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Thursday, March 03, 2011


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I tried this last time and found it quite helpful to group the cities into capital and non-capital. The networks in the non-capital cities are not only newer but much smaller and less frequented by passengers than those in the capitals.

This essay is very helpful for me as I have already done this table before but I dont know how to select main features of this table.

Hi simon.thank you for your useful website.just want to know how,if I got 6 in task 1 and 7 in task 2,what my final writing score will be?
Another question, if I scored overall in the all modules 6.25 it gone be 6.5 or 6??
thank in advance.

"The London underground is the oldest system, having opened in 1863" I think it should be "...having been opened" but I'm not quite sure!
And can U give me advice about the usages of mean and meanwhile in task 1, please!
Thank you

Hi Simon,
" The London underground is the oldest system, having opend in 1863". Would you please let me know what is the tense of the verb "having opend"?,and could you recommend me any book to help me in grammar please?
Thank you

Hi Master;

l have not understand the use of with in the sentence shown above .as far as l see you often use 'with' in your sentence.ideas for ielts consist of many sentence with 'with'.

for example

people with disabilities==l have not undestood therefore l decide to use disabled people
(in the meantime thanks for your labour. a very inspritional book)

if you explain why you prefer this usage (this sounds more native?)

thank you for your attention :)sorry l forget thank you

Hi Simon,

Is it correct to say:

"The second largest system, in Paris, is only about half the size of THAT IN London , with 199 kilometres of route."

Many thanks

Hi Simon,
Could you please have a lesson on a process of how something works, thanks

Thanks Nazri. Good idea.


No problem Justin. I'm glad you found it useful.


Hi Manal,

To be honest I'm not sure. Examiners don't do any calculations - they just give 8 scores (4 scores for each essay - task, organisation, vocabulary, grammar). The scores are sent to the IELTS office (e.g. in Cambridge) where someone does the calculation.

Sorry I can't help more.


Hi Huy Quang,

"having opened" and "having been opened" are both correct. You can say "the shop opened" or "the shop was opened".


Hi Marzi,

Have a look at the page linked below (or google "having had") to see the grammar explanation.



Hi Mohamed,

Yes, it's quite a normal thing for native speakers to use "with" in this way. 'People with disabilities' just means 'people who have disabilities'. It's the same when we say 'people with children'.


Hi Sam,

Yes, you could say that.


Hi Allan,

Read the lesson linked below. If you have to describe how something works, you can use the same method.


it is very useful explanation for with thanks.l often choose people who have children....its more useful to chooce with version

thanks a lot

No problem Mohamed.

Hi Simon,

I try to write task 1, test 2, Cambridge practice tests 6. It has the same kind of table. I find it a bit diffucult for this table.

I'm afraid that I do it in a wrong way.
I know that you dont give detail comments on writing here.Could you please give a general comment on it? I just want to know if I follow the proper way.
Dear friends here,
Could you please give me your advice too?


The table illustrates the firgure of average distance that a person travelled in one year by several modes in 1985 and 2000.

It can be seen clearly that people travelled more in 200 and car was the most popular means for a trip either in 1985 or 2000.

In 1985, a traveller drove averagely 3,199 miles for a trip per year, the longest mileage in comparision with other modes. This number rose up to 4,806 miles person in 2000 and it kept the first position in choices of means for travel. In 2000, every person was on a long distance bus for 124 miles, more than twofold the firgure in 1985. There were 429 miles recorded for local bus use per person in 1985, dropping to 274 mils in 2000. Taxi was the less prefered transportation means for travel over the period. A person took cab for 13 miles in 1985 and 42 ,iles in 2000. Travelling on food was kept relatively unchanged.

Best regards,

Hi Kim,

You've got the right idea in terms of "the way" you have written the essay. You just need to find someone who can check your vocabulary/grammar mistakes.

Just to help others:

I have seen many of my students try to make a ratio between Kilometres of route and number of passengers.
This has always been inaccurate or unclear.

