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Wednesday, August 08, 2018


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Hello Simon,

Thank you for this essay. I have been really confused with so many tutors teaching different formats for agree/ disagree essay type.
Now, with this one, my tutor will say it is not fulfilling task achievement because you have not considered the other side. Not only him, Pauline Cullen has also mentioned the same point in "key to IELTS success" stating- if you do not discuss the other side you are heading to band 6 because some parts of the question are more fully covered than others.

I am confused and afraid of deciding what to use

Dear Simon,

This is an excellent essay, thanks!!!
Q) Is it possible to hit 7+ in Writing with using the mixture of less common vocabulary and so-called "band 5" words?

Thank you in advance!

Ielts group

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The following demonstrate that Simon's phrases are natural:







More natural phrases:









dear simon, according to this site (http://englishprofile.org/wordlists/text-inspector) your essay contains just two "band 9" (C2) words. nearly %88 of your words belove B2 level. can we get band 9 with these words really?




The British Council model answer gives a similar result.


The other issue with the CEFR text analysis is that it does not take collocations into account, and that the system defaults to the lowest-level-meaning for each individual word.

For example, the phrase "faced with a badly behaved child" is indeed made up of words below the B2 level, but the phrase as a whole only occurs once on Google books, and therefore is "less common".

Similarly, the individual words in "refused to attend the classes" may well be below B2, but the phrase in its entirety only comes up twice on Google books.

The marking criteria for IELTS lexical resource specifically mentions collocations and awareness of style. It is more about knowing when, where, and how to use a word or phrase in the right context than the "level" of the word.

->criteria ... mention

Some people think that modern technology is making people more sociable while others think it is making them less sociable. Discuss both views and give your opinion,

It is thought by some people that people are becoming more sociable because of modern technology, such as internet and artificial intelligence. However, others do not think in this way, instead, they argue that modern technology is the culprit which makes human beings less sociable. In my opinion, I accept that modern technology is positive to help people become more sociable.

The reason why people would think modern technology is a good matter, making people be more sociable, is that it significantly enlarges people’s friend circles and effectively help people find what social activities they want to join. For example, people can use various social media to easily contact their friends and any strangers and to join a wide range of social activities on the internet, which is useful to help people melt into the community. In addition, the development of artificial intelligence can also help people save time to find their interests online.

Despite the convenience the modern technology brings for people to be more social, there is still an obvious drawback which is the main reason why others think modern technology is detrimental to people’s social attribution. The thing is owing to increasing convenience for people’s lives in the virtual world of the internet, people would tend to cut or even give up taking part in activities in the physical world. For instance, nowadays, more and more Japanese adults abandon to finds love in the real world, instead, it is increasingly common for them to seek virtual partners on the internet.

In conclusion, while modern technology indeed makes some people move away from the physical world, there is no denying that it is beneficial to make humans melt into the society and become more sociable.

@he li

1) "It is thought by some people": this phrase simply does not come up on Google books. To me, it is best to get away from the wording of the question completely. For example, "there has been a range of different reactions to modern technology". Alternatively, something like: the impact of modern technology on social relationships is a moot point/an open question. Restating the question at length is not moving your argument forward, so why not get it over with quickly and shortly by just introducing the topic, rather than slavishly paraphrasing the question?


2) " In my opinion/ I accept that": one or the other; both together constitutes repetition.

3) -> modern technology is definitely helping people become more sociable. Or, eliminating "people": modern technology is a boon (or provided a boost) to social relationships.

4) First sentence of second paragraph is tortuous. Shorten to: Modern technology significantly enlarges one’s circle of friends.


5) "people melt into the community" -> become part of their community


6) The comment about AI needs more detail and development. At present it is left stranded and ineffective at the end of the paragraph.

7) Third paragraph: somewhat long-winded. Just get to the point. Something more like:

The downside to modern technology and social media is that it draws people's attention away from the real world around them, and into a virtual world, thereby cutting them off from real social relationships. It is hard to have a meaningful conversation with someone who is continually checking their phone and texting, or chatting on social media.

Hello sir,
My question is related to understanding the language as i can easily understand some of sentences but sometime i can't like complex sentences as well as some articals like ielts reading passages . what should i do? Either it takes time like its common for everyone or it just happend only with me. Sir,its my major concern please help me to reply my comment as you are great achiver and i want to become like you because you are one of my role model. Its humbel request clear my problem


Welcome to the "intermediate plateau": it is a place where you seem to be working hard but getting nowhere.


One way of looking at this is in terms of vocabulary. How many words and phrases can you learn in a day? In a week? In a year? How many do you need for IELTS?

Results will not come quickly, unless perhaps you are living in an English-speaking environment and using English 24/7. The more you can fill your head with English all day long, the "quicker" the results will be.

