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Thursday, April 06, 2017


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Hi Simon,

I have a question about listening test. In my home, I am studying with Cambridge tests. I'm stuck between 26 to 29 correct answers.. In the real exam i should correct answers at least 30. What should i do? Please give me some tips, it is really important for me

Is starting the overview with "The most striking feature is ... " too conversational?

Thank you so much, Teacher Simon! They are all so detailed and seem to fit all of your Task 1 essays that I have learnt. <3 <3 ^.^ ^.^

Sometimes, when I am really stuc and cannot decide on what overall/ specific details to write, I often ask myself if I were a boss listening to a report, what would interest me most and what I would want to hear about it^.^

hi dear Simon,
i got my ielts result today. i scored l7.5,r7,w7,s 6.5.i just want your suggestion,is it possible to get one band increase score after rechecking .i will be happy if you give me some advice regarding it.


Analyse your mistakes very carefully, and keep practising! That's the only way to improve.



You can write that - it's fine.


I like your 'boss' suggestion Anh!



I assume you're hoping to get 7.5 instead of 6.5 in speaking. This is not impossible, but the chances of getting a whole band increase are obviously not as high as getting a half band increase. It's a gamble, but I wish you luck if you go for it!

Teacher Simon, do examiners have an official list of overview features/ detailed features, based on which they score candidates in Writing Task 1, if candidates don't mention some points in the list, they will lose point?

Hi Simon,
Could you please explain more about the word "rate" in Task1 ?

I get confused when you used "marriage rate" and " divorce rate" in the sample answer for the "number of marriages and divorces in the USA 1970-2000".

I thought we could not use these phrases here since the chart only shows the number of marriages/ divorces, but we have no idea wheather the total population of each year was the same .

I would really appreciate it if you could help me with this. Thank you.


Hi Anh,

No, examiners don't have anything like that. They simply read what you have written and decide how well you have summarised the information. If you've written 2 sentences that accurately summarise 2 main points, you'll be fine.


Hi Sunggie,

You're right that "rate" doesn't usually mean the same as "number". However, the phrases "marriage rate" and "divorce rate" are so commonly used that they basically do mean "number of marriages" and "number of divorces". Although technically "marriage rate" means "number of marriages per x amount of people", I think we tend to assume that the population size is roughly the same.

Hi Simon.

I have a quick question.
You sometimes write like "The next most popular functions were text messaging (73%) and taking photos (66%)".
Does this mean we should write the numbers in parentheses or you use the numbers for reference?

Thank you so much, Teacher Simon!

Hi Hiro,

It is acceptable to put numbers in parentheses like that, but I wouldn't do it more than once i.e. in one sentence only. I sometimes do this for a bit of variation, but really it's better to describe numbers in the normal way - as a proper part of the sentence.

Hi, Simon
I have a question.
In chart or graph, we usually have numbers. should I show the specific numbers or make comparisons between these numbers?
For example, A is 15% in 2000 and then increasing to 30% in 2010.
Which way below is better?
1, A experienced a significant rise, increasing from 15% in 2000 to 30% in 2010.
2, A in 2010 was two time higher than A in 2000 at 30%.

Thank you so much !!!

Strongly recommend everyone to watch all the video courses from Simon. My tutor said my writing improved a lot.

Here, thank you teacher Simon. I love your great 'Mathod', which I believe is the real teaching in IELTs that I've ever got.

Hi Simon,I have a question about overview. I was informed by my review center that I were to take my ielts exam through IDP, I should put my overview after the introduction but if I were to take it through BC I should put my overview after my body paragraph. Personally I like to write it after the introduction. Does it actually affect the scoring?


That's very strange advice. IELTS is a partnership between the British Council, IPD and Cambridge University. All examiners are trained in the same way and can work in any test centre.

So, there is only one way of marking and scoring, and it includes nothing about WHERE the overview should go. You can put it after the introduction or at the end - wherever you prefer - and it doesn't matter where you take the test.

Thank you Simon! It is very helpful!

Please you have practice test for writing to join .

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