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Wednesday, December 07, 2016


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Thank you, teacher
You have made my mind clear about this topic that came to me so difficult beforehand.


I highlighted some key phrases here:
agree that enjoyment seems to be the priority during festival times, not agree that people have forgotten what these festivals mean.
In the UK, Christmas as a holiday, non-religious festivals: Bonfire Night - enjoyment is people's primary goal
disagree with the idea that the underlying meaning of such festivals has been forgotten: children learn in detail about the religious reasons, sing Christmas songs, perform nativity plays
In conclusion, although people mainly want to enjoy themselves during festivals, I believe that they are still aware of the reasons for these celebrations

treat them as opportunities to have fun

have certainly become times for celebration

people are most concerned with

look forward to

practise religion

People associate this occasion with

underlying meaning

perform nativity plays

passing knowledge of

on to the next generation

stories behind these occasions

Hi Simon,

Thank you for sharing Band 9 exemplary essays on your site. I find them very helpful as it gives me a general idea what they might look like :)

Hi sir,

I think that this essay is well written due to its strong arguments, specific examples and clear, organised format. The vocabulary is rich and there is no grammar errors, at least not that i am aware off.

Hoang and hakader,

It's good to see people making vocabulary lists from one of my essays!

I'll write my own list of "less common" phrases from the above essay, and I'll share it in this Sunday's blog lesson.



You're exactly right!

Hi simon if the question is like do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages
Do we need to present the ideas for both
Or if we support that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages,we can present the ideas of advantages in the whole essay and provide the conclusion ?


First of all, I have to say that this essay was well written with clear point, relevant vocabulary and outstanding structure. That is the reasons of its remarkable high score, a band 9.

About the vocabulary, I find various helpful words and phrases related to festivals such as original meaning, time for celebrations, occasion, religious content, nativity plays and so on.
About the structure, He used proper linking words and phrases. For example, on the other hand, in other words, however and in conclusion for starting, conveying and briefing his ideas. Moreover, examples for explaining further those ideas were also delivered smoothly by using "a good example", "similar behaviour" and "the same is true for".

Thank you for this helpful essay.

I think that the key areas for this writing task to have a bond score of 9 are as follows:

1.INTRODUCTION - The main topic was clearly presented through thesis statement and the same is true for the argument discussion.

2. BODY - There are TWO views that were presented. In the second paragraph, which is the first argument, the main topic sentence is introduced and followed up with an example and then a supporting sentence was made to further elaborate the example of the main topic sentence. This has similar behavior with the third paragraph, which presents the second argument. However, the style in presenting the argument was different. First, they introduce a main topic sentence and then a supporting sentence and finally a very good example. Notice that after giving the example, they provided another supporting sentence for the example.

3. CONCLUSION - They provided a clear statement on their stance in the introduction part of the essay.

a. Very rich in using an array of vocabulary.
b. Grammars and verb tenses are perfectly used.
c. Good use of linking words, prepositions, and subordinating conjunctions.


Hi Simon
It's my first time to leave message here.
I would like to say thank you because the essays you shared here finally help me to improve my writing from score 5.5 to 7.

After enrolling many cram schools, teachers usually ask us not to write the "balanced opinion" while facing the positive or negative questions.
Now I knew this suggestion is not completely true, the most important thing in the essay is your ideas.

Even though I didn't got the score I want this time, it's truly a great improvement for me.



Dear Simon,

Some say there's no difference between “to what extent do you agree/disagree” and “do you agree or disagree” questions. Is it true? I'm mildly amused why they need to use different wording if they're both the same!

Thanks in advance for your time.

No problem Carina. I'm glad my lessons are helping!



I don't treat those questions differently either. You can either agree, disagree, or partly agree for either of them.

Hi Simon,

Thank you for your helpfu essay!

May I have a question? May I change "Some people argue that" to "It is argued that" because I remember you mentioned from your video in the opinion essay we should't say "some people" or "most ppl say that", we just mention about our opinion. Could you pls help me to understand it more clearly? Thank you!

Dear Simon,
I have a question.You had used traditional and religous festival in UK to clarify your points
such as:
In UK primary schools, children learn in detail about the religious reasons for celebrating Christmas, Easter and a variety of festivals in other religions.

Since i'm not taking the exam in the UK. Do you think i could use my own culture for the example or the fact to add in the essay.
Thank you very much

Hi Simon,

In the introduction, why dont we use 'do not' to replace 'no longer'?

