Why your English (probably) isn’t good enough to get 100 in TOEFL/7.0 in IELTS

If you’re struggling to reach 100 in TOEFL or 7.0 in IELTS, there’s a strong possibility that it’s not just your strategy that you need to work on. You probably also need to improve your English.

Of course, you may have been lucky and had some great English teachers at school, or you may have had the opportunity to study abroad. But for most Japanese people, even if you went to good schools, your English probably didn’t get to a high enough level to achieve top scores in the TOEFL or IELTS tests. But why is that?

Well, there are two fundamental problems – how you studied, and what you studied.

At school, you probably had English lessons where the students were quite passive – a lot of listening to the teacher, a lot of grammar translation, and a lot of vocabulary tests. This means that you probably have a lot of knowledge of English, which is good, but TOEFL and IELTS are not just testing your knowledge. These tests assess how you can use English in realistic scenarios that you will encounter when you study abroad.

The range of English vocabulary and grammar you studied at school was probably also too narrow, too basic, and quite unnatural. Here’s a real example from a student showing some common problems:

‘My trip to Kyoto was good because I could enjoy various dishes.’

This sentence has several problems:

  1. ‘My trip to Kyoto was good.’ – this is not grammatically wrong, but it sounds a little unnatural. Native speakers are more likely to use a different expression, the word ‘good’ is very common and basic, and native speakers would usually use stronger language to express this idea, like this: ‘I had a fantastic time in Kyoto.’
  2. ‘because I could enjoy various dishes.’ – here, there is some direct translation from Japanese, ‘various’ is used wrongly, and ‘dishes’ sounds unnatural when used in this context. This is better: ‘mainly because of the great food.’

So this sounds much more natural and high level:

‘I had a fantastic time in Kyoto, mainly because of the great food.’

If you can already produce this kind of sentence, then you’re probably at the right level to get 100 in TOEFL or 7.0 in IELTS. If not, you might need to work on your English!


If this sounds like you, then check out the second in our series of videos about our new ‘Essential English‘ course here. You’ll find another useful example of how to change your English there.

You can join the Essential English course from April 6th 2019.

The course is specially for TOEFL and IELTS students who are currently scoring 70-89 (TOEFL), or 5.5-6.0 (IELTS) who need to improve their English. The classes are very active and lively – so you’ll get plenty of opportunity to use the language you’re learning, and get feedback from your teacher.

For more information, please visit the Essential English home page here. You can also register for a free demonstration lesson here on these dates:

Saturday 16th March, 14:30-16:00

Saturday 30th March, 15:00-16:30

Saturday 6th April, 14:30-16:00

Hope to see you soon!

Mike Thundercliffe, Manager Curriculum and Instruction, Agos Japan

Why improving your English is key to increasingTOEFL and IELTS scores

Hi, this is Mike, and in this blog post I’m going to explain why improving your English is probably the key to improving your TOEFL or IELTS test scores, and to introduce a new course we’re developing to help you achieve your goals.

If you’re taking TOEFL or IELTS, you may have experience of ‘hitting a plateau’. This is when your score stops going up for an extended period of time. You keep practicing and taking the test, but your score just doesn’t change. It’s a very common problem, but why does it happen?

Basically, when this occurs it’s usually because you’ve reached your limit in terms of your English. It’s important to remember that TOEFL and IELTS are (very accurate) measures of your English level. So if your knowledge of English and ability to use it are too low, you’re not going to increase your test scores beyond your limit, even if your strategy is really good.

To help students overcome this issue, the Curriculum and Instruction team at Agos is currently developing and piloting a new course called ‘Essential English‘, which you can join from April 6th 2019.

We’re designing the course specially for TOEFL and IELTS students who are currently scoring 70-89 (TOEFL), or 5.5-6.0 (IELTS) who need to improve their English.

If this sounds like you, then check out the first in our series of videos about the course here. For more information, please visit the Essential English home page here. You can also register for a free demonstration lesson here on these dates:

Saturday 16th March, 14:30-16:00

Saturday 30th March, 15:00-16:30

Saturday 6th April, 14:30-16:00

Hope to see you soon!

Mike Thundercliffe, Manager Curriculum and Instruction, Agos Japan


‘Coffee Chat’ Event – Speed Chatting: a great chance to practice speaking – by Mike Thundercliffe

Hi everyone, Mike here. I hope you’re not suffering too much from the summer heat, and found some time to relax during obon!

