Top 10 most in-demand jobs in the future and beyond

Top 10 most in-demand jobs in the future and beyond

What are the best careers in the next 10 years?  Which career paths can bring our child the brightest future? Our world is facing social, cultural, economic, environmental, and technological changes.  Robots, artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies are poised to radically change the future of work. 

With technological innovation happening at a rapid pace, much of the work we do today could be automated out of existence.  However, it will also open up new opportunities – but no one knows for sure what those jobs may be.  In fact, according to one estimate from the World Economic Forum, almost two-thirds of today’s kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that don’t currently exist.  According to an October 2018 HSBC study, nearly 40 percent of Canadian parents are concerned about how technological change will impact their children’s employment prospects. 

Predicting the best jobs for the future requires understanding that all kinds of variables will interact in complex and surprising ways.  Many of tomorrow’s jobs will likely result from today’s scientific and technological advances.  

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and hyperconnectivity will help transform industries, enable the birth of new sectors, and lead to a whole new set of professions and jobs.  Understanding what jobs will be available in the future and what skills will be required will help parents contribute to the ultimate success of today’s students.  In this article, we will show you some fast-growing occupations and several good career options to start considering.

In the future, some jobs will vanish, while others will remain – but change

Lots of today’s careers will be available for kids to pursue when they’re grown up – they’ll just have slightly morphed, thanks to the incorporation of sophisticated technology, says Rafael Gomez, director of the University of Toronto’s Center for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.  For instance, we’ll always need doctors.  But instead of those physicians spending days, weeks or months trying to figure out what’s wrong with someone, a supercomputer, fed information of patient data, will spit out a diagnosis in seconds.  Doctors won’t have to figure out the best medication to prescribe, either – AI will cross-check a patient’s medical records with pharmaceutical data to come up with an individual treatment plan.  With a machine taking care of tests and results – and perhaps even intricate surgeries humans can’t do on their own now – doctors will be able to dedicate more time improving their patients’ overall health and well-being.

It will be a similar story for other professions.  For example, instead of a lawyer spending hours reading case law, a computer could quickly list the cases they might want to reference in front of a judge.  In education, AI could grade multiple tests or papers at once, while teachers could give students better learning experiences by, for example, “transporting” them back 100 years through virtual reality headsets to see what life in a different era was really like.  

At Everest Education, since 2014, we have already started to invest and apply technology in the classroom to boost learning time, allow personalized and incorporate blended learning to help students achieve amazing results.  We believe that in the near future, an educator’s job will also transform into training others how to use the technological information that’s available.

What about hands-on occupations, like construction workers, electricians and plumbers?  They aren’t going anywhere, but they’ll be increasingly high-tech, as workers use technology to create better and stronger buildings and respond faster to problems.

What jobs will be in demand for our kids in the future?

The year is already halfway done, and the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a major effect on employment in nearly every industry.  However, the future of work is still looking pretty bright for medical and tech jobs, based on data and projections from the US Labor Department.

1. Data Analyst
Thanks to computing advances and a cultural shift toward more tracking and measuring, the amount of data that gets collected every year grows by an astonishing amount.  Organizations of every type now have the ability to gather so much detailed information that it’s becoming more and more difficult for a lot of them to figure out what it all means.  They need professionals who can not only collect the data they need, but also spot patterns, identify past and current trends, and forecast future probabilities.  As a result, data analysts will be in high demand in the future.  The role of the analyst is to identify patterns in the data and present such data in a meaningful way, which is understandable. 

2. Information Security Analyst
As our modern way of life gets more intertwined with computers and dependent on information technology (IT), we all become more vulnerable to cyberattacks.  So far, we’ve been lucky that criminal hackers haven’t shut down critical infrastructure on a very large scale or for an extended period of time, or tap on customer data of small businesses with bad intentions.  But that day is probably coming unless we have enough computer security specialists to help the government and essential organizations protect their networks and IT systems.  

Cybersecurity is a worldwide issue, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in how they penetrate the computer systems.

The intricate network of computers and cloud networks makes it easier for hackers and bad guys to steal important information.  To safeguard the public and business interests, information security analysts are a type of police force of the future.  The job of information security analysts is to make systems impenetrable.

3. Augmented Reality Developer
Let’s say you’re an avid online shopper of clothes, but have been experiencing that most of the items you order online don’t fit.  Enter an augmented reality customer experience – where you would be able to enter a virtual shopping world, walk around and try on new clothes in the comfort of your home.  This will be the role of an augmented reality builder – to enable customers to interact with virtual technology to make purchasing decisions.  

Augmented reality could eventually have a major impact on everyone’s personal and professional lives since it will probably touch every industry, event, and public space.  There are several avenues into the field of augmented reality because it is not only about the technical skills but also elements of design, psychology, and art.  A background in audio technology, engineering, applied mathematics, user experience design, and customer experience will go a long way in getting ahead in this field.

4. Biomedical Engineer
Professionals in this field are already starting to revolutionize the healthcare industry.  In fact, biomedical engineering is probably one of the best careers to get into if you want your work to have a positive impact in the years ahead.  Biomedical engineering is a relatively new job that has attracted a lot of attention lately.  These engineers create medical devices that can help doctors and physicians in their day-to-day activities.

Artificial organs, body implants, and biomedical accessories are just a few examples of their intuitive creations. After all, biomedical engineers are involved in all kinds of cutting-edge research and development.

5. Mechanical Engineering Specialist

Does your child want to help develop some of the most exciting emerging technologies?  Increasingly, mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technicians are involved in the design and testing of things like advanced robots, automation equipment, 3D-printing machines, and clean energy devices. 

