CT4 THE DISILLUSIONED DREAMER – ♥ I have nightmares on [CELBAN] writing.

Updated this week

Hi Kim,

I’ve been reading your “Dear Kim” blog articles less than a year. I’ve contemplating to do my bridging program for RN in [province]. I procrastinated though, due to my fear of not passing the IELTS.

[My city] is such a nice place, it’s growing so fast. Sometimes, I like it. Sometimes, I don’t. I came here to Canada 5 years ago as an LPN from the Philippines. I used to be an RN back home. I am currently working in a busy floor, it’s a combination of Labour and Delivery, Postpartum Unit and Gastrointestinal Surgery. Once in a while we also get the not so very young. I have a permanent resident status and just recently submitted my citizenship application.

I love what I do, I know that I was born to be a nurse. Lately, our LPN scope of practice in Alberta has expanded. There are only 3 things an LPN in our unit can’t do. Be an Obstetrical Nurse, spike a blood bag and be a charge nurse. Other that than, LPNs do everything. However, we get paid less. Less than $20/hour.

I want to be honest with you, I want more. I want to get paid more on how good I am.

Does this make me a less nurse? I hope not.

I have a long history with IELTS. Back in 2007, I started taking up the test in Manila for my New Zealand application. They were requiring a band score of 7 on each modules. I took the test 9 times! You know why? Because my writing was always a band score of 6.5. So, I gave up.

I took the plunged again. I sat for IELTS exam. Even though, at the back of my mind, I should’ve taken CELBAN. My test score was L: 8.5 R: 7.5 W: 6.5 S: 7.5 Overall Band Score: 7.5. I was broken-hearted. I was 0.5 away, again.

I speak English everyday at work. I am well-read. I follow CNN newsfeed on social media and loves watching documentaries. I love travelling. I can speak with confidence and smitten anyone with my charming genuine smile, but I suck on writing.

After checking the CELBAN site that test dates and locations will be posted soon, I decided to seek your help. I promised to work hard. I borrowed all the IELTS materials I could borrow from our public library. But, I have nightmares on writing. So, could you please help me prepare for the test? I need your guidance.

Thank you for your time and I hope to talk to you soon.



Dear F,

First off, congratulations on your success! You have done very well for yourself.

Thank you so much for your message and the compare and contrast nature of it in comparing and contrasting the difference between an LPN and an RN. Only IENs in those positions can compare and contrast. And one of the contrasts is wage.

If scope of practice for LPNs has expanded (due to a shortage of RN’s) yet the wage does not reflect the change in responsibility then no you are not a less of a nurse for knowing your value and worth! You are not less of a nurse for knowing you deserve to be paid more.

But, as you know, you have to be willing to endure a lengthy, and often expensive, process to become an RN. However, as an LPN you have a lot of things going for you and your process will proceed more quickly because of what you are learning on the job. You are also making a better wage than people who are working in survival jobs, like being unlicensed as a Nurse Care Aid, Personal Care Assistant or Nursing Assistant.  So, there are many reasons for you to have hope and feel confident in your decision to move forward towards your RN.  

You do not suck on writing!

What has happened to you, F, is that you have been tricked into thinking that there is only one way to prepare for the IELTS. You have been tricked by the teachers and the publishers because until I created CELBANPrep online courses, classes and books (in 2009-2018) there was no other way to study, to prepare to increase your score. All there was, all over the world, was the exact same process. This is what this process looks like:

  • You get books from the library or bookstore or borrow them from a friend.
  • These books have tests.
  • You take one test after another hoping that your score gets higher each time.
  • You take a prep course. They give you exams. You take them. You hope for the best. But the same thing happens.

What is missing? What is missing in this process?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-ct4-articles.png

What is missing is the secrets and the keys to success!

Let me ask you a different question: what are you learning?

  • What are you learning by taking test after test?
  • All you are learning is the FORMAT of the exam.
  • Are you learning about grammar?
  • Are you learning about what your weaknesses are?
  • Are you learning how to turn your weaknesses into strengths?
  • Are you learning about how to increase your score?


All you are doing is taking tests again and again and again.

And the schools and publishers love it because you keep giving them your money!

STOP! STOP the madness! Do something different!

