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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

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Hi Simon,
With looking through this essay, I realised that we should show clear structure in our essay. I always try to write my essays more complex with variety of gramatical structures. Especially, essay samples written in complex language distract me. As a result, after writing I feel disappointed and it seems to me writing unachievable reality. Thank you a lot , I think I understood my weak point.

By the way, writing essays everyday is useful our writing skills ?

Hi Shohruh

Try to focus on answering the question rather than using 'complex grammar'. I find it difficult to write a good essay if I'm only thinking about grammar - you should be thinking about your ideas and opinions.

Writing essays every day is only a good idea if you prepare properly for the essay topics. Are you learning anything new by writing so many essays, or are you just testing yourself? Remember, a test shows your level NOW, but it doesn't teach you anything new.

Simon

Hello!

I'd like to ask a question about the structure of the essay. When we are writing a problem and solution essay, on the first paragraph of the main body i have to write about the problem causes and on the second paragraph about the solutions to the problem?

Thank you

Hi Eleni

You are right. Normally the question asks you to describe the problems and solutions, so it's best to write one paragraph about each.

However, the question in this lesson is a bit unusual because it only asks for solutions; it doesn't tell you to explain the problem - that's why the student wrote 2 solution paragraphs.

To be honest, I think this was an old question. Exam questions will ask you to describe the problems as well.

hi simon i dont know why i can't download the essay !?

Hi Danawi

You should be able to open it - it's just a normal PDF document. Try doing a right click with your mouse and choose 'open in new window'.

I hope it works

It's certainly true that when I've been testing, I did not feel that I made differences. Especially, in listening and reading my ability to find correct answers was finishing at the same boundary. Now, I think it is time to bring new methods.

Regarding to the writing :As once you said four hours essay is useful, I'm used to giving more time to complete essay.

Your advice always solves complications, and makes me grateful. Thank you a lot Simon !

No problem Shohruh.

I'm sure you'll notice more improvement if you focus on preparing rather than testing.

Well, this is a very good example of IELTS writing task 2 answer
However, I do not think that this will really impress examiner, he might give 6.5 or even 6 as the writing exam is rather subjective

As a result, student definitely will have to re-take exam, wasting money ( £110) and time

Why don't you correct and write an example of essay which achieves score 8 or even 9!

By the way how about speaking book for those who have to have at least 7.5 or more in speaking

Also, a lecture explaining the most mistakes student made, hindering them to get 7

Hi Sugianto

Please believe me - this essay is much better than you think. I'm not sure why you think that it will not impress the examiner. In my experience, students often have completely the wrong idea about how to get a high score. You need to be trained as an examiner to really know this.

Also, I DID correct the essay. With my corrections (therefore no mistakes) this essay would get a score of 9.

Grammar mistakes are different depending on nationality. What hinders students from getting a 7 is not having any good ideas to answer the question, and filling essays with memorised phrases.

What do you think impresses the examiner?

Hi Simon,

This essay does impress examiner but, I am afraid to say, it won't achieve 7, let alone 8 or even 9.

One examiner will just give 6.5 - the other will give 7 or 7.5 - so that a student who is not lucky, having a'reluctant and mean' examiner will have to re-take exam, which would be a waste of money and time

If the exam question were the same this Saturday and a student remembered this answer word by word and by heart, I am not sure he would be awarded 7 by one examiner, he would just get 6.5

how about this comment "Most IELTS examiners, or former examiners like me, tend to be a little conservative when awarding scores!" at the end of the page - "A few final word" ?

http://www.yasi-kouyu.com.cn/GETTING_7_FOR_SPEAKING.htm

Thank you

OK Sugianto, you don't have to follow my advice.

Maybe I was a nice examiner rather than a 'mean' one!

Hi Simon,
only 2 solutions are there in the essay.would two examples do?

Hi Priya,

There is no rule about how many solutions/problems/advantages etc that you need.

It all depends how well you explain the solution. With fewer solutions, you need to include more detail.

Hope this helps

hi simon,
this essay does not seem band 7 one, certainly way lower than 7.

I have written much more impressive essay on this topic but only got 6.5.

this is truly my personal opinion, though.

Hi Jay,

The essay above is better than you think. It would get band 7 because there is some really good vocabulary:

"on the increase, must be tackled, global issue, majority of people, effective ways to control congestion, prices that are affordable, discourage people, raise more money"

A student who is way lower than band 7 would never use all of these phrases.

The essay is also well-organised and definitely answers the question.

Hopefully this shows that it's not as difficult as people think to get a band 7!

Dear simon
You are a great teacher and your work is admirable. I was thinking that getting a band 7 is very difficult, if we follow your lessons in this useful site , we will diffinetely reach a good score. I think it not be difficult.Just focusing to structure and learning related vocabularies.
Now, I have less stress.
Thanks so much
Goli

In some develop countries, traffic in major cities is a huge problem. Some people say that it is inevitable due to growing population, others argue this can be resolved.