Mechanical engineers and technicians are in high demand due to the growing demands from the industry to create high-tech equipment. These types of equipment include X-ray printers, advanced robotics, virtual reality hardware, and a lot of other gadgets.  It’s projected that, between 2018 and 2028, about 229,000 jobs could open up for engineers in this field and roughly 43,000 jobs could open up for technicians.

6. Electronics Engineering Specialist

Like mechanical engineering pros, a lot of people in this field get to help design, test and evaluate leading-edge technologies.  As electronic circuitry and other components get smaller, more complex, and more powerful, it’s up to these professionals to figure out how to take advantage of the latest technological advances.  Electronic engineers often work at the back-end of most electronic devices.  They take care of computer circuits, wirings, and smaller components that power a device.  They may help develop things like better computers, automated machinery, handheld medical devices, and navigation and communications equipment.  Going forward, some of them may even get to work on things like self-driving cars. 

The exponential rise in technological power has increased demand for electronic engineers.  It is expected that the demand will remain steady in the long-run. 

7. Blockchain Developer

You’ve probably heard of the digital cryptocurrency called Bitcoin.  But how much do you know about the underlying technology that makes it possible?  Blockchain technology works as a distributed cryptographic ledger that can make economic and other types of transactions decentralized, faster, and more private.  It’s all a bit hard to understand, but many experts believe that blockchain technology will eventually be just as world-changing as the Internet.  That’s why professionals who understand how to develop practical services and products with blockchain technology will probably be in high demand well into the future.

Blockchain is a new technology that became famous due to its implementation in bitcoin trading.  An article in the Computer World suggests that Blockchain is quickly becoming a widespread phenomenon as governments, the private sector, and financial institutions are experimenting with Blockchain to protect the important data of consumers.

8. Smart-Building Technician

In this modern era, new buildings demand certified installation technicians who can carefully manage the installation process.  With each passing year, more homes, offices, and factories are taking advantage of automation technology to control various building systems such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, and security.  In the future, smart buildings may dominate entire cities as people embrace the freedom and convenience of automated control and hyper-connected systems.  But we still need qualified people to install, maintain, and repair those systems.  So tradespeople such as HVAC (HVAC – Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort) technicians are starting to become smart-building technicians.

Accordingly, HVAC technicians are in demand because they are experts in providing safe solutions to install and manage futuristic appliances. 

9. Healthcare Professionals

The medical field is ripe with growth potential.  With an aging population, the demand for healthcare is expected to double over the next decade.  According to recent Labor Department data, an aging population will put healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, and pharmacists in more demand.  The numbers of jobs are estimated to remain constant in the long-run.


Healthcare workers should enjoy working with people and should have an aptitude for science and math.  Less-skilled and lower paid workers such as aides may require as little as a certification course, depending upon the area they are living and working in, while doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists require specialized schooling after graduating from college.  Those who want to enter this field should prepare early by taking college courses in pre-med, biology, and science.

10. Digital Content Specialist

One of the major cultural revolutions that keeps getting more entrenched is the move toward more dynamic, digital, interactive, and on-demand media.  Because of digital devices that keep us constantly connected to almost any kind of information or entertainment we want to consume, the need for fresh content that breaks through the noise is never-ending.  Digital content providers are becoming a top priority of tech-savvy companies.  The role of the digital content specialist varies greatly depending on the job title.  

Organizations in every industry are discovering that generating new digital content is becoming a major key to sustaining their effectiveness.  That’s why digital content specialists—with all kinds of different job titles and abilities—are increasingly in high demand, especially with the growing popularity of remote work and freelance gigs.  To prepare for this type of position, it’s smart to get training in areas like internet marketing, writing, and multimedia and digital arts.  A graphic designer or a freelancer working from home can be described as a digital content specialist.  

Parting words…

What are the best careers for the future?  How will everything change?  Is it possible to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow – today?  We wish we could give our parents definitive answers to these questions.  But, of course, nobody can say for sure what the future holds.  The only thing we know for sure is that: Change will keep happening.

The best we can do is equip our children with the skillsets they need to prepare for a changing world that will be vastly different from what it is today.  In a world where robots can automate most of the work, juniors will need to demonstrate key critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, as well as show creativity and emotional intelligence to leading global employers.  New high-paying jobs will require technological, research, management and soft skills, while talent and creative thinking will be highly valued. 

As a parent, you should be her supportive career mentor. Remember that you were once a teenager, and how hard it was to you when choosing your career path.  Proper guidance means a lot to your child in this stage. You can try to apply tips packed in our old article: Direct your child in choosing a career path, and share with us if you have any questions about this matter.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox and find more parenting coverage at


Understanding the stages of learning English for non-native students

Understanding the stages of learning English for non-native students

Do you know how good your child’s English is?  Where are they compared to their classmates on the English proficiency ladder?  If she owns a PET certificate, what is her equivalent score in IELTS, TOEIC, or even TOEFL?  Knowing your child’s English level will help you explore a range of support and resources specially matched to them.

There are many different levels of learning English.  It’s like stepping up a ladder.  For example:

  • Young learners of English usually start with very simple things like numbers and colors. 
  • Next, they might learn vocabulary and grammar linked to everyday topics, such as animals, family, food and drink, sports, and games.
  • Then, they might start to read about their favorite animal, write about their brothers and sisters, listen to a song, or talk about the games they enjoy playing. 

So, what exactly are the different levels of language learning? 

Getting your child to acquire native-like fluency in any language is hard in itself if you’re only focused on the end game.  However, if you break the entire process of reaching the highest level of English language mastery into multiple stages, then it’s suddenly a much easier picture to paint.

