When lots of students find me, a common first question is, “How can we start private lessons?”
I’ve been guiding pharmacists, physical therapists and other ambitious students towards their target TOEFL iBT scores since 2010. During that time, I’ve been able to observe what type of person is the most likely to get results with me and my curriculum.
There is a certain profile, or combination of characteristics, that makes a student the most likely to get results from investing in private lessons with me.
I want happy students who are confident they got value for what they paid me. So when I’m looking at applications from people who are asking to study in private lessons with me, I am persuaded to say yes by the following characteristics.
Characteristic #1: You can score 23+ on TOEFL iBT Reading / Listening
Your ability to read and listen are a major asset when you’re taking private lessons with me. Higher scores allow you to catch the majority of the information I’m telling you the first time in the live lesson, and then completely when you re-watch the recording. Plus, you also can follow my instructions for your homework with many fewer problems.
For example, reading and understanding this article is an indication that you are at the necessary level.
Characteristic #2: You have enough time to follow my program.
If you are fighting some insanely stressful deadline (Example #1: Your university application is coming up soon and you refuse to delay your application. Example #2: Your FPGEE certificate will expire soon and you will walk away from your career at that point), I have to say that I’m really sorry we didn’t find each other sooner, but I’m not the tutor for you.
Your English will only be at the level that scores Speaking 26 or Writing 24 when your English is at that level. Hopefully, all you need are some strategies to make you more confident. But that is rarely the situation. You should expect to get advice about which “fossilized” errors with pronunciation, grammar, and/or vocabulary you’ll need to retrain. And that is a much longer process.
Your TOEFL scores cannot be rushed simply because there is some arbitrary schedule you would love to meet.
Characteristic #3: You’re good with technology.
I will assign you homework in Google Drive and Google Doc. You’ll need to access documents and files on your computer. You’ll also need to upload TOEFL Speaking responses that you record either on your computer or phone.
In order to do that, you must be comfortable using Google Drive, Google Doc, and email. We have a chance to explore our compatibility when you get feedback from me on 2 essays and 4 Speaking responses (which is part of the Understand How to Fix Fossilized Errors program).
If you’re not super good at technology, that’s ok. You can still study with me, but it will probably cost more — because it will take me and my assistant longer to do our job with you.
Characteristic #4: You’re organized.
In private lessons, you’ll write lots of essays and/or record many Speaking responses. Those need to be uploaded to Google Drive. I can’t do my job quickly or easily if I’m hunting through your folders, or sending you text messages and calling you, trying to find your homework files.
If you’re not super organized, you can still study with me, but again, it may cost more because it takes me longer to do my job.
Characteristic #5: You communicate clearly and respond to me.
I may seem super busy, but I do notice when students don’t answer my questions that I ask about their TOEFL studies. If you leave me without answers, it is a sign to me that we won’t be able to form the kind of team that creates success for you.
If you don’t have control of your email inbox or phone, you’re going to miss notifications with important questions, conversations and advice from me. There is only so long that I can remember to keep trying to get in touch with you. Eventually, I’ll forget and focus on the students who respond to me.
You need your own phone and your own email account so that you can monitor and manage any messages that you get about your TOEFL studies. I discovered in the past that I cannot communicate clearly or efficiently when students share a phone and / or email account with their family members.
Also, it’s culturally respectful and appropriate for you to ask me questions like, “How are you?” and acknowledge whatever personal details I share with you. I feel so disrespected when people ignore serious emails from me and treat me like a “TOEFL Vending Machine.” For example, many times after I have shared bad news or painful updates about my life, there are people who have just ignored those messages completely and instead just shoved some work at me.
You will benefit a lot (not just with me but in your career and America in general) if you respond to people’s bad news with phrases like, “I’m sorry to hear that” or “It sounds so difficult. I hope things get better for you.” The reason why is because you will be displaying the kind of emotional and cultural sensitivity that will make Americans like you and want to help you more.
Characteristic #6: You’re “failure-resilient.”
Fact: In the days before my students get their desired scores of Speaking 26+ or Writing 24+, I am continuing to give them feedback about how to be better. In order to reach their advanced goals, they must accept constant and never-ending feedback about how to be slightly better and better.
Some people are “failure-resilient” which means that after they fail or make a mistake, they return to similar levels of energy and purpose relatively quickly. Other people are “failure-intolerant” which means their discouragement and depression control them for longer.
Which group of people do you think finishes TOEFL faster?
If you guessed the “failure-resilient” people, you’re right!
Fortunately, you can learn how to become “failure-resilient”… But the fact is that people who are more naturally “failure-resilient” are less stressed by their mistakes, which means they improve faster, and ultimately spend less money on lessons with me.
Characteristic #7: You follow my curriculum.
Since 2010, I’ve been solving TOEFL problems like yours. Although you may be overwhelmed and confused about what to do, I am crystal clear.
The fact is that getting scores of Speaking 26 on TOEFL iBT and Writing 24 is so much more predictable than many people fear. If you say certain things (and if you say them in a particular way), you can reliably earn that 26 on Speaking. If you write certain things, you can reliably get that 24 on Writing.
Based on that predictable reliability, I developed a particular curriculum.
When my students master the concepts in the curriculum, they get Speaking 26+ or Writing 24+.
Your private lessons with me build on the concepts that I introduce in my e-courses. If your plan is to skip my e-courses and jump right into private lessons, you will be confused.
The least expensive and most flexible way to become one of my students (and create the opportunity for us to meet) is to register for these e-courses and introductory services…
- For TOEFL Writing, start with…
- For TOEFL Speaking, start with…
To be clear, yes, I am asking you to study by yourself with the e-courses and programs on the list before we study in private lessons.
First because 17% of my students last year got their Speaking 26 and Writing 24 just by finishing the blue items on the list above. Before you jump into an expensive investment, you should find out… Are you in the 17% or the 83%?
Second because teaching you privately the nearly 50 hours of concepts that I cover in my video class recordings would cost you over $12,000. Students who enroll in my Group Classes and glean everything they can from those before investing in private lessons spend significantly less money overall studying for TOEFL iBT. (I just told you how to get a huge discount! 😁)
Third because if you’re in the 83% that needs private lessons, you need to be investing 10-15 hours per week studying TOEFL. Private lessons with me are just 1 or 1.5 hours. You’ll be on your own for 90-94% of the time when you are studying TOEFL. People who cannot motivate themselves to finish the homework I assign do not benefit from the money they spent on private lessons. Let’s start with a smaller investment before we start discussing a big one.
You can get started by using the blue links on the list. I do offer discounts on Bundles, so get in touch with me so we can discuss the best combination for you at this point.
- For TOEFL Writing, start with…
- For TOEFL Speaking, start with…