TOEFL iTP | Written Expression | Wrong Choice of So, Such, Too & As

We’re back with a wonderful special! In today’s podcast/video/blog, I’ll be diving into the wrong choices of the words mentioned above! Super excited about this one because it will be going live first on my IGTV. So, make sure you’re following me in the link down below!


The words so, such, and too are used in the following patterns:

so + adjective + that clause

These boxes are so heavy that we can’t lift them.

(So is also used with many….that and much….that.)

There were so many people in the auditorium that we could barely get in the front door.

Such + adjective + noun phrase + that clause

It was such a pretty view that he took a photograph.

Too + adjective + infinitive

It’s too cold to go swimming today.

Notice that so and such are both followed by that clauses, but too is followed by an infinitive.

The words as and so are also sometimes confused:

Jane did so well as I did on the economics exam. (INCORRECT)

The coffee was as hot that I couldn’t drink it. (INCORRECT

Check podcast and YouTube for explanation!



  1. The sun is so bright to look at directly.

Correct pattern too + adjective + infinitive

2. In much of Alaska, the growing season is as short that crops can’t be raised.

The correct pattern is so + adjective + that clause.

3. The giant squid is so an elusive animal that at one time it was believed to be purely mythical.

Before an adjective + noun + that clause, the word such should be used.

4. The mineral grains in basalt are so much small that they cannot be seen with the unaided eye.

The phrase should read so small rather than so much small.

TOEFL iBT | Speaking Part 1 | Group Coaching | Full Session

Man, after this specific coaching session with two of my Brazilian nurses, I asked them if I could use some of this audio to share with you guys because I honestly believe with the amount of advice given and received in this podcast, it could be life-changing for a lot of you who have difficulty in the speaking question 1. We did 2-3 speaking question 1s per student, along with some sound advice towards the end. One of the nurses had excellent points of encouragement for her friend — and she was also able to identify the areas of need very quickly and fix them within just 20 minutes. Just a PHENOMENAL job. With that being said, let’s get into this jam session!

TOEFL iTP | Structure & Written Expression | Like or Alike and Like or As

Lots to be covered in today’s blog/podcast! It was hard to put it in the title to make it make sense, but I can assure you that like/alike is ABSOLUTELY going to be on your TOEFL test when you take it, and too has a very high chance. So let’s dive into these basics!

The word alike is incorrectly used in place of like, or like is used in place of alike. This is what you’ll see on the test. So, to identify these words, memorize the following patterns.

Like A,…… | Like birds, mammals are warm-blooded.

A, like B, …. | Birds, like mammals, are warm-blooded.

A is like ……. | Birds are like mammals in that they are both warm-blooded.

A and B are alike | Birds and mammals are alike in that they are both warm-blooded.

Whenever you see the words alike or like underlined, you should suspect a word-choice error.

The word like is also sometimes confused with the word as. When like is used in a comparison, it is followed by a noun or pronoun. When as is used in comparison, it is followed by a clause containing a subject and a verb.

I did my experiment just as Paul did.

My results were much like Paul’s.

The word as is also used before nouns when it means in place of or in the role of. This is particularly common after certain verbs: serve, function, and use, among others.

The Vice-President served as President when the President was sick.

  1. Alike their close relative the frogs, toads, are amphibians.

Choice (A) doesn’t follow the pattern Like A, B….

2. Asters, as most perennial plants, bloom once a year.

The word like should be used in place of the word as before a noun phrase (most perennial plants).


TOEFL iTP | Listening | Part C | Stage fright

We’re back with another! You guys are super lucky! Ha! Let’s get into this one. Just like the last one, this is a Part C with some guidance in how to follow the conversation, linkers, and the process of elimination. Let’s get it!



  1. Who would probably not experience stagefright in their work?
  • Writers
  • actors
  • athletes
  • musicians

2. What physical reaction might someone who’s experiencing stage fright commonly have?

  • he or she would see butterflies
  • he or she would break a leg
  • he or she would have shaky knees
  • he or she would stop breathing

3. How can someone combat the negative thoughts associated with stage fright?

  • By staring at the audience
  • by breathing shallowly
  • by thinking about possible negative outcomes
  • by focusing on what needs to be done

4. When should the actors arrive at the theatre?

  • at 2pm
  • at 3pm
  • at 6pm
  • at 8pm

TOEFL iTP | Listening | Part C | Clipper Ships

We’re back! It’s been SO LONG! Ha! The listening portion was on a hiatus, but with google rankings and blog views skyrocketing, I have some special treats for you coming. Today we’re going to be doing a Listening Part C with a comprehensive breakdown, so let’s get into it!


