Nguyen Quy Anh, a 12th-grade student at Hanoi-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted, received the IELTS certificate with a maximum score of 9.0, becoming the seventh and youngest Vietnamese student to have achieved this score so far.
Anh scored all nine points in each of the three test sections listening, reading, and speaking, while he earned eight in the written section.
Speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the 17-year-old student shared his method of learning English in a comfortable and relaxed way, which can inspire others to learn the language.
"In my opinion, parents should provide their children with comfortable conditions in which they can handle English from a young age. The most popular way is to enroll them in language centers," said Anh.
"For me, it is a great advantage to live in an environment where I can often speak English with local people or those who speak it fluently and naturally."
According to Anh, he considered the IELTS certificate a requirement only to be able to study abroad and did not spend too much time preparing for it.
"I did not visit an IETLS test center because I am sure I have been using English for a long time in my studies and work," Anh said, explaining why he did not take a preparation course before the test.
"I thought the score would not be lower than eight. So, I was a bit surprised and pleased to get the top score of nine for the three skills of listening, reading, and speaking," he added.
Everyone has their own way of learning English, but Anh said he does not think he is 'studying.'
"I do not call it studying because I do not try to find ways to learn English, just like there are very few Vietnamese people who try to learn our mother tongue," he said, adding that he has been lucky enough to learn English since he was only three or four years old through after-school lessons.
In addition, Anh started using a computer as a child and got used to it. Working with computers and using applications help him learn English naturally and effortlessly.
"I learned vocabulary and concepts in English by familiarizing myself with the keys, application interface guidelines, and the way characters in video games talk to each other," Anh recounted.
Anh took part in many courses during his school years from 3rd grade to 7th grade after school and worked a lot with computers during that time. As for him, he developed most of his English skills during this time.
"The only time I learned English with the memorization method was in 9th grade when I was preparing for the test to get an entry into a high school specializing in English," the teenager said.
"After entering high school, I found that my English skills are as good as a native, so I did not take any English classes other than the one at school."
Anh recalled that even as a child, many English teachers told him he had a voice similar to that of English speakers.
"I think it's because I was lucky enough to be exposed to English at an early age, even though I absolutely live in Vietnam," he said.
English is just a tool
Anh believes that learning a foreign language does not require any special ability.
"In my opinion, each of us has a different way of learning. It is natural and normal if one person is slow while another may learn faster in a certain area," he said.
"I do not think it is too important because the language is not too complicated."
|Nguyen Quy Anh runs a marathon in a provided photo.|
In his opinion, it is not necessary for learners to try to speak English everywhere all the time. "But if English plays a role in your life or work, we should not miss such opportunities," Anh noted.
"In school, for example, if you are supposed to give a presentation on a certain topic, you could try to learn more about the relevant knowledge by reading English documents instead of just searching Vietnamese on Google," the student suggested.
"Similarly, in the entertainment field, you can participate in various online communities or YouTube channels in English, where you can discuss with others the topics you are interested in instead of following Vietnamese sites or groups."
Anh wants to study abroad, hoping to learn the innovative knowledge of advanced countries before returning to his hometown and applying it.
Assuming that what he was taught in school has been applied by others, Anh likes to study abroad to explore possible development opportunities.
"After I set my goal to study abroad, I arranged my daily schedule in terms of learning and living since I was 10,” he said.
Although he has a flexible schedule for studying and working during the day, Anh usually works at night. He starts the day at 6:00 pm, spends an hour or two in the gym, eats dinner, and later continues working overnight.
"I often work until 3:00 - 4:00 am, then go to sleep and wake up at 6:00 am to have breakfast and go to school," Anh says of his normal day.
"Sometimes I work all night without sleeping because I have too much to do. Then I go to bed after noon and get up at 6:00 p.m. to start the day in a circle," he added.
"I work at night because that's when I can focus on my work the best. I can focus on my work without being interrupted by anything or anyone around me."
Anh intends to study computer science and political science simultaneously during his stay abroad.
He claims he is not a passive person who just sits still and waits for changes from the government or the market, and he would like to one day be personally involved in solving social problems.
"For example, when I look at traffic congestion, I think about technological solutions that can build a high-speed railroad system connecting the north to the south of our country and helps people travel quickly and conveniently at a speed of 300-400 km per hour," the young man said of his way of looking at life.
He added that to do such things, there needs to be not only knowledge but also a political will.
Completing a full marathon
Anh said he often walks aimlessly on the street to cope with stress.
"I usually think about social, economic, and philosophical matters then," he said.
"It's running that helps me improve my health so much and build up my endurance over a long period of time.
"Before I ran a marathon, I did taekwondo exercises, kickboxing, and tennis."
He participated in a 10km marathon as an 8th-grade student and was able to complete a half marathon of 21 kilometers when he was a 9th grader.
Recently, on October 16, he completed a full marathon of 42 kilometers.