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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


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Hi Simon
I am facing the same problem and now after following your advice and video courses I feel a little hope that maybe this time I might be able to achieve a band 7 in writing. I scored 6.5 previously. I am giving an IELTS attempt on 29th July.

I have a few questions: that when giving IELTS, are we allowed to make rough notes for writing task?
Should we make them at the start of the page or on an extra sheet?
Will it alter our band score in any way (positive or negative)?

Hi, Simon!
Can you give advice for the speaking test??( From band 6 or 6.5 to 7 )

Dear Simon,

Wondering should we put 1 whole line space between the paragraphs?

And if we simply start the nest paragraph from the next line,would we being penalized?

I had a nasty experience which I left 1 line space between them but I ran out of my paper and having to wait for the extra pages to arrive as well as wasting the time filling my info on the paper!

Could you please clarify that?

Thanks for your consideration and looking forward to hearing from you.

Simon Could you please give the similar advice for Speaking test, students like me do get stuck at 6.5. I have ur advice in my mind about part 3 in speaking. ANSWER EXPLAIN EXAMPLE. In some questions, u just don't give any example. Does following this pattern in part 3 guarantee an additional 0.5 score.

If the problem is with LANGUAGE RELATED HESITATION how to solve or overcome this in order to get the required score.

I will much appreciate ur advice.

Dear Simon/SJM,

Does "Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?" type questions belong to which question type? Opinion, discussion + opinion or discussion.

Thank you


It's a good idea to leave a line between paragraphs in your writing. It helps the examiner quickly see your paragraphs. You are not penalised if you don't, but anything that helps the examiner helps you.


If you have read Simon's blog, then you know the importance of planning in both writing tasks, so yes, you should make notes. Make it on a separate piece of paper. The examiners don't see your planning.


I personally don't categorise essay questions in this way, but Simon does and it is not a bad idea. From an examiner's point of view, you just need to give your opinion and support it.

Hi, Simon

I got a 5.5 writing test last time. I am thinking my problem was off the topic even though my vocabulary, coherence and grammar was not that bad. Actually I think it was good. Even though I was good at in 3 sections, do you think off topic could dramatically affect my score?

Cuz I thought I could get at least 6 and then I realized that my topic wasn't relevant.

Hi Simon,
Thank you very much for your excellent blog! I am very happy that I was able to find it. When I was preparing for my IELTS exam, I did not know the right strategy about writing section. I can say that I did read something about it, but when I tried to write an essay I felt that I had problems because of not knowing how it must be structured. I printed all information that was given on your blog in sections IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2. Then, when I was reading it I was underlining all useful information for me in order to cut it out and paste it in my notebook. I think it helped me to understand the structure and the strategy of writing section. I can say that I wrote maybe 5 essays for Task 1 for practice and I did not write any for Task 2))because I did not have time to do it. I decided that I had just time for reading and analyzing your ideas. I was only reading, analyzing the types of essays and their structure. I kept in mind all useful words, phrases and so on.I am absolutely sure that the understanding of types essays, their structure helped me a lot and without almost any experience in writing I got 6. I can say that I was afraid of not writing my essays, but when I saw them I immediately understood their types and the plan came into my mind. I exactly knew how they must be written without any hesitation. It is a pity, that I did not find your blog before, and then I would able to have more time to practice my essays. My overall score is 6.5 (academic) and it is the result that I need it. It was my first attempt in taking IELTS exam and I think I did it with flying colours. Thank you very much for your help and job. I recommend everybody to use your blog for preparation.
Best greetings,
Tanika from Belarus

@ sun jung YOON

25% of the writing score is based on Task Achievement/Response - which is very much about staying on topic.

Study the assessment criteria here:


Notice exactly what the difference beteen band 6 and band 9 is !

Hi Simon
Thank you for your valuable lessons. I have a question about words repeatation.how many times and in how can we repeat a word in a paragraph??

@SJM thankyou for your input.

And yes i have been following simon and have realized that planning is indeed important and essential to get good bands.

I actually wanted to ask that *should i write my plan on a rough sheet or the given answer sheet*

i think i know the answer. I just wanted to be sure that i have got it right :)

Thankyou :)

Dear SJM,

Thank you very much for your advises.

Is it true that "would" and "could" must not be used, as it means that an argument is not sure using those words?

That's what is being taught here in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu, where there is this one actual examiner from the BritishCouncil, in one of her writing and speaking workshops.

Please enlighten me.

I too have this problem. In my recent result the writing score is 6.5 and all others above 7. Hope I could improve my writing

hi simon
i have a problem in essay structure
what i can do to improve this

Dear Simon, but I heard that according to new rules it's not enough to improve only 3 skills. I mean that receiving 7677 for the part 2 couldn't help you to get 7 as a final band.

Hi Simon please tell me how can I achieved 6 bands overall I am too much worried bczz my exam is on 26th April soo plzz help me....

very good

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