Note-Taking: 4 General Strategies

Jane Birkenhead, September 15 2022

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

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Break your Big Goal into Smaller Steps

Jane Birkenhead, August 31 2022

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...

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Use Study Resources for Different Things

Jane Birkenhead, August 25 2022

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

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Visualization: A Listening Strategy

Jane Birkenhead, August 16 2022

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

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Stress in TOEFL Speaking

Jane Birkenhead, July 26 2022

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!

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TOEFL Speaking Task 1: Strong Introductions

Jane Birkenhead, July 14 2022

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

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Getting Back to Studying

Jane Birkenhead, July 5 2022

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...

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25 Skills Building Exercises from the TOEFL Official Guide

Jane Birkenhead, June 10 2022

It’s nice to get things for free. Sometimes though we need to spend money to make the important things in life, like TOEFL, happen. So, instead of asking if something is free, ask if it gives you value for money. For example, if you know that you need to improve your language proficiency for TOEFL, then investing in the TOEFL Official Guide could m...

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Practice Effectively for TOEFL

Jane Birkenhead, June 3 2022

If your TOEFL scores are stuck...If you've done all the TPO questions...If you're worried about missing your deadline......then this post is for you. Let’s talk about how to PRACTICE EFFECTIVELY for TOEFL. I think everyone agrees that it’s important to practice for TOEFL. But HOW you practice is really important too. TOEFL is a skills based exam. Y...

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TOEFL Speaking Task 2

Jane Birkenhead, May 30 2022

Speaking task 2 can sometimes seem confusing. Some students have recently told me that they’ve had questions where they think the main speaker agrees AND disagrees with the announcement or proposal. And they’re wondering how to answer these questions. First, it’s highly unlikely that the speaker will agree and disagree. In the Official Guide to...

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