How to Teach Exams
like TOEFL iBT and IELTS
led by Jaime Miller, owner of English Success Academy
THEY NEED YOU
If you’ve been looking for an area of ELT that offers incredible job security and motivated students, then let’s talk about exam prep for TOEFL iBT and IELTS.
Once you’ve got the relevant experience, your schedule would be full. People think I’m kidding but think seriously: How many ESL students have to take an English test? Almost every single one.
… And how many ESL teachers are willing to lead exams lessons? Very, very few.
There is a huge gap between the number of students who have to take exams (and get high speaking scores in particular), and teachers who are qualified to analyze needs, plan and lead lessons that make a difference in students’ scores… and lives.
So what if you knew how to do it “right”? What impact would that have on your students’ scores and opportunities?
If you’ve ever wondered how the heck to get found by an endless line of motivated, willing students, read on…
GET ABOVE THE OVERWHELM
When I was planning my first TOEFL iBT speaking lesson, the CD’s from the book were rolling across the floor. I was completely lost and it took ages before I knew how to navigate the massive test-prep books.
And then because each student seemed so different—with different score targets and different starting levels of English—I rarely reused my early lesson plans.
My lessons didn’t always change students’ scores and I would get legitimately depressed. When I asked other English teachers how they taught for exams, I was met with a shrug. Since no one seemed to know, I read exam prep books, blogs and searched the internet—but nothing spoke to me or my struggles as a teacher.
Why did it seem like I was all alone?
BECOME AN EXPERT
I’m Jaime Miller and it all started with one student who entrusted her future to me. Since then, I’ve prepared countless TOEFL iBT students from over 30 countries. I’ve self-published three self-study programs. But self-study has real limits—especially when it comes to raising speaking exam scores.
After years of practice, observation and tweaking, I systematized the lesson plans that I used to panic over. I discovered how to prioritize and sequence lessons without making students’ brains melt. But more amazing was that I was improving students’ spontaneous accuracy with grammar, vocabulary and accent features (which led to the coveted TOEFL iBT Speaking score of 26-27 or 8 at IELTS).
By 2013, I had so many success stories and word-of-mouth referrals that I started a waiting list. When a spot opened, students would agree to take lessons in the middle of their nighttime just to fit in my schedule.
I was clearly at full capacity and I needed to make a choice: either share what I know through teacher trainings or keep raising my lesson prices.
Even if I worked myself sick, I could still only help a tiny fraction of students. More than that, countless teachers like you would never know how easy it is to teach exams. You know which I chose…
JOIN DEDICATED PROFESSIONALS
If you’ve been looking for “how to teach for exams” help, you’ve probably already discovered a barren landscape in ELT. The vast majority of books are written to students and neglect your unique questions and challenges.
Plus, schools are normally run by teams who don’t understand the exams they schedule lessons for. They hire you, hoping you’re the expert.
As for in-house training… “Well… Let’s just follow this random book!” Actually, one-sized-fits-all lesson plans are a major cause of students’ scores plateauing.
Unfortunately, there are more misconceptions and less collaboration in this area of ELT than any other—and you’re likely to inherit the industry’s confusion.
So then, when one of your students inevitably fails (because let’s face it, it’s a statistical reality), are you going to call it quits or will you rely on solid strategies that will re-energize both your and your student?
Please choose the latter…The ladder… The way up…
This is your invitation to join
The ESA Method
How to Teach Exams
a practical, 16-week course
that will build your confidence
teaching effective lessons for TOEFL iBT and IELTS
Here’s What We’ll Cover
I want you to get the most out of my material from the minute you start. So even though you’ll have access to the “Digital Reference Book” forever, we’ll start with a goal-setting video that shows you exactly how to get the best results for you and your students.
I would highly recommend Jaime’s course to teachers who are going to teach exams as it will help them to understand the whole approach of exam teaching, and create a system that helps students reach their goals faster.Tanya Brown
Weeks 1 & 2: General Approach
We begin in the most professional and effective way possible, by grounding you in assessment theory and the methodological assumptions that underlie everything I teach.
One of the greatest mistakes that exam schools and tutors around the world make is that they assume too much about the student and jump into lessons.
This will not be your problem after you finish this module because you’ll know why you’re doing what you’re doing with your students.
Just from learning how to analyze a diagnostic test, my confidence went from 5 to 7.5 out of 10. Now, when I go into a lesson, I will know what the student needs, so neither of us wastes or time and he doesn’t waste his money.Sally GordonESL Teacher, CELTA
Weeks 3 & 4: Reading and listening
To create the foundation for higher scores in productive areas like speaking and writing, it’s critical to make sure learners’ receptive skills (reading and listening) are strong. We’ll look at how to plan effective lessons, reduce stress, and increase learners’ attention.