People come to CELBANPrep University and they look at what I have created and think, “This is not what I want. This is not what I expect. This is not how the other writers and teachers write and teach.”

I even get messages from people telling me what to do and how to make everything more like the IELTS. They don’t get it!

The reason why you keep getting the same score – 6.5- in writing on the IELTS is because you are not learning anything.

That is why CELBANPrep University with the CELBAN online courses and classes is different! I have actually created resources so you learn something!

WHAT! You have to actually learn something to pass an exam?

YES! That is what makes the education system different in Canada! That is what makes the CELBAN different! When you get your report they actually tell you what your weaknesses are! They actually provide you direction! They are saying, “If you want to get a higher score focus on these weaknesses!”

What! No way!

Yes! That is why I love the CELBAN. That is why I have created CELBANPrep University and CELBANPrep Publishing! Because it is like nothing else in the world, so of course the way you prepare for this exam is different.

But, who out there is creating books for you? Cambridge Press, the publisher of all the IELTS books? Kaplan? Education Testing Service? No! Why not? The market is too small. There are not enough nurses preparing for a little test in Canada to make it worthwhile. (Think about how many people of all nations of all professions take the IELTS each year! That is a worthwhile niche to exploit!)

Besides, they would not know how to create the material!

For the IELTS, for the TOEFL, for the MELAB: for each of these exams they simply create more questions and more tests and voila: a book is created!

But, with the CELBAN, they are assessing your skills: NOT YOUR ABILITY TO MEMORIZE! They are determining which benchmark you are at: what grade you are at. (That is what the B stands for in CELBAN.)

It is only possible to create question after question for reading. That is all!


So, they don’t do it.

And yet people ask me to give them questions for writing.

Instead I teach people how to create their own questions, create their own topics, so that there is an abundance, and endless supply of topics you can write about.

For level one of the CELBANPrep Writing course I have you writing about your life: what you are familiar with, so you can focus on the timing and the grammar. Then for level two you apply those skills to a medica context. Again, you create the topics. You choose the patient, the age, the gender, the symptoms and what happens/happened. Again, with your scope of imagination and experience, you the number of ideas and topics are endless! You have enough to keep you going for a lifetime.

Why is this important?

Because what I am doing is training the creative right side of your brain. As a nurse you have strongly developed your left brain, which is important to your profession. Creativity isn’t really part of the process. Creative problem solving is: but that is within established protocols. So, it is vitally important for you to exercise your creative side for the Writing Tasks.

Do the IELTS schools, books, teachers teach you that? No, otherwise, you would have a 7.5 by now!

The beautiful thing is that once you learn this, in CELBANPrep Wiring Level One online class, you can apply these skills to both CELBANPrep Writing Level Two online preparation and to CELBANPrep Speaking online course. Many of my nurses have told me that because of what I taught them in lesson one, they were able to generate ideas and organize their thoughts for speaking in less time then ever before!

So, again, it isn’t that you are a poor writer. It is that you have been deceived into thinking that there is only one way to prepare for your English exam and that is by taking the exam again and again; but, in fact, it is about identifying your weakness and developing the skills until you are unconsciously competent. Then you can apply these skills anywhere and everywhere.

These are the steps:

  1. Identify your weaknesses.
  2. Mobilize quality resources and quality trainers.
  3. Get feedback on your writing, in a way that you work on a few weeknesses at a time.
  4. Incorporate the feedback in the same piece of writing.
  5. Resubmit that piece of writing for a second review.

With each revision your tutor or coach should be gently guiding you. When I did this, I reviewed each piece of work about 5 times. And, because they were short pieces, 250-500 words, they were easier to work with. For example:

1st revision: capitalization, basic punctuation and spelling.

2nd revision: articles and nouns, verbs and verbals.

3rd revision: agreement errors

4th revision: advanced punctuation and collocations.

See the pattern?

That way you are only working on one to three things at a time instead of trying to correct all these mistakes all at once!

I had people submit two pieces of writing. With 4 or 5 revisions each, it would take time to polish each piece.

This is a time consuming process. It takes dedication. And most English teachers (and schools) do not have that much time. But I did! When I was working as a Teaching Assistant at my university for a Communications in Theory and Practice class, the professor allowed his students to hand in their papers before the due date so they could get feedback. He said they could hand them in as many times as time would permit. Some of my students didn’t do it. Those that did: their writing improved dramatically! It was revolutionary! I learned so much. And, so, that is the experience at the foundation of CELBANPrep.

