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Vietnamese students on tenterhooks over IELTS test postponement

Vietnamese students on tenterhooks over IELTS test postponement

Saturday, November 12, 2022, 15:18 GMT+7
Vietnamese students on tenterhooks over IELTS test postponement
Parents and students receive consulting service at a center of IDP Education in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Thi / Tuoi Tre

As a result of the unexpected postponement of the IELTS examination in Vietnam, a great number of test takers are now filled with anxiety as their educational plans must be delayed.

Meanwhile, some students have spent big traveling to neighboring countries merely to take the test.

The suspension of numerous foreign language tests in Vietnam suddenly has made many students worry as they may have to see their graduation dates delayed, cancel their overseas study plans, or miss job opportunities.

Study plans turn upside down

Tran Cong Dang Khoa, a senior student at the Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Social Sciences and Humanities, only needs an English certificate to complete his graduation procedures, so he registered for the IELTS test at IDP Education a month ago, with a test date slated for December 17.

Tran Cong Dang Khoa practices for his IELTS test in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre
Tran Cong Dang Khoa practices for his IELTS test in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre

However, the British Council and IDP Education, two organizations that administer IELTS tests in Vietnam, announced the temporary postponement of all tests scheduled to take place in the country from Thursday this week until further notice.

In light of the unpredictability of the exam resumption date, Khoa was unable to move on with his scheduled plans. 

According to the initial plan, after receiving his IELTS scores, Khoa would submit the result to his university for graduation procedures and sign up to study abroad.

The deadline for Khoa to complete the overseas study application is January 1, 2023, which is around two months to go.

If the IELTS exam schedule is delayed until the end of December, he would miss the upcoming admission.

Test takers on tenterhooks

D.L.A., a student in Hanoi, was scheduled to take the IELTS exam on December 10, then prepare for the national high school exam and apply for a scholarship to study abroad in January.

Now, A. feels stressful and worried since all of her plans have been derailed. 

"The institution to which I've applied to study abroad requires applicants to possess an IELTS certificate.

A British Council center in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre
A British Council center in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre

“Right now, my family and I are quite confused and under huge pressure. We don’t know what to do next," A. explained.

Hong Nhung, who recently graduated from a university in Hanoi, was supposed to have an IELTS exam on November 18 and 19 at the British Council.

Nhung was shocked after learning that the British Council would postpone the exam, prompting her to seek advice from her acquaintances, who recommended that Nhung wait for a few months and continue practicing for the exam in the interim, before making a decision following an official solution provided by the test organizer.

"The sudden incident makes it difficult for me to concentrate on my studies. I will also lose some job opportunities.

“Recently, I had to cancel numerous job interviews in order to focus on test preparation,” Nhung shared.

Traveling abroad to take IELTS test 

Some students have made a brave decision to take the exam abroad in order to complete their education profile in a timely manner.

On Friday morning, N., a 24-year-old postgraduate student in Ho Chi Minh City, recently went through the process of paying the IELTS exam fee to the British Council in Bangkok, Thailand.

Her exam is scheduled for the following week.

Without a Visa or Mastercard credit card, N. must visit a bank in order to transfer the fee to the test organizer in Thailand. 

She believed she simply needed the account holder information and account number to send the money, but the bank requested further information to substantiate the reason and purpose of her offshore transfer.

Consequently, N. must send an email to the bank confirming her IELTS test registration from the British Council in Thailand, in addition to submitting additional papers on the payment method at the bank.

Further, N. must also pay for the expenses of flight and lodging, totaling approximately VND6 million ($242).

Despite encountering numerous obstacles, N. stated that she has no choice, as she must get an IELTS certificate before December 1 in order to complete her admission procedures to a university in the U.S.

Candidates take a computer-based IELTS test at the British Council in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: British Council
Candidates take a computer-based IELTS test at the British Council in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: British Council

N. must stick to the schedule set a long time ago. If not, her study plan will be delayed for at least six months.

"The British Council in Vietnam recommended that I wait for a confirmation email before making a decision. 

“They cannot tell about the rescheduling of the exam before November 22, however, the chance of a further postponement is very likely," N. said, adding that she cannot wait anymore.

In the past few days, Le Ngoc Ha, manager of GbMb Air Services Agent, has received requests for assistance from students wishing to take the IELTS examination in neighboring countries, most commonly Thailand.

According to Ha, the cost of a round-trip ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok is currently between VND2.8-4.9 million ($113-197), and from VND3.7-6 million ($149- 242) from Hanoi. 

Hotels within a two- to five-kilometer distance from the test location provide rooms priced between VND800,000 and VND1.5 million ($32-60) per night, depending on the demands of the customers.

The IELTS test schedule in Vietnam's neighboring countries, such as Thailand or Singapore, is still offering lots of vacancies in November and December.

The testing fee in Thailand is THB7,100, which is approximately VND4.8 million ($196). Meanwhile, the fee in Singapore is SGD340, or around VND6 million ($242)

On Saturday, the Aptis exam administered by the British Council in Vietnam is the only exam that has been approved to resume as normal.

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Chau Ha / Tuoi Tre News

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