TOEFL iBT | Listening | Lecture | Urbanization in America

Welcome back to another TOEFL iBT Listening! Because the podcast on Beluga Whales has done extremely well, I decided to do another for you, follow by listening tips for success and a reading test! So we have an action-packed week of TOEFL coming up beginning today and going through the beginning of next week. In saying that, let’s get into it!

My Notes

Process of which rural to urban/industrial

more and more move, cities got bigger and bigger

Why did they want to live there?


No need for them before factories because most people just farmed

1800s — inventors came up with machines of mass production

transformed agriculture, less human activity

people flocked to factories

Foreign countries and largest boom in immigration

fair share of positives and negatives


To house them, cheap building thrown up overnight

crowded and unhealthy — proper access to water, clean air, sanitsation

sickness and disease

new form — rise in crime

strong anti-immigrant feelings -=- strong racial biases and hate crimes


More opportunities, pay is higher in cities

Improvements to roads and businesses, transportation, subways, public trains

mass expansion of museums, libraries and theatres

parks established

revelation that public health mattered

first-large scale hospitals

As a result of massive movement

some of americas greatest cities: hundreds of new cities were born, New York 1.5 million and doubled to 5 million

Chi town – 300k people to 3 million people

Why cities had a tough time keeping up with growth

Most people live in urban landscapes

cities are much different: hospitals, libraries, parks, after 100 years, now we have policies

In what ways do we wstill need to grow, making same mistakes as a hundred years ago


1. According to the lecture, what was the main cause of urbanization?

– a lack of farming jobs because of famine encouraged people to find work elsewhere

– the invention of new machines transformed cities and farming, encouraging movement

– the attractive benefits of city life encouraged many people to make the move

– overpopulation meant that there wasn’t enough space in rural areas for all people

2. What does the professor suggest caused higher numbers of people to grow sick in cities?

  • The lack of proper sanitation in people’s homes and neighborhoods
  • the housing options forced people to live in overcrowded neighborhoods
  • a lack of planning mean there was no trash or water services
  • all of the above

3. According to the lecture, what was the result of so many new immigrants moving to America?

  • The rise in population led to more communal sentiments and a strong country.
  • along with new people came a new perspective on cultural acceptance.
  • all the new people created racially divided communities discrimination and anger.
  • the new races of people didn’t interact often and established their own cities.

4. What does the professor mean by the term “infrastructure”?

  • The structures in a city that make life easier and enjoyable
  • the shape that the different structures in cities take on
  • the imagined potential for a city after planning is done
  • the parts of a city that constantly need improvement

5. Why does the professor suggest that it’s understandable to see why cities had so many problems at first?

  • he describes the lack of technology that was available for providing basic needs
  • he explains that the political structures were bad and didn’t work for the people
  • he illustrates that the population growth happened faster than the cities could keep up
  • he imagines that the problems are part of any city at any time in history

6. What was the main point of this lecture?

  • to provide questions for improving our modern cities
  • to explain the causes and effects of urbanization
  • to describe the poor living conditions of the early cities
  • to compare and contrast past cities with modern cities

{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Stressed Words in Sentences

Stressed Words in Sentences! The differences between content/focus words and function words. If you’re having difficulty enunciating words in a sentence, my pronunciation course (available on all Patreon badges) will help you. Video course, at request, will go up on Podia (after the first request). So make sure you ask! Nonetheless, join my Early Access Badge to get the full course!


TOEFL iBT | Speaking | Part IV | Creep & Slump

Another break down  of a TOEFL Speaking question and how some of you may be wasting quality time jotting down information that doesn’t have substance. I’ve seen this happened recently with one of my students and I realized it needed to be addressed, so here it is!

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Closing & Resolving Objections

Sometimes when you try solving objections, you’re looking at it from a win-lose situation. Win for you, lose for the other person — which they would regret later on.  Also, when you see a potential client drifting away, you shouldn’t continue pushing the narrative onto them, especially when you hear doubt behind their words. This makes the other individual feel very antsy and then they assume that it’s been approached as a transaction (win-lose rather than win-win). So, what could you do instead? Tune into the podcast!

TOEFL iTP | Reading | Answering Main Idea/Main Topic Topic Questions

We’ve got a super special for you today! I know a lot of my Indonesians LOVEEE my blogs on TOEFL iTP, so now we’re getting into the techniques on how to answer main idea/main topic/main purpose questions. Remember, there are questions available on my TOEFL iTP Badge! Make sure you get all the exclusive material, podcasts, training for $50 a month!

