Articles and Resources

Here are some articles and resources to help you as you study for TOEFL and IELTS.

Grammar and Vocabulary

Build Effective Vocabulary for IELTS and TOEFL

Students often ask for a list of essential words to learn for English proficiency exams like IELTS and TOEFL. Getting a long vocabulary list and trying to memorize definitions is not a good learning strategy. It doesn't reflect the way your brain likes to learn things, and so it's rarely

Studying Strategies

12 Quick Exercises to Kickstart TOEFL Studying

You might be finding it hard to start studying again if you’ve taken a break over the past few weeks. I have gathered 12 quick exercises that have worked for hundreds of students and will definitely help you to get back into studying. None of these exercises use specific TOEFL resources. They are designed to build your language proficiency using...

TOEFL Speaking, IELTS Speaking

How to Correct Fossilized Errors

You know those errors that you make when you speak English? I'm talking about repeated errors - those errors that you keep making. Even though you know they are wrong, you just can't seem to stop yourself making them. They drive you crazy and make you wonder if you'll ever be able to speak English

TOEFL Reading

TOEFL Reading: Are you Practicing the Right Way?

Many students claim that TOEFL reading passages have got more difficult. Students who took the exam even a couple of years ago say that reading passages were easier then. So what's going on? Why do so many students think that TOEFL reading is much harder now? I think it's unlikely that the difficulty should have increased so much. TOEFL is an...

Grammar and Vocabulary

Improve your TOEFL and IELTS Vocabulary: Learn Parts of Words

Academic English contains lots of long complicated words. The TOEFL and IELTS reading sections may contain words that you don't immediately recognize, but you can work out their meanings by learning about these two effective strategies. 1. Understand how words are structured 2. Learn some of the Latin and Greek

TOEFL Writing

Integrated Essay Verbs

Templates can be helpful for integrated writing but you’ve got to know how to use them properly. Specifically, it's important to understand each verb that the template uses for explanations. Verbs that are commonly used in template phrases for explanations are NOT synonyms of each other. They have subtle variances in meaning and if you need an...

TOEFL Exam Preparation


There are many myths associated with the TOEFL exam. Some myths have been repeated so much that people don't even know where they come from anymore. Here are two definitions of myth: A myth is a commonly believed but false idea (Cambridge Dictionary). A myth is something that people wrongly believe to be true (Macmillan

TOEFL Exam Preparation

Who to Trust for TOEFL Preparation Advice

There’s a lot of advice available about how to prepare for the TOEFL exam, and it can be over-whelming. There are hundreds of YouTube channels, groups and posts to wade through and that's before you even consider preparation books and practice tests. You've probably been told many times to be careful about using this advice. But how can you sort...

TOEFL Speaking, Grammar and Vocabulary

Increase your Vocabulary for TOEFL:  Learn Phrasal Verbs

If you want to get an advanced TOEFL speaking score (26+), then you’ve got to have a good command of vocabulary. You need to be able to reach for exactly the right word to immediately explain exactly what you mean. This is NOT the same as learning long lists of synonyms so please don’t do this. It won’t help! Instead, increase your vocabulary...

Language Skills

TOEFL Preparation: Skills-Building Exercises for Language Proficiency

TOEFL is an English language proficiency exam. That means it tests your English language skills by asking you to read, listen, speak and write. Students who have very good language skills will get high scores in the exam. So, it makes sense to keep practicing and improving your language


Note-Taking: 4 General Strategies

A lot of students ask me for advice about note-taking. Note-taking in TOEFL is stressful because you don’t get a second chance if you miss something. But I do think there’s a lot of bad advice being shared, and many popular resources over-complicate it. The first, most important point to remember

Studying Strategies

Break your Big Goal into Smaller Steps

If you’ve been studying for TOEFL or IELTS for a while, and you don’t think you’re making progress, it’s understandable to feel frustrated and confused. Instead of carrying on as usual and practicing past questions over and over again, my advice is: Take a step back and consider your overall goal. Break it down into smaller steps. Then work on...

Studying Strategies

Use Study Resources for Different Things

It's so easy to become bored when you're studying especially when you've been using the same study materials for a while. A great way to keep motivated  is to use study resources for different things. This is something I love recommending because there are hundreds of different things you can

TOEFL Listening, IELTS Listening

Visualization: A Listening Strategy

The listening sections in TOEFL and IELTS test your ability to understand conversations and lectures on a variety of topics. In the TOEFL listening section, you'll listen to a variety of lectures and conversations. There will be: In IELTS, there are 4 listening sections and each section ranges from 5 to 8

TOEFL Speaking

Stress in TOEFL Speaking

The speaking section is normally the section of the exam that students feel the most stress about. That’s totally understandable. You have a short period of time to talk about unfamiliar subjects in another language while you’re being recorded. That would cause stress for anybody!

TOEFL Speaking

TOEFL Speaking Task 1: Strong Introductions

In every TOEFL speaking response, it's important to make a strong, confident start. During the preparation time for each question, you should decide exactly how you're going to begin your response. This will help to reduce your nerves, and I believe that if you start strongly and confidently, that will continue through the rest of the

TOEFL Lessons

Getting Back to Studying

I get messages like this every few months. And my first response is ALWAYS to invite the message writer for a chat so we can make a plan. It takes a lot of courage to write a message like this which is why I’m ready to help when someone contacts me. And there’s no reason to feel embarrassed. TOEFL is a tough, time-consuming exam. It’s easy to...

TOEFL Writing

Ideas for TOEFL independent writing

These are some of the most common questions that I get asked about TOEFL independent writing. Thinking of ideas and writing about them in an essay shouldn't be stressful or time-consuming but for many students, it is. Let’s consider some different ways that you can practice thinking of ideas.