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TOEFL Tip #79: Brazilian Testimonial

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on October 20, 2010

Antes de fazer o curso de Strictly English, já havia realizado duas vezes o Toelf. A primeira vez 93 e na segunda 94, bem abaixo dos 100 pontos que necessitava. Comecei meu curso com SE no dia 29 de setembro e no dia 9 de outubro tirei 103 de score. O diferencial do SE é que eles dominam a metodologia do exame e te dizem exatamente como deves responder cada uma das questões. Na hora da prova eu estava muito relaxado e confiante. O resultado foi que em 10 dias eu consegui o score que estava buscando fazia 3 meses. Não acredito que haja outra opção melhor que SE, nem em qualidade nem em preço. Você não vai se arrepender! RFMM, Porto Alegre – Brazil. Outubro 2010.

TRANSLATION: Before I took Strictly English’s course, I had taken the TOEFL twice. The first time I got a 93 and the second a 94, far below the 100 points I needed. I started my course with Strictly English on September 29th and on october 9th, I scored 103. The big difference between Strictly English and another courses is that they master the format and methodology of the exam, and they tell you exactly how you have to answer in which question. In the exam I was very relaxed and confident. As a result, in only ten days, I got the score I want and that I had been pursuing for three months. I really believe that Strictly English is the better choice both in quality and price. Once you`ve tried it, you will never regret it! RFMM, Porto Alegre – Brazil. October, 2010

TOEFL Tip #73: Use Earplugs When Taking TOEFL

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on June 23, 2010

Test centers put the test takers very close together in the testing room, which means that you can hear a lot of distracting noises when you’re trying to concentrate.  For example while you’re concentrating on your test, you might hear:

1. another test taker’s listening section (if they have their volume up all the way)
2. another test taker giving his/her Speaking responses
3. the administrator talking to a test taker who is having trouble
4. noises from outside the test center, like fire trucks or ambulances

Now the test center does suggest that you wear your headphones for the entire test, even if you’re not listening to anything at the time. They say that the headphones will help eliminate some noise, but reports from test takers say that this is not enough.

Therefore, Strictly English suggests that you wear earplugs on the day of your test. Earplugs are very good at keeping out surrounding noises, like I listed above, but still letting you hear sounds that are directed in your ear.  This means that you WILL be able to hear the sounds coming out of your headphones for the Listening section, Speaking section, and for the Integrated Essay, but you will not hear any of the distractions in the room.

So be sure to buy some earplugs. These combined with wearing the headphones should give you a much quieter testing environment!

TOEFL Tip #67: How Long Does It REALLY Take To “Pass” The TOEFL?

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 14, 2010

So they say it takes between 2500 – 5000 hours to get a good score on the TOEFL. And that’s from your very first English lesson.

This must be wrong.

Let’s say you studied English in school every day from 1st grade until you graduated. With homework, that’s about 2 hours a day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year, for 12 years. that’s about 4800 hours of English study. But most students around the world can only score in the 60-70 range at this point in their lives. So what’s wrong with these numbers?

Maybe it has something to do with the frequency of study. 5000 hour spread out over 12 years isn’t enough consistent exposure to the language. But let’s take an extreme example in the opposite direction. If you lived in America for a year and studied 13 hours a day, that would get you to the 5000 hours they say you need. Yet, this doesn’t work either! I don’t know any student in my 17 years of teaching ESL who went from Dead beginner to a TOEFL score of 100 in 12 months.

What’s the real story then?

As usual, it’s not QUANTITY, but QUALITY.  You need to be studying the right materials and in the right way. Otherwise, you’ll just be spinning your wheels or, even worse, learning the English INCORRECTLY!

That’s why Strictly English organizes your study efficiently and customizes your study to fit your unique needs.

TOEFL Tip #66: Strictly English On FaceBook!

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on

Strictly English has now launched a FaceBook page called TOEFL 101.  There are a lot of great discussions on it.  Post questions about iBT Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking, and we’ll answer those questions within 12 hours!  See you there!

