« IELTS Writing Task 2: from band 6.5 to band 7 | Main | IELTS Speaking Part 1: five simple rules »

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hi Simon,
Could you please answer my question?
Is it ok if I describe each school for each paragraph?
Thank you so much! Have a nice day!

Hi Simon,

In your answer, the areas of reading ability and handwriting are skipped. Could we do the same in the real test?

Hi Simon,

I have a question about 'unpaid work' essay

I don't know why you write this idea in your third paragraph. (parents, who would not want to be told how to raise their children.)

Is there any linkage between the raise of their children and unpaid work?

Hello Simon!
Thank you that you have taken into consideration this type of question. Now it is more clear. So we can skip some insignificant information and to group similarities like this if they are many: ...between 30 and 40 per cent... ( more datas in short expressions) or to list them like this: ...saw falls of 22%, 15%, 14% and 5%...


Don't list too many individual numbers, or you can be penalised for focusing on details rather than main features.


Simon is saying that forcing children to do unpaid work might upset parents because some parents might not want their children to experience unpaid work as part of their upbringing.


It is absolutely fine to describe each school in a separate paragraph. Just make sure you include some comparisons between the schools, especially in the second body paragraph.


If I had had more time, I would have mentioned the two categories that I missed. However, one of the skills that task 1 is testing is your ability to select what you will include in your answer, bearing in mind that the 20-minute time limit restricts you so much. In my answer above, I chose to write about the figures that changed, because these seemed more important.

Hi Simon,
I'm just wondering about the last paragraph, in the second sentence you wrote: "instructions fell by 24% in school A, and this school also saw falls of 22%, 15%, 14% and 5% ".Why did you see "fell and falls - the past and the present to describe the same thing?

Hello, is there any difference between using 'proportion of' and 'proportions of'?


Hello Sjm,
Thank you so much for your reply! Have a good day! :)


"fell" is the past simple tense of the verb, but "falls" is a plural noun, not a verb.

A fall = noun
Falls = plural noun



One is singular and one is plural. I think I used "proportions" when refering to more than one percentage.

Dear Simon,
As you said, "one of the skills that task 1 is testing is your ability to select what you will include in your answer" then which band score for task achievement in your essay above when you skipped two categories of the table?

thank you.

Hey Simon
in the first sentence of the overview you haven't said (higher proportions THAN SCHOOL B)
could you explain that please

hi simon,
you are really great

Hi Simon,
I have a question regarding to the numbers. Actually, I don't think they represent percentages, I think they are just exact numbers of students. What do you think?

I think it is percentage because it has been mentioned in title of the table "Percentage of children with different educational problems in two primary schools"

hi simon,
"stood between" or "stood at between"which one is more accurate?

Hi, could somebody please explain to me why in the sentence "In school B, however, the proportion of children who struggled with spelling and following instructions doubled, to 10% and 12% respectively" the word "proportion" is in a singular form instead of a plural form?

Many thanks!

You should read answer from Simon above. He explained clearly.

Hi Erin.Please read again "the proportion" from the Simom's task answer. It is written in plural, thatis "the proprortions' , notin singular "the proportion" as you misunderstand.And why he uses the plural he has explained clearly to Leo already.

Hi Rekhil Raj.According to Macmillan dictionary online 'stood between" has the sentence structure "stand someone between something",that means to prevent someone from gaining or achieving something. Ex: Only one person stood between her and the presidency.This means only one person stopped or prevented her from getting the presidency.
According to Oxford Advanced Learner dictionary and Macmillan dictionary online 'stood at" has the sentence pattern "stand at something" , that means to be or reach a particular level, amount, height, etc.Ex: Interest rates stand at 3%.- The world record then stood at 6.59 metres.- The total amount of money raised so far stands at over $3,000.- The index stood at between 500 and the upper 600s over the weekend, considered to be the moderate range.
Therefore, using "stood at" for IELTS writing task 1 is more correct than "stood between"

Sorry Raj! "stand between" has the sentence pattern "stand between someone and something" not "stand someone between something".

Thu, thank you for your answer.

