How many hours a week should I study for long-term TOEFL prep?

Jaime Miller TOEFL: Advice for Studying 0 Comments

A potential student — who plans to take GMAT after he finishes TOEFL — recently sent an email and asked Jaime…

I’m guessing one TOEFL lesson will be around 1.5 hour. So do you think one class per week enough for me as my TOEFL preparation will last at least 3 months?

Jaime responded…

It’s true that because you’re doing long-term preparation for TOEFL, some people would say that you don’t need as intensive a program. In fact, I used to work at a very expensive private English tutoring house and the program coordinator that told students just that.

Before I started working for myself online, I worked with students for a single lesson, for 1.5 hours a week. I can tell you from my experience doing this with many students over a few months (and from teaching hundreds of students in the last few years) with that this is not an effective strategy for making improvements in a language. (The biggest problem with a single lesson every week is that the time between lessons is too long.)

Even if you have a few months to study for TOEFL, I would STRONGLY recommend that you plan on devoting 6 hours a week (so like 3 hours of lessons with me + 3 hours of homework) studying advanced, academic English. Then, execute the plan.

I won’t be surprised if you find an English school that will give you 1.5 hours a week of TOEFL lessons. Program coordinators will often do anything for a new customer, but program coordinators don’t usually know about learning, or about TOEFL, or about what is realistic.

Ethically, I can’t agree to do just 1.5 hours a week with you. I always prefer to work with students for 3 hours a week. However, I can agree to work with you for 2 hours a week. Plus homework. Lots of homework.

Because the second thing is that you want to be competitive when you apply for these programs in America, right? Based on your English in our conversation yesterday, and from what I know about typical TOEFL scores for people from your country, I’m guessing that your Diagnostic Test score will be between 82-87 points. This is great for a first test, but it needs to be strengthened by 15 to 20 points. And then GMAT will demand even more from you in the grammar and verbal section.

If your TOEFL and GMAT scores are higher, you will have better chances of admission.

I’ve worked with lots of people who started too late, get too stressed, and wish they had started studying earlier (and worked harder).

Besides, if you study harder now, you can improve faster, which means that you can take TOEFL earlier, which means that you can truly relax and celebrate life later. 😉

Best wishes,

Jaime