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Saturday, November 26, 2011


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I firmly agree with you.Thank you for making this important advice too precise and easy to understand. I believe all aspirants of IELTS will get benefit from it.

hi simon,

i am from india

here,for essay, many friends ask me to write 3 sentences in introduction(including 2 general statements+thesis+your opinion),and 3 sentences in summary(restating thesis+summarising written data+future possiblity statement).

but, being a regular follower of your site,i am rather comfortable with your way of writing.

so, the comment is that short introduction+conclusions will not give you band7 in task2.

i have just 6 days left for my test ,and is really confused about this comments.

pls help..

Hi Simon,
I think it is great when you show us your sample essays as well as speaking answers. I hope you will post more of them so that I can see how to apply your writing techniques mentioned in your previous lessons.

hi simon
yesterday,i wrote an essay for task1 i followed your advice.it took short time , it was easy to read and undrestand it and i used all data of the table. but when i read the example essay on Essential ILETS book,i was disappointed .it was totally different.it was a complacated essay.i dot know ,how i could know that which way is fine.becase that essay didnt follow the introdaction,sumarray and paragraphs' pattern.it was written all in one paragraph.

Hi Simon

I think most candidates who are likely started learning English from advanced level and did not care about basic rules , and also they are dealing too much with difficult Cambridge READING , want to apply those vocabularies and complex grammar in their essay, then I think it appears awkward as we are probably not at such level of writing . I think we forgot that Language is a means to communicate effectively not for showing off and using pompous words .

Thank you Simon for remeber us that simple rule and put us in right direction

Hi Simon,
I am Maia from New Zealand. I appeared ielts exam yesterday 26 of November. Task 2 question was really tough so i want to share question here.

economic growth all over the world is increasing and the number of rich people are increasing in both developed and developing countries. while study shows rich people in developing countries are happier than in developed countries. what do you think reason behind this and what lesson can be learnt from this?

hi simon,

please give me advice about the inclusion of striking point\highlight of the graph\table\linegraph,which is also an important aspect of task1 writing,as taught by many tutors here,in my place.

looking for your words..

Hi Simon
I you could please answer some of my questions. I have some questions related to the use of million and USA in this paragraph that is written by international IELTS teacher:
1)In the following year apparel expenses of both Japan and USA grew even bigger to 12 and 10 Millions respectively.
This picture has 12 million pixels; 5 millions of them are black.
My question is it alright to use USA alone without the, and Millions instead of Million after a number.
2)The word "spent" could be a noun as in the sentence: The total spent for...
3)Could we use cloth to vary our writing insted of apparel

Thanks Pretty!


Hi Rajeesh,

Believe me - main body paragraphs are the key to a high score. Long introductions and conclusions are just wasted words.

About highlighting the main points, I recommend this too. First you need to summarise the main points, then you need to select key details. Have a look through all of my writing task 1 lessons - there are many examples of summarising and selecting main points.


Thanks Oanh!


Hi Sabah,

Don't let sample essays that you see in books worry you. There are many ways to write a good essay. I'm sure yours is fine.

One thing that is definitely wrong is writing the whole essay as one paragraph - don't do that!


Hi Mh,

I couldn't agree more! Thanks for making a great point.


Hi Maia,

Thanks for sharing your question. Best of luck!


Hi Hassan,

Those sentences contain several mistakes! I think a student wrote them.

You need to write "the USA".
"10 millions" is wrong.
You could use "clothing".

Hi Simon
Thank you for the correction you did with respect to my questions.
This pargraph was taken from the "Target band 7" book by Simone Braverman page 38.
Now I think that who will follow his method of writing and tips will target band 3 and not 7.
Thank you

No problem Hassan.

thanks simon

Hi Simon,

Great points!

I always tell students that using memorized phrases can in fact make sentences/paragraphs/essays look very awkward most of the time. Also, examiners are experienced enough to easily tell when students are trying "too hard".

Although I am also trying to make students understand about these points, there are (unfortunately) still lots of students who are reluctant to believe that "difficult words/expressions" are NOT necessary to get a high score. Instead, they would waste so much time memorizing those "beautiful vocabularies" and they tend to forget about the importance of being able to speak and write in a natural way.


