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Hi, this is Jaime Miller. And today I’m going to answer a question I get a lot. I’ve taken TOEFL so many times, studied with so many teachers, put in so many hours. I’m ready to give up. Can you help me? I can say that the vast majority of people who get results with my programs did not have indications of success in their TOEFL scores before they started studying with me.

So like in other words, there’s some people who, and this is very statistically rare–like we’re talking probably less than 1% of the students that I come across–already got a speaking score of 26 or a writing score of 24 the first time that they took TOEFL. Like that sometimes happens, but it’s very statistically rare. And the most common thing that I see is that people repeatedly take TOEFL again and again, and they might have fluctuations in their score or their scores drop, or they just stay the same, you know, and that they’re just really struggling with having any kind of significant change. And, you know, back in the day, like eight, nine years ago, when I was a new TOEFL teacher, I would get lucky when one of these magical kinds of students would come to me that really didn’t need to make any improvement with their English.

They basically already had the level of English that was required at the exam and what they were missing was confidence and some strategies. And I could help them, you know, in a few hours I could help them learn the strategies. And if I was lucky, I could boost their motivation and their confidence in themselves. And they could like walk away and get the store, but that’s statistically really, really rare. And so the majority of people are the ones that have taken the exam and have not gotten results. And what I think is the most important thing to look at in somebody’s history is, you know, when you look back at your time, when you were in like a regular school, you were in university or you were in high school and your teachers gave you a structured curriculum, did you succeed? And if the answer is yes, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to do very well with my program, because the fact is that the TOEFL iBT test is incredibly complicated and there’s no organization or association out there that trains tutors, or English as a second language teachers, how to help the people who are trying to take the TOEFL test.

And a lot of the material is, it’s not that it’s purposefully vague, but the company that makes the test is not concerned about tutors or schools and teachers understanding how to teach the exam. And, and also it’s important to say, there’s no regulation in this industry whatsoever. So anybody can just get a book for TOEFL iBT and start offering classes. So it creates this sort of illusion that, you know, anyone can teach for it. Anyone can, can get somebody ready for it.

And the fact is that getting all of the scores that people need, like let’s say that they need minimum scores of reading 23 or listening scores of 22 or higher, or like a speaking score of 26 on a writing score of 24. Like when somebody comes to me and they need improvement in four sections, that’s actually probably about 16 projects, depending on the way that you think about it. It’s not just for, you know, it’s like, do we need to work on accent? If we do, when are we going to work on accent and pronunciation? Because it’s not first, even though a lot of people might want to. You know, do you have fossilized mistakes with grammar and vocabulary?

Everybody does, but how many do you have and what are yours? And when are we going to study those things? You know? And so the complexity with TOEFL iBT and just navigating the overwhelm is like a really real part of it. And so what I am trying to say is that I think that a lot of schools and tutors out there don’t really have much in the way of a clear curriculum, because there’s no industry guidance about how to do that. And then when you compound it with the fact that a lot of schools will hire tutors or teachers, even if they never took the TOEFL test and they’ll let those people guide classes with students that have careers, depending on getting those scores, but it’s like they haven’t even gone through the process themselves.

So I think that, you know, there’s just like a lot of factors for why it’s so difficult for students to find a guide that actually really understands what the test is all about. So a person’s success in university following a structured curriculum is a much better indicator of whether or not they’re going to be successful in my program because I’ve spent the past 10 years mapping out everything so that there’s a time and there’s a place for focusing on all of it.

And if you can take a deep breath and just stick with the program and go through it step by step, not get ahead of yourself, but just take the time that you need to really absorb each part and make sure that you’re really mastering it, not just checking off a box and saying, Oh, I’m done with this, but that you actually get better in those areas, you will rise to the level where you have the English that will get you those scores. So if you can follow a plan, this is going to work for you.

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