Directions: I would like you to read the following passages and then mark each answer choice according to the following system:

  • s – too specific
  • g – too general
  • x – incorrect
  • i – irrelevant
  • c – correct

Let me walk you through the first passage down below.

{example} There are two main types of cell division. Most cells are produced by a process called mitosis. {example} In mitosis, a cell divides and forms two identical daughter cells, each with an identical number of chromosomes. Most one-celled creatures reproduce by this method, as do most of the cells in multi-celled plants and animals. Sex cells, however, are formed in a special type of cell division called meiosis. {example} This process reduces the number of chromosomes in a sex cell to half the number found in other kinds of cells. Then, when sex cells unite, they produce a single cell with the original number of chromosomes.

  1. What is the main topic of this passage?
  • The method by which one-celled organisms reproduce
  • A comparison between mitosis and meiosis
  • Meiosis, the process by which identical cells are produced.

“The method by which one-celled organisms reproduce” is a specific detail.

“A comparison between mitosis and meiosis” is the correct answer. The first sentence states “there are two main types” before mentioning mitosis and giving a definition and example of it. After that, it mentions sex cells and how they’re from a different cell division called Meiosis, then follows the definition and example. This would be the main topic because it covers the entire paragraph.

“Meiosis, the process by which identical cells are produced” is incorrect. It says nothing about meiosis producing “identical” cells. The produce single cells.

Your Turn

The last gold rush belongs as much to Canadian history as it does to American. The discovery of gold along the Klondike River, which flows from Canada’s Yukon Territory into Alaska, drew some 30,000 fortune hunters to the north. The Yukon became a territory, and its capital of the time. Dawson, would not have existed without the gold rush. The gold strike furnished material for a dozen of Jack London’s novels. It inspired Robert Service to write “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and other poems, and it provided the background for the wonderful Charlie Chaplin movie, The Gold Rush. It also marked the beginnings of modern Alaska.

This author’s main purpose in writing is to….

  • discuss the significance of mining in Canada and the United States
  • show the influence of the Klondike gold strike on the creative arts
  • point out the impact of the Klondike gold strike

The keystone arch was used by almost every early civilization. to build a keystone arch, stones are cut so that the opposite sides taper toward each other slightly. The upper and lower surfaces are carved so that when several stones are placed side by side, the upper and lower surfaces meet in smooth, continuous curves. Some form of scaffolding is built under the arch and shaped to accept the curved underside of the stones. Then the stones are fitted in place one by one. They keystone is the top center stone, the last to be dropped into position. Afterwards, the scaffolding is removed and the arch is self-supporting.

The passage mainly concerns the….

  • basic principles of building keystone arches
  • uses of arches in modern architecture
  • role of scaffolding in building keystone arches

Circumstantial evidence is evidence not drawn from the direct observation of a fact. If, for example, there is evidence that a piece of rock embedded in a wrapped chocolate bar is the same type of rock found in the vicinity of the candy factory, and that rock of this type is found in new other places, then there is circumstantial evidence that the stone found its way into the candy during manufacture and suggests that the candy-maker was negligent. Despite a popular notion to look down on the quality of circumstantial evidence, it is of great usefulness if there is enough of it and if it is properly interpreted. Each circumstance, taken singly, may mean little, but a whole chain of circumstances can be as conclusive as direct evidence.

What is the author’s main purpose in this passage?

  • to show that a manufacturer’s negligence can be shown by direct evidence only
  • to define circumstantial evidence and show its usefulness
  • to demonstrate that circumstantial evidence can be very useful in science

The Northwest Ordinance was passed by Congress in 1787. It set up the government structure of the region north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvanian, then called the Northwest Territory. It set the conditions under which parts of the territory could become states having equality with the older states. But the ordinance was more than just a plan for government. The law also guaranteed freedom of religion and trial by jury in the territory. It organized the territory into townships of 36 square miles and ordered a school to be built for each township. It also abolished slavery in the territory. The terms were so attractive that thousands of pioneers poured into the territory. Eventually, the territory became the states of Ohio, Indian, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

What is the main topic of this passage?

  • the structure of government
  • the provisions of an important law
  • the establishment of schools in the northwest territory

Additional questions can be found on my Patreon for $50 a month with examples, audiocasts, templates, exlclusive material and coaching.


