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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Results through the October 17 test

Here's an interesting graph showing the (1) the starting top TOEFL speaking scores of my students and (2) the finishing top speaking score (or the score after 10 weeks for continuing students). These figures are for 2010 students only, but it was basically the same in 2008 and 2009:

The median (中央値) speaking score for starting students: 18
The median for finishing students: 23

There are two peaks for the starting scores (in blue). The first peak is SP17. These are mostly students who were referred by their 先輩 and started their TOEFL journey with me without learning "templates".

The second peak for starting students is SP20. These are mostly students who worked internationally and used English at work, but a few of them were "template refugees" (SP19-20 is a typical top score for people using "templates").

Here's the interesting thing: the starting scores have no relationship to the finishing scores. Students who started at SP11-17 achieved SP23 as often as students who started at SP19-20.

Three students this year have gained 10 points on the SP section (from SP13 to 23 or SP14 to 24).

So if you are just starting your TOEFL journey and have a low SP score, don't panic. If you: (1) learn effective strategies, (2) practice daily to improve your delivery, and (3) have no severe pronunciation problems, then you should still hit SP23.

Good luck on your TOEFL journey!