The following are questions answered by CELBANPrep creator Kim, during a recent interview.
Q. How long did it take to create CELBANPrep 2018/2020?
A. CELBANPrep 2018/2020 is in it’s eighth version. With technology changing each year, new versions were created. Understanding that CELBANPrep was created two years after YouTube came online, long before smart phones and tablets, gives you an idea of how much technology has progressed. With each version, hundreds of hours were poured into the development of CELBANPrep. Every year a new version was released. Every year enhanced technology was added. Every year.
It took several months, to create CELBANPrep 2018/2020. In fact CELBANPrep 2018 was inspired by the following message:
At first it seemed as though the videos would have to be uploaded to YouTube and accessed separately from the books on Amazon. But then when I discovered, around Christmas time, that I could create textbooks with embedded videos: I was elated. Finally my dreams of CELBANPrep were being realized! Finally technology had caught up to the vision I held from the very beginning!
Q. Why is the required benchmark so high?
A. Once you pass the CELBAN you may be required to take university courses; to enter university you MUST have university level English. The level of English required to enter Canada is a conversational level – the level that allows you to manage every day life. But to be in a university level class you must have a University level of English. Otherwise you would do exceptionally poorly: wasting valuable time, money, energy and other resources. The benchmark you are required to obtain is high for a reason.
One can not memorize their way into a language, into a culture. People MUST learn the skills, develop the competencies to obtain a required benchmark. It takes time and lots of practice to go from consciously incompetent to unconsciously competent when it comes to skill development. IENs who pass the CELBAN pass because they are unconsciously competent in their skills when it comes to the English language and Canadian culture. In fact with CELBANPrep, IENs were discouraged in taking the exam before they proved themselves unconsciously competent. That is why the success rate of CELBANPrep graduates was so high. Their level of confidence in entering the exam was because they had obtained mastery.
Q. What is so special about these text books?
A. For one, it is important to shift your expectations for CELBANPrep based on other resources created by Cambridge University Press for the IELTS, for example. These books provide sample tests: lots of them. They teach people that the way to pass an exam is through memorization. They create the false belief that if you keep retaking tests you will eventually get the score you are seeking. This is not so for the CELBAN. The CELBAN is the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses. As such it is:
- a Canadian exam infused with the Canadian culture,
- based on benchmarks – competencies equivalent to a grade.
How long does it take for you to graduate up one grade? A year. It takes similar time, effort and practice to increase your score one point. Sample tests will not teach you about the English language and Canadian communication skills! By taking tests over and over again will not acquire the skills and competencies you need to demonstrate to get the required benchmark! It take practice, guided by skilled coaches and tutors to acquire and demonstrate the skills you need.
Self study for the CELBAN, therefor, is impossible. CELBANPrep has taken this into consideration by:
- breaking down each CELBAN task into skills you need to acquire,
- providing lessons teaching you how to acquire those skills,
- embedding videos ,
- providing examples of writing and speaking created by other IENs (provided with permission),
- Supplying assignments for each lesson,
- providing self-evaluation tools,
- adding a section with tips and suggestions for coaches/mentors/tutors/guides, and
- providing you with resources so that you can create your own sample questions!
It is through CELBANPrep that you have access to creating hundreds of sample tests! The possibilities are endless.
What other resource does that? NONE!
Is there not value in that?
And how much do you think it costs to create textbooks with embedded videos?
Is there not value in that?
Q. Is there anything else to add about these text books?
A. Yes. It is also important to change your expectations of CELBANPrep basing what you expect of other resources. From the beginning CELBANPrep has offered individual courses for each skill: one for speaking, and one for writing. Each course is considered to be separate identities and not as modules. A module is just one component. The skills required of the CELBAN require more focused attention, more time, more energy, more dedication. It takes time and practice to become unconsciously competent in being able to communicate in the English language at a University level in a Canadian context; understanding the Canadian culture. That is why, unlike other resources, CELBANPrep Speaking and CELBANPrep Writing Level One are sold separately. They are sold separately to encourage IENs and their coaches/tutors to dedicate adequate time to each skill.
Q. How much did the CELBANPrep Courses cost?
Typically CELBANPrep Writing cost more that CELBANPrep Speaking because of the time, energy and dedication Writing Coaches put into the editing process when it came to both Level One and Level Two. Typically one assignment would be reviewed 3-5 times each through the CELBANPrep Method. Most IENs were working on two assignments at a time.
The value of CELBANPrep Writing Level One or Two was $850. The textbook is being sold for $150 CND.
