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April 27, 2011


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Hi Simon,
Thanks for ur blog,which is really helpful.
Im gonna take 5.12 test
wish me big luck la.

I have a question about the suicide rate. Is it the truth that there is correlation between gun and suit side rate? I mean during exam, can I make up some 'research results' , even they are not back by any evident?

Hi Naki,

Nobody will check the accuracy of your ideas, so you can make things up if you want. I think I found the information about the suicide rate on Wikipedia, so it may or may not be true. However, it's good language so it doesn't really matter.

Good luck on 5.12!

Hi, Simon.
can you write a paragraph about the advantages of consumerism. I have your ebook, but i find it difficult for me to link the ideas in your ebooks about this topic.

Hi Simon,
If the question asks u strictly
is it a positive or negative development ?
for example..due to computers,people started working from home and children can study at homes..... is it a positive or negative development?
can i write both sides....of view?and conclude that up to a certain extent...?a little confusion about intro too...
i will appreciate ur kind help...thanks a lot,sir.

Carrying a gun is crucial in controlling violent societies but it has many drawbacks in terms of danger, availability and accidents. Some society have accessibility to weapon tools either legally or illegally therefore, carrying weapon by police is essential to protect other people who do not carry guns. Nevertheless, it is dangerous to have guns; the reason is that people might use it illogically. For example., Being threatened by police guns might contribute to using guns by people to defend upon themselves, killed and injured causalities are the outcome of this attitude.

Hi Cao,

I'll try to do a paragraph about that soon.


Hi Ana,

Yes, you can mention both sides. Just make you answer clear (that you think there are both positives and negatives) in the introduction as well as in the conclusion.


Good paragraph Sulaiman.

There are one or two mistakes e.g. the use of "therefore".

Although possessing gun could be dangerous, however there are some advantages too. In some countries people are allowed to own firearms with license. They can use the guns as self defence and protect themselves not only from human but also from wild animals. This inturns will deter the crime rate. Further more some poeple own armaments as a passion and hobby so it is not justfied that gun are only used for committing crimes.

I found some spelling mistakes. like in turns, people, justified and guns. I need to proof read whatever I write next time.
Thanks Simon for such a wonderful platform to practice.

Hi Jams,

Well done for checking and finding your own mistakes! Also, try to avoid using 'although' and 'however' in the same sentence.

Keep up the good work!

Hi Simon,
Thanks for your advice. cheers

Hi, Simon
I have a suggestion and a favor to ask of you. Is it possible for you to help us to interpret some questions both from the speaking module and from the writing module?
Coz I have found that for us who study English as a second language, sometimes it is difficult to interpret the IELTS writing and speaking questions. For example, in my culture, if I am asked to describe a successful person, I might describe my father who is successful because he has a happy family and a reasonable career, which is, as far as I know, not what the question is intended to ask. Also, in the writing module, the following question confuses me for a long time.
QUESTION1:In some countries, small town-centre shops are out of business because people are driving to large out-of-town stores. As a result, people without cars have limited access to shops, so more and more people buy cars. Do you think advantages of this development outweigh disadvantages?
I do not know what the development is and what I should focus on.

Some people have prejudice about international travel. What are the causes and how can they become more open-minded about international tourism?
What prejudice do people have? They look down upon tourism?

Thank you...

Hi Adverb. Good questions!

1. I think your answer about your father is fine if you explain that you consider happiness and family to be parts of what it means to be successful.

2. Yes, it's a bit confusing. I think you have to take 'the development' to mean the whole situation i.e. the large shopping centres are affecting the numbers of cars and drivers. The problem is that this question isn't written well - I think someone has remembered it wrongly, or it comes from a source that isn't an official IELTS source. Questions in the real exam are always much clearer.

3. This question also seems to come from an unofficial source - I can't imagine Cambridge writing "people have prejudice about international travel". Anyway, I think the question just wants you to give the reasons why some people don't like the idea of going abroad.

Just to summarise, I think the reason why many questions seem hard to interpret is that they are badly written (because a student remembered them wrongly, or someone invented them). "Real" IELTS questions are always easier to interpret.

Hi Simon,

I wrote the paragraph based on your ideas(didn't look at your sample paragraph):

There are a number of reasons why the ownership of guns should be controlled. The first one is that owning guns usually leads to a high risk of accidents, and it also poses great danger to children if they have access to guns. Another cause is that there will probably be more violent crimes because more criminals will use guns. And to tackle this problem, police will also need guns and there will be a lot of gun battles between criminals and police. The third reason that should not be overlooked is the higher suicide rates caused by owing guns. All in all, it is needless to say that guns create violent societies and they definitely should be under control.

My pattern in this paragraph is: Topic sentence + 3 reasons + last sentence refer back to the TS(All in all, it is needless to say that guns create violent societies and they definitely should be under control)

What do you think about this paragraph? After reading your blog, I tried to use simple words to express ideas and pay more attention to the paragraph structure and real ideas.

Albert, your paragraph looks good to me!

Simon said he can't answer comments individually any more: http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2012/02/message-from-simon-about-comments.html

Hi Marc, thanks. Do you think which band score my paragraph can get?

Hi Simon´╝îthank you for sharing so such useful information. I have learnt a lot from this website.

I have some confusion about this paragraph: In my opionion, the structure of this paraparaph is topic sentence+ 3 reasons + conclusion. However, I think the conclusion (All in all, gun control advocates believe that guns create violent societies with high murder rates) is only closely related to reason no.2(They also argue that the number of violent crimes... ), but not so closely to reason no.1(accidents with guns),or reason no.3(suicide rates), beacause accidents and suicide are not murder. Is it better if we just say 'All in all, gun control advocates believe that guns create violent societies'?

Hi ,
What do you think is a better line in making a conclusion?

1)All in all, it is needless to say that guns create violent societies and they definitely should be under control)

2)In conclusion, i am convinced that owning a gun takes a greater responsibility in the society,and it it should definitely be controlled.

hi. ple help me for test is 25/10/2014. anybody send me ans who they gave exam in 18 oct

Hi Simon,
The following writing ielts test is one of the real exams in Asia.
"In some countries, small town-centre shops are going out of business because people tend to drive to large out-of-town stores. As a result, people without cars have limited access to out-of town stores, and it may result in an increase in the use of cars. Do you think the disadvantages of this change outweigh its advantages?"
But it makes me and candidates confused.
I could interpret the meaning of "this change".
I still dont know this change includes the increasing number of car use or closing small town-centre shops.
Looking forward to hearing you.
Thank you a lot.

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