Luck matters.

I am holding another seminar on Dec 21. That falls on Sunday, when more people can spare time for the seminar if they want to. I have had six seminars this year so far, but this upcoming one is a bit different in principle. This seminar caters to those who have not taken the TOEFL yet, or who have, but still wonder how they can go about preparing for such a difficult language test. In that sense, it will be analogous to an orientation session at an English school. However,  it is totally different from an ordinary orientation session because I will deliver all the explanation and study tips. (It should be different when a different person is in charge, that’s for sure.)

I have taken this test a number of times. I have been teaching this test for as many years as the test was around. I have taught countless students who were successful in receiving the required scores to go to the U.S. to further explore their respective academic interest. At the same time, I have seen some unlucky students whose scores didn’t reach the requirement and who had to change their universities, which, in retrospect, has contributed more to my understanding of the test.

On Dec 21, I will summarize the above experience and share with the participants some of the things necessary to get a head start on the TOEFL.

Now I’m wondering how those would-be test-takers will be able to find this opportunity. I don’t think of any particular means of searching for those who are eligible for this seminar and letting them know about it. I will just create a blog post like this and wait…

So I would take it that those who will come to this seminar are inherently lucky…and luck always plays an important role in succeeding in whatever you are trying to achieve, doesn’t it?


You might as well break it as keep it, if it doesn’t work.

I will be holding a seminar for the preparation for the TOEFL next Monday.

In this seminar, I will emphasize the forms. In both the speaking and the writing sections, so long as you can get a good score, whatever you say or write is considered correct. If your score is good enough, there is no reason you wonder if you should take part in this seminar. If you have not yet received a score you ought to have gotten by now, there is something wrong with the way you speak and write, and you are welcomed to my seminar.

One very easy way to overcome it is to acquire forms. You speak whatever you have in mind according to a certain format, your score will improve a bit. If you follow a typical academic writing formula, your writing will look much better.

The thing is that this is not enough at all if you look for a better score like Sp=26 or Wr=30. As is often the case with any discipline or sport, form itself is important only for those novice learners. From that stage on, it is just as important to break the forms and establish your own formula, which should be better in quality than most of the mantras you can find in the TOEFL course books.

In this seminar, I will help participants achieve this goal. Most of them struggle to get out of the quagmire of Speaking=20~22 and Writing=25. Basic formats will bring you to those scores, but not any further.

In this seminar, I will bring them to a higher score by demanding that participants establish/memorize the typical formats and then break them down to pieces to re-establish their own. This is not to say form should be ignored. Form is necessary. So test-takers should learn forms first. Most of them, especially when their required score is 80, do not have to go any further. Here I am talking about those who need more than 105.  If they keep using the same formats, they will end up receiving a score in the same range, because nothing has changed. As Charles Darwin is believed to have said, those who change will survive. I am not only talking about a finch. I am also talking about TOEFL test-takers.

This will happen on Monday.


I’ve been working on the book for the last couple of months…I mean, I get up before the sun rises in the east and sit at the desk, open my laptop, and then start typing in – all before breakfast.

I don’t know why, but I just cannot help it. I know I cannot make it through by the sun sets for the day. Writing a book is a long, time-consuming process, but I feel guilty if I don’t engage in that ritual in the morning.

The rest of the morning is spent on taking care of my kid, another important work. When lunch is just about to finish, I feel itchy…I feel this urgency of getting my job done as soon as possible, knowing that, again, it will take some more months to get it completed.

This urge will be eclipsed so easily, however, by the even greater duty of having to see my (elder) kid at the kindergarten.

When one of the family members is sick (like having a cold, especially at this time of the year, or when a cold is in at the kindergarten, no one child is immune to it), things will be even more confused and chaotic. By the time I take care of everyone, this time, I will be sick. But life goes on just as if nothing happens.

My life being occupied by my children, I have realized that I cannot work as punctually as I did before. It is very hard to keep the promise (as far as my job is concerned). Work makes little progress. Only little by little can I get things done. One month was all that I needed to complete an entire book, but now I need more than a year. I feel guilty on one hand because most other people work like a horse, but I am proud of my life at the same time, because I am now able to put priority on something that does not bring to me anything…but a smile and laughter.