Back in June I started working with a very determined and motivated high school student who told me that her dream was to go to university in America, and not only that, but to play volleyball for her university. She hadn’t done extensive research on the process yet but one thing she knew was that she was going to have to take the TOEFL exam and that’s why she was on Fluentify. I’ll be honest that at first I was a little skeptical because I know how complicated and detailed the university application process is in America, from entrance exams to the various deadlines, and I wasn’t sure if she was prepared to face all these steps. However, I was ready to help her work towards her goal in any way I could.

We started doing 3 sessions a week during June and July and we practiced all four parts of the TOEFL exam (Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking).

In the sessions we focused on reading comprehension and speaking exercises and then I assigned listening activities and writing exercises as homework that we could review briefly during the sessions together.

I thought that it was really important to send her as many activities as possible because she had to give a big boost to her skills over the next few months to be ready not only for this exam but also for the college process. (PS: I’ve included some of the best resources I found in the links above.)

After July I didn’t hear from my student until October when she had scheduled the exam for three weeks later. I was a little nervous because she said she hadn’t prepared much over the summer and it was time to cram. We did 4 Fluentify sessions a week in the time leading up to the exam. She got her first result – 66 – which is okay, but not great because this would limit her in her university options and ability to qualify for athletic scholarships. She did receive some offers, but mostly from community colleges where she could only complete a two-year degree, which is not what she was looking for. We both knew that she could do better, so she decided that she would take the TOEFL a second time.

Our second round of preparation together was different and much more effective- based on her results from the first exam we knew exactly what her weaknesses were and the parts that we didn’t have to focus on as much. One area that she struggled in was the listening section, so I recommended that she begin listening to an English radio station or podcast on a daily basis. Then, during the sessions, we hard-core focused on reading comprehension activities because that is where she had a lot of trouble on her first test. I sent her numerous practice questions and also had her work on TOEFL vocabulary.

Up until the night before the exam we were exchanging emails as I corrected some final writing pieces and gave her last-minute test day tips.

Our efforts paid off! Her score went up to a 77 with improvements in all areas, especially in the reading comprehension section where she needed it the most. She was more than thrilled and over the next few weeks started receiving better offers from four-year colleges.

She is still in the process of deciding where to go, so I’ll have to check back with you all to let you know how the story ends!  

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