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TOEFL Tip #40: The Statistics On Getting A 26 On The Speaking

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on June 14, 2009

One website reports that people who need a 26 on the Speaking Section of the TOEFL take the exam an average of 10 times before passing. In 2008, only 10% of all test takers scored 26 or higher on the test.

Therefore, do not get discouraged if you’ve taken the test multiple times and are still having trouble achieving the score you need/want. You will get there! It just takes much more time than what people initially expect.


TOEFL Tip #39: Test Taker’s Feedback

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on

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 #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 #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 #23: Accent Reduction

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 6, 2009

For some people, no matter how well your answers are structured and no matter how logical your answers are, the TOEFL grader will still give you a low speaking score if your accent is very strong. Please note that although many language schools and private ESL tutors offer accent reduction classes, workshops, or tutorials, the best way to reduce your accent is to take private lessons with a trained speech therapist.  So when looking to reduce your accent, find a qualified speech therapist, not an ESL instructor.

TOEFL Tip #20: Be Direct

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on February 3, 2009

One of the biggest problems on the Speaking Section of the test is that people do not give clear, direct statements.  Try to train yourself to say: “I like dogs” instead of “Dogs are a thing that many people, like me, enjoy.”  The more direct you are, the better your answer. To practice becoming more direct, write one sentence down, then rewrite it with 30% fewer words.  As you learn to write such short clear sentences, then you’ll learn how to speak with a similar level of directness.

TOEFL Tip #11: Speaking Task Five: Use Modals

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 10, 2009

Because Speaking Task Five asks you to summarize the possible solutions to a problem, you should use the modals “can,” “could,” and “should” in your answers.

For example:
Instead of saying: ”The man wants the woman to buy a new car.”

you can say, ”The man thinks that the woman shouldbuy a new car.”
This English is much more natural sounding and more appropriate to the task.

TOEFL Tip #8: Less Is More

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 7, 2009

TOEFL Test takers try to say as much as possible in their speaking responses. This is a bad idea. It makes you feel rushed and nervous. Instead, try to speak slowly and accurately. Saying less, but with perfect English is better than trying to say a lot with bad English!

TOEFL Tip #4: Speaking Task One: Describe A City Or Country

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on January 6, 2009

Because you might get a question asking you to describe a city or country, you should pick a city (for example: Paris, London, Tokyo) and a country (for example: India, Australia, Italy) and learn about it. Memorize two or three things about both your chosen city and chosen country. That way, any question about a city or country can be answered with your memorized statements.
Remember: When you need TOEFL, you need Strictly English
Located in Boston, MA, Strictly English is America’s first TOEFL-only tutoring company.

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