Excellent question! :)
If you take a look at our testimonials page you'll see that our students have improved their scores by 5, 10, even up to 15+ points! With that said, your improvement will depend significantly on a few key factors:
- Your starting level of English knowledge and comprehension
- The amount of time you have to devote daily/weekly/monthly
- How efficient you are at self-analysis and self-correction
Before you think, "oh man, 10 or 15+ points isn't enough," know that our testimonials include students of all English levels. If you are at a very low score, you are theoretically in a great position to improve more than 10 points because you can improve both on your TOEFL-specific skills (e.g. question types, utilizing speaking and writing templates, etc.) and your actual conceptual knowledge (e.g. reading comprehension or learning new vocabulary). Use our testimonials as benchmarks, but push as hard as you can to aim for more!
However, be aware that it may take longer than you expect to make improvements in your scorse. For larger increases (generally 5+ points), you may need more practice of the skills that the TOEFL tests. Note-taking and organizing essays quickly, for example, can be improved with practice, but it may take a few months.
And if you need even more general English improvement, that can take time, depending on what exactly you need and how much you need to improve. I have seen a few students work to improve their English communication for years in order to get a 20+ point increase on the TOEFL.
- If you just need to become familiar with the TOEFL, then you may only need a few weeks or a month for improvement.
- If you're almost comfortable with the TOEFL's structure, but aspects like note-taking are frustrating or difficult, then you may need a few more months.
- If the general difficulty of the English in practice is too high for you to understand, you may need anywhere from a few months to a few years to improve.
Know that we're not telling you these timelines to dissuade you from taking the TOEFL; in fact, it's quite the opposite! It can be tempting when you're struggling in your studies to think that you'll never get the scores you need or that others are doing much better than you. The TOEFL is meant to be difficult, and it is meant to test the level of English you'll need to succeed. It's completely natural to feel frustrated, and know that while improvement might not be quick or easy, it will happen if you study hard and reflect on your weakness. Lastly, here are some steps you can take to structure your studies and improve more quickly:
Step 1: Find your starting point. If you have already taken the TOEFL and have an official score, that's the most reliable starting point. But you might also have a mock test score from somewhere, and that'll work too, even if you only have estimates for your writing and speaking scores. Determine how much you need to improve in each area, now. Maybe you need to improve 5+ points in listening and speaking, but only 2+ points in writing and reading. Knowledge is power!
Step 2: Figure out your timeline and what can realistically be done. If you have 2 weeks, you can't cover every possible concept. Instead, figure out where your time can yield the best outcome. Perhaps focusing on listening will give you the greatest possible score boost. Clearly you would do that! And maybe your struggle in reading is pacing, so doing timed practice will help you answer more questions and raise that score! If you have a longer timeline, your plan of attack can be broader and more detailed.
Step 3: Be vigilant and never relax your attention! You should regularly check in on yourself. Ask questions like:
- What new mistakes have I made?
- Am I making the same old mistakes, or are those fixed?
- What are my weakest areas this week?
Self-analysis and using tools like an error log can really help keep track.
In short, your increase potential is up to you! We're all rooting for you. :)