TOEFL iBT | Integrated Essay | Sea Otters | Practicing your Note-taking

Welcome to the first edition of integrated writing! IN today’s episode, we’re going to read a passage, take notes in regards to the reading passage, and then the listening.  There’s are three phases to this today, and know that today is just the beginning. We’re going to have to do a follow-up to this video, too.

If you’re interested in the follow-up video or 1 on 1 coaching, make sure to reach out to me!



Pronunciation Course | Phase I | Primary Stress, Schwa, and Consonant Sounds

In the second part of this chapter, we’ll be guessing the primary stressed syllable in each word. This is going to be the last of this simple phase I, thus why it’s the longest write-up of them all. After that, we’ll be going into phase II which is going to feature a lot more content.

  1. Canal
  2. Hotel
  3. Specific
  4. Distribute
  5. Afternoon
  6. Assumption
  7. Inidividual
  8. Biology

Remember use the forward slash for each word and enunciate it out loud.  Stress the first syllable, then second, third (if necessary) and fourth (if necessary). You should then be able to auto-correct yourself because you will notice that if you stress particular syllables within a word, it wouldn’t make sense at all.

In words with more than one syllable, pay special attention to the vowel sound in the stressed syllable.  It is the most important vowel sound in the word.

Let me give you some examples.

Æ – near-front   – Cat

ɛ – near-front      – Let

ɪ – near-front       – it

ɑ – back              – hot

ʌ – back              – cup

List of different words with the sounds: factor, expensive, fantastic, method, custom, promise, respond, geology, instruction, resist, select, audit.

Schwa Sound

Vowel sounds in stress syllables are long and clear, but vowerl sounds in unstressed syllables are weak and unclear. They are usually reduced to the schwa sound, as in about.

  • Office
  • Official
  • Compete
  • Protection
  • Successful
  • Political

Consonant Sounds

Speling often provides clues to pronunciation of consonant sounds, but not always. Notice the different pronunciations for the letter g.

Gold = /g/ as in go.

General = /dz/ as in job

Beige /z/ as in measure


Write the symbol used in your dictionary for the underlined letter(s) in each set of words.  Then find the pronunciation guide in your dictionary and write the key word for each symbol.

                                                                                                Symbol                     Keyword

  1. Zero, lose, close, (verb), razor                                 /z/                                zoo
  2. Show, initiate, pressure, special
  3. Check, furniture, nature, situation
  4. Division, usually, Asia, beige,
  5. Joke, graduate, agent, schedule

Tip: Pronouncing Key words

Before a discussion or presentation, think about two or three key words you will need.  Be sure you can pronounce the words clearly.  Check a dictionary or ask someone who speaks English well to say the words for you.

The words will sound more natural if you ask the speaker to use them in sentences.  You can also ask speakers to record words and sentences you can hear and practice them over and over.

If you want the audio of this (video debuting soon), please go to my Early Access Badge on Patreon. For $5 a month, you get all my podcasts, pronunciation courses, exclusive content, bonus material and more.

Early Access Badge

Pronunciation Course | Phase I | Speech Profile

Before we begin, I wanted to make this as interactive as possible.  What you’re going to do is send me a video – yes – a video of you speaking and giving a thorough introduction of yourself (if you want to do an audio, that’s ok, too).

Why? I want to give you feedback on your pronunciation before we begin the course.  If I don’t, we’ll never know exactly if you will have improved or not.  So, your introduction will be based on the questions down below.

  • Your name, where you’re from
  • Tell me about your hobbies, interests, passion
  • Reasons for taking my course, areas you would like to improve
  • Your overall goal as a non-NES speaker (or Native Speaker)

Pronunciation Features

Consonant Sounds

Vowel Sounds

Grammatical Endings

Word Stress


Thought Groups


Final Intonation

Connected Speech

Consonant Clusters

After you submit your recording, I will grade you in the areas above before sending it to you.

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Features & Benefits – Early Access & Business English Badge Patreon

“Features tell but benefits sell. You’ve got to know the benefits of your product if you want to close.”

In today’s podcast, I discuss how Apple discusses all the features but without benefits, leading to me not buying any of their products in the last half-decade. 

I always beckon the question: “how will your product make my life easier?”

If you can’t answer that, I don’t buy.

So, in regards to my online teaching business, people have seen results just by listening to a 15-minute podcast. They actually get the benefits for free, and this is why my podcast sells itself because of the amazing content I give.

