Spring break or TOEFL break?

Usually, students spend their spring break traveling back home to have fun with their family. They take the break as an opportunity to reduce their pressure, to relax and calm down. But, me, as an international student, I was not able to go back to my country for two main reasons: first, the travel would be too expensive, and second, I had my TOEFL to prepare. Thus, my break was not an opportunity to decompress, but an opportunity to reach the fullness of my potential and get over of this test that is haunting my spirit since almost 7 months. Dear readers, I want to share with you how I live these so called “break” days that turned out to be a nightmare.

The first day was a Saturday. In the morning, I went to Illinois bookstore and buy Barron’s TOEFL book. This book contains 8 real TOEFL Tests plus a CD software. It was exciting as I sat up my agenda to have one test per day until my exam which was scheduled for the following Saturday. Afterwards, I went to a restaurant to eat something and then go back home. This first day, I’ve made one integral test. I even recorded myself for the speaking section. I was totally satisfied because I did not procrastinate on anything. This was a very good beginning for personal planning that boost my motivation up.

The next 5 days, I stay focus in my room trying to follow my own plan. Fortunately, I was motivated enough to do all I have planned except some of the listening section that I did not do. I was becoming more confident about this annoying Test. “I will finally score more than 100”, I kept whispering this all time to keep myself enthusiastic and focused.

Although it was not like the traditional break that I used to have,  this Spring break was nevertheless interesting because it was particular. It was not a break to relieve from stress but one to relieve from bad TOEFL scores. I think it was worth because at that moment, my TOEFL anxiety was higher than any other form of pressure.

Surprisingly, Friday morning when I woke up, I had a headache. I was not able to focus nor to do anything relevant to the test. It was burnout symptoms. Instantly, I realized that spending 6 following days studying is not a good idea. I became a little depressed because I knew that would affect my score. To make matters worse, the campus was almost empty. I could find anything during this boring Friday to relax myself. Eventually, I hardly fall asleep maybe around 1:00 AM.

Saturday at 7:00 AM, I woke up and went to the test center. I knew that I was not in good shape. Anyway, I had to take the test. It was hard for me to stay focus, mostly for the listening section. I was not able to reach the fullness of potential for it. I scrored 90 and I was very disappointed.

Nevertheless, I am happy about my “TOEFL Spring Break” because I have learned a lesson from it that can inspire me and others in the future. My new principle is the following: “Never set unrealistic goal, never exaggerate and always be open for compromises”.

Author: marclaguerreblog

PhD Student in Civil Engineering at Rice University

One thought on “Spring break or TOEFL break?”

  1. Hi Marc,
    Thank you for your sharing. After reading your TOEFL Spring Break, I felt great shame at having a crazy Spring Break. That was because I spent time on falling in amusement equipment in Disney World. It was such a waste of my time.  I can understand your feeling. I know that preparing TOFEL test is such a tough task when people have wanted to go abroad, especially, you have to get a high score to fit in a requirement. You are such a diligent student. Wish you can achieve your goal as soon as possible. By the way, I wonder where do you usually study, at home or go to a library?

    Like

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