Hi Martin,

It's not easy to get the message across to everyone, and it does frustrate me at times. However, it's encouraging to see that many students ARE 'converting' to our approach!

Hi Mr, Simon
First of all, thanks for your excellent website.
Second, I need some pices of youre advice.
I hade an essay and in that essay i hade 2 or 3 spelling mistake but i think my essay was so good. I also wrote "..., etc" in my essay. Examiner gave me bound 5.5.He told me "etc" is an informal word and if I write whithout any spelling mistake and informal word, IELTS examiner will give me 6 at first and then scruting collocations and phrases and so give me 7 or more.
I was wondring if youd mind clearly explaining how IELTS examiner dedicate scores.

Hi Hassan,

It's too complicated to explain in detail, but the basic scoring system is that you get 4 marks for each essay:

1. Task response - how well do you answer the question?
2. Coherence - are the ideas organised in a logical way?
3. Vocabulary - do you use a range of words and phrases to express your ideas? (words/phrases related to the topic, not linking words)
4. Grammatical accuracy - mistakes and range of sentence structures.

It's not really true that you get a 6 if there are no spelling mistakes - it's more complicated than that because the examiner considers all kinds of grammar and vocabulary mistakes, not just spelling.

Hi Simon,

I was thinking that maybe you could include some info on the basic scoring system for each module under the "About the exam" section. I guess this would be useful for students who are seeking explanation about their scores and hopefully try to improve once they identify their weaknesses. Just an idea.


Thanks Martin. Yes, it's something I've been meaning to do.

hello Simon.
First of all, i've been following your website for three days and it's really impressive. Thanks for your great effort.
Secondly, i would like to ask you a question about proficiency exams.
Which one is more easy to achieve, IELTS-6.5 or FCE-C ?
By the way, i'm an upper-int level student and i have 3 months.

Take care.

Hi Rasim,

I think I answered your email. I'm afraid I don't know enough about FCE to be able to compare. Sorry. I'm glad you like the site though!

Hi Simon,
Your blog is simply great, I learnt a lot in few days by just reading the blog and your ebook.
Your suggestions are valuable.
I will appreciate it if you could suggest a strategy to improve my writing.
I learnt English informal way, some basic grammer I learnt in school (20 years back), but after that moved to english speaking countries. My english improved from talking to native seakers, watching movies/tele, talking to my son in english and ofcourse, mainly from reading a lot (reading is my hobby). But now I took IELTS three times and I got around 8 (7.5-8.5) in other componants including reading (7, 8, 8). However, I got below 7 band every time(6.5, 6 and even 5.5 once) in writing and I need band 7 in each. All this is before I came to learn about this blog.

In addition to the other suggestion I really like your advise, to be cosistant in plan, which I guess will save me lot of time.

Another thing is that reading your blog and analysing my writing I got the impression that I am not good at using articles and prepositions.

Do you think keep on practicing writing, checked by english teacher and learning from mistake is best method to imorve my writing or you suggest to enrol in a basic english course?

Thanks in advance.

These might help many mature age learners like me in similar situations.

Hi Kai,

I don't think you need to go to an English course. You are already doing the right things, and I think the best idea is to do what you said: "keep on practising writing, get it checked by an English teacher, and learn from mistakes".

If you follow the essay-writing advice here on the site, I'm sure you'll get a better score next time. Getting a (private) teacher to check your essays is a really good idea.

Thanks Simon.

Hi Simon
Happy New year!
I have really found your website as well as your ebook extremely useful! I took my IELTS exam in December 2011. I got an overall score of 8 and an individual score of the following: Listening 8, Speaking 8.5, Reading 8.5 and in Writing 7.5.
In spite of this, I am resitting the test on 7th January, as I require an 8 in the writing section as well. I realized that my main issue in the writing task was that I took nearly 40 minutes to answer task 1! So any advice for Saturday?

Hi Anjali,

After reading your last sentence, it's easy to give advice: don't spend 40 minutes on task 1! Task 2 is worth two thirds of your writing score.