  1. In which course would this lecture probably be given?
  • water sports
  • physics
  • American history
  • psychology

2. What is the most likely meaning of the expression “to clip along?”

  • to cut
  • to move fast
  • to steer a boat
  • to build a ship

3. What were clipper ships first used for in the United States?

  • to bring tea from China
  • to transport gold to California
  • to trade with the British
  • to sail the American river system

4. What does the professor remind the students about?

  • a reading assignment
  • a quiz on Friday
  • a research paper for the end of the semester
  • some written homework


TOEFL iTP | Reading | Narcolepsy

We’re finally back with this TOEFL iTP Reading! There was a delay in doing the blog, so I apologize, but you guys now have it! Let’s get into it.

Narcolepsy is a disease characterized by malfunctioning sleep mechanics. It can consist of a sudden and uncontrollable bout of sleep during daylight hours and disturbed sleep during nighttime hours. It occurs more often in men than in women, and it commonly makes its appearance during adolescence or young adulthood. At least a half million Americans are believed to be affected by narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy can take a number of forms during daylight hours. One common symptom of the disease during daytime hours is a sudden attack of REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep during normal waking hours. This occurs in some people hundreds of times in a single day, while others only have rare occurrences. During a sleep attack, narcoleptics may experience automatic behavior; even though asleep. They may, for example, continue walking, or driving, or stirring a pot until the activity is interrupted by external forces. Others experience cataplexy during daytime hours; cataplexy involves a sudden loss of muscle tone that may cause the head to droop or the knees to wobble in minor attacks or a total collapse in more serious attacks. Cataplexy seems to occur most often in conjunction with intense emotion or excitement.

During sleep hours, narcolepsy can also manifest itself in a variety of ways. During the transitional phase that precedes the onset of sleep, it is common for hallucinations to occur. These hallucinations, known as hypnagogic phenomena, consist of realistic perceptions of sights and sounds during the semi-conscious state between wakefulness and sleep. Narcoleptics may also suffer from night wakening during sleep, resulting in extremely fragmented and restless sleep. Then, upon waking, a narcoleptic may experience sleep paralysis, the inability to move, perhaps for several minutes, immediately after waking.

  1. which of the following would be most appropriate title for the passage?
  • a good night’s sleep
  • a cure for narcolepsy
  • An unusual sleep disturbance
  • hallucinations during sleep

2. The word “malfunctioning” in line 1 is closest in meaning to

  • improperly working
  • regularly waking
  • incorrectly classifying
  • harshly interpreting

3. At which of the following ages would a person be most likely to develop narcolepsy?

  • 10
  • 20
  • 30
  • 40

4. Approximately how many narcoleptics are there in the United States?

  • Fewer than 500,000
  • More than 500,000
  • Fewer than 1.5 million
  • More than 1.5 million

5. The word “bout” in line 2 is closet in meaning to

  • symptom
  • lack
  • illness
  • period

6. Which of the following involves a complete collapse?

  • automatic behavior
  • cataplexy
  • hallucinations
  • REM sleep

7. When would hypnagogic phenomena most likely occur?

  • just after going to bed
  • in the middle of the night
  • soon after waking
  • after getting up

8. Which is the following would be most likely to occur during daily activities?

  • automatic behavior
  • hallucinations
  • night wakening
  • sleep paralysis

9. Where in the passage does the author describe what seems to precipitate a sudden loss of muscle tone?

  • lines 12-14
  • lines 14-15
  • lines 16-17
  • lines 20-22

Answers in podcast!

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Investment | Tips for Saving Money

Here’s a pre-investment podcast — podcast — for all of you out there. I came across a very informational video that brought the spotlight on my money and finances, especially over the year.  As you probably know, shutdowns had begun early last year and the majority of the world was caught-off-guard, including me. So, instead of being proactive, I was reactive. I didn’t have an emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of rent saved up. I didn’t have travel expenses saved up, or even the stipend for a pretty expensive visa. So, I had to work in overdrive to cover expenses and that was three months of stress.

After watching this video and in the midst of the second shutdown, I’m very excited about the “how to” save for a rainy day. Tune into the podcast before we dive into the beginning stages of investing!


TOEFL iTP | Reading | Susceptibility to Catching Colds

Welcome back to another TOEFL iTP reading! I see my blog exploding in so many ways, along with my YouTube videos and podcasts…so I’m doubling down on my blogs, videos, and podcasts with TOEFL iTP. So, today is the susceptibility to catching colds! Here’s the reading and questions down below.

Another critical factor that plays a part in susceptibility to colds is age. A study done by the University of Michigan School of Public Health revealed particulars that seem to hold true for the general population. Infants are the most cold-ridden group, averaging more than six colds in their first year. Boys have more colds than girls up to age three. After the age of three, girls are more susceptible than boys, and teenage girls average three colds a year to boys’ two.