To some extent, speakers of West European languages such as French or Spanish have an easier time, as much English vocabulary is Latin- or French-based, and many basic words (and basic grammar) is Germanic, and therefore easier to remember.


When an essay asks if you agree or disagree, then you do not need to look at both sides.


IELTS essays are marked by people, and they have never heard of 'band 9' words. Your vocabulary score is determined mostly by how many errors you make (spelling, word formation, unnatural use of words) and this is far more important than how many 'impressive' words you use. In fact, most 'impressive' words are unnaturally used by candidates, and these constitute errors.

Read the instruction carefully. The question asks for YOUR opinion, not the views of anyone else.
So, write YOUR opinion. You may completely agree or disagree with the statement, or you may think that there are good and bad points about parenting lessons. Whatever you think, state your opinion.

Simon has said this in many blogs if you research them in the Archive section. This one is very relevant to resolve your confusion:


Now, look at this link:


Pauline Cullen writes a 'completely' (agree or disagree) task 2 example essay plan and answer in 'Key to IELTS success'. There is no discussion of 2 sides here.

Evaluate please!

It is argued that all parents should participate the childcare training course to bring up their children with good health in society. While from my perspective, I agree that all parents should learn about childcare, but it is not compulsory to attend the childcare training course for all parents.

Childcare training course is essential for teaching the parents to care of their children. Certainly, it can provide a comprehensive knowledge about their babies specially those who are new parents. In addition, trained parents can easily understand the need of their offspring in the critical situations i.e., the basic requirements of babies when growing up, the medical care in some cases and their proper feeding plan with a balanced diet. Therefore, parents must join a childcare training course for better parenting.

However, although childcare is indispensable in many societies, it is not possible to attend the childcare training course for all paternities due their busy job schedule with committed other responsibilities. Moreover, mothers and fathers are bound to adapt their cultural and religious limitations for caring their children in everyone has their own society. For instance, in Pakistan, there are about more than one and half million children are born annually. It means over 8,000,000 parents should take part in childcare training course on each year. This is impossible to manage and implement for stakeholders and government to launch a childcare course in the same manner as grandparent’s guide to new parents according to their traditions. Therefore, childcare courses are not practically conceivable to attend extensively for parents.

In conclusion, childcare is necessary for every parent for better parenting. However, joining childcare by training course might be more effective for raising children but due ancient traditional methods and restrictions it is not feasible for all parents.


Questions by PC, rüknettin and WMK have already been answered perfectly by Sunita, Mojo and my colleague Pete Walton (see comments above).

Thanks for your help guys!

Thank you @ Mojo for your efferts

@ Ameet

1) It is "participate in something. Some courses involve active participation in tutorials, group discussions, or group therapy, but for lectures "take a course" would seem more appropriate and is in general far more common. "Childcare training" to me suggests early childhood only, whereas the phrase "parenting skills" would cover middle and teenage years too, and again is much commoner.



Also note it would be "a" not "the", as there would be courses at various locations, and the course is at this stage of the essay is yet unspecified.

"bring up their children with good health" does not come up on Google books, but "raise healthy children" and "bring up healthy children" do.


-> take a parenting skills course in order to raise healthy children.


2) Either "While from my perspective" OR "I agree that", but not both.
(word order)-> it should not be compulsory for all parents to attend ...

3) "Childcare training course is essential", "parents must join a childcare training course ": these seems at odds with your position as stated in the introduction.

4) (word order)-> it is not possible for all parents to attend ...

5) "with committed other responsibilities" -> and other commitments.

6) "bound to" is used in spoken English -> it is inevitable.
-> Parenting skills may need to be adapted to stay within the bounds of prevailing culture and local religious guidance.

7) "about more than"

8) "on each year."
AT for times (and Easter,Christmas)
ON for days
IN for months, years
but NO preposition after: this,that,next,last,every,each

9) Full stop/period after "stakeholders". Next sentence: It would also not be feasible/viable for government to launch ... as a grandparents' traditional guide...

10) Ante-penultimate sentence -> Thus, compulsory parenting skills courses would be largely impractical and non-viable.

11) In conclusion, childcare training ...
Something more like:
In conclusion, childcare training is necessary for all parents, but this does not mean that formal courses should be made compulsory: there are other, more traditional, and more feasible options available, and better ways to meet this need.

12) Overall, given your position, the second paragraph on the need for parental training is somewhat redundant. Perhaps the body paragraphs should be about:
a) the impracticality of making courses compulsory
b) the effectiveness and adequacy of traditional (non-compulsory) training alternatives.


