TOEFL Reading

Vocabulary for TOEFL Reading

Jane Birkenhead, July 12 2023

I see far too many posts on Facebook and Instagram where students ask for help with TOEFL reading and the comments fill up with advice about “learning vocabulary”. Please be aware that learning vocabulary is only a tiny part of the overall solution. You’ve got to understand how that vocabulary works in

Read More
TOEFL / IELTS Exam Preparation

Beware of 'Magic' and 'Secrets'

Jane Birkenhead, April 18 2023

I’ve seen a few posts recently talking about the ‘magic’ and ‘secrets’ of TOEFL. Please be aware that there is no magic, and there are no secrets in TOEFL exam preparation. On one level, these posts about ‘magic’ and ‘secrets’ are simply click bait. Content creators use them to draw attention to their services. It’s an age old marketing formula....

Read More
TOEFL Writing

Punctuation for TOEFL and IELTS Essay Writing

Jane Birkenhead, February 6 2023

There are some English punctuation and formatting rules that you need to know for TOEFL and IELTS essay writing. However, if you Google English punctuation you will find many articles with long explanations about things that aren't important for these exams. Please don't spend hours looking at articles that explain punctuation in great detail....

Read More

Note-Taking for TOEFL Speaking

Jane Birkenhead, January 31 2023

Many students struggle with writing notes for TOEFL speaking responses. Do you find your notes don't help you with what to say?Do you write too much? Do you waste effort writing notes you don't use?Do you focus on taking notes and forget to listen? ...If so, I can help you. I actually think that a lot of general advice about note-taking for TOEFL...

Read More
Grammar and Vocabulary

Build Effective Vocabulary for IELTS and TOEFL

Jane Birkenhead, January 16 2023

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

Read More
Studying Strategies

12 Quick Exercises to Kickstart TOEFL Studying

Jane Birkenhead, January 9 2023

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...

Read More
TOEFL Speaking

How to Correct Fossilized Errors

Jane Birkenhead, December 12 2022

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

Read More
TOEFL Lessons

Are TOEFL Lessons Worth the Money?

Jane Birkenhead, December 7 2022

If you're wondering if TOEFL lessons are really worth the investment, or if you're worried about the cost of paying for them, then I hope this article will address some of your concerns. If you have any other questions about TOEFL lessons, then please contact me. I’ve always believed in being open about what I charge for lessons, and my rate (USD...

Read More
TOEFL Reading

TOEFL Reading: Are you Practicing the Right Way?

Jane Birkenhead, November 25 2022

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...

Read More
Grammar and Vocabulary

Improve your TOEFL and IELTS Vocabulary: Learn Parts of Words

Jane Birkenhead, November 3 2022

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

Read More