TOEFL Independence Day for Iris

TOEFL  independence day

Today is July 4th, and, the United States, like many other countries around he world, celebrates an independence day.  More than 240 years ago, the United States signed the Declaration of Independence.  On this day, July 4, 1776, the US declared its independence from British rule and became an independent nation.  Similarly, Iris, finally, after many months of practice, declared TOEFL independence day on June 15, 2019.

TOEFL independence day

Iris’s Background

I met Iris as an online TOEFL course student back in August 2018.  She had not taken the TOEFL iBT yet, but she had a goal of 100+.  Iris wanted to enter a PhD program in the United States in engineering, and she knew that she needed to score higher than 100.  First, Iris signed up for my TOEFL speaking boot camp course for 30 days for several reasons:

Iris’s speaking skills needed a lot of improvement. The very first speaking practice test that Iris sent to her TOEFL speaking mentor was characterized by

  • Frequent pauses and hesitations
  • Problems pronouncing numerous vowel and consonant sounds
  • A lack of unity among ideas
  • Unbalanced reliance on basic grammar and vocabulary usage
  • Little or no details to support her generalizations

Nevertheless, Iris did not get discouraged. Therefore, she practiced the recommended speaking lessons and kept completing speaking practice tests so that she could get more feedback. Her TOEFL independence day was going to happen at some point, but not right now, for she had more problems that she had to solve.

Iris’s Additional Background Information

After completing the TOEFL speaking boot camp course, Iris enrolled in a TOEFL writing boot camp course so that she

 During her first few writing practice tests, Iris did not perform as well as she had hoped:

  • Numerous problems with grammar, word choice, sentence structure, and verb tenses
  • Unorganized ideas resulting from unclear theses, topic sentences, and irrelevant supporting details
  • Difficulty providing complete and accurate summaries of reading and listening passages
  • Over-reliance on very basic grammar and vocabulary words

Shocked that she had so many TOEFL writing problems, Iris did not give up.  Iris really wanted to complete her PhD, so she knew that she needed to complete more writing practice tests if she wanted to reach a score of 100. After each practice test, she completed skill-building writing lessons based on her mentor’s recommendations. Her confidence grew as she completed more writing practice tests. It would not be long before she would be able to declare her TOEFL independence day.

Iris’s Final Stretch to her TOEFL Independence Day

Having spent about four months improving her speaking and writing skills, Iris took a break for a few months. Then she resumed her TOEFL study, this time enrolling in a 3-Month TOEFL course to improve her English in seven areas: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking skill sets. She worked very hard during this period, gaining more and more confidence as she practiced. Iris knew that her TOEFL independence day would come only after her diligent and consistent study.

TOEFL Independence Day Arrival on June 15, 2019

It had now been more than 10 months since Iris had started her TOEFL preparation journey.  As a result, feeling confident about her academic English proficiency, Iris registered to take the TOEFL iBT on June 15, 2019.  About 13 days after she took the test, she got her results: 

Iris was so excited. Iris thought about all her hard work and frustrations. Often she had wondered whether or not she would be able to reach her target score of 100. In addition, she had completed more than 75 writing practice tests, with many of them scoring below 24 points. Furthermore, Iris had completed more than 100 speaking practice tests, often scoring lower than 19 points.

Despite all her doubts and her frustrations, Iris had reached her target TOEFL score.  No longer was she bound by the limitations of not having reached her goal of 100. Nor was she limited by the TOEFL with her PhD program in engineering. Having passed the TOEFL, Iris had now cleared every obstacle preventing her from entering her doctorate program.  Never had she been so free. According to Iris, June 25, 2019 will always be known as her TOEFL independence day–the day she had freed herself from the chains of the TOEFL exam.

Michael Buckhoff,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.