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January 20, 2012


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Hi ,

You are absolutely correct, but I have a question that how we could get the list of "topic specific" vocabularies. Because of I tried on the internet, but could not find list IELTS general exam. Therefore, could you please share list of vocabularies?.

I hope it will help to many students.

Thank you

The two linking phrases given by the student are formal in my eyes, and are not used in conversational speeches that often, I suppose. They are only used in academic writing or very formal speeches, like a speech made by a president who takes office in an inauguration. Does Simon have comments in this regard as an examiner?

Hi dear Simon,
Thank you very much fore your useful daily work,I found it very useful,because all our questions can be answered here.

I have got two questions regarding the lenght of a sentance either in task 1 or task2.

1- How many words would be better?
2-How we can count them?
For example, a positive working environment,enthusiastic colleagues and an inpirational boss can make working life much more satisfying regardlesss of the profession.
Is it one sentance? or two? I mean after cama(,) it is another sentance?

hm...thank you Mr. Simon! Your answer has clarified one of the vital aspects of Speaking Module for me. Now I guess I should focus on "topic specific vocabulary" as you proposed rather than stressing on such things!
And do you have any suggestions on how to buil such a "topic-specific vocabulary" for myself? Any Ideas? With regard to this, I found some IELTS Sudentbooks and Workbooks very useful, they contain a good range of topic-specific vocabularies.

oh, I just now found the answer regarding the question I asked in here in my previous comment...here it was:
Thanks once again :)

Hi Raveen,

Unfortunately that list doesn't exist as far as I know. The only thing you can do is go through my lessons (and any other good lessons that you have) and underline the good words and phrases.

Note: It's better to learn vocabulary in context rather than in a list, so the best way to improve is by reading a lot.


Hi MT,

I agree with you.


Hi Nafiseh,

There are no rules about the length of a sentence, but I tend to write about 5 sentences in a main paragraph for task 2, and maybe 3 sentences in each main paragraph for task 1. Have a look through my lessons, and analyse my example essays.

A new sentences begins after a full stop, not after a comma.


No problem Kaladze. I'm glad you found this useful.

Dear Simon,

thank you, I will do it.

I hope this helps. taken from help4ielts.com

Don’t memorize standard phrases.

Are you memorising phrases like “I’m sorry but I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat that please?” or “This is a very interesting issue which everyone has an opinion about nowadays.” Or “In my personal opinion I would have to say that it depends on your point of view.”? If you are, then it’s important that you stop. You are not just wasting your time. Examiners think that memorized expressions and phrases show that you have a limited vocabulary. If you use phrases which they think you have pre-learned, this will bring down your grade. How do they know? Well, despite what you may have been told, native speakers and strong IELTS candidates don’t use these phrases. They sound unnatural. Answer the question simply and directly. Spend the time practicing speaking instead.

Thanks Christina. I agree completely!

Hi Simon
I missed your lessons really,I am sooooooooooo happy. I got 7 and now I am studyng at American University.I can not describe my feeelings and also the way how I thankful to you. 100000000000000 time thankssssssssss

Congratulations Anahit! I'm happy my lessons helped. Good luck at university.

Hi Simon

What can I do if I really get a topic which I don't know or I never experience it before(in Part2)? For example, a football player/a businessman that I admire or a country that I've visited or describe a garden that you like the most. Any suggestions?
Because it is impossible to do research for everything that I don't know or even things that I never thought I din't know. So how?

Hi En,

They won't ask you very specific questions like 'describe a football player'. Instead the question would be 'describe a sportsperson', so you could talk about any sport.

You just need to try your best if you don't know much about the question topic. For example, for the businessman topic you could choose any company that you know about and say that you admire it's boss (even if you don't really know who he/she is).

There's no easy solution, you just need to try your best.

Christina wrote: "Well, despite what you may have been told, native speakers and strong IELTS candidates don’t use these phrases. They sound unnatural. Answer the question simply and directly. Spend the time practicing speaking instead."
Today I checked a book for Chinese students. The author of the book wrote opposite argument, he thinks examiners give extra points for 'colorful' answer.

I find this advice to be true. I have taken the IELTS twice, and I never memorised any phrases. All of my answers were based on personal beliefs, opinions, preferences and experiences. I just let the conversation flow naturally, and I remember making up some random things that occurred to me when I was unsure about a question. I got 8 in Speaking for both times.

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