Go to next page or answers

{Patreon Special} Pronunciation Course | Phase III | Rhythm in Phrases & Sentences

This is a PHENOMENAL one, especially for those of you who have problems with enunciation and the rhythm in your sentences. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been coaching a range of students, and one, in particular, has problems with the rhythm in her sentences. Going back to three years ago, I coached a Thai doctor because her rhythm was the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be, failing the 3rd part of her exam to become a doctor in America because the patients didn’t understand her. You have no idea how important it is to have the CORRECT rhythm. So, this podcast is available on all my Patreon badges (if you’re a current student, message me and you get it for free). And if you want the entire VIDEO course to this phase, let inbox me because I will quickly create the course on podia for you. Now, let’s dive into it!


How to Create a Development Plan

Sometimes we go throughout our day being reactionary. Meaning we’re just reacting to situations. This is kind of how I am on days that I don’t have work. I kind of react to all situations rather than coming up with a schedule that will achieve the outcome that I’ve set out on. So, let’s see how we can break this down together. Podcast will debut this upcoming weekend!

Development plan: start with the next 5 books. Why? Because you began with an outcome not just chasing down best-sellers. Example, “I’m trying to develop in public speaking.” So your stack of 5 books would begin with Dale Carnegie’s Art of Public Speaking. 

  • “I’m trying to grow my business.” Your next five books would be on scaling a business. 
  • “I’m trying to improve my marriage.” Next five books on marriage.
  • “I’m trying to improve the relationship with my kids or kids in general.” Next five books should be on Stephen Covey.

Obviously books as a metaphor but again, it could be courses, videos, podcasts, conferences, events, trainings. Who are you mentors. What are the resources and when are you going to consume them. 

Let’s break it down even further. 

  1. Outcome: what are you trying to grow into, improve, make happen. 
  2. What must you learn to grow into that outcome. What must you learn about yourself. What skills must you develop. What can you learn from other people. 
  3. How will you learn it? Engaging virtually? Podcasts? Same rules apply.
  4. IT HAS TO SHOW UP IN YOUR CALENDAR! You don’t have a development plan because you have a full stack of books IN A DAMN GARAGE! (hint: get it?)
  5. When will you read……when will you try…….when will you plan….

It’s all based on scheduling. 

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6: Episode 17 | Hotels

From the gorgeous hotels such as Bangkok Marquis Marriott in Bangkok, Sintesa Jimbaran in Bali, Sheraton (minus them double-charging me), in Kuala Lumpur, to terrible hotels in the USA, Thailand (same area as Bangkok Marquis), and Australia. Today is story-telling Thursday! There are plenty of vocabulary terms for you guys on my Business English Podcast Badge! I go over them briefly on here, but if I speak very quickly and you want to practice your writing, verbiage, phrasal verbs, etc….make sure you click my Patreon down below!


TOEFL iTP | Grammar | Items Involving Misplaced Modifiers

A misplaced modifier is a participial phrase or other modifier that comes before the subject, but does not refer to the subject.

Look at this sentence:

  • Driving down the road, a herd of sheep suddenly crossed the road in front of Liza’s car. (INCORRECT)

This sentence is incorrect because it seems to say that a herd of sheep — rather than Liza — was driving down the road. The participial phrase is misplaced. The sentence could be corrected as shown:

  • As Liza was driving down the road, a herd of sheep suddenly crossed the road in front of her. (CORRECT)

This sentence now correctly has Liza in the driver’s seat instead of the sheep.

So, with that being said, the following sentence structures in the table down below are often misplaced.

Misplaced StructureExampleCorrection
Present ParticipleWalking along the beach, the ship was spotted by the men. Walking along the beach, the men spotted the ship
Past ParticipleBased on this study, the scientist could make several
Based on this study, several conclusions could be made
by the scientist.
AppositiveA resort city in Arkansas, the population of Hot Springs
is about 35,000.
A resort city in Arkansas, Hot Springs has a
population of about 35,000.
Reduced Adjective
While peeling onions, his eyes began to water.While he was peeling onions, his eyes began to water.
Adjective PhrasesWarm and mild, everyone enjoys the climate of the
Virgin Islands.
Everyone enjoys the warm, mild climate of the Virgin
Expressions with like
or unlike
Like most cities, parking is a problem in San Francisco.Like most cities, San Francisco has a parking problem.