What do you think about my intro simon?

In some develop countries, traffic in major cities is a huge problem. Some people say that it is inevitable due to growing number of population, others argue this can be resolved. This essay will discuss the problems caused by traffic congestion and ways to decrease it.

In some develop countries, traffic in major cities is a huge problem, but there are ways to lessen it.This essay will discuss the problems caused by traffic congestion and ways to decrease it in main cities.

There are several reasons of traffic congestion in the metropolitan. Firstly, The growing number of population is increasing every year. More and more people move and live in a wealth nation from developing world, such as Canada to find better job opportunities. Secondly, the roads are not enough to accommodate the coming of foreign workers and new immigrants. Once the newcomers has already establish themselves with permanent jobs or able to find a place to live, their next plan would be to buy private vehicles. As a result, the density of cars will increase in the streets which causes slow flow of traffic.

However, there are steps to resolve the issue of traffic in cities. Road widening, for example, this can increase the flow of traffic because more vehicles can be accommodated, particularly buses and trucks that sometimes makes the roads narrower.Another reason is that helping new residents to find a place not to close to the city. In this way, people will also avoid competition with other workers so the number of people are not all going to one area of workplace.

In conclusion, the inconvenience of traffic in major cities can be reduced through widening of roads and encouraging newcomers to look for a place not close to metropolitan.

In some develop countries, traffic in major cities is a huge problem, but there are ways to lessen it.This essay will discuss the problems caused by traffic congestion and ways to decrease it in main cities.

There are several reasons of traffic congestion in the metropolitan. Firstly, The growing number of population is increasing every year. More and more people move and live in a wealth nation from developing world, such as Canada to find better job opportunities. Secondly, the roads are not enough to accommodate the coming of foreign workers and new immigrants. Once the newcomers has already establish themselves with permanent jobs or able to find a place to live, their next plan would be to buy private vehicles. As a result, the density of cars will increase in the streets which causes slow flow of traffic.

However, there are steps to resolve the issue of traffic in cities. Road widening, for example, this can increase the flow of traffic because more vehicles can be accommodated, particularly buses and trucks that sometimes makes the roads narrower.Another solution is that helping new residents to find a place not to close to the city. In this way, people will also avoid competition with other workers so the number of people are not all going to one area of workplace.

In conclusion, the inconvenience of traffic in major cities can be reduced through widening of roads and encouraging newcomers to look for a place not close to metropolitan.

Hi Goli,

I'm glad I've helped to reduce your stress! Keep up the good work.

...

Hi Gwapo,

Both introductions are fine. You've got the right idea.

Hello. Can you explain one difference between use of: ''This will either discrouage and it will... Why: ''it will discourage'' in this sample essay is wrong? I don't get a difference between use: ''it'' and ''this''

*discourage, sorry for mistake

Hi Beatrix,

Good question! Using "it" is ok, but it's a bit confusing because the reader is not sure what "it" refers to - the solution, the fee, the city centre? "This" refers to the whole idea before it, rather than just one noun.

Thank you very much:)

I need 7.5 for writing and I don't know how can I manage that. You empasized what to do to get a band 7, but what should I do to get over 7==> 7.5? I'm pretty scared

Hi Beatrix,

7.5 is basically the same as 7 (fully answer the question, good organisation, good range of vocabulary, not many grammar mistakes) but just a little bit better!

Hi Beatrix,

Yes, that kind of book can help you to increase the range of vocabulary that you use. Also, try to read articles in newspapers, online etc. and write good words and phrases in a notebook.

Thank you:).Can you tell me something about speaking? I need 7.5 too. Many words from that kind of books(less common vocabulary) are probably meant to be formal. So it means that i can't(I suppose at least) use them on speaking part. So how can I manage 7.5 for speaking part if i will use only informal language? I've been thinking at phrasal verbs

Hi Beatrix,

Yes, phrasal verbs are one example of 'less common vocabulary' for speaking.

I often underline good words and phrases in my speaking lessons. Have a look through them to see what I mean. Here is an example:

http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2011/12/ielts-speaking-part-3-competitions.html

Idioms as well? Thank you for your answer:). I'm looking for a good book for speaking at high level, do you know one?

Hi Beatrix,

Yes, but be careful with idioms - there are different types. Phrasal verbs are idiomatic because their meaning cannot be understood from the meaning of each individual word. However, many informal expressions and sayings are also idiomatic, and these might not be suitable for an academic essay or even for the speaking test. It's impossible for me to list all of the idioms that you should or shouldn't use, so try to check the appropriateness of those that you know.