In this article, we introduce to you the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) as a benchmark for qualitative aspects of English usage against international standards.  Hopefully, it will outline the stages that children go through when acquiring an additional language and give suggestions about how practitioners can support them in this journey within an inclusive environment.

First, what is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability.  It describes language ability on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.  Each level has a series of descriptions of what a user at that level can do across the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. 

The CEFR was created by the Council of Europe to provide “a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe” (2001a:1).  It was envisaged primarily as a planning tool whose aim was to promote “transparency and coherence” in language education.

The framework now isn’t just used in Europe.  It’s used all around the world.  It is a practical tool that can be used for anyone involved in language teaching and testing, such as teachers or learners, to see the level of different qualifications. 

To help you understand the relationship between the six CEFR levels and other multi-level tests such as IELTS, TOEFL or TOEIC, we created a map drawing on the interrelationship between these standardized tests and other Cambridge Assessment English qualifications.

What can children do at each level?

The CEFR is a very practical way to show how learners progress through the levels.  The table describes some skills that learners can do at each level.

CEFR level Listening skills Speaking skills Reading skills Writing skills
A1 Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.  Can take part in basic, factual conversations. For example, “Where does your rabbit live?”-  “It lives in my garden.” Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know, and things they have. For example, they can go to a shop where goods are on display and ask for what they want: “Can I have this drink, please?” Can understand simple information, familiar names, words, and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogs. Can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings.  Can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering names, nationality, and address on a hotel registration form.
A2 Can take part in ‘small talk’ and express simple opinions. For example, ‘This looks like a good party.’ ‘Yes, and everyone’s wearing funny clothes.’ Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can ask for what they want and exchange basic information with others. Can read very short, simple texts.  Can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus, and timetables and can understand short simple personal letters. Can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. Can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
B1 Can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.  Can understand the main point of many radio or TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.  Can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions.  Can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. Can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe reactions. Can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language.  Can understand the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters. Can write simple letters stating facts and events.  Can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
B2 Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization.  Can take part in conversations on a range of topics. For example, conversations about events currently in the news.  Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst traveling in an area where the language is spoken.  For example, they can bargain for what they want and ask effectively for a refund or exchange an item. Can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints.  Can understand contemporary literary prose. Can write letters expressing opinions and giving reasons.  Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.  
C1 Can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signaled explicitly.  Can understand television programs and films without too much effort. Can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion Can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style. Can understand specialized articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to their field. Can express themselves in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length.  Can write about complex subjects in a letter, an essay or a report, underlining the salient issues. Can select a style appropriate to the reader in mind.
C2 Have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided they have some time to get familiar with the accent.  Can present a clear, smoothly-flowing description or argument in a style appropriate to the context and with an effective logical structure that helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.  Can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, including abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialized articles, and literary works. Can write clear, smoothly-flowing text in an appropriate style.  Can write complex letters, reports, or articles which present a case with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.  Can write summaries and reviews of professional or literary works.


How do I find the right level for my child?

To define which level your child is at, the simplest way is having her complete these quick, free online tests for young learners or online tests for school-aged learners offered by Cambridge Assessment English.  You’ll see your child’s CEFR level at the end of the test.  On a more important note, having a good level of English does not automatically mean your child will get a good score. Your child will need to get used to the format of the test and also prepare some practice questions before taking the real test.  Parents can also use this information to find practice activities and exams at the right level:

>> Learn more about Cambridge exams for teenagers (KET, PET, FCE…) here:

Taking an International English exam not only means that your child gets an internationally recognized certificate, but it also provides your child with the experience of preparing and taking an international exam.  This can help increase your child’s confidence and self-belief as well as motivating them to take higher-level English exams or improve their score. However, it is important to remember that the process of learning an additional language can take several years and is different for each bilingual child. 

For children entering a setting where a different language is spoken, it can take three months for them to begin to understand.  It may take two years before they can hold a conversation and up to seven years to have full cognitive understanding of the new language.

Testing is not everything

The CEFR is often used by employers and in academic settings as a general indicator to assess the English level.  It would be very useful for those moving out of the country and seeking for full-time jobs abroad, or pursuing higher education in a different country.

However, outside of the professional or academic realm, CEFR levels are not as important.  The CEFR has the advantage of being internationally known, but until now, it had the distinct disadvantage that it had been written for adults, and not for children.  Because of that, there were no descriptors of language interaction for the very young learner.  CEFR tests are really only necessary if you want to define where your child is compared to the target language.  However, don’t let that “testing culture” result in severe stress or pressure for your child. 

In a more casual language-learning environment, when you let your child learn English just because she enjoys it, then CEFR levels are just another tool to gauge where your child is at, so that we can more clearly define what she needs to work on, and work out what she would like to achieve in her target language.

Children need to feel that they are making progress.  They need continual encouragement as well as praise for good performance, as any success motivates.  Parents are in an ideal position to motivate and help your children learn, even if you have only basic English skills yourselves and are learning alongside your young children.

At the end of the day, exams and scores are just one of many measures that should be used to evaluate your child’s English ability, and offer them a positive, confidence-boosting exam experience that motivates them to continue learning English.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at


6 Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child

6 Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child

Have you ever tried to be friends with your child?

Parenting is hard enough, and trying to be a friend to your child at the same time can be like walking a tightrope.  Many parents don’t want to befriend their children as they are afraid it will be hard to enforce rules and standards.  But befriending children is detrimental to their development, as research suggests that kids do better when their parents show affection and enforce age-appropriate limits on their children’s behavior.

As Asian parents, we sometimes find it hard to express our love to our children, we are not comfortable saying “I love you”, and have the challenging job of laying the foundation that will support family friendships in later years. 

