When Philipp came to work with Jane, with a TOEFL target score of 100+, he already had a very high English proficiency. He could understand English perfectly in normal everyday and academic situations but he was a little out of practice in using English.
So in lessons, we first devised some strategies for tackling the reading and listening questions. We concentrated on the more difficult question types such as the summary questions and Philipp used old exam questions to practice and become familiar with the question wording.
Then we focused on how to cope with timing for speaking and writing. We made sure that Philipp had a strategy for answering each of the speaking questions and didn’t finish his responses too early.
We spent most of the lesson time concentrating on writing. Philipp could write very well but TOEFL requires a very specific type of writing. We focused on how to meet the requirements for each essay, how to make the best use of the writing time and how to build interesting, accurate body paragraphs.
This is Philipp's story, told in his own words.
My name is Philipp and I am from Germany.
For over two years now, I have been studying biology at university. My bachelor graduation slowly approaches and there is a master’s program I am really eager to attend.
As all of the lectures of this master’s program will be held in English, an official validation of your English skills is a requirement for the application.
That is why I decided to take the TOEFL.
I had studied English in school for 13 years and I spent half a year travelling in New Zealand after graduation. So I would describe my English skills as pretty good before starting to prepare for the TOEFL, although a tad rusty.
For the master’s program, I had to attain C1 level, so my English skills had to get back in shape.
TOEFL studying strategies
About two to three weeks before the set date for the test, I started by consuming as much English media as possible, such as reading books and articles, listening to audio podcasts and watching movies. Then, I began to have a look at the structure of the TOEFL and the different assignments.
I specifically had to remind myself to not overthink every word or otherwise it would get really hard to finish the test in time. In hindsight, I guess I studied for about one to two hours a day on average for two weeks, starting with less than that and slowly spending more and more time on it.
Ready for lessons?
Working with Jane was really great and it helped me a lot. She provided support by giving me advice on how to improve myself and giving me access to exercises.
Especially, her insight into the process of the test itself and how to tackle the different tasks made me feel well prepared and less nervous, as I had a good idea of what to expect heading towards the test center.
That helped immensely!
Though, to be honest, I was a little surprised myself about how well I did. My English skills might have already been pretty good, but Jane's advice turned out to be so valuable!
I scored higher than I could have anticipated and honestly quite a bit higher than I needed to. So, if you know how to study for the TOEFL and what to focus on, you can actually achieve really high scores!