If you’re in sales, have a product, or service, these are things you MUST address.  Tune in!


TOEFL iBT | Part 4 Question | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Biological Clocks

With his wife cheering him on in the background, here’s the final question and the last of this series.  Biological clocks, a part 4 question with a lot of detail, was given to him and it, as you would expect, was a bit difficult.  It’s all about separating information though and note-taking, so in the beginning, you can expect to have some resistance. But as you may have heard in the coaching sessions with one of my Peruvian students, it could be manageable and built up over the course of 5 hours — literally.


TOEFL iBT | Part 2 Question | Speaking | 1 on 1 Coaching | Free Shuttle Service

Welcome back to the Part II of the coaching segment with one of my students. So, in this podcast, you’re going to hear that my student had difficulty hearing it at the beginning. Although you will be able to hear and take notes on the free shuttle service recording, why couldn’t he? Again, it’s another case of the “I didn’t take notes because I wasn’t able to separate information accordingly.” It’s completely fine, but it could be problematic come test day because you get only one chance.  This was just a tester from the beginning of my coaching with him, so he has gotten far better.  But in the beginning, it was hard for him to take notes on particular lectures. 

The Good

  • Great opening
  • Two reasons…..
  • Chronological order

The Need for Improvement….in the podcast….

TOEFL iBT | Part 1 Question | Speaking | Spending vs. Saving

Months ago I had a client from Palestine who was looking to pass the TOEFL iBT, and because he would freak out so much, he would lose his thought, become discouraged and stop taking notes (as you’ll hear in the next few podcasts).

In this speaking question, he got only 15 second to prepare. Here’s how he did.

  • Thesis
  • Stance
  • Plan to buy a car
  • Save money for his wife
  • Buy a house

He had structure overall and backed up his thesis in terms of supporting details. However, it could’ve been better if he had said “invest” instead of “save.” Because if he saves money only to spend it on a car and house, that’s not really saving, right? But investing in future ownership is different. So it’s a little difficult to say which is better. Also, his grammatical errors were a bit of a problem…and that might make him stumble over his words, cause hesitation and lose his thought.


TOEFL iBT: Complete the Summary Question | Patreon Sneak Peek

The “Complete The Summary” question is one of the two question types that are different from the usual multiple choice questions we’ve dealt with, so far. This question type requires you to choose three correct answers, not just one. It is also important to know that in this question, sometimes there are more than three correct answers, but you need to choose the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. 

This question type is normally the last question you’ll answer per reading passage.

Let me get this straight. Even though an answer choice is found and expresses an idea in the passage, it is incorrect because it does not express the most important idea?

Yes! That’s exactly right!

So what you need to do is determine if the answer choice is a main idea vs a detail or displaying wrong information.

  1. If an answer choice is a main idea, the answer choice restates the main idea of a paragraph or multiple paragraphs. That’s a good choice. In TOEFL reading passages, the main idea of a paragraph is usually found in the first two sentences of the paragraph. The remaining sentences are most likely supporting details. However, sometimes the first two sentences can be vague, so in this case, you’ll need to continue reading the next couple sentences to understand the main idea.
  2. If the answer choice is a detail, it’ll restate a minor point mentioned in a paragraph. Even though it is correct information, it’s not a good choice.
  3. If the answer choice describes content that is not found in the reading or is wrong according to the reading, then of course, eliminate it.

If you want to read the rest of the document, tune into my Patreon Badge (TOEFL iBT) down below or inquire about it today!


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

Podcast – Coming Soon

YouTube – Coming Soon

Exclusive Content – Patreon

Arsenio’s Business English Podcast | Season 6 | Sales | Meeting Sales Targets & Planning a Meeting

Early Podcast is here! Templates coming to the Business English Podcast Badge — and in today’s discussion, we’re going to talk about Sales Targets.

Could targets sometimes be unreasonable? If you have a boss who was never in sales before, he definitely would have a tendency of setting astronomically high targets for staff.

For example, in 2017, I used to see the sales staff at the language center I work at stress at the end of the month because they would always fail to meet their target, which was 20k USD per month — a figure that I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around. Why? Because the CEO, who was never in sales and greedy as hell, made it impossible for them to get a commission. And so if they missed the mark, he would profit and take that 40-59k USD every month and do WHATEVER with it.

Having a CEO or manager who’s never been in sales could be extremely problematic. So, let’s dive into it in today’s podcast. Templates coming throughout the day on my business English podcast badge!