Are you planning to study in Australia? Haven’t got the IELTS band 6.5 but want to find another way to study in Australia? Or would like to get some study tips to get better results for your next assignment?

As having one year studied at the Diploma of Business. Plus, I have just finished my first year at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with a Grade Point Average of 6.0. out of 7.0. I simply want to share my experience of studying in Australia.

Study at TAFE in Australia – A Pathway Course to University

When I migrated to Australia, the visa process was complicated and stressful enough, so, I did not plan to study again. However, when we were in the country, I realised my Vietnamese Bachelor’s degree did not have much value in Australia. Also, I had always wanted to have an international degree because I believe it could support my future job applications.

While I was studying at the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at Southbank TAFE, I looked around for all the options to get into the university. As many of you might already know that you need to have IELTS results at band 6.5 to study at university if you are an international student or have English as your second language. I didn’t know it until I put my application in for QUT.

Each university has its own criteria, I wanted to go to QUT as it is close to my home, and it is a good university in Queensland. So, I went to ask for more information. I was lucky to have an experienced student counselor that day. As I am a mature student with work experience and have a previous degree, she gave me all the necessary information that I needed to get into uni.

She said my Vietnamese degree gave me enough points to get into university. However, I needed the IELTS 6.5 to approve my language proficiency. so completing an IELTS test was one of my options.

Or she said I could study for a 12-month Diploma at TAFE. The Diploma would help me to get into the course that I want to study at QUT. It also helped me to have some advanced credits and demonstrate language proficiency… and I got an official Diploma in Australia. Therefore, I decided to take this option because the Diploma could also help me with finding a job while I am at university.

Tips: When asking for application information please ask the student counselor to send an email to confirm all the information and advice in writing…. and make sure you keep it. If there is an issue with your university application, you can use that email as evidence (just in case).

A nice walk along the Brisbane river to University.

Studying in an Australian university – Sharing my experience.

Who am I at University?

I am in my mid-thirties surrounded by 18 years old, so I am a ‘mature’ student who has English as a second language. I left school more than 15 years ago, I am a mother and a wife. This just means my brain is not that quick like when I was 18, I don’t have so much time for myself, and I study in a second language.

It was hard in the first semester of the first year. There were so many readings, and the style of academic writing was so different to what I am used to.

Quit, quit, … should I quit? ‘ – these were the words and the sentence that I often thought of during the first semester. Fortunately, I have a supportive husband and son. They supported me in many ways so I could have time to study. Or If I did not understand the contents I would talk to my husband and discuss the topic etc. Because I asked him so much toward the end of my semester, my husband said to me “honey, I’ve got my Ph.D. so I think I have studied enough, I don’t want to study again”. It is just a joke around our table, but I told him that I think I am a resourceful person…. and I used the best resource that I had hahaha. I only worked two days a week, and I spent most of my time at the university library- sometimes, including weekends.

Even though it was hard, In the second semester I got 2 subjects with high distinction (7 out of 7), one subject with distinction (6 out of 7), and one subject with credit (5 out of 7). The results might not be special for many people but for me, it is a real achievement.

By now you might want to know my tips to get high marks?

My Top 3 Tips to get high marks when you study in Australia.

1. Ask questions.

I often asked as many as questions I could while I was in the tutorial classes or in the lectures.

Well, nobody wants to be an ‘idiot’ in front of the class. Me too, I don’t want to be known as a stupid student with stupid questions. However, I worked out that if I already know everything then I don’t think I need to study.

Therefore, if you don’t understand, just ask your lecturer or your tutors (I did that). They are very happy to help out (my tutors said so). I was lucky to have supportive tutors and lecturers. If I did not understand the contents or even the assignments, I would ask in the class, outside class, or by email. My tutors would respond to me very quickly.

2. Always read feedback carefully after you get test or assignment results.

Even if you got a High Distinction, there are always things to improve in the next assignment. Besides, when you read the feedback, you will understand the marker so you can improve your assignment to meet the marker’s expectations.

3. Improve groupwork assignments.

Many people said they dislike or hate teamwork at university. Honestly, I would prefer individual assignments as well. However, nobody can avoid teamwork, so I learned to like them.

For my first groupwork assignment, we got just a Pass result (4 out of 7). The problems we faced were we waited until the last minute to complete the assignment and we did not talk about our mark expectations – at least that I analysed that those were our problems.

Well, after a few group assignments I have more experience and realised young people are different from mature people. I kept this in mind when I worked on a groupwork assignment.

I talked to my teammates to understand them more. For instance, I could understand their priority, or ask them about their expected mark, and we discussed our works more openly as a group.

It was hard to deal with different people in a group. I am sure everyone knows it. Especially when we are at university. The only incentive seems to be getting high marks. But not everyone wants the same goal.

Unfortunately, whether we like it or dislike it, we cannot change. I did my best and I told my group so… nobody is perfect. We had disagreements and uncomfortable feelings. However, in my last group work, we got 7 out of 7 for our assignment. It was an improvement, wasn’t it?

Well, I have many more tips but only 3 tips I could think of right now. If you are a first-year student and feel you want to quit. Please don’t, I am sure everyone can do it. We just have to be patient and in the end, we will get there. I have one and a half years to go. Fingers crossed so I can complete my degree.