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Sunday, June 25, 2017


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I completely disagree with that claim. I was also struck with that impression initially. However, as I analyse those essays and try to adopt your writing style, I find it hard and sometimes frustrating to identify the right vocabulary that fits the context. I gradually came to realise that successfully enunciating myself while keeping the flow uninterrupted is a significantly strenuous and time-consuming task.

Hi Simon

Have been following your recent comments with interest.

Your essays seem fairly formal to me, in the sense that they mostly deal with the topic in a matter-of-fact, objective manner.

Of course, in teaching general English it is easy to use newspaper articles as they are topical and readily available, and one of the activities of daily life is to read a newspaper.

Resources in the type of semi-formal/neutral language useful for Task 2 are less easy to come by. There are, of course, model answers by examiner, but some of the other material littered around the internet is of questionable value - and it would be hard for a student to know which to trust. Not necessarily topical either.

The other style advice on the internet is equally confusing: I call it the "push/shove/propel" issue - which is "semi-formal/neutral" ? Hard to say without a context.

Whilst Wikipedia is often denigrated in academic circles as a source of information, it seems to me that its articles are often written in a style not far removed from what is required in IELTS; for example:-


Would you agree? Or could you suggest any other source of appropriate material in an appropriate style? As they say in music "if you don't listen to it, you can't play it".

Excellent site Simon; best I have found. Cheers

Hi Simon
As a learner, I have never found it easy to write such "easy essays" as you've been doing.
Firstly, about ideas: not everyone can explicit those logical and relevant ideas about topic of the task, let alone limit those ideas in the word limitation that suitable for writing a 40-minute-writingtask2.
Secondly, might someone finds it easy to understand your vocabulary that you use in your writing, but I think it's difficult to actively employ their vocabulary as effective and precise as you do. it's easy to understand when reading but not simple to use when writing.
Next, grammar. I always make mistake with grammar. Might everyone never confuse how to use prepositions, verbs, nouns... when composing their own writing?
The only thing I find it's easy in your essay and that's good for students and ielts taker like me is that you have clear and simple structure for a short essay: 4 paragraph, use firstly, secondly... without any complicated structure.
thank you.

I come from China, and I have seen too many ielts instructors there touting their long and hard essay style. Truly it may bring some newbies of ielts into sheer awe, but when you get some hang and then give it a serious look,these essays tend to feel like a hotchpotch of clumsy words,complex grammar and confusing ideas. Sadly, the long and hard writing style evolves from a heresay to an urban myth and finally to the norm that we all ieltsers should strive to follow.We are somehow brainwashed by that misinformation.
so, thank you dearly,Sir, you open a door to us of How a good ielts writing should be.

Hi Simon,
I'd like to share a recent ielts writing task2 question(6.24) in China:
Government funding for universities should only be used for scholarships for best students. And all the other funding should come from student fee and private organizations. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
I find this question hard to respond,specifically about the second part"all the other funding should come from student fee and private organizations".It is a bit confusing to me since the prompt seems to want us to discuss whether public funding should be earmarked for the best students or can be used for all students and beyond.
So how to deal with the "all the other funding should come from student fee and private organizations"part in an essay? a bit tricky!
Can you and all other guys please share some thoughts on this question.

The way you write is simply perfect! Works done professionally always seem simple!


Yes, you are absolutely correct. I do a lot of work in China, and I'm amazed at the 'Band 9' essays that are posted by Chinese IELTS institutions that are really at around the 7.5 level. They are often over 350 words and contain numerous grammatical and vocabulary errors.

Yes, that essay is a bit tricky because you have to address all parts: scholarships for talented students, student fees, and private funding.

I wrote a sample essay for that question and you can find it on our Weibo page. It will be posted on Wednesday 28 June.



If that link doesn't work, then search for our Wechat public account called:


Hi Simon,
Could you please give me the link of a website (I couldn'nt remember exactly when you recommended this website, but its name is something like UKstatistics...), which you have thought that it might be helpful for IELTS writing Task 1.
I am really looking forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks!

Hi Simon

i find it rather difficult to write easy essays... my ideas often come to me in complex forms and to translate them to easy and appropriate English sentences seems so hard..

can u recommend any exercises which will help me achieve desirable sentence format?

Thanks :


Here's the lesson in which I mention that site:


I have read your blog for a time.
You have a lot of great material here.
Thanks for all the help.

Thanks Caroline.

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