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Perfecting the /TH/ sound for a 26+ on TOEFL iBT

By | Pronunciation, Speaking 26+, TOEFL iBT, TOEFL TIPS | No Comments

Achieving a 26 on the Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT requires targeted pronunciation practice from an exam preparation professional. If you want a 26 your teacher should have experience with the exam as well as with accent concepts such as: pronunciation, intonation, rhythm and linking sounds. One of the sounds that I work on the most with my students is the /TH/.

It’s a tricky one and if you don’t say correctly it can really affect your speech because it is such a common sound!

Just look at this sentence…

“According to the professor the changes that happen to rocks due to their exposure to air and water is called weathering, and there are two ways that weathering can occur. ”

Just in that sentence alone, there are 11 /TH/ sounds!

And in this one, half the words have a /TH/ sound in it!

“The student who wrote the letter thinks that the university should close the theater.”

Watch this video from Rachel of “Rachel’s English” to learn how to pronounce this sound correctly:


Learning how to say this sound correctly takes time and practice. Using this video along side many of my own materials and protocols, I have developed a method that I adapt for each student’s individual needs to help them improve this sound. Here’s what one of my students had to say about her experience with the all important /TH/…

“Hi, Sierra. I just want to share with you my experience with /TH/ pronunciation. As you know, I began to do this exercise about 6 weeks ago. And I remember that you sent me the letter where one of your students shared her experience, so something like I’m doing right now. And in that letter, the student wrote that after two weeks of practicing /TH/ she noticed that she actually began sounding the right way. At that time I was kind of skeptical about it, I thought like..O, yes, tell me. On the back of mine mind, I didn’t believe her. So, anyway, because I promised myself to do everything that you told me to do, I followed your recommendations. And guess what? Yes, it works!!! Your method helped me succeed with /TH/ pronunciations. In two weeks I noticed some changes, but I wasn’t sure about it. But now, after 6 weeks of practicing, I feel like my tongue automatically goes to the right place to make /TH/ sound. And now I feel pretty much confident about my /TH/ pronunciation. Thank you so much!”


Skill Building for the TOEFL iBT

By | English Fluency, Speaking 26+, TOEFL iBT, TOEFL TIPS | No Comments

This week’s TOEFL Tip is about “Skill Building”.

I work with a lot of students who need high scores on the Speaking and Writing sections of the TOEFL iBT. The first question I ask them is what are your Reading and Listening scores?

Language is integrated!

Forget about your target scores for this exam. If you want to speak fluently, if you want to write well you need to have strong reading and listening skills. Yes, you need to expand your vocabulary. Yes, you need to understand the basics of English grammar, but what many students don’t realize is that one of the best ways to do this is by reading English texts and listening to native English speakers every day.

Careful! Just reading ANY text won’t help you on the TOEFL exam. Listening to the news or watching American sitcoms is not a good place to improve your vocabulary or speaking skills when you are preparing for an exam that tests your knowledge of campus situations and academic topics.

If you want to make the most of your time, dive into TOEFL material!

Use the Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT. Read TOEFL reading passages slowly to understand, don’t race against the clock to try to answer the questions. If you read a passage once and you don’t understand the majority of the text, go back and read it again! Learn how to analyze the texts paying attention to grammar, vocabulary and organization. when you listen to a campus conversation or lecture, don’t listen to find the answers, listen to understand! Listen to how the person is speaking! Use transcripts to improve your listening skills.

Once you have built these skills you will see a difference on the exam. Don’t stop building these skills because you have achieved your required score… keep going! Raising your Reading and Listening scores to 26+ will make the Speaking and Writing sections so much easier for you!

If you need help, get in touch!

I am trained TOEFL iBT Exam Preparation Specialist. I am a native English speaker with over 13 years experience teaching students from all over the world. I have helped many students reach their target scores of S26 and W24.

You can find me on Facebook at “Sierra Forest English Academy” or use the contact form below!

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