Liyi is a PhD computer science student from Illinois. His native language is Chinese. He needed a TOEFL score of S24 to keep studying in his PhD program. After a long, long TOEFL journey with a lot of setbacks, he achieved his target score of S24.

This is Liyi's story, told in his own words.

My university requires every PhD student to have a TOEFL speaking score of 24 or higher.

I got 17 in my first TOEFL exam. After that, I hired several tutors and got better and better speaking scores. After I had tried TOEFL exams for 15 times, I got my first 23 in the speaking.

However, after I got that score in my speaking 4 years ago, my TOEFL speaking score became very stable. In the next 25 exams, I got 22 or 23 constantly. I was frustrated at that point because I did not know what was going on and why my score was pinned at 23.

I thought my English speaking ability was getting better and better but the outcome from TOEFL exams seemed to suggest that my English speaking ability was about the same.


I think your lessons helped me a lot. The key point is that they helped me to identify my weakness in my speaking and gave me a plan to practice.

In order to solve a problem, one must know what the problem is first. Certainly TOEFL tests someone's English ability, but more importantly, TOEFL is an exam. The key idea in passing an exam is that one should know about why they fail an exam and what they can do about it.

Lessons with Jane

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"I hired several tutors before. Some focused on improving my English speaking ability and others told me about some tips to take TOEFL exams. My speaking score improved to 23 but no more.

You helped me have a plan to improve my speech with more precise English grammar and advanced vocabulary use."

Now I feel very calm and happy. I got rid of one of my biggest nightmares in these few years.

Now, I do not need to worry about being expelled by my university for not fulfilling my English requirement.

I do not need to worry about my funding situation because I am able to have a TA job in the university and I can have more time to deal with my research and keep fit.

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