The general incidence of colds continues to decline into maturity. Elderly people who are in good health have as few as one or two colds annually one exception is found among people in their twenties, especially women, who show a rise in cold infections, because people in this age group are most likely to have young children. Adult who delay having children until their thirties and forties experience the same sudden increase in cold infections.

The study also found that economics plays an important role. As income increases, the frequency at which colds are reported in the family decreases. Families with the lowest income suffer about a third more colds than families at the upper end. Lower income generally forces people to live in more cramped quarters than those typically occupied by wealthier people, and crowding increases the opportunities for the cold virus to travel from person to person. Low income may also adversely influence diet. The degree to which poor nutrition affects susceptibility to colds is not yet clearly established, but an inadequate diet is suspected of lowering resistance generally.

Bruce Rogers pbt toefl
  1. The paragraph that precedes this passage most probably deals with
  • minor diseases other than colds
  • the recommended treatment of colds
  • a factor that affects susceptibility to colds
  • methods of preventing colds among elderly people

2. Which of the following is closest in meaning to the word “particulars“?

  • minor errors
  • specific facts
  • small distinctions
  • individual people

3. What does the author claim about the study discussed in the passage?

  • it contains many inconsistencies
  • it specialized in children
  • it contradicts the results of earlier studies in the field
  • its results apparently are relevant for the population as a whole.

4. It may be inferred from the passage that which of the following groups of people is most likely to catch colds?

  • infant boys
  • young girls
  • teenage boys
  • elderly women

5. There is information in the second paragraph of the passage to support which of the following conclusions?

  • men are more susceptible to colds than women
  • children infect their parents with colds
  • people who live in a cold climate have more colds than those who live in a warm one
  • people who don’t have children are more susceptible to colds than those who do

6. The phrase “people in this age group”

  • infants
  • people in their twenties
  • people in their thirties and forties
  • elderly people

7. The author’s main purpose in writing the last paragraph of the passage was to

  • explain how cold viruses are transmitted
  • prove that a poor diet causes colds
  • discuss the relationship between income and frequency of colds
  • discuss the distribution of income among the people in the study

8. The word “cramped” means…

  • cheap
  • crowded
  • depressing
  • simple

9. The author’s tone in this passage could best be described as

  • neutral
  • humorous
  • tentative
  • critical

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TOEFL Speaking & How You’re Graded

How your speaking response is graded.Task Fulfillment

Pronunciation & Intonation
Flow & Speech
Correct Grammar Usage
Vocabulary Usage (Appropriacy and Range)
Support & Development
Connections & Coherence
Task Fulfillment (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Task fulfillment is about how well you respond to the question you are given. TOEFL raters are looking for a response that answers the question directly, with relevant ideas that are fully developed. Fulfilling the task means answering all parts of the question completely.Score:
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 The response is unconnected or minimally connected to the given task

2 is mostly connected to the given task/question, but presents some ideas and information that are not directly related to the task/question may focus more on the reading passage than the listening

3 is connected to the given task/question, but may not be fully developed generally focuses on listening passage but may include a few unnecessary details from the reading passage

4 directly addresses the task/question and is fully developed focuses exactly on the points from the listening that satisfy the requirements of the task
Pronunciation & Intonation (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Pronunciation and intonation is about how you form English sounds and how you use natural English intonation. Your pronunciation and intonation can damage your score if it is difficult for the raters to understand what you are saying.
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 The response requires significant effort by listener because speech is mostly unclear, due to errors with: individual sounds and clusters word and sentence stress final intonation

2 The response requires some listener effort because speech is sometimes unclear, due to some unnatural use of: individual sounds and clusters word and sentence stress final and non-final intonation

3 The response may require effort by listener at times, though speech is generally clear, with: some sound and cluster pronunciation mistakes unnatural word and sentence stress some unnatural intonation

4 The response requires almost no effort by listener because speech is clear, including: natural sound and cluster pronunciation mostly natural intonation natural word and sentence stress, which may be used to convey subtle meanings
Flow & Speech (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Flow and speech is about how quickly you can speak and how much pausing and hesitation you use. You don’t have to speak quickly, but just quickly enough to sound natural and explain all of your ideas. Raters want to hear natural rhythm and flow.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 has disconnected speech that does not flow naturally has mostly short and overly basic utterances includes many unnatural pauses and hesitations that may make the listener uncomfortable

2 attempts but has some difficulties maintaining natural rhythm and fluid speech attempts more than just basic utterances, though stops frequently to prepare ideas or self-correct may contain some long pauses and unnatural hesitations