Yes, trying to find a connection between kilometres and passengers just causes problems - there is no clear relationship.

Thanks Dave. I'll point this out the next time I set this question for my students.

Hi simon

I've looked at various sites and i find your method in writing a summary the most effective! Before this I've been having trouble combining whats the "highest and lowest", and stating numbers all in one cluttered sentence. Your structure allows me to separate it and meet the word count.

I have one question. Is it necessary to indicate the word count at the bottom of the summary ??

Hi Liy,

I'm glad you find my approach useful and easy to follow.

Don't write the word count - I just do this in my lessons to help people.

The table illustrates the figures on subway systems in six major cities: London, Paris, Tokyo, Washington DC, Kyoto, and Los Angeles.

It can be clearly seen that the first and longest underground railway system was recorded by Londoners whereas the largest number of passengers occurred in Tokyo.

As regards the figures on the table, it was first in London that underground was constructed in 1863 while France used subway system in 1990. Then the construction of underground railway system spreaded through Tokyo(1927), Washington DC(1976) Kyoto(1981) and Los Angeles(2001)

The longest subways belonged to Londoners they made 394 kilometer long route, and Paris followed to be the second with 199 kilometers in long whereas the shortest subways were recorded by Kyoto(11 kilometers)

However, although London was first to build underground railway system people were counted to have the biggest amount in Tokyo(1927 million passengers per year) comparing with mentioned cities. The figures for France recorded 1191 million of passengers after Tokyo whereas the smallest amount was stated in Kyoto(45 million passenger in a year) which meant 5 million less passenger than Los Angeles

Is it ok( but spent 24 minutes, yet need to practice to manage it in preferable amount of time)


Hi Bakhtiyor,

I'm afraid I can't give feedback or scores for students' essays. If I did this, everyone would send me their work.

Try to find someone who can help you individually.


This writing is good and very informative. The information in the table was gathered clearly and well structured. The writing well described the data and process. So, I guess, this would be very helpful to an IELTS examinee. TheIELTSSolution.com

Thank you.

It's me again Simon . I have 2 questions :

Not only is London railway system opened earliest, it also has the longest length of route, with 394 kilometres. Its number of passengers per year is outweighed by Tokyo’s subway which size was nearly 3 times larger than London’s, at 1927 million.

My question is
1. could I use the "London's " like that in Ielts writing

If I can, so this sentence is good as well right ? : the annual passengers using Paris’ s subways is nearly double London’s .

2. Is my first sentence good ?

Many thanks

Hi Kevin,

1. Yes, I sometimes do that.

2. Yes, you've got the right idea.

Thanks a lot .

Is it absolutely important that I talk about all cities? While doing the essay, I could not include Washington anywhere. Would I be penalised for that?

Hi Heliz,

You can still get a good score without mentioning them all, but it's best to say something about each if you can.

Hi Simon
can i summarize this topic as follows:
this information about underground railway systems is compared with respect to the date of inauguration,distance covered in kilometre, and number of pasengers carried per year.

That's fine Sohaib.

Hi Simon,

I am a bit confused with the tenses used during writing academic 1 task. Some of the essay is totally in past tense and some of it is a mixture of past and present tense. How can i differentiate that during my writing. What i understand is that we write as past tense when describing past year and present tense for describing future or present. However in this example you used present tense although the event is already passed. I would be appreciate if you could advice me on this matter as my exam is next week. Thank you.

Hi Nor,

In this essay I mainly used the present tense because I assumed that the underground systems still exist, so I can say that "the London system IS the oldest".

I also use the present tense to say what the table "shows" (because we can see the table now).

Apart from the above cases, use the past tense to describe past years, and use the future (will, is predicted to) to describe future years. Use the present if no times are shown.

Hi simon,

Thank you for you brief explanation. Does that means I can use past tense as well in this example since the event is already passed?