TOEFL Tip #61: 3 Questions Every TOEFL Tutor Should Be Able to Answer

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on October 23, 2009

Strictly English has a list of 21 questions about the TOEFL iBT exam that we use when interviewing TOEFL tutors. If they cannot answer these questions correctly, then they don’t get the job!

If you’re looking for an iBT tutor, make sure he or she can answer at least these three questions below. If your tutor cannot answer these questions, then you might want someone who knows more about the test to be teaching you!

1. Can I get a 25 out of 30 on the Speaking section of the iBT?
2. What section of the TOEFL iBT asks you questions that directly test your knowledge of Grammar?
3. On what part of the iBT are you most likely to use modals?

1. NO. TOEFL does not give a score of 25 on the Speaking.
2. NONE: There are NO grammar questions on the iBT.
3. Speaking Task 5. It is the only place where you talk about offering suggestions.

EXTRA NOTE: Make sure you see the tutor’s TOEFL SCORE. Even if he/she is a native English speaker, your tutor should have taken the TOEFL so that he/she knows exactly what you’ll experience on test day. Every Strictly English tutor has taken the TOEFL. This also means that we know exactly how the real test is different from what is taught in the books. Much of the information in the books is out of date because the books were published 3-5 years ago. TOEFL books should be updated at least every 2 years if not every year. If your tutor is not taking the test regularly, then he/she is relying on information in the books, which is usually old and out-of-date information.

TOEFL Tip #52: Praise For Online Tutoring

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on July 23, 2009

The following two quotations come from this article:

The Sloan report, based on a poll of academic leaders, says that students generally appear to be at least as satisfied with their on-line classes as they are with traditional ones. In fact, the comprehension is better in a virtual class than in an in-person class.

Test preps like GRE and GMAT are intensive studies. In such deep studies, a wholesale classroom treatment can not be as effective as the one-to-one online tutoring. Many who have been gullible victims of the public-meeting type of classroom tutorials with over fifty students and  with no chance to clarify their doubts, will understand the difference between mass teaching and private coaching.

So don’t be afraid to sign up for online tutoring!

TOEFL Tip #50: Kind Words From A Friend Of Strictly English

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on July 10, 2009

I would like to thank you for the tips on the speaking section, and also for leting me know that the integrated writing had changed. I did not have a lot of time for studying these changes, but I did have some time to search the ETS website for some examples of level 5 essays.

Again, thanks a lot for helping me achieve this score.

TOEFL Tip #49: Strictly English Will Launch TOEFL Videos July 15th!

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on July 8, 2009

Strictly English has been working on a series of HOW TO videos about the TOEFL test. For example:
How to sign up at ETS.
How to register for the TOEFL.
How to View your TOEFL results online.

We will also be making videos that will help you improve your TOEFL English!

TOEFL Tip #36: Scrap Paper On Test Day

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on June 4, 2009

TOEFL Test Centers give you as much paper as you need for taking notes, but they only give you 3 or 4 pieces of paper at a time. Therefore, it is crucial to use your paper carefully. Here are some helpful tips:

1. You do not need to take notes on the reading.
2. Try to use only HALF a sheet of paper for each Listening Passage
(You have to give back the paper you’ve already used before they will give you more)
4. Use only HALF a sheet of paper for each Speaking Task
5. Use the front of your last sheet of paper to take notes for the 20-Minute essay
6. Use the back of your last sheet of paper to take notes for the 30-Minute essay.

TOEFL Tip #35: Timing Your Bathroom Visits

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on May 16, 2009

Strictly English has had many students say that they missed valuable time on the test because they had to use the bathroom during the TOEFL exam.  THe test DOES NOT stop if you have to use the bathroom.  Therefore, you should be sure to use the bathroom BEFORE the test begins and then again on your 10-minute break.

Strictly English is not the only company that has noticed this as a problem. Watch the following video:

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