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Thursday, December 30, 2010


2010 ends with a grand finale: my students achieved an average top TOEFL Speaking score of 23.06!
(This does not include students who lived abroad for longer than one year or students who had an American parent)

Congratulations to you all!

A lot of prospective students are reading this blog, so let me interpret what this means:
  1. Getting SP22-24 makes it A LOT easier to get 105+ on the TOEFL test. In the long-run, it is easier for most people to get a consistent SP22-24 score than it is to get a consistent 25+ score on the TOEFL Listening section. At least 20 of my 92 students achieved 108+ in 2010, and all of them got SP23+ regularly.
  2. If you learn good English speaking strategies, your TOEFL SP score will be consistently high. Strategies are very important because you can not do well consistently by memorizing speaking "templates".
  3. It's not hard to get SP23 if: (1) you have clear pronunciation*. You don't need to be perfect, but you can not mumble your way through TOEFL Speaking, and (2) you practice daily. The learning curve is different for everyone, but if you do 15-20 minutes of practice per day (5 minutes x 3-4 times per day), you should get to the SP22-24 level in 3-6 months.

* Pronunciation: I require a voice sample from prospective students to check your pronunciation. This is for your benefit, not mine. If you have severe pronunciation problems, strategies won't help you. I can refer you to a professional accent reduction coach if necessary. In the past 2 years, 4 students with pronunciation problems have overcome them well enough to score SP24-26 so there is definitely hope!

Have a great New Year's holiday!