Thank you for your help:)

wow he definitely has got great ideas and they are also easy to follow. however, one thing he could improve on is expanding a bit more on the third para and conclusion as they do not seem to balance with the first two. Also, after correction his essay is under word limit 147!

Hi Christina,

I agree. A bit more detail would help.

hi Simon,
can i write that "in todays modern world traffic overload is a burning issue"
is this word"overload" acceptable?

secondly while giving suugestions can i write that government should build wider roads,more flyovers and bypass routes.

are "flyover and bypass" correct vocabulary?

Hi Sohaib,

I wouldn't use 'traffic overload' or 'burning issue'. Use 'traffic congestion is a serious problem'.

Your other ideas are good.

Hey Simon:

My question is:

I always confused about the number of words of task2. I used to have a tutor and she told me she got 9 for writing, when she finished her essay up to 600 words. Actually, i do not wish i will achieve that amount. But it seems that more you writing on paper, more chance to get a higher score. Additionally, She told me, in the essay, the words, like" a, an and the", do not count.

And because my writing is always 10-12 words per line, if i keep words between 250-300, my essay just reaches to the middle of next page. If i finish my essay to the last lines, i feel more confident.

now i am in a dilemma, if between 250 and 300 words, the length may not looks enough; if writing too much, the structure not clear, no time left to check and too pressure.

I just want someone to confirm that the relationship between length and mark; the words counting principle.

Thanks for your help!

Gloria

Hi Gloria,

First, your tutor is wrong about "a, an, the" - these ARE counted as words.

Second, you can get band 9 with 250 words; if you write more than 300 words, the quality of what you write will probably suffer.

Have a look through the lessons here on the site, and try to follow my approach - I'm sure you'll find it useful.

I can't view the essay; Could anyone help me to view it.

Cheers.

here it is Fariha but note that this is uncorrected version, hope it helps. there is only minor errors so dont worry.

Traffic congestion is becoming a huge problem for many major cities. Suggest
some measures that could be taken to reduce traffic in big cities.

Nowadays, it is obvious that the congestion in nearly all over the world is on the increase and cities are becoming busier. In my opinion, this problem must be tackled because it is a global issue and most of people, especially who live in big cities, are suffering from that.

One of the main reasons which causes the traffic jam is that the majority of people prefer using their own cars instead of public transportation. However, it is not impossible to find good and effective ways to control the congestion. Public transportation is the easiest way
to solve this trouble. If there are comfortable and cheap public transportations such as trains and buses, they will make people like to use them better than drive. For instance, in Manchester, Stagecoach buses are the most convenient buses that help the city to have comfortable life in its roads and streets during rush hours. In fact, governments should provide much better public transportation and charge prices that are affordable for everyone.

Another solution to solve that is to charge the congestion fee for every car that will go into a city centre. It will either discourage people from driving into that area, or raise more money for public transportation. A good example of this situation is London, which now has a congestion charge. Going to the city centre in London costs about £8 per day.

In conclusion, the problem of traffic congestion can be tackled by improving public
transportation and by charging drivers who enter city centres.
(255 words)

Feedback:
• Good introduction: you introduce the topic and answer the question in a simple way.
• You give 2 solutions which are organised in 2 good paragraphs. Each paragraph
develops the main point well. Good examples for each point.
• Ideas are well-linked and developed logically.
• You use some ‘band 7’ vocabulary e.g. on the increase, tackle a problem, prices that are
affordable, discourage people, raise money, congestion charge.
• Excellent conclusion to summarise the ideas.
• The essay could be improved by reducing the number of small mistakes. However, there
are several sentences that contain no mistakes at all.
• Overall, band 7.

"OK Sugianto, you don't have to follow my advice.

"Maybe I was a nice examiner rather than a 'mean' one!"

Simon, I love this reply!:)

Thanks Linda!

Hi guys, in terms of this topic I have a video from TED.COM, it might be helpful for you to remember vocabulary:
http://www.ted.com/talks/jonas_eliasson_how_to_solve_traffic_jams.html

Hi Simon,

what if i got the mean examiner?? isn't standardized in awarding score??

stress.

Moon

* isn't it standardized scoring method?

It will either discourage people from driving into that area, or raise more
money for public transportation.

Is it correct that "either" and "or" which have the same meanings use in a sentence?

Nowadays, many cities in the world are overcrowded by an increasing number of cars on their roads. This is affecting the lives of urban dwellers and visitors. Therefore, governments should take some immediate actions to solve this problem.

Firstly, governments should improve public transport systems. It is widely believed that the use of buses and trains can easily solve traffic congestion if they are cheap and reliable. However, currently this is not the case in many cities. For example, in New Zealand, traveling by bus is more expensive than using private cars. The buses are few in number and often do not strictly follow their schedules. As a result, many commuters prefer using personal vehicles and pay for parking at city centres. If governments are keen to minimize traffic in cities, they should increase the number of buses and make them affordable to everyone.