Weeks 5 & 6: Writing
Many teachers are tempted to highlight and point out every grammar, vocabulary and syntax error their students make—but that often causes more harm than good. Especially when your student needs a change in just a few weeks, prioritizing the errors is essential. We’ll look at approaches that boost student confidence, target change and keep you, as a teacher, focused on “the right” things.
Weeks 7, 8, 9 & 10: Speaking
Because there is virtually no mentoring for this and no books have been published on this topic, many teachers perceive teaching speaking as the most intimidating of all.
Speaking is undoubtedly the section of TOEFL iBT that makes everyone’s knees shake (including most teachers’). That’s why we spend so much time on this section. Not only will you explore relevant material in the Digital Reference Book, but you will observe video recordings of lessons where Jaime teaches pronunciation, intonation and “fixes fossilized errors” (which is the topic she shared at the 50th IATEFL conference in Birmingham in April 2016).
This is where you will propel yourself ahead of other colleagues who are too nervous to tackle these topics. When you master these lesson sequences, you’ll find your reputation growing as your testimonials become more and more targeted to TOEFL iBT speaking.
Weeks 11 & 12: Effective Review Sessions
With your finger on the pulse of what’s happening, it’s easy to steer clear of bad news. You can have an idea of whether your students are ready for their test before they go, and you can use a variety of methods to find out! You’ll discover eight effective review strategies which you can implement at different phases of a learner’s studies. Equipped with these, you will have multiple lesson sequences and activities that you can use to check in on students’ progress and wrap things up before the exam.
Weeks 13 & 14: Dealing with Bad News
Remember before we pointed out how there are so many ESL students who need qualified teachers, but so few teachers? A major reason for this is because most teachers aren’t aware of the pitfalls, or given models to overcome the frustrations. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes one of your students. It may be low scores, too little time, a sense of failure, or other hidden challenges.
We know how important it is for you to remain confident and keep things in perspective—both for yourself and for students. Jaime will share some stories and strategies for handling and responding to stressful situations big and small.
I knew one of my students wasn’t going to get her target score but I wasn’t sure how to have the conversation without blowing her confidence right before the test… I got the advice and confidence to have the Plan B conversation with her the very next day. It went so well! We both benefited from it.Laura WoodsTEFL Certificate & MA in Linguistically Diverse Education
Weeks 15 & 16: Earning More Money
As you might have already discovered from higher education, a degree doesn’t guarantee more respect or money. The thing you’ve never been shown how to do is position yourself as an authority and influence people. You’ll find out Jaime’s techniques and clear examples of how she has motivated and inspired hundreds of students to commit to an effective study plan, overcome challenging situations and get results.
If you weave specific communication techniques into lessons, email exchanges and conversations, then your students will be more likely to sign up for lessons with you and follow your recommendations. That directly impacts their chances of completing homework you assign, making measurable improvement, and then referring their friends to you.
Seriously, I spent 3 years and over $8,500 with ESL teachers who did not know how to teach for TOEFL iBT. Dilanur Komar, Turkish Nurse
Enroll in How to Teach Exams, risk-free. If you decide this program isn’t for you, then let us know within 30 days for a cheerful refund.
To be reminded about this course again later, sign up below.
Real Feedback & Perspectives
I wish I had the How to Teach Exams training course available to me when I first started out, 12 years ago. I noticed many gems of wisdom in the Digital Reference Book that it took me years to figure out, that I now incorporate into my teaching techniques.
Teachers in this course are provided with real activities that work in the classroom or online, ones that I have used myself, and I know they work. With step-by-step, clear outlines, and recommendations of additional online resources, this course has everything that a star of a test-prep teacher would need.Jessica BeckMA in Applied Linguistics, Director of IELTS Training for All Ears English http://ielts.allearsenglish.com
One of my students called me after her exam and she was on cloud nine because she scored 71 when she only needed 53. She really did get to cross the exam off her list. It’s very exciting that she gets to start university in the spring.
Exam prep has a beginning and an end. When my student achieved her goal, it was very rewarding. It made me want to help more people. I feel like I’ve only just touched the surface of this.
The How to Teach Exams course let me do what I like to do, which is help people!Laura WoodsTEFL Certificate & MA in Linguistically Diverse Education
Working with Jaime I had an opportunity to help impact a student’s life in a major way. After significantly raising her TOEFL iBT score from 86 to 103, my student won a very large scholarship, and had an even larger opportunity to change and impact her country.