If you want the questions, tune into the podcast down below. If you want the additional questions as stated in the podcast, link is down below for my TOEFL iTP Patreon Badge!



TOEFL iBT | Writing | How to Write a High-Scoring Introductory Paragraph

You guys are going to love me for this. Yes, I know there are a ton of standard templates out there that the majority of planet Earth uses, but what if I told you that you can write a fully functional introductory paragraph and get even more points? In today’s blog/podcast/video, I will discuss just that.

A high-scoring TOEFL introductory paragraph can be split into two parts.

  1. General background information about the essay topic.
  2. A thesis statement

General background information

There are many different ways of writing the general background information about the topic. For example, you could write about a brief history of the topic or an explanation why this topic is controversial or important. Alternatively, you can begin with other people’s opinions on this topic.

Thesis statement

The thesis statement is the single most important sentence in your essay and you must include it in the introductory paragraph. A thesis statement is your main opinion on the essay topic, and it also includes a preview of your key points in which you will be writing about in detail in your body paragraphs.

Developing an industry is more important than saving the environment for endangered animals. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Use specific details and examples to support your viewpoint. 

Typically, unprepared test takers will write something like this: 

I do not agree with the statement that developing an industry is more important than saving the environment for endangered animals. 

Before we continue, please take a moment and try to figure out what’s wrong with this introductory paragraph. Is there a problem with this intro? Well…yes…there are actually two problems. First, it simply reused the words from the topic question. TOEFL will deduct marks, if you do this. Don’t do it! :), Secondly, the paragraph is too short. 

OK, now that we figured out the issues, let’s see how we can solve this problem. 

OK! First, before you write your thesis statement, give some general background information about it or you can give someone’s opinion on it. Don’t worry, I’ll give examples later.

Now it’s time to write your thesis statement. Remember that simply copying the essay topic will cost you points, so instead you will paraphrase the essay topic. 

Let’s look at the definition for Paraphrasing: to express the same meaning by using different words or different sentence structures. Remember when I paraphrased the word “problems” into “issues”? Well, you will do the same thing for your thesis statement by paraphrasing the essay topic. 

So now that we have added background information before the thesis statement and paraphrased the essay topic into our thesis statement, we have solved the issues from the first example. 

Now let’s look at a high-scoring intro paragraph that uses everything we just learned.

Developing an industry is more important than saving the environment for endangered animals. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Use specific details and examples to support your viewpoint. 

The debate on the competition between economic development and the protection of endangered species has been going on for decades. I disagree with the statement that developing industry should take precedence over saving the environment for endangered species because I firmly believe that destroying the environment will eventually take its toll on humans in the long run.

Notice the word “debate”? This word is very useful when it comes to TOEFL writing. Any time the essay prompt asks you to agree or disagree with a statement, you can use the word “debate” to point out that the statement has both sides of opinion. Here we write “The debate on the competition between industrial development and the protection of endangered species has been going on for decades”. So what did this sentence give to the intro paragraph? 

It gave general background information about this topic. 

Now, let’s look at the thesis statement “I disagree with the statement that developing industry should take precedence over saving the environment for endangered species because I firmly believe that destroying the environment will eventually take its toll on humans in the long run.” 

The writer used paraphrasing!. “Take precedence over” means the same thing as “is more important than”. He also uses “species” instead of “animals”. 

There are multiple ways to paraphrase sentences and words. For example: “take precedence over”can be written as “take priority over”. Here is the full sentence: “Developing industry should take priority over saving the environment for endangered species”. You can practice paraphrasing by thinking of different ways you can paraphrase essay topics and vocabulary. 

Let’s look at another example that starts off with other people’s opinions.

When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success. Do you agree or disagree with the statement above? Use examples and details to support your position. 

It is generally believed that success comes through hard work and luck does not play a part. However, in my opinion, hard work can certainly improve a person’s situation, but luck will to a large extent influence the course of a person’s life because the social circumstances that people are born into play an amazingly large role in the potential they have throughout their lives.

As you can see, it begins with other people’s opinions by using the common pattern “It is generally believed that”. Then, it uses “however” to introduce the thesis statement which is “ in my opinion, hard work can certainly improve a person’s situation, but luck will to a large extent influence the course of a person’s life because the social circumstances that people are born into play an amazingly large role in the potential they have throughout their lives.”