So, how can you be a parent who is approachable, accessible, and grow a close bond with your child?  How can you balance the parent-mode and friend-mode when necessary?  How can you set boundaries and have effective discipline, while still maintaining that parent-child relationship?  In this article, we suggest six “foundation builders” to help you cultivate strong friendships with your children.

First, what does “friendship” between parents and children mean?

“Friendship” may also cause problems if it means “treating a child as an adult therapist.”  In fact, it’s not even clear that intimate confessions from parents make kids feel like friends – at least not when the confessions are distressing.

For example, when researchers interviewed the adolescent daughters of divorce, they found that girls were more likely to experience psychological distress if their moms made detailed disclosures to them about their financial worries, employment hassles, personal problems, and negative feelings about their ex-husbands.

But not all intimate confessions are of a distressing nature, and it’s likely that some forms of sharing strengthen the parent-child relationship.  In a recent study of 790 Dutch adolescents, researchers found that kids who reported sharing secrets with their parents had higher-quality relationships and lower rates of delinquency (Frijns et al 2013).  Another study of Swedish teens found that the key to good behavior and family harmony wasn’t heavy-handed parental surveillance.  It was the child’s perception that his parents trusted him (Stattin 2001).

Therefore, what we want to stress here is that you don’t need to share with your child everything here to be her friend, not every friendship is based on sharing equal status.  Parents can build close, personal relationships with their kids and still remain responsible adults.  It’s more like the sort of friendship that some adults manage to have with authority figures – like senior colleagues, mentors, community leaders, or religious advisors.  Both parties respect each other. They care about and trust each other.  They can have meaningful conversations and enjoy each other’s company in informal settings.  But there are constraints.  The dominant party has to keep some information to himself.  And there are times when the dominant party must exercise his authority.

Remember, a true parent-child relationship is the combination of warmth, trust, companionship, and limits.

6 Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child

1. Be parents first

The first step to establish a strong relationship with your child is letting them know the golden rule: you are the parent first.  Many parents try to be friends with their children and completely lose the sense of the fact that they are the parent.  While being friends with your child is wonderful, you need to remember that they have plenty of friends at school and they also need you to be their parent.  Freedom is good, but if America has taught the world anything, it’s that too much freedom can be a bad thing, too.  Just as it goes for a country, the same holds true for a child.  

Sometimes true friendship means not doing the token smile-and-nod and pretending everything is alright.  If you allow your child to do as they please to maintain the friendship level, it could lead to them constantly pushing the limits.  Without setting parental boundaries, children are at risk of making decisions for themselves that aren’t age-appropriate.  Rather than glossing over things to make your child happy in hopes that she will then think of you as a friend; be a true friend.  A true friend looks out for a friend’s well-being, even if that means making hard decisions.

2. See discipline as an asset
A young child will try to manipulate and be in charge.  She will attempt to get her own way. While she may not be consciously trying to control, this is what she is doing.  A wise parent must not permit this to happen.  Respect levels should be established as well.  When a child respects his parents, he will also respect others.  Set rules, these rules need to include how late they can stay out, know who they are with and dating, where they are going and what parties they will be going to, and things of that nature.  They know you are their provider and the one who protects them and they should respect that.  If you want to build a friendship with your child, firm discipline is essential, especially in the early years.

> Some simple, but effective ideas for a reward system to discipline your child:

3. Become A Student Of Your Children
You need to understand your child if you want to make friends with her.   It is possible to do so simply by being around and observing her. When you see your child playing, asking for a certain thing, reacting in a certain manner to situations, her interaction with others, etc., you get to know a great deal about her overall personality.  We encourage you to carefully study your child’s natural personality.  Keep in mind that each child is unique.  Your child will be different from you and their siblings.

 You can ask yourself a few questions that can help you understand your child’s psychology.  

  • Is your child strong-willed, fun-loving, sensitive or very detailed?  
  • What are her likes and dislikes?  
  • How does she react when she has to do something she doesn’t like, such as eating certain foods, going to bed, or doing homework?
  • What is the best way to motivate your child? 
  • What are her specific goals and dreams?  
  • How social is she? Is she willing to share or try new things?
  • How long is your child taking to become familiar with her surroundings? Is she able to adjust to the changes in the environment?

As you begin to answer these kinds of questions you will be able to “tailor-make” your friendship with each child according to his natural personality.

4. Build one-on-one time in your daily routine
Remember that friendships don’t develop by chance or accident. Instead, meaningful friendships are a result of spending time together on a regular – preferably daily- basis.  Spending time together doesn’t always “just happen;” it takes effort to make it a daily activity.  We need to get into the habit of setting special times for our children each day.  During this time, you can give your child your full attention, allowing them to open up to you.  Here are some times you can spend together:

  • Driving to and from school/ extra classes
  • Dinnertime
  • 10-minute chat after school
  • Bedtime routine

You can create a bucket list with your child.   This will give the two of you the opportunity to catch up with each other and make memories together. Find things you both love and are passionate about, try movies, nature trails, playgrounds, beaches, skating rinks, sports games, and whatever you and your child enjoy.  You can put forward some options, but always let them make a choice.  It tells them that you value their opinion and preferences.

5. Communicate in an understanding way
Another important aspect of developing a friendship with your children is by talking and listening in an understanding way.  In other words, we encourage you to become an active listener when communicating with your child.  Active listening involves eye contact with the speaker.  A good listener never assumes he knows what his child is saying.  Instead, ask questions to clarify what the child has said.  Then repeat, using different words, what you think she meant.

 Effective communication goes beyond words.  It takes real work to communicate with your child. It’s not enough to simply ask, “how was your day?” or “what are you feeling about…?”  You have to be engaged and practice active listening.  The good news is that when you show your children that you are invested in their responses and you care about what they have to say, you encourage them to act similarly.  Communicating is hard work; but the connection it creates is absolutely worth it.