If you want to increase your score in writing: then learn how to write! I have created so many resources for you, for this purpose.

  1. The Grammar Series
  2. CELBANPrep Writing Level One
  3. CELBANprep Writing Level Two
  4. Medical Collocations

You will succeed when you do that! You already have a successful strategy for reading, listening and speaking. It is your strategy for writing that needs to be changed. And you are doing that by contacting me. 

Writing letters, emails and reports is a different experience from writing for an exam. There are test taking strategies that you require for the written portion of any exam: be it IELTS, CELBAN or TOEFL. CELBANPrep Writing Level One online course has been created to teach you these test taking strategies. 

Many people taking CELBANPrep get frustrated with CELBANPrep Writing Level One class. They think it is pointless, because the assignments do not cover writing in a nursing context. (That is covered in CELBANPrep Writing Level Two.) Many people want to skip level one and go straight to level two. But that is not how CELBANPrep has been created.

What they do not understand is that each of the CELBANPrep Writing Levels have been created for the CELBAN Writing Tasks 1 and 2. There is one CELBAN textbook for each task.

NOTE: Level One is a prerequisite for Level Two. People must demonstrate the skills during the Writing Level One class first.

Some people have the skills and knowledge to do this in only a few months (you will be one of those people) but others need much longer to learn the skills, to improve their grammar, and to learn the Canadian Culture. 

When people complete CELBANPrep Writing Level One, they have mastered a transferable set of skills that will allow them greater success on any and all future exams: the CELBAN, the IELTS or other written licensure exams. 

I am certain that in your case, it is not a matter of being a poor writer. It is a matter of identifying your weaknesses and turning them into strengths. It is a matter of knowing what you are doing wrong, and how to ensure you do not make that mistake again. That is what CELBANPrep University is about: creating the pathway to success when it comes to CELBAN writing.

You know F, I have to tell you I love your perspective, “I can speak with confidence and smitten anyone with my charming genuine smile, but I suck on writing.” I can tell you are charming and genuine from that statement! 🙂 But, we need to change that last independent clause. When you rewrite that sentence, after taking CELBANPrep what verb and or adjective(s) will you use? Let’s reframe it now. Then I want you to do something with that statement. Write it on a sticky note and post it somewhere. Use a sharpy or lip stick to write it on a mirror. Create a poster. Put it on the wall or on your fridge. Take a picture and use it on your phone, on your desktop. Undo that negative thinking by flooding your living space and reality with positive messages! Then send me a picture! 🙂

I come to your parting comments and tears surface. You wrote, ” But, I have nightmares on writing. So, could you please help me prepare for the test? I need your guidance.”

It touches me deeply that over the “less than a year” of reading Dear Kim you have come to know me and have confidence and trust in me to know that: I can guide you; I can help you prepare for the exam; I can assist you in obtaining your dream of being an RN in Canada; but more than that I can validate your understanding of your value and worth and that you deserve to be paid accordingly. This is not being less of a nurse, nor is it being greedy. This is being realistic. It is knowing your value and worth. And that is what life in Canada is about! 

Imagine for a moment what that would be like to enter the exam with confidence you will do exceptionally well on the Writing Tasks. Imagine for a moment what that will feel like. Imagine that every time you feel apprehension, or your procrastination kicks in.

You have the ability to choose whether your dreams are nightmares or if they are everything you ever imagined. You have the ability to choose. 

In the piece I wrote about Eli Pasquali, the Olympian, I wrote, 

  • Decide on the dream.
  • Commit to that dream.
  • Find quality coaches with quality training.
  • Ignore the naysayers.
  • Practice your skills until they become a natural extension of yourself to overcome obstacles.
  • Then, with passion, achieve your dream.

 F, you have decided on the dream. You are committed to the dream. Find quality coaches with quality training. Now it is time to “Practice your skills until they become a natural extension of yourself to overcome obstacles. Then, with passion, achieve your dream.” 

You are so very welcome! I can not wait to celebrate you becoming an RN! 



Learn the Secret to Success. Explore CELBANPrep University. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.