There are TONS of free IELTS courses on the internet.
But why, with all these free materials, do I get so many people asking me for a free course, hassling my members to give them all my materials, and wondering why they can’t get the score they need?
In this blog, I look at
- why FREE does not always equal GOOD
- why the constant search for free materials may be holding you back
- why paying for a course or a private tutor might be the solution you’re looking for.
8 reasons why FREE courses are not helping you
1. When things are free, you don’t value them.
If I give you my course for free, you might think that it’s pretty worthless, because it’s free (‘Why would she just give a whole course away for free?‘) and it will probably sit in your inbox unused, with all the other free PDFs you downloaded.
Or you will start it and not finish it, because you have nothing to lose.
This will not help you improve your IELTS score.
2. ‘If you pay, you pay attention’.
When you have invested money in a course, you are much more likely to take it seriously, to do the work it requires and to actually finish it.
Because if you don’t finish it, you’ll think you wasted your money.
Knowing that you have paid for the course might give you greater commitment and a reminder to do the work required – you will feel guilty if you don’t.
This WILL help you improve your IELTS score.
3. ‘You get what you pay for’.
There’s so much free stuff online. You do not need to pay for a course. So why do people like me sell courses?
Well that depends. One reason is because they’ve seen all the poor-quality materials online, and feel they can provide something better. Qualified, experienced teachers invest a lot of time and energy into creating the best and most effective materials and organised them in a logical way that is designed to help you.
Paying for a comprehensive course that has been well-thought out and designed by a qualified and experienced trainer will save you time and money in the long-term.
4. If you’ve paid for a course, you are less likely to make excuses.
If you keep looking for free materials, it may be just a way of delaying or avoiding the hard work. Free materials are there if you want them, but you still need to do something with them.
A paid course gives you access to a teacher who can give you individual feedback and make sure you make progress rather than excuses.
5. ‘But teachers should help people for free’
Do you know any teachers who drive around in expensive cars, take luxury holidays and spend their time drinking cocktails on the beach? No I don’t either.
Teachers want to help people, but they do not have huge companies helping them sell their courses.
If teachers can’t earn a living, they can’t help anyone.
6. ‘But I’m a student’
Being a student is not a reason to get everything for free. Would you walk into a hairdresser’s, a garage, a dentist or a restaurant and ask for a free haircut, meal, treatment etc?
Looking for free tuition suggests that you think a teacher’s skills are of no real value.
If a teacher’s skills have no value, why do you need a teacher?
7. ‘But I don’t have any money’
I’m VERY aware of the difficulties some students face in their country and I’m sorry that this is the case. I totally sympathise, which is why I put so much free material on my website. Unfortunately, I live in a country where everything is really expensive.
When you ask people to work for free, it is unlikely that they will put much effort into it.
But when you pay someone for their services, they will probably want to make sure that you get value for money.
8. ‘How come he gets a free course, and I have to pay?’
The people who pay for my courses, who have perhaps sacrificed something else in order to access my materials, would be pretty annoyed if they found out I was giving away free courses to anyone who asked. This would be very unfair to students who pay for my help.
Paying for a course or teacher gives you personalised feedback and a teacher who is committed to helping you.
Finally, what you might not realise is that…
…online tutors pay a lot of money to give away free materials.
For this website alone which I bought for $1500, I pay for
- a web developer ($80 an hour)
- a person to fix it when things go wrong (WP FixIt – $39 per fix)
- a website hosting company ($39 a month)
- SEO software so you can find me more easily ($39 a month)
- software to protect my site and make sure it runs fast so you don’t have to wait ($20 a month)
- a video hosting company (Vimeo $250 a year)
- Zoom for live lessons ($200 a year)
- Apps so we can have a private community ($300 a year)
- Fast, reliable WiFi (so it doesn’t crash in live lessons – $59 a month)
- video editors (Camtasia $190 a year)
- graphics editor (Canva $160 a year),
- a podcast host (free at the moment, but soon to be $9 a month)
- Facebook Ads so you can find out about my free challenges (anything from $100 a day upwards)
- numerous apps to tell you about my free posts (Mojo £20, Werble, Offeo, Ripl, Clips)
- an email provider (Mailchimp $46 a month per 2000 subscribers) to send you emails even if you don’t open them
Working as a freelancer, I get no paid holidays, no sick pay, no pension and no insurance.
I also pay 22% tax and an accountant (£50 a month) to manage the currency exchange so that my site is accessible all over the world. I pay 2.5% PayPal fees.
So if you think my course is expensive, please be aware that about 25% of that price is left over after everything has been deducted. $199 for you is $49 for me.
If I don’t get paid for the hours and hours that I spend hunched over my computer I will not be able to continue to provide free materials.
If you’ve invested money in taking the IELTS test ($200 per test?) and you don’t want to spend any more trying to pass it, then carry on using all of the materials freely available on the net.
But if you’re investing in yourself, your career and your future, then invest in a course that will help you get the score you need little faster.
Let me know if you have any questions – please leave a message in the comments below.
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The chat below is one of the many requests I get every day for a discount (this one would not take “no” for an answer, and he insisted that I should teach him for the price that he wanted to pay).
I’m sure you think I’m really mean not giving a discount. But please try to see the situation from the teacher’s point of view.
Is it free?
There’s an easy way to find out if something is free – just click on the button which says “BUY NOW”. It takes less time than typing “Is it free?” and waiting for the teacher to explain.
By doing this simple action, you avoid upsetting and disrespecting the person who has spent hours putting their expertise, skills and knowledge into what they’re selling.
If the book was free, it would say “Get my free book”.
Pauline Cullen is the most trusted and reliable IELTS expert available. She provides a LOT of free material, and this excellent book is only about $10.
I feel the pain and frustration in her polite reply. To be honest, I would have removed him from the group and deleted his question. She has probably thought about the best way to reply to this kind of comment many many times, as I have.
Freeloaders waste so much of a teacher’s time and mental energy. He will never understand what is behind her comment.
If you are looking for free stuff, you’ll find it on the internet. If you’re looking for good stuff, you have to be prepared to pay for it, like everything else in life.