On August 06, we had our first student ‘coffee chat’ event based on the concept of ‘speed chatting’. This was a free event, and was designed to give Agos students some extra speaking practice in a relaxed environment. It was great to see everyone chatting confidently and having fun, and the teachers enjoyed it too!

What’s ‘speed chatting’?

Basically, the speed chatting format allows students to speak as much as possible, and to work with different students and teachers. It went like this:

  • We had three groups of four/five students, each with a native speaker teacher in the group (me, Danny Robinson and Jim Giguere joined this event).
  • A question (similar to TOEFL Independent Task 1 and 2, or IELTS Part 1 questions) was put up on the screen.
  • First of all, the students had a chance to listen to the teacher answering the question.
  • Then, each student spoke in turn.
  • After each student spoke, the teacher gave some detailed feedback.
  • Each student had the opportunity to talk about the same topic twice.
  • Then we mixed everyone up into new groups, and changed the topic.
  • We had tea, coffee and snacks throughout the two-hour event.

What did the students think?

Here’s some of the feedback from the participants:

  • “It was very helpful to get lots of feedback, and there were a lot of chances to listen as well. It was a very productive time!”
  • “It was a good chance to practice as I don’t have much opportunity to speak to native English speakers and get feedback.”
  • “This session helped me to find some things I didn’t know about, such as linking words and phrases together.”
  • “It was great! I hope this event takes place more frequently. The open, relaxed environment enabled me to join the conversation, and it helped me to build up my confidence.”
  • “By having this opportunity to speak casually, I was pleased that I could find my weakness. Now I know what I need to study more.”



Are we going to do it again?

Definitely! We are going to run the event on Friday 08 September at 19:00-21:00. The event is open to anyone who has already taken or is currently studying on a TOEFL Speaking Strategy/23 Toppa course, or IELTS Speaking Core/Advanced course. The maximum number of participants will be 16, so please register soon if you’re planning to attend. You can do that here:

Hope to see you there!


TOEFL iBT®: Campus Conversationのススメ — by 松園保則


前のバージョンのブログでは、TOEFL iBT®の「アカデミック」なコンテンツを何度か書きました。久しぶりに書く今回のブログでは、角度を変えて「Campus Conversation」について触れてみたいと思います。

TOEFL iBT®は「アカデミックな題材」という印象が強く、TOEFL iBT®に関する話題の中で影を潜めているのが「Campus Conversation」です。Campus Conversationとは、The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test Fourth Edition p. 14の“Conversations in an Academic Setting”に該当するもので、Listeningにおいて2~3題、Speakingにおいて2題(Task 3&5)登場します。

私はアゴス渋谷校でTOEFL Listening関連のクラスを長年担当していますが、このCampus Conversationに対して苦手意識がある生徒さんが案外多いと日頃感じています。また、TOEFL対策において、講義形式の題材を優先してCampus Conversationを後回しにしている方も見かけます。講義形式に対する対策が大事なのは言うまでもありません。ただ、私としては、Campus Conversationを苦手とする方はもちろん、これから留学するかどうか悩んでいる方や、日常会話独特の言い回しをたくさん知りたい方などにも、Campus Conversationの題材を使った学習を強くオススメしたいと思っています。以下に、その理由をいくつか挙げてみます。

* * * * *

1. 生の会話の速度に慣れることができる
Campus Conversationでは、2人の登場人物がある話題について3分程度会話をし続けます。その速さは、(英語圏を中心とした)留学先で繰り広げられる会話の速さとだいたい同じくらいだと私は感じています。Listeningに不慣れな方でCampus Conversationの題材を初めて聞くと「とにかく速い!」という印象を持たれる可能性が高いでしょう。そういった題材の音声を聞いたり、音声を聞きながらその音声をまねて後を追うように発する(これは「シャドーイング」という練習法です)といった練習を繰り返すうちに、自然とCampus Conversationの速度にも慣れてきます。結果として、「生」の会話の速度に対して「速い!」という印象が薄らいでくることが期待できます。

