“Practice makes perfect” is a popular American culture saying, and it is so true when it comes to TOEFL iBT speaking practice. The students who persevere are typically the ones who reach 26 points or higher. And that is what was exactly the case with Robert who was earnestly preparing for the test so that he could become a physical therapist in the United States.
On one of his first independent speaking practice tests he completed, his TOEFL iBT speaking mentor told him that he had a problem with topic development. While answering the speaking practice test, “Would you rather wait or buy a new gadget when it comes on to the market?”, Robert explained that he would rather wait until buying a gadget because he could save money. However, when moving to his second reason, Robert did not clearly frame his sentence in a way that it would clearly connect to the purpose of the speaking task when he said, “Second, I not have a job right now, so I need to save money.” When giving audio feedback to Robert at a Voxopop Discussion Group called “The 7-Step System to Pass the TOEFL iBT,” his TOEFL iBT speaking mentor told him that, in order to more clearly connect the second reason to the speaking task, he should rephrase his statement as, “Second, because I have financial limitations, I also prefer to wait a while before buying a new gadget since I can save money.”
Having had some feedback on how to improve the organization and development of his ideas, Robert kept posting practice tests day after day. The daily postings helped his TOEFL iBT speaking mentor become more familiar with delivery issues. It was a battle for sure, but Robert began to solve problems with vowel and consonant sounds. Under the direction of his TOEFL iBT speaking mentor, Robert started practicing exercises to also help him with syllable division and grammatical word endings, word stress, sentence rhythm, intonation, and thought groups and blending. Solving these pronunciation problems was not easy, but Robert was sure of his goal to become a physical therapist. Therefore, he did everything he needed to do to improve his delivery. Not only did he practice the pronunciation lessons everyday in his Online TOEFL Course, but he also took his iBT speaking mentor’s advice and began watching news, documentary, history, and science programs. Robert worked hard taking notes on the main points of the listening passages, and, afterwards, he made 60 second oral responses of the listening passages. In fact, Robert made five 60 second responses each week to some of the passages to which he had listened, this in addition to the daily independent and integrated speaking practice tests that he posted for his iBT speaking mentor at his Voxopop Discussion Group.
It was a marathon battle in that Robert posted more than 235 speaking practice tests over several months. He spent much of his time improving his TOEFL speaking each day. He endured to the very end of his TOEFL studies, each day focusing on TOEFL iBT speaking practice, and finally, he retook the TOEFL exam and scored 28 points on the speaking section of the exam. Robert had envisioned this day for so long and so sweet was his joy that he had finally reached his target score of 26. Simply put, it had been his perseverance that allowed him to succeed. He had worked so hard for so long that it was inevitable that his academic speaking proficiency would succeed.