Don't study anything new for Saturday; just review what you've already done. Good luck!

hi simon
in my last exam i got 7 L,8 R,5.5 W and 6.5 S
today i got result of my 17th dec which is 7 L,6.5R,6 W and 6.5 S
in last exam in writing i followed your formate of writing which is useful for me.
Honestly i want to tell you that i was always getting 6.5 in writing without following specific stucture but when i started to follow proper stucture from books and online after that i am reciving 6 and 5.5 why?
I have to submit my result of 7 each in all module by march and i too much tensed.
please give answer of this that how many hours i should spend for each module?is pressue on the day of exam to get 7 cause touble?

thanks a lot

Hi Siya,

The structure you are using (if you are following my advice and the advice from IELTS books) is certainly not wrong, so it isn't losing you any marks.

Maybe you need to stop worrying about structure now - keep following the advice, but don't treat structure as the key to a high score. The next step is to work on IDEAS - essay structure and grammar are useless if you don't have good ideas to answer the question. If you want a high score, you need to develop good arguments and express your ideas and opinions well.

At this stage, it would be a good idea to find someone who can check your essays. I'm sure that structure isn't the problem, and that a good teacher (or a native speaker) will show you that your ideas, vocabulary and accuracy can be improved.

I can't tell you how many hours to spend - just do as much as you can in the time you have, but don't get too stressed! Try to be confident and do your best. Good luck!

Thanks simon.Your help i will follow.I am in Australia and i got some recommendation for online check so should i do that or only follow personal teacher.

Hi Siya,

If you have a private teacher, you shouldn't need to use an online checking service.

i saw this site yesterday,it is very good thanks for providing this information.now iam preparing for ielts,last time i got overall band score 5.5; in w:5.5; r:6; s:5,L:5. do i need to join any basic english course? please give an advise to me.i need 7 band in each module.how should i prepare for that?is one month
time sufficient if i spent daily 6hrs time on preparation?

thakyou simon

hi !!! what i should do to get a band between 6.5 and 8 ? plzz Mr. Simon can u tell me the best way to achieve scores just like that ?

hey sir,
when there are questions like agree or disagree how we need to write them ? can we partially agree or disagree to the question...

Hi Simon
My problem is how to get ideas. Sometimes I see topics that I wouldn't be able to write about even if I was asked to use my mother tongue. This has frustrated me. ihave started to read different topics for Bbc which has topics per category.
Any suggestions?
Thanks a lot

Hi Simon,
I need 7 bands in each module but I could not get it till now even after giving IELTS exam 7 times. Only once I could score 7,7,7 but 6 in reading.
Do you have suggestion for me how to increase my band score in writing and reading ??
Thanks in advance.

I hope you can understand my situation and would help me !!


Hi Simon,

I sitting for ielts for the first time and my biggest problem is writing as i left school ages ago writing an essay is just difficult for me. I will be sitting for the exam on 6 April 2013 and am really worried.
My main issue is I dont know what to write. Do you think by go thru the past year papers would give me an idea on what to write for certain topis.

Hi Simon ,

I really need an advises from you my ielts exam is on the 18th of may and its my last chance to study in uk or I should go back in my home country .

Could you please help me on ielts writing part by showing me examples essays.

Thank you so much


i want to know the simplest and more effective way of getting band score 9 in ielts writting.

Hi Simon,
I've written an essay and I'll be really appreciated if tell me what the band I deserve for it.
the question reads"Computers are now used in all areas of business and education.They are used in hospitals.and they are used to drive trains and fly planes.They are used in many forms of home entertainment .Some people say we rely too heavily on computers,and worry about how far the use of computers will go in the future.What are your views on this topic.
My answer is this:

In today's technological world, computers have became widely-used in plenty of fields such as business, education, health industry in addition to transportation . Actually, since they have been brought into our life, they made it much easier than ever before. Despite the immense amount of advantages that computers have brought to us, there are still those who argue that we are over dependents on them and they hold some concerns about what the future will look like if we still relying on them. As for me, using them in such fields has two opposite sides, useful and harmful as so many things in life .