2. 留学生活を疑似体験できる
Campus Conversationでは、大学生(または大学院生)を主人公とした、キャンパスライフに関する話題が数多く登場します。履修手続き、講義やディスカッションの準備、コンピューターラボの使い方、寮生活におけるトラブルなどがその典型例です。このような話題に多く触れることは、別の見方をすると「留学生活を疑似体験している」ことになります。TOEFL iBTを受ける方のほとんどは、「今後留学すると決めている方」や「この先留学を検討中の方」だと思いますから、Campus Conversationの題材を通じて、「自分が留学するとこんなことが起こるんだなぁ」、「こんな問題点が起こったらこう対処してみよう」といった発見に繋がり、モチベーションアップも期待できます。

ちなみに、TOEFL Listening Campus Conversationでは、抱えている問題点に対して話し相手の女性に呆れられる男子学生や、4年生なのに1年生の授業を履修していなかった男子学生などの「ダメ男子」がよく登場します(笑)。

3. 口語独特の言い回しを多く学べる
Campus Conversationでは、口語独特の言い回しがよく使われていて、中には読んでも意味がつかみにくく感じるものも登場します。例えば、The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test Fourth Edition p. 144で以下のようなセリフが出て来ます。

How far along have you gotten?


これは、学生があるレポートの相談をするために教授に会いに来た場面で使われています。その際、教授が学生に対して「(そのレポートは)どのくらい進んでいますか?」と聞いているのが、先ほどの文の意味です。なお、far alongは「(プロジェクトなどが)進んでいる」という意味の表現です。


ちなみに、TOEFL iBT Listeningの過去問を分析する中で、”get the hang of(…のコツを掴む)“という表現に遭遇したことがあります。この表現は、私がイギリスの大学院に留学していた頃に、論文の指導教官に対して授業に関する相談をメールでやりとりしていた中で、自分が考えたアイデアに対して指導教官が”You’ve gotten the hang of them, Yasu!(ヤス、コツを掴んだわね!)と返答してくれた時に使われていた表現です。留学中に指導教官からいただいた表現に何年も経過した後にTOEFLの過去問で遭遇するというのは、この仕事をしているからこそ起こることなのだろうと感じています。

* * * * *

「生の会話の速度に慣れることができる」、「留学生活を疑似体験できる」、「口語独特の言い回しを学べる」といった良さを噛み締めながら、Campus Conversationの題材を是非ともフル活用していただきたいと願っています。

Giving Full Answers in Speaking Tests – by Mark Feeley

Hi everyone, and welcome to the instructor blog! I hope your studies at Agos are going well.

I’m Mark, and today, I’m going to be talking about the importance of more fully explaining your ideas in speaking tests, and how this can help you to improve your score. Although I’ll be using an example from an IELTS test, you can use a similar approach to the TOEFL Independent Speaking tasks.

A lot of test takers in Japan struggle to give full answers in the IELTS or TOEFL speaking tests, but it’s very important to fully explain your ideas. This is true for the IELTS or TOEFL tests, but is also crucial in MBA interviews and in the university seminars you will attend in the future.

Take the following example. Here is a typical IELTS Speaking Part 1 question (you may also get similar questions in TOEFL Speaking Task 1):

‘What do you like about the area where you live?’

A typical answer might be:

‘I like my area because it is convenient, and… er…’

The problem here is that a word like ‘convenient’ means many things.  It can also mean many different things to different people, so you should explain what you mean.

A much better answer to this type of question might be something like:

‘What I like about where I live is that it’s convenient. For example, it’s close to the shops, so if I need something to eat I can quickly nip out of my apartment and grab a bite to eat at a local store. Also, there are loads of clubs and bars near where I live so if I want to catch up with my mates at the weekend it’s quite easy and I know it won’t cost me a fortune for a taxi back home.’

As you can see from this example, not only is the answer more clearly explained, but giving a full answer gives you the opportunity to use a wide range of vocabulary (and grammar), including some less common phrases such as ‘nip out of my apartment’*, ‘grab a bite to eat’* and ‘mate’*. By more fully answering questions, you will also therefore be able to demonstrate to the examiner or grader the range of vocabulary that you are able to use.

Also notice how we can use fairly simple linking words (marked in bold in the example) to expand and join our ideas together. The example above uses a simple way of expanding your ideas, like this:

Example 1 → so…→ and…         Example 2 → so…→ and

So how can you improve? The most important thing is to practice a lot, and try recording your speaking. After you have finished, listen to your speaking and ask yourself whether there is anything that you could add to more fully explain your answer. Better still, ask a classmate or teacher to check for you, as they may be able to notice something that you can’t.

I hope you find this useful. Good luck with your studies at Agos!

