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:
[Continuing] to guide and help others in reaching their dreams.
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!
Where it seemed like technology was catching up, back when I made the 8th version of CELBANPrep, technical problems occured. IENs using Apple products (iPhones and iPads) to access the textbooks embedded with the videos could not access the devices. So, I had to create the 9th version, with a membership to access the videos, a 10th version with the videos available on the website, and now an 11th version: the CELBANPrep University app: available for both Android and Apple.
Q. Why is the required benchmark for the CELBAN 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 (for immigration purposes) 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 other 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, with reliable and trustworthy resources that makes a difference.
Self study for the CELBAN, therefor, is exceedingly difficult and will take a long time due to the:
- lack of direction,
- lack of focus (lots of distractions), and
- lack of conficence.
. 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, 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 two for writing (one for Task 1 and another for Task 2).
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 to dedicate adequate time to each skill.
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. ( 2021 update: 11 versions since 2009.)
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 category Busy People.
- 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 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.
My work has not ended; it has been clarified and refined.
And so it is. Worlds without end. Amen.
Learn more. Explore CELBANPrep University.
I also posted Ried’s story about the taxi driver, ducks and eagles here: https://dear-kim.com/2018/01/26/ducks-quack-eagles-soar-be-an-eagle-not-a-duck/. Updated (only slightly) 2021.
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Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar
I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport in Dubai. When a cab pulled up, the first thing I noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for me.
He handed me a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Abdul, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’
Taken aback, I read the card. It said: Abdul’s Mission Statement:
To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.
This blew me away. Especially when I noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Abdul said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’
I said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’
Abdul smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, lassi, water and orange juice.’
Almost stuttering, I said, ‘I’ll take a Lassi.’
Handing me my drink, Abdul said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The NST , Star and Sun Today.’
As they were pulling away, Abdul handed me another laminated card, ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’
And as if that weren’t enough, Abdul told me that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for me.
Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also let me know that he’d be happy to chat and tell me about some of the sights or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.
‘Tell me, Abdul ,’ I was amazed and asked him, ‘have you always served customers like this?’
Abdul smiled into the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard about POWER OF CHOICE one day.”
Power of choice is that you can be a duck or an eagle.
‘If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. Stop complaining!’
‘Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’
‘That hit me. really hard’ said Abdul.
‘It is about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes, slowly … a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’
‘I take it that it has paid off for you,’ I said.
‘It sure has,’ Abdul replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on it.’
Abdul made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like a duck and start soaring like an eagle.
Start becoming an eagle today … one small step every week..next week… And next…And….
A great Thought..
“You don’t die if you fall in water, you die only if you don’t swim.
Thats the Real Meaning of Life.
Improve yourself and your skills in a different way.
Be an eagle. .not a Duck.
Thank you for this comment that you wrote and posted in response to An Interview with Kim. I read it with great interest. You have a knack for storytelling, and your writing is exceptional! We really do have a choice: each one of us. That you chose to take the time to write this story of your personal experience tells me that you have integrity being an eagle and not a duck. As such you inspire others through your example.
The greatest thing is the depth of wisdom in your story telling, one that you have not included but that I will add here; because, your story has many levels of reflection.
It tells the story of who you are, the choices you make, and
It inspires others to do the same.
But, there is more to it then that. In reflecting on me, that this was in response to the article An Interview with Kim says:
That you are relating the story of the driver and his code of ethics/conduct to who I am and what I have done with CELBANPrep.
That in your eyes you see me doing what Abdul did: being an Eagle and going above and beyond what is expected by “[Getting] my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.”
In this way the destination is not only the CELBAN but becoming a registered nurse in Canada, providing resources with a Compassionate Pricing Policy, and a super friendly environment.
It is so very true. We get to choose whether we will quack or we will soar. When it comes to people who tell me, “CELBANPrep 2018 is expensive for an ebook,” they are telling me and everyone else what their choice has been.
Eagles do not sour without effort. Abdul did not succeed without effort. You did not succeed without effort.
We can all sit around quacking like ducks; or, we can indeed choose to soar with the eagles.
So it is. Worlds without end. Amen.
P.S. I have posted this as a new post for Friday January 26, 2018. Thanks for the inspriation!
One of the the greatest mental freedoms is to let go of what someone else thinks of you!
People’s negative comments will only make you stronger and Celban even more popular. God is great . He sees and hears all. I was a student of Kim and I can honestly say that she continues to be a ray of hope for every internationally educated nurse. Dear Kim you are unique and a blessing in disguise to thousands of nurses out there . Keep the faith and take Celban onto even greater heights!
It is sooo good to hear from you again. Of course, what you have written is true. Yes, I agree to the whole of it. I am grateful that in a world dull of judgement, skeptics and pessimists to know that you stand in the Light of God: bathing in it.
I am ever mindful of how God has carried me through various aspects of my life; and, how much He has guided me in creating CELBANPrep. It is a true demonstration of His love for His children regardless of nationality. That these text books exist is more evidence of that undying love and His will that IENs find/have the support and resources they need to create better lives/lift themselves out of poverty/ obtain their dreams.
I am so deeply touched by your words. I look forward to the day that God blesses me to come to where you live so that I can meet you face to face! I had that intent a long time ago. It got lost in the ashes. But, your message has resurrected that intent like a Pheonix! 🙂
Do take care of yourself Rieds! And thank you for your prayers for me. I felt them. They were answered. This work is a testimony and witness of that!
I posted this today, January 24, 2018. You can see it at https://dear-kim.com/2018/01/24/a-ray-of-hope-for-every-internationally-educated-nurse-ien. KK