Hi Nor,

In the table above, the only event that has already passed is the opening of each network. You can therefore write "The London underground opened in..."

ok simon. Thank you. :-)

Dear Simon,
I'm a post graduate who is doing an IELTS project. thanks for providing us with really helpful tips and tasks. i really enjoy ur lessons.
i wonder if you'd mind my using this table for my project. I'm just using the table not the text. i appreciate if you confirm it.
warm regards,

hi simon
I wonder if i can use "longer" instead of " larger"?
which one is correct?

can i know how can i send you my written task,one each of 1 & 2 on daily basis for correction.I would like to know its charges as well.I would like to practice with you,at least,for a month.asim

it really need a hard practice to be prepared for the final exam. I would like to know about the uses of suitable words and phrases for Ielts task 1. Respected simon, if it is possible to comprise the words and phrases then plz render us an opportunity to learn.

Hi Simon,
I find your website so helpful on the way of conquering Ielts.
I just wrote several sentence about your table but I am confused about one.

"Both Los Angerles and Kyoto were responsible for the lowest figures of passengers with around more or less 45 million"
Is it ok to use : responsible for" in this sentence mentioned above?

thanks so much

whats sorts of vocabulary is used in writting task 1?

hi, simon sir
please could u tell me that what strategy should apply to do writting task 2 in finding what sorts of question is it.such as discuss both opinion,cause and effect etc.and please tell how to write this sorts of question.

Hi Simon.

In the essay, i notice that your main part of the article puts focus on the most obvious signatures, such as longest, oldest, most passengers.

Then, you extend from those information to introduce the ones not having any signature that's obvious.

I think that's important skill i need to learn. Thank you for such a great example.

The table shows some data regarding the underground railway services in six different cities in the world. It displays some key features in terms of date opened, length of route and annual number of passengers.

London underground system is the the oldest and the longest of all. It was established in 1863 and have total route length of 394 kilometers. It is nearly forty years older and twice longer than the one in Pairs which was built in 1900 and have a length of nearly 200 kilometers, that takes the second place. Tokyo's system takes the third with established date of 1927 and route length of 155 kilometers. Kyoto and Los Angeles have the newest and shortest networks with established date of 1981 and 2001, and network length of 11 and 28 Kilometers respectively.

With regards to annual number of customers, Tokyo has the largest number of passengers,with nearly 2 billion passengers using the system every year. Paris is the second busiest system with nearly 1.2 billion customers per year. Despite their half route length, both cities serve far more people than the London underground, which has only 775 million passengers a year. Washington DC underground railway system serves around 126 million per year. However, Kyoto's and Los Angeles's systems have the least number of travelers, serving only 45 and 50 million people per year respectively.

Correction :

Paris underground system is the second busiest ... instead of Paris is the second busiest.

Washington DC serves-- 144 million passengers , instead of 126 million passengers

Hi Simon, would you please have a look at my writing. I am an English student for about 3 months, hence I am not sure about my grammar.. thank you! :)

The table provides data about the underground railway system in six major cities in terms of opening date, total length of rail road and annual ridership. Overall, each of the mentioned features of the six subway systems vary considerably.

According to the table, the oldest system in London has the longest railroad. Incorporated in 1863 it measures a length of 394 kilometers. While regarding to the amount of passengers per year, Tokyo reaches the highest number with 1927 million annual ridership.

Comparing those facts Kyoto, as one of the recent subway stations, opened in 1981 has the minority of both length and ridership, reflected in 11 kilometers of subway road used by 45 passengers per year. These figures are closely followed by LA.

While Washington DC has rather average numbers, Paris stands out with the second highest amount of ridership, carrying an average of 1191 million passengers per year.

To sum up, there is an evident distinction between the six cities, regarding the age, the size of the system and the annual passenger number.

Dear Simon,
Your site is really amazing. It taught us lost of informative information which is needed to score high.
Anyway, I have a question if you don't mind:
What is the main adverb clause in the following of your sentence:
The London underground is the oldest system, having opened in 1863.