And don’t just ask, share: Right from “how did the school go” to “who’s that friend of yours”, it’s time to give it a break and start sharing with them.  Tell them how your day was when you get a chance.  Talk about what you like, how you were at different things when you were young, and anything that you think they will listen to.

6. Meaningful Touch
The final way that we’ve found to help build meaningful friendships with children is by touching.  When you touch your child in a gentle way – soft, tender, full of warmth – millions of nerve endings send messages to the brain where chemicals are released to bring health to your child.  Researchers say that parents who hold their children at least six times daily can add months or maybe even years onto their life span.  Conversely, a child’s growth is stunted when not touched on a regular basis.  Children have actually died just from lack of touch, love, and affection.  Your child benefits not only physiologically, but emotionally as well.

Physical affection and verbal affirmation are necessary for laying a strong foundation for friendship.  Even if you were not raised in a hugging family, hug your kids anyway.  They need the warmth of physical contact and so do you.  From gently rocking the tiny infant to hugging a preadolescent, physical touch communicates love and provides security.  Encourage your kids to hug each other as well.  Let them begin by holding a newborn brother or sister.  Praise them for little things. “That was so nice when you complimented your brother for the pretty picture he drew.” 

> Check out this 1 simple technique to raise confident kids from Tony Ngo – our Chairman and Co-founder of Everest Education:

Final thoughts

Besides having scheduled time with your children, if you are to develop a meaningful friendship you need to be available to them during unscheduled times as well:

  • Treat your children as individuals with minds of their own.
  • Talk with them about their thoughts, hopes, ideas, and feelings.
  • Share bits of your own “mental life” with them – not the bits likely to distress kids, but bits that help kids see their parents as human beings so that you two can share a sense of mutual loyalty, trust, and respect.

To be a good friend with your child, let’s just be genuine, be open, be a true friend, love yourself; and just BE. Then your role as both friend and parent will naturally balance itself out. We hope you will enjoy plenty of fun-filled times with your child.


Most Common Acronyms Used in the US, UK education system

Do you know the differences between ESL and ELA, IELTS and TOEFL, SAT and ACT? 

As you start navigating the special international education system, you might come across many abbreviations, acronyms and specialized terms such as IB, AP, IGCSE… which makes you feel as though you’re wading around in a bowl of alphabet soup, not to mention those acronyms of General English Qualification used by Cambridge Assessment English: KET, PET, CFA, CAE, CPE… and the list goes on. 

Acronyms are used a lot in international education systems, everything from descriptors for assessments and curriculum, to individual departments, and to educational legislation are referred to as acronyms.  And trying to understand them all is practically like learning a new language, it feels like swimming in a sea of information, legal terminology, curriculums and prerequisite.  But don’t let that discourage you, we believe parents should take time to learn the differences of these programs and courses, to decide a study pathway that fits perfectly with your child.  Go beyond the acronyms everyone knows, like SAT and GPA, to learn additional terms that are relevant and meaningful in international school culture today.

So, to get you started, this article will provide you a brief list of some of the most common terms acronyms used in the education system in the US and UK schools.


Let’s start with the easiest, and most common terms – IELTS and TOEFL!


IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, an exam for non-native speakers of English.  There is a general exam and an academic exam.  The general exam is often taken by people who want to immigrate to English-speaking countries, especially the UK and Australia.  The academic exam is for people who want to go to university in the English-speaking world. It’s more popular in countries outside of the US. 


The Test of English as a Foreign Language, the TOEFL, is for non-native English speakers who want to go to university in an English speaking country.  The TOEFL specifically tests academic English skills.  It’s particularly popular for people who want to study in the US, but universities in most countries accept the exam.


Both the TOEFL and IELTS are widely accepted at undergraduate and graduate schools around the world.  In general, TOEFL’s structure and language is more academically focused, while the IELTS has a more real-world communication feel.  The TOEFL is more commonly accepted by American institutions, while the IELTS is more commonly accepted overseas, but many schools accept scores from either exam.  However, a specific school may prefer one test over the other, so international students should make sure they research the preference of the schools they want to apply to.


If your child’s applying to a college abroad, she’s likely going to need to take the SAT or the ACT.  The SAT and the ACT are standardized tests that colleges and universities in the U.S. use to decide admittance, along with GPA, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and essays.


The SAT, which stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test, is the older of the two.  It was first introduced in 1926.  The SAT is intended to forecast a student’s ability to perform in her freshman year at college.  The test consists of two portions, one measuring students’ mathematical skills and the other their verbal skills. 


The ACT, which stands for American College Testing, was introduced in 1959.  The ACT is a standardized test to determine a high school graduate’s preparation for college-level work.  It covers four areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning.  The ACT is a test based on courses you have studied; it is not an IQ test. 


While the exams have their differences, they are similarly multiple-choice tests that have reading, writing, and mathematical sections.  The SAT attempted to test a student’s aptitude – that is, a student’s ability to learn – while the ACT was much more pragmatic. The exam tested students on the information they actually learned in school. 

>> Check out the detailed differences between SAT and ACT in our older blog post: Key differences between the SAT and ACT: which test is right for you?


Hundreds of thousands of students around the world also take ESL, English as a Second Language, sometimes known as EFL, English as a Foreign Language, while native students still have to learn ELA.  So what do they mean?


ESL stands for English as a Second Language.  This acronym has been traditionally used to describe non-native English speaking students who are studying English in a country where the first language is English.  For example, if a Japanese student came to London to study English, this student could be referred to as an ESL student or someone who is studying ESL.  ESL students acquire English as a means to communicate in the dominant language spoken in the community where they reside.


