Student takes TOEFL exam 25 times before reaching his target scores.


I just came across a Face Book post of a student who took the TOEFL exam 25 times before he reached his target TOEFL scores.  In fact, he posted a video explaining that he learned the hard way how to get the highest score possible.

First of all, the student said that, during the speaking section, it was important to take notes.  He encouraged students after reading the two independent speaking tasks to write down 2-3 keys points focused on the speaking tasks during the 15 second response time.  He also learned that note-taking was important during the integrated speaking tasks 3-6. In fact, during integrated speaking tasks 3-4 in which case students are asked to read and listen to passages about campus-related and academic topics, he told students to separate the reading from the listening notes and to find the relationships between the reading and the listening passage.  For example, did the points in the listening, the student asked, add to, refute, and exemplify the points made in the reading passage.  Whatever the relationship was, the student said, it should be clearly stated at the beginning of the speaking task.

Second of all, the student also gave a valuable tip regarding the writing section of the TOEFL exam.  He said that it is important to organize the writing tasks so that it was easy for the iBT human raters to understand.  For the independent writing task, the student recommended that TOEFLers use a sharply-focused thesis that directly answered the writing prompt. Moreover, TOEFL writers, according to the student, should also use topic sentences that restate the key points already mentioned in the thesis. Finally, TOEFL writers should not bring up any new points in the conclusion. Instead, the purpose of the conclusion, stated the student, was to restate the main points of the essay and to bring ideas to a closure.   Similarly, with the integrated writing task, the student said in his video, that it was important to have coherent organization starting with the introduction. For instance, if the reading passage explained about the importance of recycling plastics and if the reading passage questioned the effectiveness  of each method of recycling, the student explained that TOEFL writers could organize the introduction in the following way:

According to the author of the reading passage, recycling plastics has three important benefits, and, in the listening passage, the speaking questions the effectiveness of each advantage mentioned.

Additionally, the student asserted that it was important to embed voice markers (the reading passage states, the author in the reading passage mentions, according to the speaker, the listening passage states) periodically throughout the essay so that TOEFL iBT human raters would recognize the style of writing as being a summary.

Those were some of the most important tips that the student gave others preparing for the exam.  Did he need to take the TOEFL exam 25 times first before learning these important test-taking speaking and writing strategies? Of course not. Instead of spending $5,500 taking the TOEFL exam repeatedly, this student could have taken my 30-day TOEFL and learned all of this information and a lot more for only a $45 investment. That means this student could have saved $1000’s if he had chosen to take my course first instead of retaking the TOEFL exam over and over until he passed.

Here is a message to all of those students out here who are simply retaking the TOEFL exam.   Stop taking the test, enroll in my course, finish the TOEFL exam, and move on with you life. Having taught 1000’s of TOEFL students since 1994, I have the experience you need so you can improve your academic English language proficiency to reach your target TOEFL scores.

If you are not sure which TOEFL course you should take,  go here:

If you need an excellent TOEFL speaking course, go here:

My writing course will also help to reach your goals if all you need to do is improve that section of the exam:

May the next TOEFL exam that you take be your list.

Good luck to you!

Michael Buckhoff,