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Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year Before Taking Your IELTS Exam

Were you accepted to a university in Canada, but decided to delay your enrollment so you could take a “Gap Year” before starting? In more recent years, the trend for students transitioning from their upper levels or high school to university is to take a year off and enjoy some free time exploring the world.

While some people might picture exotic beaches in the tropics and just relaxing the entire day away, there's more to taking a “Gap Year,” along with many pros and cons.


  • You can learn a new language or improve your English. If you travel to English-speaking countries, you'll have time to develop your language skills.
  • You get to meet new people. You get to make new friends and get to interact with all sorts of interesting people.
  • You can experience new cultures. You'll have opportunities to learn more about local cultures, customs, and traditions.
  • You can enjoy new cuisines. You get to try all sorts of new foods.
  • You'll have tons of stories to share later. Your adventures will take you to new places you can turn into stories you write in a journal in English to improve your writing abilities.
  • It's a great learning experience. You can learn a lot while travelling with actual “hands-on” opportunities you don’t always get in a classroom setting.
  • You get to experience independence. If you've never lived away from home, this is a perfect opportunity to be more independent and learn how to take care of yourself.
  • It can make your resume or CV look better. You'll learn new skills you can put on your resume or CV.
  • You can try out different types of jobs. If you work while travelling to earn money, you gain a wide range of skills which can be useful later.


  • You will be a year behind your peers. Taking time off to travel will mean you will be starting a year later than your peers.
  • It requires a “leap of faith” as there can be some unknowns. When exploring places you have never been, there may be things you overlooked when planning and preparing for your travels.
  • You'll need to have enough cash to cover travel, lodging and food. You do need to make sure you have set aside enough money to cover all your expenses unless you plan on getting a job.
  • It can become stressful if you are not prepared. It's easy to become overstressed if you didn't plan and prepare properly ahead of time.
  • You could waste a lot of time. If you didn't start planning at the start of your last upper-level year, you might have to delay travelling for several months.

There is no denying that taking a “Gap Year” can provide you with valuable experience, new skills, and new friendships that can last a lifetime. However, travelling abroad is not for everyone.

When you're ready to take your IELTS exam, remember there are prep materials and resources available on our website or use the “Find an IELTS Test Location” button to contact your nearest IELTS Centre directly.

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