13) Task 2 allows you to draw upon your own experience, so writing about the situation in your own country is perfectly acceptable. My understanding is that in Pakistan, there are frontier areas where the government does not have effective control at present. Also, there is both a strong traditional and a strong religious element restricts government room to introduce change, so that 'parenting skills' courses would need to have support from particular quarters. Writing about this would be both relevant and more interesting.

element restricts

@ Ameet
-> element which restricts

It should be possible to write an essay using the material below. Of course, the detail has been culled and copied from internet sources which are not available in an exam. Whether it represents a true and fair view of the situation, I know not.

A) Parental training is not the answer:
"A UNICEF report on child mortality revealed Pakistan to have the worst new-born mortality rate. A baby born in Pakistan — the country with the worst newborn mortality rate — faced a one in 22 chance of death, while a newborn in Japan had only a one in 1,111 risk of dying.

More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths can be prevented, the report says, “with access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition.” But shortages of properly trained health workers and midwives are a major problem in poorer nations."

B) Parental training for prospective mothers is impractical in present-day society:

"Almost all religious groups often quote the Quran and advocate subordination of women in Pakistan. The Pakistani women of today do, however, enjoy a better status than the past. Even with these improvements, rampant domestic abuse and a high rate of child marriages and forced marriages still remain. Pakistan is currently one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

Despite the improvement in Pakistan's literacy rate since its independence, the educational status of Pakistani women is among the lowest in the world. The literacy rate for urban women is more than five times the rate for rural women: overall it is 45.8% for females, while for males it is 69.5%.

This feudal system leaves the under-powered, women in particular, in a very vulnerable position. The long-lived socio-cultural belief that women play a reproductive role within the confines of the home leads to the belief that educating women holds no value. Although the government declared that all children of the ages 5–16 can go to school, there are 7.261 million children out of school at the primary level in Pakistan, and 58% are female. Although girls have the right to get an education legally, in many rural regions of Pakistan girls are strongly discouraged from going to school and discriminated against, as there are violent acts such as acid throwing which many girls fall victim to for attending school."

Hi Simon. I just got my results for IELTS. It was a bit frustrating that i got 6.5 in writing. I think i was not able to write the maximum number of words required. If that's the case do you really give a low score for that matter? Thanks


British Council that candidates should note that responses will be penalised if they are a) under the minimum word length, b) partly or wholly plagiarised, c) not written as full, connected text.

They offer two examples of examiner marking which are under length: Task 1 (20% short) band 3.5, and Task 2 (12% short) band 5.5.


Simon's comments:

and look at the comments on that page by "Former Examiner": "4 or more words in a row copied directly from the questions are not counted", but a just few words short might not lower your score.

I am assuming you meant "minimum" number of words, not "maximum".

Usually, if you have a score of 6.5, it just means you need to work a bit more on your grammar and vocabulary, and make sure you have a solid method so that you do not panic on the day. For all you know you are only one point away from Band 7.

-> British Council states that ...

Thanks dear Cara for your valuable comments and suggestions for essay evaluation. I shall keep improving my writing skills.

Question is this:
The position of women has changed a great deal in many societies over the past 50 years.But these societies cannot claim to have achieved gender equality.To what extent do you agree or disagree?
And my introduction is.
It is true that many problems have been solved when women have started to attend workplaces.However,I believe that the position of men is still higher compared to the individuals of opposite gender in most societies.
I paraphrased the question for introduction.
My question is that whether or not the first sentence of my question is grammatically correct .

My question is that whether the first sentence of the introduction * is grammatically correct.

Evaluate, please.
Firstly, people tend to overestimate women's responsibilities in family including childcare, regular housecleaning works, cooking meals and so on.I think that in spite of many developments,modern changes this belief has been entrenched in cultures of most countries. Therefore, male individuals,as a result, become more comfortable and independent in their choices as well as in their decisions.I would argue that women sometimes show better results and contribute higher financial support to their families.Similarly,in my opinion,female students also have excellent problem-solving skills, reasoning,logical skills like their male counterparts in,for example, universities, higher education centers.
Secondly, professionals, especially psychologists claim that women are more emotional, indecisive in compared to men.Consequently,it leads to an untrue self-judging among female individuals which makes them less confident.

For instance,male pilots, drivers,astranouts and other several professionals are admitted through simple interview, while female workers in these professions are always be told or asked further questions like:,,Why this job,not others, explain",,,Do you think you can handle obstacles?'' and so on.
In conclusion,I am of the opinion that while women's achievements are obvious to the world, majority of societies have not achieved gender equality, because men are in more superior condition.

@ Leil

1) Present perfect is often paired with "since", referring to a period up till now -> since women started attending workplaces. OR perhaps: since more job opportunities became available for women. Which country or culture are is being referred to?