The word 'no longer' whether is academic usage or not?

hi simon thank u i just had treated this text and im trynig to re summary bu my own

Hi! I´m new member of website. Your writting is really excellent,the stutures are simple but good present.

dear Simon and friends,
please give me your comments. thanks for any help.
I did write my essay following almost balanced opinion, it this correct?
topic: It is more important for schoolchildren to learn about local history than world history. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Many people believe that teaching local history for schoolchildren is much more essential than world history. While I agree that it is vital for children to learn domestic history at school, I would argue that it is equally important for them to study both local and world history.
It is true that studying the national history is an indispensable part of school’s curriculum during children’s early education. First, having thorough insights into what happened in their countries develops their own patriotism. For example, children in Vietnam are taught about how their ancestors defended their land against outside intruders and reclaimed sovereignty. This would make those young children take pride in their origin and treasure the life they have. Also, when some students who have widen knowledge about local history go abroad, they could introduce the beauty in the cultures and traditions of their own countries to foreign people. As a result, the image of their countries would be significantly improved.
However, I believe that learning about world history shares equal importance just as local one. Firstly, acquiring knowledge about the world’s past events equips students with a more well-rounded perspective of life. Lessons about the World War or Feminism protest against women’s abuse and discrimination would help those learners enhance their understanding of various aspects of the world. Secondly, being taught about the other countries’ historical backgrounds would beneficial to young learners in their future career. Students who accumulate knowledge of this particular field at an early age would possess an attractive point to foreign enterprises, especially those who highly value company culture like Japan.
In conclusion, although learning domestic history is essential for schoolchildren, I believe local and international history have distinctively equal meanings to children.
(287 words)

Hi, Simon

One question popped into mind while writing this essay which is if it is wrong to use 'public holidays' or 'national holidays' for festivals.

Actually it seems a bit different in terms of the meaning but it also seems okay to use as they are all holidays.

Your answer will be appreciated very much :)

Good day Teacher Simon. Thanks for all your free lessons. It really help us a lot! I just like to inquire if you accept reviewing of ielts writing answer with band scores and we will just pay for it. thanks and God bless!

During festival days, most people are likely to enjoy themselves instead of understanding and remembering the history of these traditional or religious events, to some extent I agree with this allegation.

There might be two reasons behind the forgotten of meaning of festivals. First, people nowadays are too busy to taking time understanding what does it mean for a festival. For example, in China, people are now under great pressure to work hard for more money, while at the same time they have to take care of old parents and young children, therefore they hardly have time to learn the meaning of so many festivals. Second, people often take festivals as holiday or vacation period for relaxation, rather than searching for its history. In China, during long time festival, many people have been travelling around the country or even world.

On the other hand, there are signs that the meaning of some festivals is remembered well and spread widely. Meanwhile, people not only enjoy themselves but also spend time helping others. First, Chinese gradually realize how important our culture is and those festival are the best time to learn it. The meaning of Spring and Mid-Autumn Festival are even known to foreigner. Second, more and more people become volunteers during festivals. They have been sending aid and help to poor people, cleaning roads and protecting environment, etc.

In conclusion, I partly agree with the assertion that the meaning of traditional and religious festival is forgotten and people only enjoy themselves.

Hi Simon, i hope you are well.

Firstly, i want to say thank you to you. It really helps me a lot. Although i haven't taken my IELTS exam yet, i have a clear mind of what i should write in the task.

I have read some of your lessons and i noticed that you were from Manchester. I studied my year 1 in the University of Manchester for several month last year but due to some personal reasons i decide to change my major and university. I even feel pity for myself that i didn't take a lesson in your school when i was in Manchester.

Here i have a question:

You gave "partly agree" in this essay: agree with "people nowadays only want to enjoy themselves", and disagree with "Most people have forgotten the meaning behind traditional or religious festivals".

But in my opinion, i should say COMPLETELY DISAGREE to BOTH parts because of the word "ONLY". This word is different from the word "PRIORITY" in your introduction "enjoyment seems to be the priority during festival...". The word "ONLY" is like "BEST, MOST IMPORTANT, ALL people should...". Hope for your reply.

With best wishes

thanks Simon for your wonderful lessons,

I have written this introduction. I was wondering if you checked it.

In modern countries, the context of festivals is changing , as people want to take advantage from it to have fun. While I agree that they are good reasons for happiness, I believe that the original concepts of festivals should not be overlooked .

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