(Prices have been decreased substantially to make it more affordable in countries such as India, Mexico and Brazil. Should Amazon extend the the Philippines the same Compassionate Pricing Policy will be in effect.)
With CELBANPrep Speaking IENs were invited to attend monthly Conference Calls (with an am/pm session). Once an IEN subscribed to CELBANPrep he/she could attend as many sessions as he/she could up until his/her exam date. IENs also had a One-on-One Consultation one month prior to their exam, with a follow up a few weeks after if required. But by this point most IENs were so unconsciously competent that the second one-on-one was not required.
The value of CELBANPrep Speaking was $500. The text book is being sold for $150 CND.
Q. Why are CELBANPrep textbooks priced as they are?
A. The resources you are getting are textbooks. The value of textbooks is higher than fictional novels. If you do a search on the price of textbooks you will find the average range is in the hundreds of dollars in Canada. I, Kim, paid anywhere between $150-$350/textbook when I was in university. I spend thousands of dollars during my two degrees buying text books. Such is the cost of education. Why? Because novels are sold globally to millions of people. Text books are sold to a much smaller market. The costs of research and development and production are not shared among the many but the relatively few. What is rare simply costs more. When it comes to e-books the costs associated with hosting, uploading, downloading and advertising to a global market need to be considered. That is why the royalties through Amazon for items listed over $20 is a mere 35% to the author. (You can check these facts.) In other words, rare resources cost more to create, their value is greater and their price reflects that. I wish I could have complained about the cost of text books when I was in university; but what would it do? Would I have been able to pass my exams, complete my courses, earn my degrees? No. The cost of education in Canada is high. But, like everywhere else in the world: if you want a good education you must be willing to pay for it.
- Make CELBANPrep More Affordable
- Make CELBANPrep More Accessible
CELBANPrep 2018/2020 is the fulfillment of that promise.
- The CELBANPrep text books are more affordable than the courses, particularly in countries such as India, Mexico and Brazil.
- Through Amazon CELBANPrep 2018/2020 is available not only in Canada and the US but also: Brazil, Germany, France, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. Other countries will be included as Amazon expands.
- CELBANPrep 2018/2020 is accessible on: your desktop, your laptop, your tablet and your smart phone. Kindle does not provide for embedded videos for iPads and iPhones, but access to the videos has been included.
CELBANPrep 2018 is both more affordable and more accessible.
Q. How do you feel when people accuse you of being a scam, or claim that your prices are too high?
A. I have to laugh when I hear that people think I am a scam. Anyone who makes such claims has no idea who I am or what I have done. They have not done their research, or read my blog: Dear Kim. Scammers do not invest the amount of time and energy into building something as I have. I laugh every time IENs disclosed their concerns to me. A few comments can be heard in Who is Kim? – YouTube. It is a hoot!
But, I do not always laugh it off. Some times I reach a breaking point. I did when I got an e-mail from a nurse that spurred the post: I request you to guide honestly and make a good name. I also got a comment on Facebook that incited, CELBANPrep: expensive for an ebook?
Such sentiments bother me when I consider that the amount I invested in creating eight versions of CELBANPrep over nine years making between $2 and $5/hr. Why did I do it? It was a labour of love. And CELBANPrep allowed me to be at home with my daughter when she most needed me to be there for/with her. That is why I have so much compassion for busy moms and dads (and others) in the tag Time Management. My daughter was 3 when I started my Adult Education certificate. She was 8 when I graduated with my MEd; 11 when I started IEPC and CELBANPrep. In fact I created the Dear Kim Session Time Management for IEPs activities for my daughter when she was 6 years old and came home from school at the end of grade one wanting to play and watch movies all day! It became part of my graduate work and the basis of this workshop that has made a difference in lives of professionals nation wide.
Anyone who says such things doesn’t know me. They treat me as they would some large corporation. But if they were understood that one person created all of this: they would be in awe.
One of my loyal nurses, who never even took CELBANPrep, wrote this to me in an e-mail recently,
The love and support I have received from my nurses has been immense. My hope is that instead of judging me people learn of my story, they learn of me, they find inspiration and request that their local employment agencies invite me to I come to their city to present the Dear Kim Sessions. Because, while I will no longer be teaching CELBANPrep in the way I was before, I will continue to encourage and be a beacon of light not only for Internationally Educated Nurses, but also other Internationally Educated Professionals who are Busy Moms and Dads (or those who will be) and Disillusioned Dreamers. It would be a joy to tour nationally with the Hope Sessions!
My work has not ended; it has been clarified and refined.
And so it is. Worlds without end. Amen.