TOEFL Reading: Inference Questions

Posted by John M. on 4/2/21 12:30 PM

The TOEFL Reading section involves several distinct types of questions. In preparing for your test, it is important to know: what kinds of questions there are, how to identify each kind of question, and how to answer each kind of question. This lesson will teach you how to identify and answer what the TOEFL calls Inference Questions.

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Tags: ESL

How to use root words to learn vocabulary

Posted by Lucina S. on 1/27/21 12:00 PM

Retaining new English vocabulary is challenging, whether you’re learning English for the first time or studying for standardized tests like the SAT or GRE. The challenge arises, in part, from the sheer volume of words in English. English’s massive lexicon comes from words in several other languages, and learning some of these words—more often fragments of words—can give you a learning advantage.

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Tags: study skills, language learning, ESL, Latin

Essential GRE Verbal Strategies with Examples

Posted by Songhoon on 4/19/19 5:20 PM

Some people may think that the LSAT and GRE have nothing in common.  In actuality, there are many strategies from the LSAT that can be transferred to the GRE verbal.  As someone who has not only taught the LSAT and the GRE for years, but speak English as a second language, I have a unique perspective on verbal test taking strategies.  You may think it would be impossible for me to out-perform native speakers in the verbal section, but I received a perfect score of 170 in both sections of the exam.  I did this by deploying a few strategies, as outlined in my synopsis!

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Tags: GRE, ESL

How to Reason Through LSAT Problems as an ESL Learner

Posted by Songhoon on 4/15/19 8:17 PM

Let me begin this introduction by admitting to something that I think no other student newly admitted to Harvard Law School’s JD Program would admit to: I find English incredibly hard.

I am a U.S. Citizen who was born in and raised in Seoul, South Korea. I’ve lived there for over 20 years and Korean has been my native language my entire life. I was in Chinook Middle School’s English as a Second Language (ESL) Program until 8th grade. Now, thanks to reading The New York Times every day since 8th grade (I didn’t have too many friends back then, as it should be obvious by now), I was able to significantly improve over the years.

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Verbified nouns: Engaging with cultural cliché[é?]s through language study

Posted by Emma C. on 1/20/17 4:13 PM


A Confounding Caption

While meandering through a shopping mall last week, waiting for my husband to emerge from the battlefield that is the men’s dressing room, I stumbled upon a most curiously named store. To avoid incurring undue amounts of commercial ire and for the sheer purpose of explaining the flurry of ensuing reflections, let’s simply say that the store was called Beautéé. The French-inclined portion of my brain immediately seized upon this title. Granted, part of the store’s name is a cognate that most English speakers would grasp without too much prodding or hinting. On a purely visual level, Beautéé is indeed very close to beauty – and therefore in the eye of the beholder after all! The central cluster of letters b-e-a-u that is common to both words provides a strong foothold for our divining minds to clamber between one conclusion and the next.

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Tags: language learning, ESL

The Benefits of Studying Another Language

Posted by Emma C. on 10/3/16 6:00 PM

Broadening Your Horizons

One of the biggest obstacles to foreign language learning, in my opinion, is a frustrating sort of double bind that many amateurs encounter. On the one hand, new students are encouraged to expose themselves to a healthy dose of that language’s culture (its customs, traditions, singularities, etc.) And as fugacious a task this may be — what is culture, anyways? — the only way that students can perceive another culture is via the filter of their own. In short, language learning is inevitably “colored” by one’s own experiences and by one’s one situatedness in their own linguistic frame; driving to the fabled “essence” of a different culture just isn’t possible. (Moreover, some would even go so far as to question how much of an “essence” any one culture may lay claim to.)  I would argue that the best way to circumvent this frustrating situation is to work within the concrete, defined set of boundaries and nuances that we can indeed begin to understand – that is to say, grammar! A solid comprehension of the purring cogs and wheels that regulate the innards of spoken language might not necessarily or even immediately help us know what makes that language’s culture “tick”. However, it does give us a firm launching point from which we are better able to realize, appreciate, and situate the various degrees of significance in those moments when rules are indeed eventually broken.

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Tags: French, ESL

Some Extremely Common (And Easy to Fix) Mistakes Made by Non-Native English Speakers

Posted by Ben on 4/18/16 11:14 AM

It’s normal for students of English to make mistakes (from beginner to advanced!). Hey, whenever I'm learning a new language, I make a ton of mistakes, too.

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Tags: ESL

The ESL Tutor: Mastering the Perfect Tense

Posted by Zuzanna Fuchs on 4/15/15 10:00 AM

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Tags: English, ESL

The Language Tutor: Doubt Not the Dictionary

Posted by Manoah Finston on 11/27/13 7:22 AM

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Tags: French, Spanish, German, chinese, Italian, language learning, arabic, ESL

The Language Tutor: Everyday Immersion

Posted by Sarah Woolsey on 11/20/13 8:22 AM

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Tags: French, Spanish, German, chinese, Italian, language learning, arabic, ESL