As for the harmful aspect, using them in some jobs like using them to fly planes and drive trains could lead to disastrous consequences .This because it is highly possible for these to make mistakes that may cost people their lives. A good example can be taken is the horrible accident that occurred in 1996 when two trains crashed on the rail way in Canada. Detectives held a wide investigations to figure out the reason behind the disaster and finally they knew that one of the trains became out of control and the driver had nothing to do to stop it .The result was 154 died and dozens of injured. Therefore, some jobs are preferably to be done mainly by humans instead of computers.

However, no one can deny that they made learning process much easier and world wide since they have came .Owing to they made that process faster. For instance, people used to cross hundreds or even thousands kilometres just to get some knowledge from somewhere. But now it all changed that we can get any piece of information of any type just by click once and thousand of resources will be revealed in front of you and without making any effort. So they massively contribute in education.

To conclude, using computers in different fields has two aspects, black gloomy one and white bright one, too. The gloomy side is that they are used in some jobs that human should do like flying planes and driving trains . As for the bright, computers have made typical transition in education by make it much faster and available for the whole people wherever they are.

hey simon
my exam is in next month nd I need 7 bands in all modules , can u please help me in reading part , how can I improve it.

Hai Simon

Its awesome to learn from your essays but I have one question. Every time when I put up my pen to begin my essay I am always struck about how should I start my essay ?

Can you please help me to solve this issue that I am lacking behind.

hi simon, how do i improve from a band 6 to 7 and above? and how can i write a "free-flowing" essay?

Hi Simon, could you please check my essay? i am struggling to get band 8 in writing. i shall be really grateful, if you could check my work.

"Nowadays animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Some people argue that these experiments should be banned because it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer, while others are in favour of them because of their benefits to humanity.
Discuss both views and give your own opinion"

Trials on animals in laboratories is an agonising fact, however I oppose the use of animals for experiments, yet I admit that mankind is dependent on animal testing for better medical benefits for current and future generations.

To begin with, I believe that human activities have made the Mother Nature a matter of utter disparages, there are million species on this planet, yet human is considered the superior of all. This is of its intellectual ability to dominate other species for its own benefit. Testing animals in not only morally wrong but it also shows the lack of empathy. Brutal experiments are carried out on animal’s every day for the advancement of medical science. Furthermore, these experiments are often performed without any anaesthesia, which puts the innocent animals into the ultimate agony. They are often forcibly made sick in order to check the effectiveness of the drugs. This is unethical and puts a stigma on human race, therefore should be stopped. Otherwise the day would come, when the paucity of other species will haunt mankind.

On the other side, I admit that currently there is no substitute for animals and if tested on humans, it can create menace to life. Science has saved billions of lives by the advancement in medicines. Yet many are waiting for the new drugs to cure their illness, for instance: Cancer and AIDS. Thus the current society is greatly dependent on animal testing.

After looking at both points, it is foreseeable that animal testing would continue for decades to come until the pragmatic measure to replace them is discovered. Hence I suggest that the use of animals for testing should be limited to improve the public health and preventive medicine only and must be banned in other areas like: clothing/Manchester/accessories businesses

hey Simon
I have gotten 9 bands in both reading and listening(academic).I was abl o manage an 8. in speaking however my writing held me back yet gain as I could achieve only 7 in it.I followed exactly your methodology as far as I think.

Any points that you shall recommend me to emphasize upon?Also any writing book that you could specify to have that 8 in my bucket?

Many thanks

1) Could you explaing the difference between "cohesion" and "coherence"? (at level 8)
2) Could you explaing the difference between "frequent error-free sentences" and "the majority of sentences are error-free"? Do that mean 90% or 51%

How to get 9 bands in writing

I don't make any grammar mistake but my ideas are always simple can I get 9 bands in writing and I m a g t candidate

Hi Simon,

Thank you for the quite informative website you made. I have learned a lot so far.

I get one question about the first main paragraph. I think for this paragraph you are trying to demonstrate why we need to help communities and people who are in the same countries. However ,the example you give is more like to demonstrate that how to help people in our own countries or there are variety of ways to help people.

Is that a good example? Thank you for response! Have a nice day!

Hi Simon,
I would like to know what it takes to change an 8 or 8.5 to 9? That is to say, what makes the examiner to decide that a writing deserves 8.5 or 9?

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