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TOEFL Tip #33: Another Institution Requires A 26 On Speaking Section!

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on April 24, 2009

This article ( explains how another institution (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ accreditation agency) has now made a 26 on the Speaking Section of the TOEFL a requirement that all graduate students who are teaching assistants.  Getting a 26 is really hard to do! Please read through Strictly English’s blog entries on the TOEFL Speaking Section to learn good tips that will help you improve.  They work.  Last month, Strictly English had a student improve her speaking score from a 24 to a 27 in only 16 hours of tutoring!

TOEFL Tip #32: Talk Slowly

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on April 10, 2009

You’d be surprised how slowly you can talk on the TOEFL speaking section and still get a good grade. One way to slow down is take a deep inhale between each sentence. One deep inhale is only about 2 or 3 seconds long. Taking deep inhales  does the following:

1. It helps the test grader keep up with you.
2. It gives you a chance to think about what you want to say next.
3. It calms you down.

Try it!

TOEFL Tip #31: Student Questions Are TOEFL Questions

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on April 9, 2009

In the Listening Section of the TOEFL, there is a class discussion in which the teacher and some students talk about an academic topic. If a student asks a question during the class discussion, there is a strong likelihood that TOEFL will ask you the same, or a similar, question on the test. So be extra attentive when listening to student questions on the test.

TOEFL Tip #30: Woman vs. Women

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on April 7, 2009

The words “Woman” and “Women” sound different, but the change in pronunciation doesn’t happen where the change in spelling occurs.  When the “A” in “womAn” changes to the “E” in “womEn”, the “man” sound stays the same.

What does change is the “O” sound in the two words, even though the letter “O” stays the same.
womAn is pronounced w—-uh—-man
womEn is pronounced w—-”i” (pronounced like the “i” in “it”)—-man

Learn this correct pronunciation, and you’ll be better understood on the speaking section.

TOEFL Tip #29: Understanding Difficult Sentences

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on April 6, 2009

If you are trying to understand a difficult sentence in one of the reading passages, just read the sentence’s independent clause. Independent clauses are usually called the “main clause” because they contain the sentence’s main idea. Once you understand the main clause, you can better understand why the other dependent clauses are in the sentence and how the information in the dependent clauses relates to the information in the main clause.

TOEFL Tip #28: 20-Minute Essay Conclusion

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on April 3, 2009

Because the 20-minutes essay is only a summary and not an argument, it does not need a conclusion. Therefore, don’t waste precious time on a conclusion. Spend that time proofreading instead!

TOEFL Tip #27: Types Of Listening

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on

There are three types of listenings on the Listening Section of the TOEFL:

Class Discussions.
Academic Lectures.

Each of these types of listenings have a particular focus and require different strategies.