English. English. I chose a random online dictionary (one which is pretty good, I’d like to add) and typed in this word. I got thirteen different meanings for it. So what is English? English is culture, English is a 5 o’clock tea, English is a summer shower, English is William Shakespeare as well as Walt Whitman, English is, right now, a bridge. And in a world where people build walls instead of bridges, a common path is always welcome.
Strictly literally, English is a language spoken in the United Kingdom, in the USA and in Australia (each with its own charming accent, as well). But in the past few years English has become a must for every young person trying to get a job (and that’s what everyone’s after, isn’t it?) as well as for adults who may need the language in order to learn new things and, why not, obtain a promotion. This is the beautiful mouth which voices information, which voices the present as well as the future (and an important part of the past) and which, if we can manipulate it well, can voice our own ideas and opinions to the whole wide world.
Most of the people learning English today are almost forced to do so – whether we like it or not, it is shoved down our throats through internet, computers in general, TV, shops, music, movies and books… A very little part of our knowledge of the language is actually attained from school studies – most of the English your average teenager knows comes from movies, lyrics and various internet websites; all of which have a literal correctitude which is to be doubted. Then how do we know if what we think is right is, actually, right? A certificate can be the perfect motivation at the perfect time to start learning on a regular basis, with a serious schedule and, of course, the dose of ambition which is required.
First of all, a test is always a good (and possibly entertaining) way of seeing just how good you are when it comes to a subject. And not only you can measure your level, you can also see what is your position on the matter, compared to that of the others. You can see what are your flaws as well as your strong points. You can start working on your weaker parts, developing new abilities and so on. Let’s be honest, no one likes taking tests, but this kind of test is different. This is the one you take for yourself and for your own future, not because an evil teacher tells you to do so. 😛 You have time to get ready for it, to learn properly and it’s your choice to take it, only yours. It’s a part of human nature to need something material to occasionally cling onto or just to prove the others what is not so obvious; the certificate you can obtain is exactly that. You can hold your English in your hands. You can show it to people and you can show it to yourself – this is my English, this is how good it is and who knows how much better will it get? It’s an accomplishment and a motivation to move on, to continue learning.
Secondly, this psychological aspect is not the only one (though I’d say it’s by far the most important). After high school, many people wish to study abroad, but such a thing is technically impossible without a good knowledge of English and a certificate to prove that. The top 10 universities in the world (which you can see here ) features two British Universities (the famous Cambridge and Oxford), while the rest are American. Therefore, English is simply vital for attending any of these (and that probably goes for every single college on that list) and that can only be recognized through a certificate acquired from one of the internationally standardized tests, such as the Cambridge one or the IELTS. In a nutshell, a good post – high school education requires a worthy knowledge of English and something to prove this. Any student aspiring to such an education needs a certificate.
There is absolutely no disadvantage when it comes to this certificate; or if there is, I fail to see it. I honestly think English is a great language, so easy to learn and just SO useful. I’ve recently found out that one can actually skip the foreign-language examination in the final 12th grade if one has the Cambridge certificate – so here you go, another advantage.
I’m not saying this just for the sake of it – I honestly have taken none of the Cambridge exams, but I’m planning on taking the FCE this March and the CAE this summer, if possible. They’re important for me as well as for my future, and, you know…better now than later. 😉