EFL, shorts for English as a Foreign Language, is learning English in a non-English-speaking country.  For example, students in China who are learning English are considered EFL students because English is not the official language of the country.  But if those same students were in the U.S. learning English, they would be considered ESL students.


ELA stands for English Language Arts, is the type of English taught in English-speaking countries.  ELA focuses on all areas of language development (including listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and pronunciation), and ELA classes cover all manner of things related to the English language, from literature to grammar to how to write a punchy essay. You can imagine native students learn ELA just like Vietnamese students learn Literature at schools – even though Vietnamese is our mother tongue, students still have to learn “Vietnamese Language Arts” in order to make meaning, use language effectively in a variety of content areas and succeed in college, career and life.

Most families don’t understand that there are different “Englishes”They mistakenly believe that studying at any of the numerous learning centers for conversational English, IELTS, and TOEFL is good enough.  

In Vietnam, we have found that “English Language Arts” remains a new concept to most parents.  ESL is somewhat similar to an ELA class, because students learn reading and writing in English.  However, the focus is more on the building blocks of the English language – the foundations that will make it possible for students to succeed in international professional areas of study and in life beyond school.

As soon as your child can use everyday conversational English, challenge her to learn just like a native American student with English Language Arts.

General English Qualification by Cambridge Assessment English: KET, PET, FCE, CAE, and CPE

KET, PET, FCE refer to Cambridge exams for teenagers, after they finish Cambridge Young Learners English (YLE), including Starters, Movers and Flyers – normally for children from 6 to 12 years old.


KET is also known as the Key English Test (KET) or Key English Test for Schools (KETfs).  This qualification shows that you can communicate in basic English in everyday situations.  This is an Elementary level exam that tests the ability to use basic linguistic constructs in conversation and writing. If you understand simple texts, short phrases and can communicate in situations that are familiar to you- the KET exam is for you.

The Cambridge A2 Key certificate enables you to work abroad in some countries (for example, Denmark and the Netherlands) in areas that do not require advanced language skills.


PET is known as the Preliminary English Test (PET) or Preliminary English Test for Schools (PETfs).  This is an Intermediate level exam that shows that you can communicate in English in practical, everyday situations.  It will give you a good foundation if you want to study for a professional English qualification.  If you can read simple books and articles, write simple letters, and communicate on common topics, then this exam is for you.

  • Level of qualification: Intermediate = B1 on the Common European Framework (~IELTS 4 – 4.5 or TOEFL iBT 57 – 86)

B1 Preliminary (PET) will suit you if you plan to work or study abroad. Also, this exam can become an important experience and preparation stage for higher-level examinations.


FCE is also called the First Certificate in English or First Certificate in English for Schools (FCEfS).  This is an Upper-Intermediate level exam to prove that you can speak and write English well enough to work or study in an English-speaking environment.  If your English level is good enough for use in daily communication, business, and education, then B2 First (FCE) is an exam for you. 

  • Level of qualification: Upper-intermediate = B2 on the Common European Framework (~IELTS 5 – 6.5 or TOEFL iBT 87 – 109)

FCE is the perfect choice for those who want to work in an English-speaking business, live in an English-speaking country, or study a foundation-level or pre-university course taught in English.


CAE is also known as the Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English.  This general English qualification shows that your English is of a standard expected of a professional business person or an undergraduate university student.

  • Level of qualification: Advanced = C1 on the Common European Framework (~IELTS 7 – 8 or TOEFL iBT 110 – 120)

CAE is for students or adults who want to prove to employers or universities that you can communicate confidently in English in professional and high-level academic situations. 


CPE is also known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English  This qualification shows that you have mastered English and can use it fluently in demanding research, academic and professional situations.  This is the highest Cambridge English qualification.

  • Level of qualification: Proficient = C2 on the Common European Framework (~IELTS 8.5 – 9)

You should take the CPE if you want to prove to employers that you can use English at a senior management level, or if you want to study at postgraduate or Ph.D. level at an English-speaking university.

While both the Cambridge exams and the IELTS test all four major English skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking, there are quite a few differences between them.

The main difference between the Cambridge tests and the IELTS is that while there is only one IELTS for every level, the Cambridge tests are level-oriented.  The CAE is aimed only at advanced English speakers, those falling into the B2 to C2 range. IELTS and TOEFL scores, on the other hand, will place your English ability anywhere among the A1-C2 range. Therefore, beginners or intermediate English speakers should not attempt the CAE.

Another point worth considering is that while IELTS or TOEFL score will be valid for just two years after the test date, Cambridge certifications do not have the expiry date, therefore you will have unlimited time to pursue your study and employment goals. 

For more detailed information, you can go onto the Cambridge exams website:


Key differences between the SAT and ACT: which test is right for you?

Key differences between the SAT and ACT: which test is right for you?

If you’re or having a child preparing for college admissions, you might have heard of the SAT and ACT tests, and might be curious about their differences.   The SATs and the ACTs are the two different tests that students are required to take for admittance to a US university.  When it comes to the SAT vs. the ACT, both exams are widely accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students to ask: Which test should I take?

The answer to that question lies in understanding the differences between the two tests.  While both are standardized tests that colleges and universities use as a benchmark when making admissions decisions, there are some differences. 

This article will provide you with a brief overview of the basic structural and logistical differences between the ACT and SAT, to help you pick the right one as you get ready to apply to college.

The SAT vs. the ACT

At a glance, the two tests aren’t that different.  Both the ACT and SAT are nationally recognized standardized tests and common admission requirements for US schools.  Catering primarily to high school juniors and seniors, each test measures students’ proficiency in various critical skill areas – such as problem-solving and reading comprehension – that are necessary for college success.

