Chhum Sambath: Gaming to First Place

Roath Sophanna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Chhum Sambath thanks his video games for teaching him new English terms. Photo: AB Photography

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Securing the top spot in the English Proficiency test for three consecutive years, Chum Sambath thanked video games and TV shows for helping him learn English.

Among over 800 students taking English Proficiency tests at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) annually, Chum Sambath was able to hold first place for three years in a row. He said all these were made possible through technology.
Sambath’s English Proficiency Success
The 20-year junior in university has always been the top scorer on English proficiency exams since he started classes at Singapore International School (SIS) in 2006. For all 12 levels, he maintained the top-notch position.
“One of the things that contributes to my English improvement is that my everyday life is filled with English,” Mr. Sambath said. “I have spent a lot of time making use of technology such as social networking, YouTube, TV shows and animated series.”
He is grateful that video games helped with his English proficiency since many popular games have English subtitles and text. He remembers in the 6th grade, his mom got him a Game Boy Advance and a copy of the Pokémon game.
Though English was not his forte at the time, his love for Pokémon got him hooked to the game and led him to try to overcome the language barrier.
“The tips I have for those who will sit for the English Proficiency test is that they have to manage their time wisely,” said Mr. Sambath. “For example, they would not be given time to transfer their answers to the answers sheets in the listening test, so they have to be careful.”
“It would be great if they could practice with the IELTS test because the preparation course would teach them the tips or tricks in order to be more familiar with the exam conditions,” he added.
Mr. Sambath claimed that his friends who were playing Pokémon and Monster Hunter back then also have a really good command of English today.
Even though Mr. Sambath is good at the written test, speaking examination poses a great challenge for him as he described himself as a reserved person when it comes to making conversation. He mostly spends  his time in front of his computer and on the internet, but he has managed to incorporate English into his everyday tasks.
Acing the English proficiency test is not the only thing Mr. Sambath is good at. He was able to get second place for two years in a row for his studies at IFL. “I have to make sure that I do not perform badly at school so that my mom would not be upset with me,” Mr. Sambath said. “She is the main motivation behind my hard work.”
Prioritizing Tasks
When it comes to school, Mr. Sambath focuses mainly on the deadlines of each assignment or homework and prioritizes what is important first. He always skims through the lessons that are going to be taught in advance.
Mr. Sambath admits that he has difficulty paying attention for long periods of time. He said if he tries to push for too long with reviewing, he tends to lose his focus.
Before every exam, he makes sure he is well prepared and studies everything that is going to appear on the test as listed in the exam specifications.  “Life is not easy, so you have to push through the hardship; otherwise, you might not achieve your goal in life,” he said.

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