3 sustains mostly natural rhythm, though at times breaks it with unnatural linking or stress has some unnatural pausing and hesitation

4 has mostly natural rhythm is generally quite fluid and sustained has minimal unnatural pausing and hesitation
Correct Grammar Usage (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Correct grammar usage is about how you use English grammar and sentence structure. Raters want to see that you can use what you know correctly. Your grammar doesn’t have to be perfect to score high, but mistakes shouldn’t interfere with your meaning.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 Meaning is often difficult to understand because of significant and frequent errors with: nouns verb tenses adverbs and adjectives, including some phrases word order articles, pronouns, quantifiers, prepositions gerunds

2 Meaning is sometimes obscured because of errors with: noun and noun phrases verb (tenses and modals) adverbs and adjectives (including phrases) word order articles, pronouns, quantifiers, prepositions gerunds

3 Meaning is generally clear despite some errors with: noun phrases and clauses verb (tenses, modals, and passives) adverbs and adjectives (including phrases and clauses) word order articles, pronouns, quantifiers, prepositions

4 Meaning is not affected by grammatical errors, though there may still be minor errors with: noun phrases and clauses verb (tenses, modals, and passives) adverbs and adjectives (including phrases and clauses) word order art
Vocabulary Usage (Appropriacy and Range) (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Vocabulary usage is about how you use English words. Raters are looking for responses that use different words correctly and accurately, and that use a wide range of words that help listeners understand.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 includes mistakes with basic word form includes limited vocabulary, with repetition and reliance on vocabulary from the question prompt often uses inappropriate or incorrect words or wording

2 may include some incorrect word forms attempts to use a range of words and phrases but may make errors that confuse the listener makes somewhat accurate word choice but at times leaves the listener guessing

3 uses mostly correct word forms uses a range of words and phrases that is mostly appropriate, possibly including some idiomatic language makes generally accurate word choice with only some effort by the listener

4 uses generally correct word forms with only minimal errors effectively uses a wide range of words and phrases, which may include phrasal verbs and idioms includes generally accurate word choice and at times demonstrates sophistication
Support & Development (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
Support and development is about the content of your speaking response. Your content should be related directly to the topic, and you should have several main ideas that support your opinion or position. These ideas should be persuasive or compelling.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 does not include much relevant information has no or very little detail or explanation

2 includes some important information but not all key ideas presents several ideas or some information incorrectly or imprecisely may show lack of understanding of key ideas from listening and reading

3 includes most important information or key ideas may include some inaccuracies or imprecise ideas shows generally good understanding of key ideas but may not describe them specifically

4 includes all key ideas required by the question may have slight errors shows very good understanding of key ideas and the ability to explain them well includes all key ideas required by the question may have slight errors < 
Connections & Coherence (Sample)
Criteria DescriptionScore
connections and coherence are about how you put your ideas together and link different sentences to each other. Raters want to see speaking that flows naturally from idea to idea without confusing the listener.Score: 2 / 4
Score TOEFL Report 0 doesn’t address the task or no response was given

1 has little or no connection between ideas, making the logic difficult to follow includes no effective words or expressions of transition, introduction, or conclusion

2 has some connection between ideas but may jump between some topics, causing some listener confusion includes some brief or simple words or expressions of transition, introduction, or conclusion

3 has generally good connection between ideas includes generally good range of words or expressions of transition, introduction, or conclusion but may not feel wholly unified

4 has very good connection between ideas that are logically and effectively ordered includes a range of words or expressions of transition, introduction, and conclusion which conveys a feeling of unity and completeness

TOEFL iTP | Listening Part B | A Man’s Great-Grandmother

We’re back with a great TOEFL iTP podcast/video today! In today’s episode, I’m going to go over this structurally easy talk, but also emphasize how important it is to figure out a suitable technique for you to follow the questions.  Remember, tests this year are extremely difficult, so what you see me go over on today’s podcast/video is completely different from what you’ll experience. Tune in!

How often does the man usually talk to his great-grandmother?

  • Every evening.
  • Every week.
  • Every Sunday.
  • Every month.

What did the man’s great-grandmother tell him on the phone this morning?

  • That she was eighty-five years old.
  • That a storm was coming.
  • That she was under a great deal of pressure.
  • That she wanted to become a weather forecaster.

Where does the man’s great-grandmother say when she feels a storm coming?

  • In her bones.
  • In her ears.
  • In her legs.
  • In her head.

What will the man probably do in the future?

  • Call his great-grandmother less often.
  • Watch the weather forecasts with his great-grandmother.
  • Help his great-grandmother relieve some of her pressures.
  • Believe his great-grandmother’s predictions about the weather.