TOEFL Halloween Horror

Xin Jiu experienced a TOEFL Halloween Horror that I would not wish on my worst enemy.  Learn from his terrible TOEFL story.

TOEFL Halloween Horror

TOEFL Halloween Horror: Xin Jiu got false information on the Internet.

TOEFL Halloween Horror


Xin Jui was attending some social media websites. In one of those virtual spaces, someone told him that it was very easy to score 100+ on the TOEFL exam.  In addition, he was told that he would need to study for about 3 days. He was given some TPO links, a couple of YouTube Channels, and three websites at which he could practice the test-taking strategies for the TOEFL exam. Xin had never taken the TOEFL before, but he knew he needed to score over 100 in order to get admitted into the business masters program at UCLA.  Xin followed the TOEFL tips and studied TOEFL for three days.  Then he took the TOEFL exam and scored the following: (62) R = 12 , L= 13, S = 18, and W = 19.

Xin Jiu joins a “credible” TOEFL Facebook Group to seek help.

Frustrated at getting a low score after following someone’s else advice, Xin joined a Facebook page.  While at the social media group page, Xin sought more advice. Several users posted some TOEFL Practice Online (TPO) websites.  “You need to take more speaking, writing, listening, and reading practice tests,” they argued, “if you want to improve your score of 62/120.”  The advice sounded good to Xin, so he practiced and practiced and practiced.  After about 6 weeks of TPO practice, Xin decided to register to take the official TOEFL exam. This time he scored (72):  R = 21, L =24, S = 13, and W = 14. At least he scored 10 pts. higher than the first time of taking the TOEFL exam. However, Xin began to wonder how long it would actually take before he would reach his target score of 100.

Xin Consults a Qualified TOEFL Mentor.

Not wanting to talk to other students anymore, Xin decided to talk to TOEFL specialist Michael Buckhoff. Xin shared his TOEFL journey and his two specific scores. In addition, Xin explained his target score of 100 that he needed in order to clear his credential. Buckhoff thought deeply and carefully about the information that Xin had provided. Then, to Xin’s TOEFL Halloween Horror, Buckhoff recommended that it would take about 6 months of academic English practice before Xin would be able to reach his goal. Buckhoff’s recommendations were that Xin

  • Spend the first three months improving his vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.  During this period, Xin was instructed not to complete any TPO. In fact, Xin was prohibited from doing any TOEFL study at all.
  • Complete a 1-Month TOEFL Course focusing on 7 important academic areas: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
  • Take a 1-Month TOEFL Speaking Boot Camp Course so that he could get daily feedback from a qualified mentor.
  • Finish a 1-Month TOEFL Writing Boot Camp Course in which he could get error-correction feedback from a TOEFL writing mentor.
  • Meet with his assigned TOEFL mentor at least once a week via Zoom to go over his English studies.
  • Take a full-length 3-hour TOEFL iBT practice test to determine how close he was to his target score of 100.

Xin follows the TOEFL Mentor’s Advice and Ends his TOEFL Halloween Horror.

TOEFL Victory

Xin was a hard-headed man, and he did not want to follow Buckhoff’s advice.  There has got to be a faster way to score 100, Xin thought. However, Buckhoff shared with Xin several stories, one involving a student who took the TOEFL exam 29 times over a 2-year span before reaching his target score.  All of these students, remarked Buckhoff, had focused too much on the TOEFL exam without first developing the basic academic English studies that they so desperately needed. Buckhoff informed Xin that many of these students had ended up in TOEFL Hell, without ever having reached their target score.  These stories scared the daylights out of Xin, and he decided to follow Buckhoff’s plan.

Six months after finishing his recommended study plan, Xin took a full-length TOEFL iBT practice test and scored 100/120: R=25, L= 26, S=25, and W=24.  Xin discussed his practice score with Buckhoff.  Xin made a few adjustments, especially since he needed 26 on the speaking section. Then, he registered to take the official TOEFL exam for the third time. It had been more than six months since Xin had taken the official TOEFL exam. Nevertheless, Xin felt confident that this time he would have the ability to score over 100.  Sure enough, a couple of weeks after taking the TOEFL exam, Xin received a score report from ETS: (104) R=27, L= 26, S=26, and W=25.


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