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January 17, 2018


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I only read several topics related to writing task 1( different charts) and writing task 2. I'm giving mock test thrice a week but I do not practise at home.

Is it really helpful???

These days it is easy to read and listen to English on the internet at home. One can also copy stuff onto an iPod and listen in the car, on the bus, train, and so on.
The more time you spend training your mind to work in English, the easier it will be for you to think in English in the exam.
It is like learning to play the sitar: make it part of your life and daily routine.

On your IELTS test day your mind will think in English for nearly three whole hours. It is no good if, come exam day, you are unprepared for this and exhausted. So your daily English fitness routine should ...

Thanks @Lolita for your kind advices.

I'm trying my best to get the best of IELTS. In our country Bangladesh it's hard to improve performance related to English. Even, I can't find any company to practice it. After all, my expectation is high.

God Bless you @Lolita

Hello Simon,

I’d like to ask you some advice.

First of all, thank you very much for being so helpful to many in preparing to their IELTS exam. Your teaching style is amazing; it makes much easier to understand and apply learnt techniques into a practice. I personally learned a lot from your video course, ebook and website altogether. So, thank you very much again.

At the same time I’d like to ask your advice re Wr 2. I usually end up with less words in my essay and get panic by the end of the test. I don’t have new ideas to develop my body paragraph and, basically, don’t know how to expand my essay. I’m afraid of losing marks for not writing 250 words.

My question is, if I don’t have time and feel like I didn’t write enough words shall I add a sentence to my introduction which I know will not give me an extra mark but at least will help me not to loose one?

I also was wondering if it is a good idea to start with writing Wr2 and then coming back to Wr1 since Wr2 is much more important and gives more scores?

Thank you in advance.


I want to ask " is there any alternative word for "respectively" ? "

Hi Simon,

Does it mean in the 'discuss both views" essay I shouldn't give our opinion in the introduction?

If I give our opinion in the introduction, will it lower my score?

Thanks, Nhan


The phrase "in that order" is very occasionally used instead of "respectively":


The normal word is "respectively" and this should be your first choice.



Perhaps you need to develop your response: Band 8 = "presents a well-developed response to the question with relevant, extended and
supported ideas". It is important NOT to "over-generalize". Also, make sure the supporting examples are tied into the point being made. For instance: "This shows/demonstrates that..".



Also, it is often worthwhile rewriting an essay or paragraph for practice: see the comments here for an example: http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2018/01/ielts-writing-task-1-easy-paraphrasing.html#comments


"A 'discussion' question requires you to write about both sides of the argument, and you should write a similar amount for each view. If the question also asks for your opinion, you don't need an extra paragraph. Just make it clear in the introduction and conclusion which of the two views you agree with."


Positive/negative essay example (note writer's own viewpoint/opinion in introduction/conclusion):


Sample discussion essay:


Extra comment by Examiner Mr sjm:
"You don't 'lose marks' for looking at both sides of an issue in an essay. All IELTS looks at is a clear opinion supported by evidence. If you 'partly agree' then it is logical to look at both sides of an issue and the essay will naturally become more of a discussion. If you agree more strongly with one side of an issue then the essay structure will reflect that. With 'discuss both sides' questions I advise people to give an opinion more towards the middle (not strongly on one side) because the essay structure is more balanced. A simple approach is to look at the merits of both sides and then favour one in your conclusion."

Band 7: "presents a clear position throughout the response".

Hello everybody!

I'm new here. And I've just found this sentence somewhere from this site:
"Unemployment rates could rise if there are two many immigrants".

As far as I know, it should be:
1. "Unemployment rates will rise if there are two many immigrants".
2. "Unemploymnet rates could rise if there were too many immigrants".

I'm a little confused right now. Can anyone explain this to me?

Thank you for your help!


Fruzi thank you very much)


Thank you very much! Your advices and links are very helpful.


Hello Simon,
Thank you for all of your guidance.

I took the test last month, and I got S-7, R-7.5, L-8. But I got only '6' in writing. I had not come across the website before taking the test though. I wish I had.

Would you please help me with some of my doubts as I am taking the test again on 10th Feb, 2018 and aiming to get 7 in writing also.

1. I make spelling mistakes, 1-3 in every essay. Would this reduce 0.5 - 1 band score?
2. Now, I am following 13 lines structure and it is perfect. But I am not able to use resources like though/although, in spite of/despite and so on. Would it affect my score?

Thanks a lot for creating this website!

Hello Mr. Simon ,
I had my exam two days ago and in writing task 2 there was this question :
Some people believe that its goverment responsibility to transport children to shool while others believe its parents responsibility. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
I had ideas and followed the steps you mentioned in your video course however I couldn’t find many paraphrasings for parents , children , transport and school . I felt like am repeating many words ! Also I had ideas that when parents drive their children it could be more safe and time spent with their children in the morning but I believe that government should be responsible because of the heavy traffics , parents timetable and pupils could aocialize more in the buses ! But the problem I didn’t know how to start my pragraphhs as well that i had to erase a lot while writing in pen does it reduce my marks ?
I would be glad if you can write for us a sample of essay about this topic .
Thanks a lot


None of those synonyms are really suitable. Perhaps "caregiver" instead of parents, or "offspring" instead of children, "drive" for transport, but school is just school.

What this points up is that it is not necessary to paraphrase ever single word in the question. Just do not copy a phrase of more than three words.

Sometimes repeating a key word can give better cohesion, but it is worth practicing referencing, and making use of gerunds, and simple connectors such as 'and' to avoid repetition.

Referencing means using words like "they", "this", "those", "it" to refer back. For example:
Most scientists now agree that global warming is caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions, but they do not always agree on the solutions to this problem.

More examples in Hue's task 1 submission in the comments here:

One good way to start a task 2 body paragraph is with a short sentence introducing the focus topic of the paragraph. "There are several options." "Armaments are the big bugbear."


One way to format your paragraph is to keep the same grammatical subject for each sentence whenever possible.

see Mojo's and Mr sjm's comments here:


Looking at the question you mention, there could be two contrasting paragraphs beginning:

Para 2: One view is that responsibility for transport to and from school lies with the government. They made education compulsory. They provide the school and teachers .... They should also ... They should pay.

Para 3: The opposite view is that parents are responsible. They .... They also .... They should pay.

Simple, repetitive, but clear and cohesive. Of course some variety should be added in.

Sir, One question.
If they are asking for your opinion in argument task then is it necessary to give conclusion below that ?

Because where i took the lessons they said insert conclusion below your opinion

Hello, simon! I'm so confused and really need you help! Thanks so much. some former examiners said that a 50% agree and 50% disagree structure never scores high coz it can make your point unclear and weak, is it true? Thank you again!


If your answer is "unclear and weak", you will get a lower score - that's true!

However, it is certainly possible to give a 'balanced' answer that is strong and clear. I've shared several balanced (or 'partly agree') answers in the lessons on this site, and my view is always extremely clear.

In other words, it all depends on how well you express your views. Make them clear and you'll be fine!

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