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TOEFL Tip #48: Good Advice from Recent TOEFL Test Taker

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on July 3, 2009

Here is what one Test Taker wrote on his blog about his TOEFL experience:

“I took TOEFL exam 10 days ago. I felt that practise is very important on every single part of the test. For example, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. When I was doing sample test I feel that the time is very sufficient for me, because I always finished my test ahead of time. But the real exam was different. I hardly could not finish my tests on reading and listening. The reason is that I did not want to do wrong on the real test. I was more seriouser and spent more longer time on real test than sample test. I did not get my score yet, but I hope I will get a higher score.

What I am going to is please start your preperation earlier. Please do more practice on sample test, every part of the test. Then you will be more confident x, and you will be able to control your time more efficiently when you take the real test.”

TOEFL Tip #42: The Dangers Of Self-Study

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on June 21, 2009

Practicing language production (in other words, Writing and Speaking) on your own can lead to big setbacks because you have a high likelihood of reinforcing bad English instead of reinforcing correct English. Read more here.

For example, if you write a 300 word essay, and in it you made the same grammar error 10-15 times, then you just memorized the incorrect English. This commonly happens with Subject-Verb agreement errors. Students make them so often that they memorize the incorrect grammar.

What you need is a professional ESL instructor sitting with you as your write who can correct your errors as soon as they happen! This maximizes your learning potential and minimizes your study time!

TOEFL Tip #39: Test Taker’s Feedback

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on June 14, 2009

Hi Jon!
Sorry for taking so long to get back to you!

I did my exam ok and I feel quite comfortable with what I have done!

To be honest, the it was a little bit tougher than I thought. The reading I did well. I knew most of the words so I’m quite happy with that! The listening was faster and longer than I expected! The speaking section, I think I did better than ever, I tried to remember what you told me about “pace myself, take a short breath between sentences ..” I felt really calm and seemed not to be nervous at all. So, I answered all the 6 questions quite well. Thank you for that.

Writing was a little bit rushed, I was running out of time but still finished everything, including proof-reading! I wrote quite a lot, about > 350 words for the second essay.

Again, thanks for your help during the time I practiced. you have been a great help for me.! God blesses you!
Hope you are having a nice weekend!

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 #21: Vocabulary Building

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on February 5, 2009

With between 3 and 5 vocabulary questions per reading passage, you can gain a lot of points on the Reading Section of the TOEFL if you know a lot of words. But learning thousands of words is almost impossible. So instead, try learning the roots, prefixes, and suffixes that make up English words.  Learning one root can give you 5, 10, or even 15 new words!  Go to Strictly English’s READING page and click on ROOTS, PREFIXES, AND SUFFIXES on the left-hand side.

TOEFL Tip #19: Reading Passages On History

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 30, 2009

If you’re looking for a way to improve your reading of history passages, then I suggest that you check out this website.  It has some brief TOEFL-like articles that you can read.

To learn more about the Reading Section of the

TOEFL Tip #15: Long And Short Reading Sections

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 28, 2009

TOEFL will either give you one hour to answer three reading passages or 1 hour and 40 minutes to answer 5 reading passages.  If you have 5 passages, you are only graded on three of them, but you don’t know which three. The other two passages are experimental passages that allow TOEFL to see if the questions are good TOEFL questions or not. If you get a long Reading Section (5 passages) then you will not have a long Listening Section.  Strictly English suggests being prepared for a long Reading Section. That way, you’ll be able prepared for one if you get it.  One way to prepare for a long reading is to read at homefor 1 hour and 40 minutes without stopping.

TOEFL Tip #13: Reading Section: Paraphrase Questions

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 10, 2009

When answering paraphrase questions in the reading section, it helps to know how to break the original sentence down into smaller grammatical units.  For example, a really long sentence like “Since 2004, Jon, who is my teacher at Strictly English, has been winning awards, from the National Council on Education, for his excellent teaching” can be broken down into smaller parts:

Since 2004Jonwho is my English teacher at Strictly Englishhas been winning awardsfrom the National Council on Educationfor his excellent teaching.
Although this sentence appears long, it has a smaller “sentence” (what we call an independent clause) inside it: Jon has been winning awards for his excellent teaching and three smaller “ideas” in it:

Since 2004
who is my English teacher at Strictly English
from the Nation Council on Education
Now you can focus on one idea at a time and make sure it matches the paraphrase.  For example, an answer choice will be wrong if it says “before 2004″ or “in 2004″ because “since” does not mean the same thing as “before” or “in”.   You don’t need to look at the rest of the answer choice if this first part doesn’t match!

TOEFL Tip #6: Time Management For Reading

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 7, 2009

DON’T BE TRICKED: Many students think that TOEFL gives 20 minutes for each reading passage. It does, BUT: it gives you 20 minutes to answer the first reading passage. After 20 minutes the passage goes away. Then you have 40 minutes to answer the next TWO passages.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM. If you don’t manage your time, you could spend all 40 minutes on the second passage and never get to the third passage. So you have to watch the clock and make sure that you are finished with the second passage after 20 minutes. Then: begin the third passage. This means that TOEFL is not only testing your English, but also your time management skills!

TOEFL Tip #3: TOEFL Vocabulary Questions

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 6, 2009

Only spend 35 seconds on vocabulary questions!  If you don’t know the answer by then, you never will. Guess quickly and move on to questions you have a better chance of answering!
To practice answering vocabulary questions in only 35 seconds, go to and set a timer for 35 seconds.
Located in Boston, MA, Strictly English is America’s first TOEFL-only tutoring company.
Remember: When you need TOEFL, you need Strictly English!

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