Thursday, September 17, 2009


No, no not me...I'm not fluent in anything really...

This week Pae took the TOEIC test, an English equivalency test used to evaluate fluency in non-native speakers of English. It's used here in Thailand a lot to see if someone qualifies for certain types of employment, college majors, etc.

The TOEIC has two parts, listening and reading. Each part is worth 495 points for a maximum score of 990. Pae was told to take it soon so she could post a score and if her score was lower than 700 she would need to take a quick TOEIC prep course to better prepare her for the exam. Scores of 700 are often required for flight attendants who work for the more international airlines. They don't always come right out and say it though. And people don't put their score on their resume if it is not something super out of this world. It's like me putting "Can use Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point" on my don't do that anymore...its assumed or expected that you are proficient in these for many jobs these days.

Pae lucubratedfor two nights, not really learning anything new, but more getting used to listening to English texts and quickly answering questions in standardized test format. I mean, a timed test evaluating your English ability is not going to be influenced knowledge-wise by a night, a week, or really even a month's worth of study. Although she stayed up late a few nights reading random stories and listening to a TOEIC prep CD, I don't think she put in much time compared to most.

She's been to the states twice to work in New York, she just finished her Bachelors Degree in English, we watch 80% English television if not more, and she's had to listen to me blab on and on for two and a half years already. She has a great base in the English language.

She took the test on Friday and had to wait until Tuesday for the results. She felt that she did well after her test so she skipped the prep course that started the same night. She waited anxiously over the weekend and picked the test up on Tuesday. I get a call on the phone. Pae sounded excited as she skirted the subject of the TOEIC, even though we both knew why she had called. She was in the testing center bathroom. She proceeded to shock me with the news of a perfect score of 495 on the listening portion and a 420 on the reading. That's a 915 out of 990! I teased her about calling me from the bathroom, because I'm pretty sure she went there to cry happy tears!

Pae scored a 915...holy crap...she probably had to pinch herself, but I kept re-adding the numbers in my head...815 or 915? I mean, 815 is already exemplary for a Thai, but a 915? That's higher than most of the non-native English speaking teachers teaching at my school. Big guy from Denmark scored somewhere in the upper 900's but the rest from closer to here are in the 800's. To hold many teaching positions here, a non-native speaker (Denmark, Philippines, Japan, etc.) has to take and do well on the TOEIC as they need to teach in English.

So this is a congratulations post to Pae. It's not something that I didn't expect, but to actually have that little piece of paper in her hand with a score above 900, to a Thai, is the equivalent of us getting our SAT scores back and getting a 1500 (1600 max). Who wouldn't kill for a 1500!?

Her schooling and life experience have proven more powerful than any three week thousand dollar prep course! Good job Pae! And even better luck in the following weeks! (Tell yall about that some other time...gotta run and shop for Pae's upcoming birthday now!) Love you all! Yaaaay Paaaaey! Joop joop!


Liz Uda said...

that is so AWESOME! Congrats Pae for being so awesome. Surprised only because if she listens to Chris... well... even native english speakers have a hard time understanding him ha ha ha jk. love ya bro... and GREAT JOB PAE.
Love you guys

Naomi Hanks said...

Congrats PAE!!!That is an amazing score! I don't think I've ever scored that high on anything. And I certainly can't speak ANY language fluently. You are AWESOME!

Beccarigg said...

WOO HOO! Holy cow! That is AWESOME!!! Once I got 4th place in the school spelling Bee. That's the coolest thing I can claim in the smartness area. Definitely can't boast a near perfect TOEIC score! (is that similar to the TOEFL?) Either way I'm sure it wasn't easy. You Rock Pae! (Oh, and you're pretty cool too Chris ; )

HamburgEnglish said...

Well Done Pae and many congratulations. I am actually an authorized TOEIC administrator and I run an Business English school in Hamburg. Even though in Germany, I am a native English speaker and have been teaching for many years. Our school only teaches English in companies to help them improve their international operations. You can read about our school at

I have also written a website to prepare students for the TOEIC test and it also has many exercises to help students improve their English. I use a technique of first estimating a student's TOEIC score level and also where they are strong and where they need to improve, then I show this information on a graph. It might be interesting to people in Thailand. Here is the website

Unfortunately it is not a free website as we offer trainer support and I need to get some money for Christmas presents for my children (smile) but it is also not expensive, in fact very cheap.

My best regards to Thailand, one day I hope to visit, I love other cultures and countries. By the way, I am also looking for a partner in Thailand to market my TOEIC preparation website and I can be contacted through my Hamburg-English website.

All the best.


Pae and Guy said...


Good luck with your TOEIC business. We'll def take a look at your site and feel around here concerning "the market".

Perhaps we'll be in touch.

Great luck to you regardless and have a merry Christmas with your family!

Pae and Guy said...

Becs, lucky you said 4th place, if you had been 1st place...I'd never let your geek butt forget it!! Nerd!

Moxy Jane said...

Hurrah!! English is one of THE, if not THE, hardest language to pick up as a 2nd language!! What a thrill this is for both of you!

Uda, all that yacking you do payed off!! ;-)

Beccarigg said...

haha! Takes one to know one! ; )

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