Additionally, city councils should restrict private cars traveling to city centers. They can do this by increase parking fees and road use charges. For example, in London, the traffic congestion dropped by 50 percent after the city council had introduced parking and congestion fee two years ago. They allow only authorized cars to access city centers during working hours, while commuters who come from suburbs park their cars outside the city and use buses or trains to reach their work stations. Thus, it is proved that increasing fines for using private cars in cities is a good alternative to curb traffic problem.
In conclusion, road overcrowding in large cities can be improved by increasing public transport and limiting access to personal vehicles in city centres.

Dear Simon,
Could I divide this paragraph into two paragraphs??
There are many reasons for traffic jams. Firstly, the majority of people prefer using their own cars instead of puplic transportation. Secondly, there are many drivers Do not obey the driving instructions.

Public transportation is the easiest way to solve traffic congestion. If there are comfortable and cheap public transportation like ......etc
Cheers

"OK Sugianto, you don't have to follow my advice.

"Maybe I was a nice examiner rather than a 'mean' one!"
Simon, I also love this! :)

I love the discussion thread on this one, really appreciate your advice, Simon.

I think you are so right about having better ideas and supporting your arguments in details will get you a better score, rather than memorizing phrases (which is taught in many schools or by many supposingly "IELTS tutors")

I have learned so much from your website, and I believe you are one of the few people who really get the concept behind IELTS writing criteria.

It is really hard as an marker to give an essay more than band 7 if it's full of memeorised topic sentences, linking phrases, but without strong arguments with well written ideas. Finally I get it! There is no "mean" examiners, just trained ones.

Thanks Simon

Today traffic congestion is one of the fundamental problems of modern cities, however there are some possible adjustments, that should be taken by both local and central administrations, to decrease traffic jam.
One of the main reasons of traffic congestion is the number of personal cars in traffic. City people prefer to use their own car for transportation. As a result, cities are having more cars in the public roads than predicted. I think number of cars can be restricted from the traffic by applying some regulations. For instance; the authorities might legislate new rules like apply charge to personal car owners who want to use his/her car for their daily transportation. People could be discouraged by using their own cars because they have to pay extra money for this. Therefore they begin to use public transportation inside city.
The other main reason of traffic congestion is the increasing crowd in the big cities. Most of the people think that big cities’ facilities are higher than others that’s why they immigrates to those cities. Consequently big cities become more crowded. I think authorities have to find solutions to prevent immigration. As a solution the other cities’ living standards and facilities could be enhanced. If the central administration can provide the same standards to the all cities the crowd in cities can be reduce and the traffic congestion decreases parallel to this.
As a conclusion; the big cities’ one of the most important problems, traffic jam can be reduced by taking important steps.

Traffic congestion is really a serious problem which is on the increase in most countries. It affects not only on each individual but also on total society. Most people feel terrible when being blocked in traffic jam. Many valuable hours are spent stuck in traffic, many litres of fuel are wasted. Therefore, it is necessary to take effective solutions to tackle this problem.

One of the main cause of traffic jams is that the majority of people prefer using their own vehicles instead of public transport such as bus or train. The more people take their personal cars, the more crowded traffic is. As the result, it's more difficult to control traffic congestion. So, policy makers should have measures for discouraging citizens to reduce the use of their own cars. The answer could be that government should invest more on improving public transportation system. If public vehicles are better, more convenient, more comfortable and cheaper enough to be affordable every citizen, people will take bus or train as the preferable means of transport. This will help reduce the number of private cars on city roads. Consequently, this also help reduce traffic congestion.

Another solution is that policy makers should have better traffic regulations, including parking turning or loading regulations, to reduce the ability of happening traffic jams in rush hours. Drivers should be charged a fee, called congestion fee, in case of breaking the law. This will either discourage people reduce the use of their own car, or raise more money for improving public transportation. A good example of this situation is Ha Noi, which now has a congestion fee on each private car going to the city centre - Hoan Kiem district.

With the dramatically development in information and communication technology, smart solutions should be widely applied to control traffic. New technologies such as intelligent driving systems or traffic information centres which gathers real data from many sources, processes it and provides back to let drivers have a global view of transport at real time. With these valuable information, drivers can make a better decision to take an optimize route. This can help them to avoid be stuck in traffic jams. For example, late-model of BMW car is intergrated a smart processing unit which can get and send real data traffic with the traffic information centres - INRIX.
In conclusion, to reduce traffic congestion in major cities, the government should improve public transportation to be affordable every citizen, charge fee for breaking the traffic regulations, and especially, apply new technology to provide drivers better information.

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