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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.

TOEFL Tip #26: A.Word.a.Day Can Help

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 12, 2009

It might be helpful to join a mailing list that sends you a new word every day. I think this site is very good. Although the words on it are harder than TOEFL words, you can learn a lot by reading the etymologies, which are the ROOTS, PREFIXES and SUFFIXES of the word.

TOEFL Tip #25: Plan Ahead

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on

Test dates fill up fast, especially in big cities.  Often tests dates are not available for three weeks.  In addition, score results are not available for another three weeks after you take the test.  Therefore, if you know you need your score by, for example, May 1, 2009, you need to take your test on or before April 11th, which means you should sign up for your test no later than March 13th, because the test centers book up about 1 month before the test date.

TOEFL Tip #24: English Level For TOEFL Writing Section

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 6, 2009

People think that to get a good writing score, you have to write at an advanced level of English. This is not true. A virtually perfect score can be achieved with intermediate level English that has no mistakes. Short sentences that are perfect will score higher than complicated sentences that have mistakes.  So don’t try to “sound smart” or “show off” on the test. Focus on being accurate and clear instead.

TOEFL Tip #23: Accent Reduction

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on

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 #22: Tricky Main Ideas

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on March 3, 2009

Often the listening section tricks you into thinking that the first thing mentioned in the lecture is what the lecture is about. Very often: THIS IS NOT THE CASE.  Many times, the lecture begins with a summary of the last class’s topic or of the reading homework that the students did the night before. Then the lecture transitions to “today’s topic” which is often in opposition to the previous class or the homework.  You must learn to identify when this transition occurs or else you’ll mistakenly think that the beginning of the lecture announces the topic of the lecture.

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