[LanguageLearn] TOEFL Learning Log

Math is the language of God, and English is the language of Science.



TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a globally acknowledged English proficiency test, similar to IELTS but with its distinct characteristics. As an international student aspiring to pursue a Ph.D. program, achieving a competitive TOEFL score is a prerequisite. With this in mind, I have created this blog as a personal log to document my TOEFL learning journey and provide assistance throughout the process.

Learning material: TOEFL KMF, which includes all TPOs and lots of tools to promote my TOEFL.
Learning time: 2 Hours at least.

And I have had some pre-exam on the testing website, and some scores are given, as Table shown.

Timeline Reading Listening Speaking Writing Total Score
Before July 14 25 ~ 30 19 ~ 27 19 ~ 23 18 ~ 24 \
Test on July 22 28 23 19 24 94
Test on September 23 28 27 18 25 98
Test on November 4 24 24 21 24 93
Target Scores 30 30 25 25 \
Best Scores 28 27 21 25 101

Log - June 08 2023

I have been studying for the TOEFL for nearly a month and have realized that several areas require improvement. While I find reading relatively manageable, I encounter difficulties in the remaining three sections. Therefore, I need to dedicate more time to practicing and refining my skills in those areas. As the application season is approaching, I am feeling increasingly anxious about the status of my TOEFL preparation. Consequently, I must set specific tasks for myself to accomplish.

  • The speaking section of the TOEFL is particularly challenging for non-native speakers due to the lack of a language-rich environment. Thus, it is crucial to focus on practicing this section. I plan to take the TOEFL Speaking exam daily and dedicate at least one hour each day to practice.

  • In contrast, writing and listening are comparatively easier to practice. However, it is important not to confine our efforts solely to the exam itself. It is beneficial to engage in additional activities, such as watching educational videos and writing essays on various topics and tasks.

Log - Aug 12 2023

After taking the test on July 22nd, I registered for another test scheduled for September 9th. From the previous test results, it’s apparent that my performance in the Listening and Speaking sections could use improvement compared to the other two sections. I’ve conducted research to find strategies for enhancing these skills, and I’m hopeful that implementing these techniques will yield positive results.

Listening Section

Tip #1 - Create a TOEFL Listening study schedule
Tip #2 - Make your eyes your enemy
Tip #3 - Become a notetaking pro
Tip #4 - Memorize the question types
Tip #5 - Understand the passage structure like a professor
Tip #6 - Focus on vocabulary less, story more
Tip #7 - Be an active listener
Tip #8 - Think like a North American teacher
Tip #9 - Track your study progress
Tip #10 - Don’t panic

Speaking Section

Tip #1 - Practice instead of watching videos
Tip #2 - Record your voice
Tip #3 - Use a grading rubric to analyze your response
Tip #4 - Find a study buddy
Tip #5 - Move your hands when you speak
Tip #6 - Pick the right time and place when you study
Tip #7 - Start the same way for each question type every time
Tip #8 - Use a timer
Tip #9 - Take advantage of speech-to-text technology
Tip #10 - Get professional support from an experienced teacher

These tips are quite motivating, but their effectiveness depends on their proper implementation and execution. With ample time remaining until the next test, I am hopeful that by following these guidelines, I can achieve the target score I am aiming for.

Spoken English learning Materials

Pronunciation Workshop.com
Pronunciation Workshop.com Speaking with an American Accent
The American Accent Course with Lisa Mojsin, M.A.


I have taken the TOEFL exam three times and finally achieved my best score of over 100 points.
During the process of studying TOEFL, I clearly realized that effort pays off. Investing time yields corresponding rewards. However, life is fleeting, and our time is limited. There are things I could have done better with more time, yet I no longer have the time to do them. Although my best score of 101 didn’t meet my expectations, life is full of imperfections and not everything can be perfect. Thus, my TOEFL preparation ends here.
Now, I begin a new journey to apply for Ph.D. programs.

CC BY-NC-ND, written in Nanjing, Aug 2023
Last updated on Nov 22, 2023 00:00 UTC
Don't Panic.
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