Diana is originally from China but she currently lives in Hamilton, Canada, and plans to pursue her graduate studies in America. This spring, she received a conditional offer from one of the best PhD programs in Economics, but in order to be accepted, she had to achieve a 26 on Speaking. Diana had several occasional lessons with Sierra who laid the foundation, and then Jane had time in her schedule for a series of intensive daily lessons right before Diana’s exam.
We generally do not recommend last-minute lessons but in Diana’s case, she literally had no choice, it was her only chance to get into her dream school this year.
Are you curious to know what happened next? Read Diana’s testimonial below:
“So basically … (using Jaime’s speaking template, just kidding)
My story about TOEFL speaking is all about having faith and practice, practice and practice. I am blessed and extremely lucky to have met my tutors Jane Birkenhead and Sierra Yohalem, both of whom believed in me and had patience with me. I could not have gotten 26 without their help. I loved both of their classes and feel extremely grateful for their help.
My situation was that I had a conditional offer on TOEFL speaking of 26 to a top 50 US PhD in Economics program. Due to the deadline of the offer, I had only one more chance to take TOEFL, 9 days after I received my first attempt of speaking of 23 on March 22, 2017. That’s it, one shot, take it or leave it. I was panicking and extremely stressed out when I booked my second TOEFL, so I called for help. Jamie and Jamie’s team were extremely helpful and I was lucky to find Jane for five classes on March 27, 28, 29,30 and 31 every day before my exam on April 1, 2017. In our tutoring classes, we did the mock exam. It was intense! I remember I was so stressed out and some of the questions I could not finish. I remember I almost cried in my second last class. I have to admit that I was scared. I worried I wouldn’t make it. I couldn’t go to the US. But my tutor Jane was so kind and so patient with me. This is why having a tutor is important. Jane helped me with my pronunciation, wording, structure, but most importantly, encouragement. Thank you so much, Jane! I also wanted to shout out to my dear friend Marko, who helped me and recorded more than 50 speaking recordings. Those were also an essential help and were why I could pass TOEFL in such a short period.
On April 1st, exam day, with everyone’s hope and blessings, I put myself together facing one of the toughest challenges in my life. To me, I have no problem with reading, listening and writing. My focus was only on the six minutes of speaking. In the first two hours, the exam wasn’t easy, but I didn’t use all my energy. I wanted to save some for the speaking section. When the speaking began, I tried my very best to make sure every single word that came out my mouth was as accurate as possible. I spoke very calmly with confidence. I even smiled when I spoke! Haha! When the buzz beeped the last second of the last question, I knew I had tried my best that regardless of the results I would have no regrets!
Words for future students – Yes, TOEFL isn’t easy, and the Speaking section is very demanding, but it is DOABLE. From my experience, practice as much as you can like you are on an exam. Have faith in yourself when you are practicing and have faith in yourself that you can do it during the exam. You have already worked so hard, and you deserve a good score. You only need to go there and prove it to the exam graders that you can speak well, that you have the ability to study in the US, that you are capable of making your dream come true!
All my love to beautiful people who have helped me during this journey. Thank you so much! I am grateful! I also thank this priceless TOEFL experience, which made me stronger and it built my character. I know if I put my mind into it, I can do anything. After all, TOEFL is only an English exam. There might be more challenges in life that await us.
Have faith in everything! You Can and You Will!”