Because all US colleges and universities accept scores from either the ACT or SAT, there’s no advantage in taking one test over the other.  This means you can apply to the same schools, regardless of which test you decide to take.

Despite all these similarities, there are still many ways in which the ACT and SAT differ from each other.  For one, the SAT is overall slightly longer than the ACT.  What’s more, the number of questions and time limits are different for corresponding sections.

Need a quick side-by-side comparison of the tests?  Check out this ACT vs. SAT Comparison Chart.




Content-based test

Type of Test

Content-based test
Reading: 1, 65-min section; Math: 1, 25-min section (no calculator) & 1, 55-min section (w/ calculator); Writing & Language: 1, 35-min section; Essay: 1, 50-min section (optional)

Test Format

English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 40-min essay (optional)
Reading, relevant words in context, math, grammar & usage, analytical writing (optional)

Content Covered

Grammar & usage, math, reading, science reasoning, and writing (optional)
Questions are evidence and context-based in an effort to focus on real-world situations and multi-step problem-solving

Test Style

Straightforward, questions may be long but are usually less difficult to decipher
Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing are each scored on a scale of 200-800. Composite SAT score is the sum of the two section scores and ranges from 400-1600


English, Math, Reading, and Science scores range from 1-36. Composite ACT score is the average of your scores on the four sections; ranges from 1-36
No – you do not lose points for incorrect answers

Penalty for Wrong Answers?

No – you do not lose points for incorrect answers
Yes – you can choose which set(s) of SAT scores to submit to colleges. However, some colleges require or recommend that students submit all scores. Students should review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.

Score Choice?

Yes – you can choose which set(s) of ACT scores to submit to colleges.  However, some colleges require or recommend that students submit all scores. Students should review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.
Math questions generally increase in difficulty level as you move through that question type in a section. Reading passage questions generally progress chronologically through the passage, not by difficulty level. Writing & Language passage questions do not progress by difficulty level. 

Difficulty Levels

For the English and Reading sections, the difficulty level of the questions is random. For the Math section, questions generally increase in difficulty as you progress through the section. For the Science section, passages generally increase in difficulty as you progress through the test, and questions generally become more difficult as you progress through a passage. 
Arithmetic, problem-solving & data analysis, Heart of algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry; formulas provided

Math Levels

Arithmetic, algebra I and II, functions, geometry, trigonometry; no formulas are provided
Seven times per year: March or April, May, June, August, October, November, December 

Offered when?

Seven times per year: February, April, June, July, September, October, December 
Typically about four weeks before the test date

Registration deadline?

Typically about five to six weeks before the test date

More Information

Neither the SAT nor the ACT is harder than the other – but each test benefits a different type of student.  It’s essential that you figure out which test is best suited for you, so that you can achieve the highest scores possible.

ACT vs SAT: Which Test Is Right for You?

The best way to decide if taking the SAT, ACT, or both tests is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test of each type.  Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit. 

Another quicker way you can determine which test is right for you is to take a short quiz. In the chart below, check whether you agree or disagree with each statement.

Statement     Agree    Disagree
I struggle with geometry and trigonometry.    
I am good at solving math problems without a calculator.    
Science is not my forte.    
It’s easier for me to analyze something than to explain my opinion.    
I normally do well on math tests.    
I can’t recall math formulas easily.    
I like coming up with my own answers for math questions.    
Tight time constraints stress me out.    
I can easily find evidence to back up my answers.    
Chronologically arranged questions are easier to follow.    

Now, count up your check marks in each column to find out what your score means.

Mostly Agrees — The SAT is your match!
If you agreed with most or all of the above statements, the SAT is what you’ve been looking for. With the SAT, you’ll have more time for each question and won’t need to deal with a pesky science section or a ton of geometry questions.

Mostly Disagrees — The ACT’s the one for you!
If you disagreed with most or all of the statements, you’ll most likely prefer the ACT over the SAT. On the ACT, you’ll never have to come up with your own answers to math problems, and you get to let your opinion shine in your writing.

Equal Agrees and Disagrees — Either test will work!
If you checked “Agree” and “Disagree” an equal number of times, either the ACT or SAT will suit you.  Unless you decide to take both, which does sound like a good option considering money and time constraints, try to take the official ACT and SAT practice tests to see which test’s format you’re ultimately more comfortable with.

All colleges require students to take either the SAT or the ACT and submit their scores to their prospective universities.  Despite the fact that many U.S. schools are going test-optional, an ACT, or SAT certification is still great-to-have for international students, as this is a concrete data point to compare you among thousands of applicants, and is what makes your application stand out more.  There is no advantage of taking one test over another, so it is important to choose the test that is best for you, whether you are a domestic US student or an international student. 


Updates on changed SAT requirements in 2020 and 5 common FAQ

Updates on changed SAT requirements in 2020 and 5 common FAQ

As dozens of U.S. schools dropped their ACT and SAT requirements, and many more are in the pipeline, is it the time for us to say goodbye to the SAT prep books?  What are the major changes to the SAT this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic?  What are the SAT score percentiles? And what is the good SAT score to apply to top colleges? 

These are the common questions that we often receive from our families and students. So here you are, in this article, we put together an SAT FAQ section to have all your SAT questions answered.  If you can’t find your questions here, let us know by commenting below!

Q: Some colleges are going to stop requiring SAT test scores for admissions. Is it true that the SAT is falling out of favor, and students don’t need to take SAT to get into college?