However, I’m pretty sure in the last sentence of paragraph four, the word “proportion ” is in a singular form, and I guess that word is used to refer to both ”spelling” and “following instructions”. I don’t understand why that’s not “proportions” instead. Could you please help me with that question?

Many thanks.

Hi simon. Why is there no need to write a specific conclusion since we always say that a perfect essay skeleton should include Introduction, Body paragraph and Conclusion?


Have a look at this lesson:


Do you think that according to graph it should be like this....with referene to Simon answer
......Notably, the proportion of children who struggled to follow instructions and had concentration problems fell by 18% in school A, and this school also saw falls of 25%, 21% and 20% in the figures for children who had problems with spelling, verbal expression and listening.

Hi Simon, thank for your dedicated work and great effort

My concern about your third paragraph is that you only mentioned the year 2005 between two schools, but in your second one you said that there were differences in both years.

if we omit details of one year like that our scoring will be reduced?

thank you so much

Dear Simon,

''It is noticeable that school A had......... ''
Why after the ''that'' can use the past sentence, but the first start u use the ''is'' ?

thank u for if u have time to answer...


"It is noticeable that" is a phrase that we use to introduce what we are looking at NOW. Then we move into the past to describe the specific information.

Hi Simon,

Is it 'percent' or 'per cent' as you write 'per cent' and it leads to confusion?


According to my dictionary "per cent" is more normal in British English and "percent" is more normal in American English.

The chart demonstrates various problems faced by students in two different primary schools and compares their progress from the year 2005 to 2015.

The general impression imparted is that the School A students had more difficulty with speaking, reading, writing and listening skills in comparison to School B students. This trend persisted even in 2015. Of note, if individual progress is considered, little improvement is noted in both the schools even after 10 years except for the improvement in listening, comprehension and speaking skills of School A.

Looking closely into the chart, we know that in 2005 42, 40 and 35% of School A students were bothered by problems like following instructions, maintaining concentration in lessons and expressing their ideas, respectively. This constituted major proportion of the list. All of these three difficulties were also faced by School B students but to a lesser extent than School A, however, these were still the highest emerging concerns in School B pupils.

Furthermore, little Individual progress is observed in reading and handwriting skills in both School A and School B over 10 years. In terms of spelling abilities, percentage of difficulty dropped from 35% to 25% in School A students and there was reciprocal rise in difficulty trend from 5% to 10% in School B.

213 words

The table compares the proportion of children who encountered seven different educational problems in two secondary school in the years of 2005 and 2015.

The children in school A mainly suffered from following instructions and concentration in lessons (42% and 40% respectively in 2005); however, the percentage of both problems witnessed the same decline to 18% in 2015. Fewer pupils had difficulties in reading (only 22%) but it slightly increased by 1% in 2015. An average of 30% of pupils who struggled with other problems except handwriting, but there was an overall decrease in their proportion in 2015. It’s interesting to note that the proportion of handwriting kept the same level at 28% in both years.

School B, on the contrary, showed a completely different trend. More and more children in 2015 had problems in learning compared with those in 2005. The percentage of pupils with problems (spelling and following instructions) doubled over the surveyed period. Conversely, there was a slight rise of 1% in children who were bad at reading, listening and expressing ideas verbally. Nonetheless, the percentage of handwriting and concentration in lessons remained the same at 7% and 15% respectively.

Overall, it can be seen that children with educational problems in school A in the year of 2015 were more than school B.

The table illustrates the percentages of children in two primary schools in terms of facing seven categories educational problems in 2005 and 2015.
It’s clear that the figures of problem students in school A are far more than that of their counterparts in school B. Besides, the biggest change could be seen from the problem population in school A.
In 2005, school A had 35% and 28% of pupils who were struggling with listening difficulty handwriting respectively, which were approximately three times the percentages of population faced with same problems in school B for 11% and 7%. The most significant gap between the two schools is located at the problem with following instructions, with 42% of school A pupils compared with 6% of school B pupils.
From 2005 to 2015, the figure of population who could not concentrate on lessons and fail to follow instructions in school A decreased by 25% and 36%. By contrast, the students in school B had no big improvement in these problems. The ten years also witnessed the similar development in other categories of problems such as reading ability, handwriting, spelling, listening skills and Verbal expression of ideas in the two schools.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)