This is the question everyone wants to know, but is extremely difficult to answer because there are so many variables. For example, your current level, your past experience of learning, how much time you have to study and practice, how stressed you are with your work, what family commitments you have etc., etc. However, let’s look at some rough guidelines.
Unfortunately, the makers of TOEFL and the makers of IELTS don’t provide any guidance on this. Probably, they don’t want to make promises they can’t keep (because of the variables I mentioned earlier). But we can use the CEFR level system to make some estimates (that’s the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, a system for assessing language levels. Wikipedia entry is here.)
One level of CEFR is approximately 20 points on the TOEFL, and about 1 band in IELTS. On average, to achieve that kind of improvement, it would take around 160-180 hours of guided study. That means learning in the classroom with a teacher on a structured program covering language development and four skills work, with additional self-study that is guided by the teacher.
So if you study English in class for 3 hours a week, and do 6 hours of guided self-study, then that’ll take about 4 to 5 months.
I’m not promising you can do that of course – again, there are too many variables to guarantee anything. So to make that kind of progress in such a short time means you really have to work hard, not miss any lessons, do all the self-study, and be able to focus for the whole period of study.
But it is possible.
If you’d like more information about your English study, why not come to a free demonstration lesson – we can have a chat about English study after the class.
You can register for a free demonstration lesson here on these dates:
Saturday 30th March*, 15:00-16:30
Saturday 6th April, 14:30-16:00
*Before coming to this lesson, take a look at the following sentence – it has some common Japanese learner mistakes. Can you spot them?
‘Overtime working can have a bad effect to workers’ mental.’
After the demonstration lesson on March 30th, I’ll explain what the mistakes are, and how to express this idea using natural, high level English.
Hope to see you soon!
Mike Thundercliffe, Manager Curriculum and Instruction, Agos Japan
For more information about English study, please visit the Essential English home page here.