*‘nip out of my apartment’ = leave my apartment for a short time and come back

*‘grab a bite to eat’ = quickly get something to eat

*’mate’= British English (informal) meaning ‘friend’ – US English equivalent is ‘buddy’

「何となくわかった気になっている症候群」を脱しよう — by 小林朋子

こんにちは。TOEFL / IELTS講師の小林です。今日は、英語を何となくわかった気になっている現象を脱することについてお話します。



Room for a kitchen table, intended to be used by the household for informal family meals rather than by the kitchen staff for preparing meals, was provided.

文中にカンマがあるので、時間をかければそれ程難しくないと思います。文構造は、Room was provided. です。文構造を捉えられないと、intendedが動詞かな?などと思ってしまうことがあるようです。文の構造を捉えることによって、正確に読むことができるようになります。因みに冒頭のRoomは無冠詞なので「部屋」ではありません。場所とか空間といった意味です。


These conditions are hostile to plants, making it difficult for new growth to become established in the enriched soil.

makingがどういう使い方なのか、またmaking itのitが何を指しているか理解できますか?makingは分詞構文、itは仮目的語で不定詞to become~を指しています。高校生くらいで理解できる構文です。


While most physicians refused to deal with Beethoven after encountering his ill temper, supporters of his music refused to abandon him because of the radical changes he had brought about as a composer.

冒頭のWhileは対比の関係を表します。何と何が対比されているでしょう? 「ほとんどの医者がベートーベンを診ることを拒否した」という内容と、「ベートーベンの支援者は彼を見捨てることを拒否した」。ざっくり言えば、一方はベートーベンを見捨て、他方は見捨てないという対比です。さらに支援者が見捨てない理由も述べられています。「作曲家としてベートーベンがもたらした根本的な変革」です。つまりこの一文の中に、対比と因果の論理関係が含まれています。このような論理関係は文と文の関係でもよく見られます。TOEFLやIELTSの英語を読むときは、どのような論理展開になっているのかをしっかり意識して捉えていくことが重要です。これはリスニングの講義を聞くときも同じです。


Grammar for IELTS Writing – Using a variety of complex structures – by Danny Robinson

Hi everyone, my name is Danny and I teach IELTS classes here at Agos.  Today I’m going to give you some advice about how you can start to show more grammatical range in your writing.

Why is using a range of grammar important?

To achieve the higher bands for the IELTS Grammatical Range & Accuracy criterion (Band 6 or above) in writing, you have to show that you can accurately and flexibly use a variety (range) of structures, including complex structures. If you only use simple structures, you will be limited to a 5 for this criterion.

This means that you need to be very aware of the structures you are using, otherwise it is very easy to just use the same patterns again and again.  Here are some strategies for avoiding this.

Strategy 1: Changing the order of the sentence

There are many ways that sentences can be structured.  So one of the simplest methods of avoiding too much repetition and showing grammatical range is to simply change the order of the different language “chunks” that make up the structure you are using.  Here is an example of this using a sentence from a typical Task 1 graph analysis essay:

 Over the period shown, the number of crimes committed by children under 15 years of age increased significantly to just over 30% of the total reported in 2010, rising from around 10% in 1990.

 This can be changed to the following sentence, which expresses exactly the same ideas:

Rising from around 10% in 1990, the number of crimes committed by children under 15 years of age increased significantly over the period shown to just over 30% of the total reported in 2010.

Strategy 2: Change the verb forms

Slightly changing the grammar of the verbs can create another different structure:

 Increasing significantly over the period, the number of crimes committed by children under 15 years of age rose from around 10% in 1990 to just over 30% of the total reported in 2010.

Strategy 3: Using a good balance of sentence lengths

However, also remember that good writing is about clearly and precisely expressing what you want to communicate as simply and efficiently as possible.  Unnecessary complexity can also be a problem.  A balance is best.  You should always aim to express yourself in the simplest and clearest way possible while considering the complexity of the idea or information you are expressing.  If you can achieve this balance, it should also have the positive effect of making your writing more engaging for the reader.

A useful starting point for assessing how well you are achieving a balance between clarity and efficiency, as well as showing that you can use complex structures accurately and flexibly, is by considering sentence length.  A series of long complex sentences with several subordinate clauses is just as boring to read as several short simple sentences, and again, may actually reduce clarity by being unnecessarily difficult.

