Meet Marwa who was stuck at the Speaking score of 24 and the Writing score of 22 for years. In her success story below, she raises a really good point that you can’t keep doing the same things and expect to get different results. If you’re stuck at a certain level, you have to change the way you’re studying in order to increase your score. For Marwa, signing up for private TOEFL lessons with Sierra Yohalem was a turning point. Overall, she had 3 months of private classes and also did a lot of self-studying with the Advanced Speaking Guide and the 24+ Writing Tutorial. Marwa is a mom of four, so her schedule was incredibly busy but she was studying hard to achieve her dream of becoming a pharmacist in the US. As a result, she got a total TOEFL score of 106 (Reading 26, Listening 27, Speaking 28 (!), Writing 25).
Please read Marwa’s truly inspiring story below.
“My name is Marwa, I’m from Sudan and I have been living in the U.S. for almost 12 years now. I’m a mom of 4 kids, 2 soccer loving boys and twin daughters who are almost three years old. I talked about my kids because I want you to imagine how busy my life is, and If you think you’re busy and you can’t do it, just remember me a mom with 4 kids, who runs around all day long to and from soccer practices, playgroups and physical therapy for her daughters, got more than 26 speaking after a long struggle with TOEFL.
My first time taking TOEFL was way back in 2008, it was good but I didn’t get the required score. So I decided to move on to the FPGEE and since my scores weren’t that bad, I kept telling myself I will get the score if I took it one more time and I’ll be lucky. I took FPGEE in 2012 and was a piece of cake for me and I went back to TOEFL and took it for the second time, but the surprise that my scores wasn’t good enough. I was so disappointed on myself and I decided to go for a pharmacy tech certificate and my goal was to add a writing class and a keyboarding class in addition to the pharmacy tech classes. I tried taking TOEFL for the third time, and luck wasn’t on my side this time either, my scores were 24 and 22 on Speaking and Writing respectively. After getting my results, I was so devastated and I lost hope in fulfilling my dream of being a pharmacist. I had a new plan this time which is forgetting about being a pharmacist and finding something else, so I went back to college and I earned a certificate in Basic Office skills. All the jobs that I applied for needed 4+ years of experience and my twin daughters were so young at that time, so I thought may be I need to rethink my plan and try to make my dream come true this time. In addition, my FPGEE is going to be expired soon and of course, it is impossible to study again and retake FPGEE.
I took it again for the fourth time and my scores were the same as my last one, 24 on S and 22 on W. I knew at that time there was something wrong but I didn’t know what it was, as we all know the score reports are not helpful because they are so general. For all those previous tests I studied by myself because I didn’t think that I need a professional help and I thought that I don’t need to spend any money on preparing for TOEFL. After my fourth time, I knew that I needed to change how I study for TOEFL and try something new. I kept looking online for anything that can help, there were so many options, and to be honest I choose English Success Academy before reading any reviews. I wanted to try it first and see if I like their teaching style or not. I booked my lessons with Sierra, she is so kind, enthusiastic, passionate about teaching, and caring too. She made me feel very comfortable and gave me confidence in myself from the first class and supported me emotionally the whole time. I took classes with Sierra over a period of three months and over this short period I felt that I improved a lot. Sierra’s method of teaching is so creative: creating more thoughtful flash cards which contain way more information other than words and meanings, tackling each task separately and after perfecting it move to the next, bulletin board for all speaking tasks flash cards, helpful videos on pronunciation, strategies and tips on writing which are totally different from all other sources and books that I saw in the past five years. Jaime’s books, 24+ writing and The Advanced Speaking Guide, are two the best books because they’re concise and they cover everything you need to know to get the 24 and 26 on writing and speaking. Also, Sierra helped me a lot by creating a schedule for what to do each day so I can spend time working on all tasks and not to forget about Reading and Listening. Sierra’s advice was to practice a lot and rest the last week before the test, and on the test day smile and be confident and believe in yourself.
I did exactly as Sierra told me, I was smiling the whole time and I felt confident that I can get it this time. 10 days later, at 4:58 in the morning, I had my score report and it was amazing: R:26, L:27, the surprise S:28, and finally W:25. I can’t describe how I felt when I saw my results, I cried, I laughed, and I felt like I’m going to burst out of happiness, and the funniest thing is that I woke up my kids two minutes after seeing my results at 5 a.m. Thanks to Sierra and everyone on English Success Academy without their help, I would have never passed the TOEFL obstacle. Now, I can fulfill my dream and press the “go” button on my life.”