A: According to a list by the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, or FairTest, a nonprofit organization working to end the misuse of standardized testing, about 51 universities, and colleges have dropped the ACT/SAT requirement for at least Fall 2021 in recent months.  Critics say the tests put less wealthy students at a disadvantage.  They acknowledge that SAT and ACT results follow a pattern of all standardized test scores: Kids from poor families do worse than kids with more money.  Wealthy parents can provide benefits that many poor families can’t, such as tutors, learning opportunities, the best schools with ample resources.  This comes on top of repeated SAT and ACT cheating scandals in the U.S. and abroad. The SAT in recent years has become the target of a sophisticated cheating system in Asia made possible in part because the College Board reuses questions.  Now, a growing list of colleges has announced they’re going test-optional for the class of 2021, meaning the SAT or ACT will not be required for admission.

Does it mean that students don’t have to worry about SAT/ ACT from now on?  When it comes to college admissions, we believe that the SAT/ ACT scores are still, not very inaccurate though, good indicators to compare students across disparate countries.  To compare students from totally different high schools, college admission committees can’t just choose the top students at each school; they need some way to compare students from across the nation and around the world, and that’s the history of SAT and why SAT scores are still important.  Therefore, even though more and more schools are going test-optional, we recommend students sitting the exam, especially if you are an international student and want to apply to competitive colleges, as this is a concrete data point to compare you among thousands of applicants, and is what makes your application stand out more.

That said, the fact that many schools are going test-optional has opened more options for applicants, and leveled the academic playing field.  SAT scores are not everything you need to apply to colleges – numbers can not tell the whole story.  If you think your scores are an accurate representation of your ability, submit them. If you feel they are not, don’t.  Instead, try to show your special-self in some other ways – which can come across in letters of recommendation, talent, extracurriculars, and college essays.

Q: When is the best time to take the SAT?

A: The SAT can be taken any time starting your freshman year.  We strongly recommend that all but the very strongest students do not take the first SAT exam until at least the spring of Grade 9, as this ensures you have covered the required academic content in school.  We also strongly recommend that all students should take their first SAT exam in either the spring of Grade 10 or fall of Grade 11. 

Doing so will give you enough time to take the test twice, which is highly recommended, as 67 percent of students improve their score the second time around. This also helps to unlock the power of Superscoring, which is a tremendous advantage for those who take the SAT multiple times.  

Once you receive your initial test results, you’ll know your weak points and can prepare to retake the test. 

The SAT exam is offered internationally every year in October, November, December, March, May, and June.  View SAT Test Dates and Deadlines here.

COVID 19 Update from SAT: Due to COVID-19 concerns, the College Board has canceled the May 2, 2020, and June 6, 2020 SAT and SAT Subject Test administrations.   College Board has announced that they plan to provide weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August.  This includes a new administration on September 26, along with the previously scheduled tests for Fall 2020.  Learn more here.


Q: What Are SAT Score Percentiles? A: In addition to the composite score you get on the SAT (i.e., that number between 400 and 1600), you’ll get a percentile ranking, ranging from 1 to 99.  The SAT gives you a percentile ranking for your overall composite score as well as for each of the two-section scores: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math. Your percentile tells you how you did on the SAT compared with everyone else who took the test. 


Your percentile score is not like a grade out of 100.  For instance, if you get a percentile of 90, this doesn’t mean you got exactly 90% of the questions right.  It just means that compared with everyone who took the SAT, you scored higher than 90% of them.  

Colleges use percentiles to compare you with other students.  If you got, say, an SAT score in the 90th percentile, this would make you competitive for many schools since you scored better than 90% of students nationwide.

Q: What is an SAT superscore and which colleges superscore

A: Superscoring is when a college chooses to consider your highest section score from multiple sittings of the same examination.  For instance, imagine you’ve taken the SAT two times, once in the spring and once in the fall. The second time around, your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score increased 80 points, but your Math score came out 10 points lower. Colleges that superscore the SAT use your best section-level scores, even if they were from different tests. Many colleges that follow a superscore policy encourage students to submit all test scores, and some require it. This allows them to see and consider the highest section scores consistently and fairly across all applicants.

If you’re planning to take the SAT more than once, then superscoring is a beneficial policy.  You may incorporate this policy into your test prep strategy: If they superscore, then you can take the SAT on various dates throughout high school with a very specific section target score in mind each time.  In this way, you can use SAT superscoring to maximize your composite score and present a stellar SAT score on your college applications.  Make sure you research the standardized test policies of your colleges well in advance of applications.

Most colleges, but not all, consider your SAT superscores.  It’s always a good idea to review the SAT score-use policy for each college on your list so that you can come up with the best application strategy.  You can usually find this policy on the admissions website, usually in an “application requirements” section. Also, refer to this complete list of colleges that superscore the SAT

Q: What is a good score on the SAT?

A: Now, let’s look at the 25th and 75th percentile SAT/ACT scores for MIT, Stanford and all Ivy League schools:

If you’re scoring lower than the 25th percentile on either the SAT, you’ll have a really tough time getting accepted to an Ivy League school.  Unfortunately, you just won’t measure up to all the other highly qualified applicants who have extremely impressive SAT scores.

Clearly, these are very high standards.  In fact, all 75th percentile scores for Ivy League schools are in the 99th percentile nationwide.  To be at the top of the Ivy League application pool, you will need to be one of the top 1% of test-takers in the country!

While these SAT scores for the Ivy League can be used as standard guidelines, everyone has a different target score.  This means that you’ll need to know the SAT/ACT score target that’s right for you.  But how do you figure this out?

Your target SAT score will be based on the colleges you’re applying to.  You’ll need to find the average SAT scores of admitted students for all the schools you’re interested in attending, specifically their 75th percentile scores.  Aiming for the 75th percentile will give you the best chance of getting into all the schools on your list.