  • Avoid adding subordinate clauses for their own sake:
 The process of industrialization has resulted in the raising of the economic performance of many of the poorest countries in the world.  

 This can be changed to the following sentence, which expresses the same ideas more efficiently:

 Industrialization has boosted the GNP of many poorer countries.

While this first sentence demonstrates impressive complex grammar it isn’t really necessary to express the writer’s point.  It is OK to include some sentences like this, but if all your sentences are this length, your writing may become overly complex and difficult to read.  Also, you will be more likely to make errors, and you will probably find it difficult to include everything you need to say within the time limit of the test.

  • Break up long sentences when possible:
 The immediate effects of reducing government support for the unemployed would probably be to cause protests from charities, to make richer people who pay higher taxes happier, and to scare people on lower incomes, who have long benefited from such programmes.        

 This can be changed to the following sentences, which express the same ideas more clearly:

 Reducing government unemployment support would probably have three immediate effects. Firstly, it would cause protests from charities. Secondly, richer people who pay higher taxes would be happier. Lastly, it would scare people on lower incomes, who have long benefited from such programmes.         

  • Combine short sentences

Equally, if you have a series of one or more very short sentences, see if it is possible to combine them, without losing clarity, by using conjunctions and/or punctuation.  In fact, sometimes this might actually improve clarity as well as efficiency:

 Television can be a useful educational tool. It is a tool that prevents education.

 This can be changed to the following sentence, which expresses the same ideas more clearly:

 Television can be an educational tool, but it may also prevent education.

How can I improve?

Achieving the best balance between showing a range of grammar knowledge and flexibility, without allowing your language to become overly complex and difficult to read requires a lot of practice.  Here are some things you can do:

  • Study different grammar patterns
  • Analyse model answers to see how other people use a variety of grammar
  • Read and analyse texts related to common IELTS topics that you can find in English newspapers and a variety of online sources
  • Apply some techniques to answer real IELTS questions

With study and practice, you can improve your grammatical range and flexibility, and so achieve your IELTS writing scores.  Good luck and perhaps I’ll see you in class soon!

英文のTouch Typing (ブラインドタッチ)習得 — by 西海絢乃

TOEFL-iBTのWritingクラスで、よく受講生の方から「思うようにタイピングができない。」「タイピングが苦手で、本試験でもタイピングに時間がかかってしまう。」といった声を聞きます。実際、制限時間のあるTOEFL-iBT Writingでタイピングに時間がかかってしまい、時間が足りずに思うような結果を残せなかった…という経験のある方は案外多いのではないでしょうか。
TOEFL-iBT本試験でのWriting課題だけでなく、留学先での課題提出、仕事における英語でのメールのやりとりなど、英文タイピングが必要になる場面は多く、キーボードを見ずにタイピングするTouch Typingの習得は、将来的に必ず役に立つスキルだと思います。また、既に日本語ではTouch Typingに慣れている方でも、英文タイピングとなるとなかなかすぐには速く打てないもの。

そこで今日は、できるだけ早く英語でのTouch Typing(ブラインドタッチ)を習得するためのコツや、練習方法を紹介します。
ちなみに日本語の「ブラインドタッチ」は和製英語で、正しくは手元を見ずにタイピングする事をTouch Typingと言います。


まずはホームポジションを覚えます。標準的なキーボードには、fとjのキーに小さな突起があり(図:赤)、fには左手、jには右手の人差し指をそれぞれ合わせ、そこから左右にそれぞれの指とキーの配列を合わせていきます。左手の小指から人差し指まで:a, s, d, f, 右手の人差し指から小指まで:j, k, l, ;となり、これがホームポジションです。(図:ピンク)キーボードを見ずにこれらのキーを打てるよう、何度か打って練習してみましょう。コツは、キーボードをできるだけ見ない事です。


ここまでは一般的な練習法ですが、TOEFL-iBTのWritingテストの為にタイピング速度を挙げたい人は、OGその他参考書に掲載されているSample Responseを題材として練習すると良いと思います。ある程度キーの場所を覚えたら、できるだけキーボードを見ずに、時間を測りながらSample responseをそのままそっくりタイプしてみましょう。

TOEFL iBT受験料が$235に値上がりしました — by AGOS教務部

最近TOEFL iBT本試験の受験申込をした受講生やスタッフから、「受験料として$230ではなくて$235を課金された」というお話を伺いました。しかし、昨日(日本時間で2016年12月9日)まではETS公式サイト上の料金表では依然$230のままでした。そこで、複数の講師がプロメトリックやETSに直接確認したところ、間違いなく「$235に値上がりした」との返答を得ました。本日、改めて公式サイトの料金表を確認しましたら、我々の問い合わせに呼応するかのように$235に改定されていました。(過去10時間以内に訂正されたものと思われます。)


Using Natural English – by James Cort

Hello and welcome to the instructor blog! I’m James Cort and I teach TOEFL Speaking and Pronunciation and Fluency (発音矯正) at Agos.