Is it:
The London underground is the oldest system, because it opened in 1863.
The London underground is the oldest system, because it was opened in 1863.

I think when wen want to use having as the reduction, we have to have present or past perfect in our dependent clause but I have the simple past. Am I wrong?!

Hi Simon,

I´m not sure if this part of your essay is correct: "the number of people who use them each year..."

"Passengers" are not the same as "people using it". There are much less people using it than there are passengers...

What do you think?

The table illustrates the changes occurred in the modes of travelling in England by comparing years of 1985 and 2000.
Overall, there is an increase in almost every mode of travel when looking at the trends in 1985 and 2000. There is an overall rise from 4.740 to 6.475 on average distance in miles travelled per person in 1985 and 2000 respectively.
The average of distance taken by cars significantly went up from 3.199 to 4.806 in 1985 and 2000 respectively. On the contrary, travelling on feet or by bicycle went down 18 miles for walking and 10 miles for bicycle. The last method of travelling which experienced decline for over 15 years was loal bus with a considerable dropping from 429 to 274. It is likely to say that with 135 miles increase, other types of transports have been the second mostly preferred methods of travelling, which may be planes or ships, with 135 miles increase . Approximate distance in miles taken by long distance bus , train and taxi climbed 60, 80 and 39 miles respectively over 15 years time.
In summary, people in England over 15 years period adopted more comfortable life style by preferring to travel considerably by car or other vehicles than by walking or riding bikes.

My attempt:

The table provides information on the opening year, length and annual carried number of passengers of the subways systems in six cities.

Out of the six cities, London was the first to operate the underground railway system, which was also the longest one, 394 kilometers of route. In contrast, Kyoto and Los Angeles built their subway systems over a hundred years later at much smaller scales, having only 11 and 28 km of route respectively.

Paris and Tokyo have run their subway systems from the beginning of the 20th century and it turned out that they carried the highest number of passengers per year. For example, Tokyo's railway carried as many as nearly three times of passenger per year compared to London while its route length was only less than half of London's.

Washington DC's subway systems had decent length of 126 km, carrying 144 million passengers annually. In other words, it had only just over one million of passengers per year per kilometer of route length, the lowest among the six cities.

The London underground is the oldest system, having opened in 1863.


The London underground is the oldest system, opening in 1863.

Could I write this?

Hello simon,
I have exactly the above question posted by 'Sue'

The London underground is the oldest system, having opened in 1863.


The London underground is the oldest system, opening in 1863.

Could I write this?

I just want to know what the original sentence was ?How the original sentence was reduced to form the above sentence? How the original sentence would be like before reducing to the "The London underground is the oldest system, having opened in 1863."?.

Sue and tehani,

"opening" is ok, but I prefer "having opened".

The sentence hasn't been reduced tehani. It's normal to write "having done something" e.g. "Having done my work, I went home."

Hello Simon
Can we add ", respectively" to this sentence:

Of the three newer networks, the Washington DC underground is the most extensive, with 126 kilometres of route, compared to only 11 kilometres and 28 kilometres for the Kyoto and Los Angeles systems

The table compares the opening date, distance and passengers amount of underground railway network in six cities.

Generally, the earlier the underground railway open, the longer distance it reach, the more passenger it carry. But a few exceptions do exist.

London has the oldest and longest subway network with 394 kilometers. The distance of Paris and Tokyo underground are almost less than half of London, at 199 and 155 kilometers respectively. However, the number of passengers in Tokyo is the highest, at 1927 millions per year, compared to 1191 in Paris and 775 in London.

Among three new subway systems, the distance and passengers in Washington D.C. is far exceeding those of Kyoto and Los Angeles. There is 11 kilometers underground railway in Kyoto which is slightly more than 1/3 of Los Angeles, but amount of passengers it carried is almost as same as the latter.

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