Hi all.

I have student who has come back from the Philippines after 3 month there studying IELTS. This student mentioned that she got IELTS 5.5 for writing before she left. She handed me a homework essay a few days back, and I corrected it carefully - at least, I tried my best. The topic wasn't clear; no key words from it were used, and the entire essay gave no coherent message. I would judge it to be an IELTS 4 (and I have a lot of experience in this - over 20 years).

Think about it: from IELTS 5.5 to IELTS 4, and you pay a lot of money for this!

It seems that studying IELTS in the Philippines is in fashion now. 'Why give money to white foreigners?' was one comment given. Sure, I would also advise people not to give money to white foreigners, unless that foreigner has solid credentials (See http://www.aisielts.com/about-om/about/my-credentials/)? There are self-proclaimed IELTS 'experts' in Taiwan, too, with nothing to back them up apart from their own publicity machine, who can do the same damage to your IELTS score.

So, you can go to the Philippines, but the usual warnings should apply (as they apply in Taiwan), as they apply everywhere. Ask yourself:

  1. Is your teacher qualified to teach English?
  2. Is the institution accredited through a government quality-control organisation?
  3. Does the teacher have TEFL qualifications?
  4. Are these qualification from a genuine and reputable institute?
  5. Can this be proven (e.g via the website)?
  6. Can you demand that proof?

This is all just common sense, right? Remember, the ocean has sharks.

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