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Friday, November 08, 2013


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Hi Simon! I read a lot from your blog and its very useful. Thank you for sharing this to IELTS exam test takers. I just want to ask when you were an examiner, do you base your Speaking questions with the profession, status, or degree of the test taker? Or just a random pick of questions? I'm just curious. anyway, Thank you very much. God bless. :)

Dear All,

Not sure if my description is good enough for band 9, but I believe it is good for at least band 7. Here it is again in case you haven't read it:

Let me talk about my plans for this upcoming Christmas holiday.

Just a few weeks ago, my friend in Argentina contacted me and told me that he and his family are planning to visit the San Francisco Bay Area during the holidays. Since he is one of my best childhood friends and I've been living in the area for several years, I didn't hesitate and offered to be their tour guide.

They plan to stay here for only a week, and my plan is to drive my SUV and take them to some of the most popular tourist spots within the city of San Francisco, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and the Coit Tower. I'm also thinking to spend a day to tour some of the most famous wineries in the Napa Valley. And if they are up for longer drives, I'm also willing to take them to Lake Tahoe and the Yosemite National Park.

I've always been good at making travel arrangements. As soon as my friend can confirm their dates, I will start doing research on hotels and restaurants, and try to come up with a detailed itinerary so that they can know what to expect during their stay.

Oh, since they will be here during the winter, which tends to be rainy and snowy, I will also have to constantly check on the weather forecast and make changes if necessary. The point is to be safe throughout the entire trip and find alternatives if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Hi simon,

I need 6.5 at writing.I am writing two essay everyday but I cannot improve my writing.I usually get 6 or 5.5.Can you recommend some advice or something.I will take exams next week.

Hi everyone!

I got my results of Academic IELTS and got an overall of 8. I needed an overall of 7.5 but my personal goal was an 8:-)
Speaking 8
Listening 9
Reading and writing 7.5

Honestly, I was not expecting a 9 for my listening (either before or after exam), but I was expecting a higher score for the reading test (before taking the real test). I am a research assistant in a psychiatric and behavioral sciences research center. So, as a part of my job I just read and read and read academic texts every day. Also in Cambridge 9 I either had 1 or 2 mistakes on each reading test, and I normally finished the whole test in 50 minutes. But, the reading test of the exam was really difficult even though the topics were quite familiar for me. The first passage was about companies that care about the environment, which is a very typical topic of IELTS. The second one was about behaviors of chimpanzees (it talked about some research projects like the project of Jane Goodall in Tanzania that I was already familiar with that project through TED.com), and the third passage was about the relation between appearance of humans and their personality traits, which was again related to my field of work. But, the questions were really difficult. I answered over 10 questions with doubt. I also had to spend 20 minutes on each passage. So, I would say it was really more difficult than the Cambridge reading samples.
I have shared the questions of other modules in the “recent questions 8” section of the blog.

Dear Simon!

I should really thank you!

I actually did not take any class to prepare myself for this exam. I just used almost all invaluable tips you share on your blog. Only eight days before the exam I started to panic for my writing skill. I could not arrange my ideas properly on task 2, and my task 1 essays were not satisfying as well. So, I felt like I had to do something! For task 1 I went through all your task 1 lessons. For task 2 I felt that I really needed your e-book. But I could not buy it. Because I am based in Iran and due to sanctions, online shopping is impossible for us. That’s why I asked my sister who lives abroad to buy me your book. Within 24 hours she sent me 4 pdf files that you had sent her and those files worked like highly effective anti-anxiety drugs for me:-) I felt like I had everything I needed for task 2.

So, thanks a lot again for all useful tips that you generously share with people on your blog as well as your e-book and those other useful files.
Wish you all the best:-)

So, here are my general suggestions to people who want to get a good score on this exam:

Keep in mind that learning a language properly is a time-consuming process. If your level of English is very low you need to consider a lot of time and practice to improve it. It does not happen just overnight and there is no secret path to take!
I got myself involved with this language since around 8 years ago. However, I started studying it since I was a child. But, I watched lots of TV series and movies in the past few years, which helped my listening and speaking skills. For instance, I am one of those freaks who has watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. over 3 times. However, IELTS has a particular structure that you need to learn it. So, I took 3 weeks off from work and just studied. I took Cambridge tests (5-9). I thought the rest of them were too old. I also used some other books that I can give you the names later. I also watched lots of TED talks about common IELTS topics like environment, media, marketing, etc in those 3 golden weeks!

Since I was alone during those 3 weeks of preparation for the exam and I had no one to practice speaking with, few days before the exam I tried recording my own voice for practicing part 2. It was really helpful! I could recognize my pitfalls my listening to my recorded voice. Two days before my speaking test I asked a friend of mine, who has got a 9 in his speaking test to ask me the recent IELTS speaking questions. We talked for around 2 hours and interestingly my part 2 question was among the topics we talked about!

But, just keep in mind to pay attention to the verb tenses that you are supposed to use in answering part two questions. I think I could get an 8.5 with more attention. I used a lot of past tense instead of present tense, while I was asked to describe some place.

For improving both reading and writing skills you need to READ a lot of academic texts. They do not need to be only about scientific stuff. For example, once by chance I found this website that has quite easy articles about everything:

You can also see how ordinary people discuss about hot topics on http://www.debate.org/

I strongly recommend you to get Simon’s e-book and also go through his free lessons on this amazing blog and do not forget to check out TED talks.

Simon, thanks again :-)

I forgot to thank Martin who shares some great speaking samples in here :-)

Hi Jen,

It's random - examiners don't really have time to read about each candidate's background. It's just a simple language test, so questions are not selected according to any particular criteria.


Thanks for sharing again Martin!


Hi Mert,

Maybe you could get some essays checked. A good teacher will be able to tell you where you're going wrong.



Hi Par,

Congratulations on getting such great scores! I'm really pleased that my site and ebook were all you needed!

Hi simon
I completed my speaking test yesterday in which i had a topic on picnic or outdoor meals. i answered all my questions but i was inclined to restaurant meals. is my answer relevant to the question.
pls clear my doubt..

I took the exam before two months and I was surprised of how much the reading was difficult just as "Par" described . all sections were relatively easy comparing with Reading ..I dont know if this is new trend or not .I have solved many previous exams ,all sections of these exam were of the same difficult as the real one except for the reading ...reading of the real exam was so far harder than the sample exams .....I wonder if anyone else found the same thing.


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