I hope everyone had a good time on 12/25. That was for me the first day of the 5-day TOEFL winter program. In this program, my primary purpose is to help students become autonomous learners with the right mindset. After all, it is they themselves that will have to take the test, not me.
On Day 1, quite a few people are not well aware of the TOEFL test itself, so I will not ask them to dare write an essay. That is not my cup of tea. If you don’t know how to write, the first thing is to get a blue print of what a good essay looks like. Otherwise, their writings will be harshly corrected, which I don’t want to do (both for them, and for the purpose of using time effectively).
Some students, however, may have to respond to the question without any prior knowledge of the writing section of the TOEFL. If that’s the case, they will have to review really hard when their responses are returned. This is really important. If they do not go over the first writing, the next time they write on the same topic, they will end up making the same errors (both in grammar and organization). If that happens a couple of times in a row, this “undesirable version” of writing will be settled and instilled deep in their blood.
I know there are many people like this – those people whose scores remain the same no matter how hard they try. If your score is 3 (out of 5), and you don’t like the score, but you keep writing exactly in the same way because that’s the way you are accustomed to, then your score will be the same. It’s that simple.
It is very important to change, change radically and dramatically.
This transformation of the way your perceive and respond to the TOEFL questions is the key to success. You work hard, but you repeat the same thing, then you will see your score stay as it is. However, you work hard, and you try to change the way you do things, then you will see your scores gradually or dramatically improve.
Change, as is often the case with politics or anything else, seems to be the right attitude when taking on the TOEFL.