Jane Birkenhead, December 7 2022

Are TOEFL Lessons Worth the Money?

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.

Are TOEFL Lessons Expensive?

I’ve always believed in being open about what I charge for lessons, and my rate (USD $56.25 for individual  60 minute lessons, slightly lower for lesson packages) is average for experienced TOEFL teachers. 

Lesson rates can range from about $45 to $75 for a 60 minute lesson with an experienced TOEFL teacher. Some teachers offer 45 minute or 55 minute lessons so their rates seem cheaper. Some keep their rates hidden and only reveal what they are going to charge when you are most of the way through their application process. Others charge upwards of $150 for specialist services such as a 60 minute score review.

Notice that I quoted rates for experienced teachers. I’m sure you’ve searched and found classes where teachers charge $10 per hour but I can guarantee that these teachers will not have the knowledge and experience to get you through TOEFL. 

But let’s consider what the $56.25 that I charge per lesson means in real terms. 

Here are 2 ways to think about the cost of lessons:

1. Exams or Lessons?

In the United States, the cost of taking the TOEFL exam is $245 plus sales tax. Of course, the total cost will include other incidental costs (like gas and parking), as well as your time.

I’ve known students who take the exam every 2 weeks, even if they haven’t made any improvement, just to “try”. That’s nearly $500 every 4 weeks! 

However, if you invest that $500 in TOEFL lessons, that’s 600 minutes of face-to-face instruction with a teacher, PLUS homework review, feedback, correction of fossilized errors, exam strategy advice and all sorts of other things. 

That level of intense instruction could make a BIG difference to your score.

By pausing the exam-taking cycle, and investing in lessons, you’ve got more chance of improving and getting your target scores next time.

2. Current Salary vs Future Salary

Consider as well, your salary potential. Let’s do some calculations.

Let’s say that your current salary is $60k but this will rise to $100k when you’ve got your TOEFL scores. That’s a $40k per year difference.

So that means that your salary deficit per year is $40k ($100k - $60k = $40k).

If you take 3 years to get your TOEFL scores, your salary deficit will be
$40k x 3 = $120k.
If you take 6 months to get your TOEFL scores, your salary deficit will be $40k x 0.5 = $20k.

So doesn’t it make sense to spend as little time as possible getting your TOEFL scores, then move ahead and put yourself in a position to earn a higher salary? 

In this case, money spent on TOEFL lessons seems like a very wise investment.

Other Questions about Lessons

Are there Flexible Payment Options?

Yes. It can be scary when you calculate a lesson package and see that it will cost a few hundred dollars. For this reason, I give ALL OF MY STUDENTS the option to pay for their lessons in instalments. 

I don’t charge any extra for this and we can work out the instalment timings so they are convenient for you. Here's an example of how this would work for a 10 lesson package.

There’s no reason for me to charge extra as it takes just a couple of minutes to create additional invoices. 

Some popular language schools charge hundreds of dollars extra to allow students to pay in instalments and I think that’s outrageous!

Are Lessons Value for Money?

Yes. I recognize that TOEFL lessons are a big investment so, for that reason, I try to give my students as much value for their money as I can.

These are some of the ways I add value onto my lessons:

🔸 I don't put limits on the amount of homework you do. I want you to study as much as you're able. I encourage you to try new and different things, and to share everything with me. That way, I can see how you're progressing and I can tailor your lessons so they exactly meet your needs.

🔸 I give incredibly detailed feedback for all work that you share with me. I don't just make inline corrections to your essays but I fully explain your errors and provide additional resources so you can check any grammar and vocabulary points you're unsure of. 

🔸 I listen to every speaking response carefully, sometimes as much as 4 or 5 times to be sure I've understood everything. 

🔸 I make sure you get a full 60 minutes in each lesson and I don't rush away at the end. I plan my schedule carefully so that I can give each student my undivided attention for the time that they're with me.

🔸 I'm available to answer your questions between lessons. I want you to be studying in the best way possible so I encourage you to reach out to me with any concerns that you have. 

Further Questions?

If you have any questions about anything written here, or you have any questions that I haven't answered, then please contact me. 

Written by

Jane Birkenhead

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