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Sunday, February 19, 2017


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Hi Simon

May I ask if we should include the factor A and B or just can use other random factors when we are writing for a task 2 like this:

Some people think that success comes from hard work and determination, while others think that there are more important factors such as A and B. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Really hope that you could reply to this.
Many thanks.


One of the biggest struggles that many IELTS candidates (including me) face is lack of ideas.

I remember our teacher sjm once said - "if you can’t think of anything, then are you certainly in trouble", and I am sure most of you must have realised Simon's continued emphasis on the importance of ideas as well.

Admittedly, it is fairly challenging to come up with relevant ideas and examples for the essay topic. However, you should be aware that nobody is born to be good at this. In fact, it depends heavily on the amount of exposure to the native language. This means you need to commit a huge amount of time on a regular basis to listening to, reading and using English to shape your ideas before you are able to brainstorm. Otherwise, it is almost inevitable to use your own language which is, in most cases, neither natural nor correct. (see the last comments by sjm and Simon http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2016/12/ielts-vocabulary-from-my-essay.html)

Simon's ebook is super in terms of helping you prepare for the writing test wisely. If you are in Australia, it is also a good idea to attend sjm's workshop on building topic specific vocabulary.


Hi James Z,

hope you are doing fine. Long time did not hear from you. can I ask your last IELTS score?

Hi James Z,

I agree with L's post. It's very good to see you back on the blog, even though you have now passed the exam and are really busy with your medical studies.
The thoughtful advice of a student who achieved IELTS success, after a long but victorious struggle, is very useful for all students who follow Simon's blog.
So, keep in touch with the blog from time to time whenever you have a spare moment.

Hi L,

Thank you for your comment. I scored an overall 8 with L and R 8.5, W and S 7.

Hi Pete,

It's always nice to hear from you, especially in the place where our friendship started. IELTS is a difficult exam for many reasons but I'm pleased that it can make a difference to my perception of study, life and different cultures. Thanks very much for your kind words. Take care of yourself and do keep in touch!

Hi L,

Can you tell us about how you get such high scores?

Share some piece of advice with us.

HI Simon,

To write examples in task 2, should we put a fake statistic or research data or just a general idea?
Some of online articles suggest to put some specific data and information resources as examples whereas others consider that will drop the score as they are not "academic" style. Can you please advise whether we should put any data (e.g percentage or a survey result) as our exmples in our essays? Thanks.

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