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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

January 2017 TOEFL speaking schedule

Here's the schedule for TOEFL speaking classes in January 2017:

As you can see, there are seven classes per week, and four weeks per class month.

Orientation will be 6-10 p.m. on January 7, and attendance is required for all new students.

There are two TOEFL tests that conflict with classes: January 14 and 22. Students who miss a morning class because of TOEFL can attend a makeup class in the afternoon on 2/11 or 2/12 (I'll decide later).

You can find more information about prices and policies on the homepage.

Monday, October 3, 2016

HBS Global Networking Night

 A former student asked me to share the information on HBS's Global Networking Night. Enjoy!


On a single night, in locations around the world, HBS alumni will gather for an evening of socializing and networking in relaxed and fun settings.

We will be hosting the 2016 HBS Global Networking Night in Tokyo following the huge success last year. The event will be held in a casual "Happy Hour" format. See old friends. Make new connections across generations of HBSers. Experience the power of the HBSnetwork.

We will also welcome those that are currently interested in applying to HBS. This will be the perfect opportunity to hear about life before, during, and after HBS firsthand hand from various HBS alums.

If you can join the event, please register through official event page! (

October 19th (Wed) 7:00PM-10:00PM

Brewdog Roppongi

- Food charge: 2,000yen
- Cash on delivery for drinks

- Please register through official event page:

HBS Club of Japan

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fall schedule

The fall TOEFL speaking schedule has changed:

Orientation for October classes will be 6-10 p.m. on September 24

Orientation for November classes will be 6-10 p.m. on October 29.

There are seven classes per week:

Monday: 7-10 p.m.
Tuesday: 7-10 p.m.
Wednesday: 7-10 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00-13:00 and 3-6 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00-13:00 and 3-6 p.m.

There are three TOEFL tests during October: 10/15, 16, and 22. Students who miss a weekend morning class because of TOEFL can attend a makeup class from 15:00-18:00 on 10/30.

There are five TOEFL tests during November: 11/5, 12, 13, 19, and 26. Students who miss a weekend morning class because of TOEFL can attend a makeup class from 15:00-18:00 on 11/3 (文化の日).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Independent Writing

As I've explained on the homepage, templates are not a good idea for writing (or speaking). On this past weekend's test, after the independent writing question, the directions said something like:
"Answer the question and do not reproduce an answer you have memorized. "
The Official Guide says the same thing. You've been warned!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tuck Information Session

A former student who just finished Tuck asked me to share the link to their informal Tokyo Information Session.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Aug-September 2016 Class Schedule

Orientation will be 18:00-22:00 on Saturday, August 20, and attendance is required for all new students.

There are seven classes per week:

Monday: 7-10 p.m.
Tuesday: 7-10 p.m.
Wednesday: 7-10 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00-13:00 and 3-6 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00-13:00 and 3-6 p.m.

There are three TOEFL tests during this month: August 27, September 10, and September 11. Students who miss class because of TOEFL can attend a makeup class from 10:00-13:00 on September 25 (but availability is limited, so tell me soon if you have a schedule conflict).

Monday, March 14, 2016


We did a few months of IELTS speaking classes earlier this year, but we're discontinuing it for now. Here's what we found:

  1. Student levels in the IELTS class were quite a bit lower than levels in the TOEFL speaking classes. I think lower-level students self-select IELTS, thinking it will be easier.
  2. IELTS reading and listening sections seem easier than TOEFL; TOEFL speaking and writing sections seem easier than IELTS.
  3. We think that in the long-run, it's better to take TOEFL than IELTS. While TOEFL reading might be more difficult, it also prepares you for GMAT reading better than IELTS does. While TOEFL listening may be more difficult, it prepares you for studying in an English-language classroom better than IELTS does.
  4. We also think that universities are becoming aware that IELTS scores seem inflated. MIT Sloan Fellows recently told one of our applicants that he needed TOEFL 100 or IELTS 7.5 (rather than 7.0).
At any rate, our TOEFL speaking classes are typically at full capacity until October or November. If this year follows the same pattern as previous years, we can run an IELTS class next fall, but for now, we're going to focus on TOEFL.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chicago Booth Unofficial Coffee Chat

One of my former students who is a first MBA student at Chicago Booth asked me to pass along this information on their Coffee Chat:

Chicago Booth Unofficial Coffee Chat

Date: 3/27 (Sun)
Time: TBD (based on aggregated preference of participants)
Location: TBD (Tokyo central area)

Three first year students will join the event to share experiences and advices in application, classes, school activities, recruiting, and Chicago life.

