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Friday, July 21, 2017


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Hi Simon,

I have a question, in the listening test, if the answer is note-taking and I wrote note taking, is that a mistake. Also, if I wrote 5 - 12 and the answer is 5 to 12 am I wrong? In the 5 to 12 answer it was written write one word and/or number . Lastly, does capitalisation count?

1) Yes, I have my favorite numbers. The numbers are 6 and 20 which are my date of birth.

2) Yes, We have a special number which forbitten to use in hospital. The numbers are 4 or 42 which relating to the meaning of death in my country. It is interesting that there is no 4th floor and room 4 or 42 in hospital.

3) No, I am not good at remembering numbers. I used to remember all my friends phone numbers, but I don't remember them any more. I guess my brain really rely on a smart phone,that's why I don't need to memorize them.

4) I think the number that people have to memorize is PIN number includ password. We use internet daily basis, and the most of the sites have to login with password or PIN number.

Dear Simom/sjm

I always got 6 in writing but I need 6.5. How can I move from 6 to 6.5? I don't know what my problem is. I always use your 4-paragraph technique and I think that I fully addressed the question. Please give me some advice.

Thank you for the tips!


You answered your own question in your post. You clearly need to find out what your problems are, so you need to have your writing marked by an experienced IELTS teacher who can tell you why you are not achieving the scores you want. If you email Simon he can refer you to colleagues who can do this. Yes, it costs a little bit of money, but it is only a small amount compared to paying for tests, where you get no feedback.

When someone has identified your problems, then you target them with practice.

Dear sjm
Thank you very much for your advice. Could you please tell me the differences between band 6 and 6.5 in writing?

Thank you in advance for your answer.



The answer to that question is too long for a comment here. A 6.5 means you are getting more 7s in the marking criteria. Here are the criteria for Task 1 and Task 2. Read the 7 boxes and compare them to the 6 boxes.



Again, you MUST investigate what your problems are with an expert who looks at your writing in detail. If you do not do this, you will find it difficult to improve.

1. Yes, 29 is a special number to me. It is my date of birth and my common registration for exams. I am always lucky with this number.
2. Actually, l do not know any significant number in my country. While 4 is related to death in China and Korean, 666 is demon number in Europe, Viet Nam has no numbers which have special meaning in general.
3. I am really bad at learning by heart. I just save on my phone or take a quick note rather than memorising.
4. Absolutely yes. There are a number of necessary numbers needed to be memorised. For instances: ID, pin number and important dates like date of birth of family members and friends, wedding ceremony.

Questions I got today in my speaking test.

Part 3 Do u think classical literature is important in ur country.
What's the future of it in ur country.
Does it play a role in understanding of a culture of a society.

Part 2 details about a book u have read...

Part 1 regarding importance of story books in lives of children

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