits. It is at such times that you must be tenacious and refuse to give in. If ambition is nothing more than a pleasant dream without hard work, then perseverance and tenacity will ensure that you don’t stop till the goal is reached. No matter what.

So yes, Darth Vader can teach us how to ace the IELTS. Dream on, work hard, and pause not to reflect. If you fall down, pick yourself up, dust your pants, and just get going.

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations

- Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Sith Lord has warned you: whatever you do, don't daydream.

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