Please fill out the format below if you are interested in.

We hope everyone  interested in MBA apply for this chat event. Especially, we would like prospective students who are currently not interested in Booth to join the event as typically their impression in Booth came from misunderstanding the school.

As soon as we fix the location based on demand, we will inform the participants via emails registered in the form. However, please note that we would limit the number of attendees if it is too big to handle. In the case of excess demand, we will invite people first come first serve base.

Appreciate if you can also take a look at our new website.

Chicago Booth Japan Club Leaders

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Younger TOEFL test-takers

Since I started E4TG in 2007, I have never accepted many high school or college students. However, a high school graduate with good fluency and fair intonation applied in December 2015, and I invited them to join TOEFL speaking classes in January. It went well, so we will start to accept high school graduates who already have high-intermediate or better English speaking skills.

Here is the testimonial:


Saturday, October 3, 2015

MBA Interview Seminar

John Couke and Adam Markus are hosting an MBA Interview Workshop at E4TG in the afternoon of October 11. John was director of admissions consulting at AGOS, and Adam was director of admissions consulting at The Princeton Review Japan. You will not find better interview counselors in Japan. There are a few seats left. 

Please contact John directly to register!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuck Informal Session

The Amos Tuck Informal Information Session is coming up on July 11. Here's my former student's blog post with the information on it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I got an interesting question from a student in the writing class, and I want to share it, because many Japanese people struggle with this issue:
Mistake: "Lots of employees left and freshmen didn't want to enter the company." 
Question: I understand that you can only say "freshman" for high school or college students, but how would you describe the 新入社員 in English? 
アルク gives many ways to say this, but the fact is that we don't use these expressions often.

This is a cultural difference, not a language issue. In Japanese culture, the idea of a place in the hierarchy (階層) is important and useful. Google has 21,000,000 hits for Japanese hierarchy society.

In American society, the idea is less useful, and we usually don't bother to express it. You could fix the sentence like this:
Lots of employees left, and the number of applicants fell dramatically.
Lots of employees left, and it was difficult to replace them because no one wanted to work there.
I am not a sociologist, but it seems to me that several basic concepts of Japanese society, especially 内・外 (such as 外国人) and 階層 (such as 先輩・後輩、エリート、 and 新入社員) are concepts that you should try to avoid using if you want to write or speak English well. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

I changed my mind

The expression "I changed my mind" can be difficult to use. We had a mistake in class tonight like this:
I tried to study English as Starbucks, but it was too noisy. So I changed my mind and decided to study at home.
The difficulty of using "I changed my mind" is related to the listener's knowledge. It's fine to say:
I went to MacDonald's and ordered a cheeseburger. But then I changed my mind and ordered a Big Mac.
This is OK because the listener knows the menu items at MacDonald's. The listener knows what your options are at MacDonald's.

The original mistake in class tonight can be fixed by telling the listener the options at the start:
I wasn't sure if I should study at Starbucks or at home. I tried to study English as Starbucks, but it was too noisy. So I changed my mind and decided to study at home.
That's fine.

Please use English well!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Harvard Kennedy School Japan Trek

A former student asked me to introduce the HKS Japan Trek 2015. The event looks like a great chance to find out more about this popular program. His blog is here, and I recommend it for anyone who is thinking about applying to HKS.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Much and Many

We find a lot of mistakes with the use of much and many. Actually, the mistakes are mostly with much.

With countable nouns (可算名詞), we use many, regardless of whether the sentence is grammatically positive or negative, or a question:

  • (+) She's got many friends.
  • (-) She has not taken TOEFL many times.
  • (Q) Will you apply to many schools this year?
You can substitute a lot of in any of the above sentences.

But with uncountable nouns (不可算名詞), we use a lot of in grammatically positive sentences:
  • (+) I have a lot of time this week.
  • (+) He made a lot of money last year.
However, we can use much or a lot of in grammatically negative sentences and questions:
  • (-) I don't have much time this week.
  • (-) I don't have a lot of time this week.
  • (Q) Did he make much money last year?
  • (Q) Did he make a lot of money last year?

Please use English well!