« IELTS Writing Task 2: 'foreign tourists' essay | Main | IELTS Speaking: full test »

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hi Simon! I am from Azerbaijan. I want to buy your ebook, but I have a problem..I wonder if I could pay in euros or dollars?
Thanks in advance!

Hi Elnura,

Just choose Azerbaijan from the list of countries on the payment page (after clicking on the "pay with debit or credit card" link). It will then convert the price into your currency.

Hi Simon,

Do I need to do some calculations in Task 1 writing?

Do you think the below answer is a band 9?



Model Answer, Cambridge Practice IELTS Tests, Book 9, Test 3, Task 1

The population charts for Italy and Yemen in 2000 and 2050 show that the average age of the population in both countries is expected to increase over this period as a result of two factors; a decrease in the proportion of people aged under 15, and the natural aging of the largest age groups existing in 2000. However, while the under 15 age group will likely decrease by about 13% in Yemen and by a relatively insignificant 3% in Italy, it is the natural aging of the largest age groups in 2000 that is expected to be the main contributor to the increase in the average age of both populations.

That is, most of the 50.1% under 15 age group in Yemen in 2000 is expected to become the largest group in that country fifty years later, a 53.7% 15-59 age group. Similarly, the very large Italian 61.6% 15-59 group in 2000 is expected to become the 42.3% over-60 age group in Italy in 2050, a substantial increase from the 24.1% that this oldest age group represented in 2000. Nevertheless, the 15-59 age group in Italy is projected to still be slightly bigger, at 46.2%, than the elderly group.

Noticeably, this projected aging of the Italian 15-59 age group is not expected to be replicated among the large 46.3% of the Yemeni population aged 15 to 59 in 2000, since it is estimated that the over-60 group in Yemen will be only 5.7% of the population in 2050, a relatively small increase from the 2000 figure of 3.6% for this group.

Word count = 261



This is another Task 1 that I think would not be easy to answer at the Band 9 level in 20 minutes. I spent some time polishing this answer but a slightly less polished answer than this would probably still get a 9.

Not everyone would think in terms of the average age of the population but I found it a convenient "thread" with which to connect both countries here, something they have in common. This kind of thinking comes with experience in reading statistical reports and/or doing statistical analyses – reports about population statistics invariably mention the average age of the population. In fact, most sets of statistics mention an average. IELTS Academic Task 1 essays are partially designed to have a mathematical or technical theme to give a chance to the many engineering and science students who do the test, as a balance to the slight advantage that the humanities students might have in Task 2.

I think it is ridiculous to state projected population percentages in 2050 in tenths of a percentage. But since those figures are given, it does not hurt to use them. The alternative is to write "about" all the time if you round off the figures, which would be tedious to read. If you habitually don't write "about" or "approximately" in an essay, then some examiners might think that, strictly speaking, such rounded figures are inaccurate because "13%" means "13.0%". On the other hand, some other examiners might say that "13%" already means, "about 13%" because no decimal point is used.

Hi Gary,

You don't need to do any calculations to get a band 9 - you just need to describe and compare the information well.

I'm afraid I don't give scores or feedback here on the blog - if I did, I'd receive hundreds of essays each week. It would be unfair if I even hinted at a score to one person and not to everyone else.

My one suggestion would be to have a look through my sample answers here on the site. Try to organise your task 1 reports according to the paragraph structure that I use in my lessons.

hi, simon, do we have to buy all 9 cambridge books?

You don't have to Jennifer, but the more practice you do the better. Here in the UK, most libraries have the Cambridge IELTS books - if this isn't the case in your country, maybe you can get together with some other students and buy one book each (then swap them).

Hi Simon, could you please give me an example in how to use "trends in" in a sentence?

Hi Simon,

Thanks a lot
can I write: over this span of 100 years = between the time period of 1900 and 2000 ?

tomorrow is my test of reading writing and listening..i am much worried

any last minute suggestions ?

Thanx from Pakistan

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment