Jane Birkenhead, July 5 2022

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 become frustrated and unmotivated, and to lose focus and stop studying.

There are so many different parts to improving your proficiency in a language and they all require constant practice for you to make any progress. When you’re trying to work towards a deadline and prepare for an exam to demonstrate your proficiency, well that just increases the pressure.


Progress in language learning ISN'T linear. It can’t be predicted by making a chart with time on one axis and progress on the other, and drawing a straight line. It just doesn’t work like that. 



It's unrealistic to expect progress to happen like this.


Progress in language learning is full of ups and downs. Sometimes there are long stretches of time with little progress then there might be a big leap upwards. This is all very normal and should be expected.



                                                                                                                            This kind of progress is more realistic.

Also, it’s very normal to question the reasons why you haven’t studied and dismiss them as not good enough. You might feel that you really weren’t too busy and you could have made time. You might have been bored, fed up, overwhelmed, disheartened or you really couldn’t face another task 3 speaking response! But it’s really ok if you just didn’t study because you didn’t. You don’t have to explain because the important thing is that you’ve decided to do something about it.

So, if any of these points apply to you and you want to get back into studying, reach out to someone who can help you. 

Don’t feel embarrassed because you’ve taken a major step forward. And that’s progress.

Written by

Jane Birkenhead

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