Student Experience: Studying online was as helpful as studying offline

After multiple attempts at sitting an IELTS exam in China, Jiaqiang (Howard) decided to enrol for an intensive Bridging English course with ICTE to improve his academic English skills. Howard recently completed his 10-week course online and successfully passed his exam, giving him direct entry into his future degree at UQ.

Howard tells us about his online learning experience below and how studying online in an English speaking environment particularly helped him improve his speaking skills.


My name is Jiaqiang Chen, and my English name is Howard. I’m from Fujian, China. Before I came to ICTE, I was struggling with the IELTS test. Speaking was the biggest problem for me. Being recommended by my agent and asking advice from some of my friends who have overseas study experience, I decided to go to ICTE for improving my English.

From my perspective, training schools in China are not so reliable and require high-paid study fees. I know many people failed in IELTS, even though they paid a lot of money for these English institutions.

Studying in ICTE would help me because teachers and students are speaking English, which isn’t common in Chinese classes. So, this would be helpful for my future study at UQ and being comfortable in an English study environment.

I signed up the BE10 class, which means a 10 weeks English course: 9 weeks for study and the last week for exam. Initially, I planned to go to Brisbane for in-class study. However, due to the travel ban, I was not able to leave China. As a result, I had to change my plan and studied online for BE10 class. I was worried about studying online, because I didn’t know whether the online class will be helpful for my speaking compared with studying in class in an environment where everyone speaks English.

However, to my surprise, studying online was as helpful as studying offline.

In my BE10 class, my English teacher was very helpful, and he knew every mistake that Chinese students may make. He taught us not only grammar and vocabulary, but also forms and the right way to pronounce, which may help in my future UQ classes. Additionally, he was a funny guy, teaching us with many funny stories and jokes. Overall, having his class was relaxing and helpful.

Outside class, there were many online activities, like speaking to ICTE leaders and game nights, where you can play games or have a chat with other students. These activities help you find new friends and improve your English speaking. Another activity is the Learning Advice workshops, where twice a week you can speak with other ICTE students about special topics, which helps with English speaking.

In general, learning English online is also a good choice to enter UQ, especially if you’re struggling with IELTS. In my opinion, there are many advantages:

  • Studying at home saves travel time and reduces living costs. I didn’t have to travel to the classroom, just got up and opened my laptop to start my class. Also, studying at home saves money.
  • Internet connection was stable in most cases. ICTE gave me free VPN to connect, so I could access to study resources easily. Even if you have internet problems, the teacher will help you after class by email or via WeChat.
  • Studying BE10 helps you save time. I spent 1 year on IELTS, and failed 4 times. If I had chosen ICTE earlier, I would have been studying in UQ now. And only passing IELTS makes no sense, as you may still have trouble in future learning because of the language barrier. BE classes can help save time if you just struggle with speaking and writing. I got 5.5 on IELTS speaking four times, but I passed BE10 final speaking with A grade. If you want to save time and enter UQ as soon as possible, ICTE is a better choice than IELTS.

I strongly recommend Chinese students who are struggling with IELTS test to study at ICTE. All student will get a chance to meet friendly teachers and students in ICTE and get many useful study resources, which is very helpful in English study, and it’s very convenient study online at home.

Last updated:
21 July 2020