The year is finally coming to an end, and the winter holidays will soon be upon us. Many of us are looking forward to some time off work or school, some may be travelling overseas and others preparing for important examinations. Whatever your plans, before we forget the year at the next忘年会 (end-of-year party), let’s reflect on our academic progress and consider how to make next year even more successful.

“Well… I can understand you, but it doesn’t sound natural.” Have you ever heard this from a native English speaking friend, colleague or instructor? You might then note down the corrected sentence that your teacher offers. However, you may not understand where you went wrong or how to sound more natural in the future. Today I’m going to talk about naturalness: What is natural English? Why is it important for the TOEFL and IELTS tests? How can you learn to use it?

What is natural English?

Natural English simply means the English that native speakers actually use. This can be quite different from the English you find in many textbooks, and drastically different from English directly translated from Japanese.

Unnatural English is often caused by several types of errors. Have a look at the examples below.

Error Example Natural English
Inappropriate vocabulary choice ‘My friends and I gathered at the bar.’ ‘My friends and I met up at the bar.’
Word order ‘I went to a Japanese traditional restaurant.’ ‘I went to a traditional Japanese restaurant.’
Register (formality/context) ‘There were many people at my birthday party. Moreover, it was very enjoyable.’ ‘There were loads of people at my birthday party and we had a good time.
Direct translation ‘I entered university in 2010.’ ‘I started university in 2010.’
‘Textbook’ English For the first time, I ate dinner at Cici’s some days ago. It was so-so.’ I tried Cici’s the other day – it wasn’t great.’
‘Japanese’ English ‘I went to the hot spring to refresh my mind.’ ‘I went to the hot spring to unwind.’
Wrong collocation (collocations are words that go together) ‘The temples in Kyoto are very amazing.’ ‘The temples in Kyoto are absolutely amazing.’

If you’re told that your English sounds unnatural, then it’s likely that it contains at least one of these errors.


Why is natural English important for the TOEFL and IELTS tests?

The ability to use natural English is vital for both TOEFL and IELTS. This is especially true for the speaking sections, where you have limited time to think about and plan your response. TOEFL speaking is graded holistically, which means the grader gives you a score based on their overall impression of your response. Of course, more natural speech will make a better impression, so you’ll get a higher score. The IELTS speaking examiners use very clear and detailed grading criteria, and producing more accurate and natural speech will help you to reach the higher bands.

How can you learn to use natural English?

So, how do you improve? Memorising the corrections your teacher gives you is vital, but this can be a slow process. Here are three important steps you can take to speak more naturally.

  1. Increase your exposure to natural English

The first step is to expose yourself to a lot of natural English material. Tedtalks, Youtube and online radio are great free resources. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon video are useful paid resources. Most of these have English subtitles available that can help you with new language. After listening or watching, make a note of new language, practice shadowing, make your own sentences and say then say them aloud. The material doesn’t have to be difficult. The important thing is to expose yourself regularly to natural English, and try to copy how the native speakers use the language.

  1. Consider the Context

Whenever you hear new words or phrases, think about the setting. What is natural in one context may sound very unnatural in another. Ask yourself: ‘Was the setting formal or informal? Was it at work, home or school? Was the topic serious or light-hearted? What’s relationship between the speakers? What’s the emotional state of the speaker and listener? How is the speaker using intonation? Etc.’ Questions like this will give you clues as to when and where you can use this language.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

It’s easy and safe to use what you learnt in high school. But if you act in the same way, you’ll always get the same results, you won’t make progress and your TOEFL or IELTS scores won’t improve. Get out of your comfort zone and try out what you’ve learned in the real world. Use the new language with friends, with co-workers, in class, for homework and eventually on your TOEFL and IELTS tests!


Try these tips and see if you can start sounding more natural in 2017, and improve your TOEFL or IELTS speaking scores!