Hard work spotlights the character of people:
some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses,
and some don’t turn up at all
– Sam Ewing, author
The year was 2017 when it finally happened. I was desperate to have at least one of my women candidates score a 79+. But that singular achievement always eluded me. 65+ happened but that was that. On the other hand, my male students were happily scoring 90s in various modules of the PTE Academic test.
It was frustrating, to say the least. For, how can anyone be regarded as truly successful if women candidates do not figure prominently enough in his success stories? I had heard baseless rumours about the PTE software, insinuating that it was not fair, especially to ladies. Of course, I dismissed them out of hand. But malicious gossip has this strange power of making you a wee-bit uncomfortable. You suddenly find yourself thinking, “What if. . .” On a couple of occasions, I had found myself doing exactly that!
Three times unsuccessful. On the 4th time, however, she struck gold. I have to give it to her. She worked hard and earned this. Yes, she had the talent, oodles of it, but so many others did as well. Her case proves me right yet again – talent must go hand in hand with hard work. Only then can you achieve Excellence.
However, excellence doesn’t come in a day. It is shaped by a ruthless, single-minded adherence to a cause. Excellence, as Aristotle had observed many centuries ago, is a Habit. Live excellence. And it will be yours. When preparing for exams – domestic or overseas – give your all. The outcome may not be under your control; but how much effort you put in surely is. This effort consists of two elements – HARD WORK & ANALYSIS. Together they make a package that goes by the fancy name of STRATEGY. There is no substitute for hard work. At least 2 hours daily, over a month or more, depending on the kind of exam you are attempting. SAT, PTE, IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC – for these 1 month is enough. However, for GMAT, GRE or CAT, you will surely need a 4-6-month preparation period.
But don’t just practise endlessly. Analyse your mistakes and learn from them. Also, don’t concentrate on individual tests. Try to assess your performance by averaging it over at least 10 tests. Your average score paints a truer picture. I encourage my students to do just that. Of course, my students can practise from the mocks and that they must. However, even as they do so every day, they must analyse their performance: what is their success rate? What kind of mistakes are they repeatedly making? Exactly where are they tripping up? It is this kind of analysis that helps you to improve with every test.
Everyone fails. Failure is only the flip side of success. But those who eventually make the cut, actually find out WHY they have erred at certain places. Man has been able to conquer the world because of his sheer intellectual prowess. It is a god-given gift that distinguishes us from the monkey and the ape. Make good use of it.
When hard work and intelligence
work hand in hand,
many things are possible.
– Dr T. P. Chia
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