I chose Jaime after going through every person I could find, and asking everyone I could for recommendations. She was the most credible because of the congruence of her material with both reality, and with herself. She didn’t meet my expectations. She surpassed them in every way.Matt LeddingLanguage Consultant and Professional Speaker http://englishout.com
Over a year ago, I was teaching a regular ESL class when a few students approached me and said they needed help in studying for the TOEFL exam. “Oh sure,” I said, thinking that I’m an academically-inclined ESL teacher so that will be a snap. As we waded into the territory which is TOEFL-prep, I quickly realized that it was no snap. The TOEFL was daunting, and finding sane ways of helping the students study for it was yet more daunting. The big name preparation books (Cambridge, Delta, Oxford, Barron’s) were not especially helpful. The internet provided resources galore but there was no clear direction for the students.
My students and I watched some videos of Jaime on YouTube, began to explore the website, and eventually bought the Advanced Speaking Guide, then the 24+ Writing, and eventually the Right Notes. We continued to watch videos. The students loved watching Jaime and working with her materials, but I still felt that I didn’t know a clear pathway for them, and they didn’t know for themselves.
When I received a notice that Jaime was teaching an online TOEFL teacher preparation course, I signed up right away (even though I was extremely busy). The teacher’s course was amazing in so many ways that I’m not sure I can do justice in a few words.
Firstly, because Jaime has found her way by making many mistakes which she readily shares, I quickly relaxed my guilt about my own often-fruitless efforts to find the best practices and ways of addressing the needs of each student. But there was so much more. The teacher’s course helped put everything into perspective. Now I know how to assess the students, work directly with their areas of weakness while not spending valuable time on areas in which they are already competent, as well as how to guide them through the materials (Jaime’s and other sources) based on their needs.
Cassell GrossESL Teacher
That said, every teacher who enrolls in How to Teach Exams must have a high level of comfort studying and communicating in English in order to absorb the high-level concepts.
1. Teaching Experience
To teach exams without stressing, you should already know how to teach a lot of different kinds of things:
- Grammar. Even students who seem quite fluent can make everything from elementary to advanced grammar mistakes. You shouldn’t be scared about or unwilling to brush up on concepts like “reduced adjective clauses” and “passive” verb forms.
- Vocabulary. In any lesson, you may have to encounter a mysterious phrase your student produces, like “Is important to humans for breathe.” To provide valuable lessons, you need to uncover the student’s meaning, find a natural-sounding replacement.
The course will cover how to prioritize what order you address mistakes, as well as the process for re-training “fossilized” errors, but you need to know what the mistakes and solutions are.
We recommend having at least 18 months experience and that you enjoy teaching older teens or adult learners.
2. A Certificate
It’s best if you have at least a teaching certificate (CELTA or an equivalent).
The video below shows the Digital Reference, the learning portal where all of the training content is organized.
You have lifetime access to the Digital Reference where the core concept videos and materials are stored. As long as you pay in full, and remain a good member of our community, you will always have access to it.
The next time that How to Teach Exams is led, you are welcome to join in the sessions for a refresher. That’s what we mean by “lifetime!”
If you agree with any of the following statements, they are strong indications that you should not enroll in How to Teach Exams.
- You think Jaime Miller is annoying or arrogant. (There are a lot of videos and face time with Jaime. If you don’t like her, now is the time to click away…)
- You just want a quick course about how to teach exams. (If you want to follow a one-sized-fits-all lesson plan, use any published exam prep book. However, the purpose of this 16-week course is to train teachers how to accurately diagnose students’ weaknesses and tailor effective lesson plans for individual students.)
If you identify with the following characteristics, they are strong indications that you are in an optimal position to implement the concepts in the training and see a quick return on investment.
- You have strong English. You don’t have to be a native-speaker teacher, though!
- You have an ESL certificate and the ability to explain grammar.
- You are motivated by students with clearly-articulated goals.
- You don’t have any chronic health issues that force you to make frequent, last-minute schedule changes. (This matters because exam students often face tight deadlines and they count on you to show up.)
- You tolerate low levels of stress from risk and ambiguity. (No one can guarantee that your student is going to get the exam score they want in their requested time frame. If one approach does not work, I will help you reassess the situation and find a new route.)
Then you will need time to implement. Each module will include many activities you can use with your students right away.
In the program, you’ll get connected with other ambitious teachers who will form part of your accountability group. Some of the course work is to have focused conversations with these trusted peers. We make the most progress in teaching through collaboration — and you will benefit from the professional relationships you cultivate in this course.
That said, all concrete examples in the program are given for the context of TOEFL iBT so if you are in the position of wondering how to teach TOEFL iBT, this course is very well suited to your situation.
To finally be able to provide a way for teachers get the confidence and the opportunity to discover they enjoy teaching exams… That makes my year!Jaime Miller