10-year-old scores 7.5 in IELTS

By Khanh Linh   September 11, 2023 | 07:35 pm PT
A 10-year-old boy in Ho Chi Minh City, who developed an early interest in English and devours books and videos in the language, has scored 7.5 in IELTS.

Fifth grader Nguyen Minh Duc, who took the test on August 13, scored 8.0 in listening and speaking, 7.0 in reading and 6.5 in writing.

"I had thought I would score 7.0," he said.

Nguyen Minh Duc holds his IELTS certificate, August 2023. Photo by Ducs family.

Nguyen Minh Duc holds his IELTS certificate, August 2023. Photo by Nguyen Minh Duc's family

He said he reads English books and watches lots of movies on science, and is surrounded by an English-language environment.

Duc's parents said he showed interest in English at age two when his kindergarten organized weekly English classes with foreign teachers.

The family hired a foreign teacher to teach him at home when he was three, but stopped that soon fearing it could affect his Vietnamese language development.

Instead they bought him children's books in English.

Duc researched on his own and discovered websites about English children's books like Epic and Razkid, and learned words related to a diverse range of topics.

So he did not have much difficulty with reading in the IELTS test, which covered topics from electronic games to music and the history of the Soviet Union.

He also found the listening part easy since he started watching English movies without subtitles a couple of years ago.

His parents put him in an English debate class, which has sharpened his speaking skills.

He often speaks English with his older sister, and so expressions in the language come naturally to him.

In the IELTS speaking test, he was asked to "describe a city that you want to come for long-term stay," and he chose to talk about London for its long history and many beautiful buildings.

He found the second writing question most difficult. It was about why many people are so busy with work these days and its consequences.

He wrote that people need to compete to keep their jobs and many people want to have a better life, which however affects their family relationship.

But it was evidently beyond the pay grade of a 10-year-old and he managed to piece together some of the things he had read in books.

According to IELTS organizers IDP and the British Council, only 10% of those who took the test in Vietnam in 2022 scored 7.5 or above.

There is no age limit to take the test, but IDP recommends that people should do so when they are at least 16.

go to top