2) many developments and modern changes

3) male individuals: this phrase tends to be used in describing a biological or social survey or experiment, but here "men" or "males" would suffice.

4)->have consequently become (still talking about a period up till now so present perfect)

5)-> Secondly, professionals, especially psychologists, claim: note extra comma.

6) Either "in comparison with", or "compared to"


7) an untrue self-judging -> a false sense of self-doubt OR an underestimation of self-worth

8) while female workers ... are always be told ...

9) the majority of societies

10) "superior" does not need "more" -> in a superior condition. However this sounds like men do more fitness training at the gym, so "have higher status" or something.

11) The question specifies the period as the last five decades or half-century, or since the late 1960's, but seems to require a world view by referring to "many societies". In my view the status of women varies considerably but some countries still "lag behind". To me, the question would seem to turn on how "gender equality" is measured, and what the criteria are: voting rights, education, equal opportunities ... there are many issues.


Mr. Simon,

I am confused and would like to ask some questions;

In you’r introduction, you’ve added that parenting is an easy task. If it’s in you’re introduction, we’ll be reading about it later in the essay, of course, but I’m woundering why would you add somthing that is not mentioned in the question? I sometimes try to replace general ideas in the task with more specific ones in my introduction, but I’m not sure what you’ve done has something to do with this technique, has it?

Secondly, if you agreed with the idea of compulsory training courses for parents, wouldn’t have you used the same example as you’ve used here in your second body paragraph? Because it seems to me that “trying different strategies” and “developing an understanding gradually” might mean that parenting is not that easy.

Finally, you recommend not adding new information in conclusions, yet there’s something about courses being a good idea. Maybe I just can’t find the keywords in the paragraphs.

I’ll appreciate your help.

Hi Ajji,

I think you misunderstood a phrase in my introduction:

"by no means an easy task" means "not an easy task".

And in my conclusion, I'm saying that parenting courses might seem like a good idea (to some people, but not me). This links back to the second sentence of the introduction in which I disagree with the idea that was proposed in the question.

I hope this helps!

It did help, thank you.

Hi Simon,
Your instructions are helpful! Thank you.
Please evaluate.

It is sometimes argued that today’s parents should have compulsory classes to learn how to nurture their children. By doing so they could be qualified for this job of vital importance. In my opinion, this scheme sounds reasonable but is impractical in real life. (44)
Those who put forward this proposal assume that introducing parenting skills into curriculum is the most effective way. It is true that parents could learn in a systematic approach and connect with other parents. Personally, however, they fail to realize that knowledge in classroom might not be as essential as other factors, such as parents’ company and good communication. It is impossible for parents to put into effects what is in the teacher’s mind within several classes. (77)
On the other hand, both fathers and mothers nowadays have to cope with increased workload. In addition, as many Chinese parents complain, the wechat group of teachers and other parents has already dominated their lives. Seemingly endless messages about their children’s performance in school nearly drive them crazy. So no wonder that they would loss motivation for any class after a long day. (61)
Furthermore, what to teach in the class remains a problem. Parents with different backgrounds are concerned about different things. For example, a mother of a new born needs tips for putting her kid to sleep, while a father of a pre-school child is selecting the best school. In this case, websites and other new media platforms on parenting skills are better choices than offline courses. (63)
In conclusion, while compulsory course for all parents sounds like a good idea in theory, it would be completely unworkable in reality. (21)

Thank you for your lessons Mr Simon, they are an excellent resource.

I would appreciate if you evaluate my essay for the sample question please.

It can be said that parenting is one of the most integral occupations in any society. In light of this, some persons hold the view that, as is required for any job, parents should take a preparatory course to hone their skills. I also firmly agree with this opinion as I believe it works to the parents' benefit.

Nurturing a child is challenging for new and even the more experienced parents, and it can prove an overwhelming exercise to shift through all the existing literature on doing so "the right way". A preparatory course can,therefore, alleviate this burden by providing a standardized, structured approach to the confusing world of parenting. Parents would be introduced to helpful techniques that helps in the more difficult areas in a child's development-potty training, ethical instruction, disciplining techniques to name a few- which in turn improves the chances of better outcomes in these situations. Additionally, as parents are more empowered with the information and skills they become more confident in their child-rearing abilities and improves their connection to their child.

Secondly, parents'social lives are often neglected in the midst of all the innumerabke demands of child care. The programme, in effect, not only can serve as a beneficial learning resource but an invaluable social space as well. In this setting, parents meet other counteparts who share similar concerns amd fears as they do, and in turn feel less socially isolated and afraid. It can serve as a great forum for social networking in this capacity.

In conclusion, i believe a compulsory parenting course is an excellent learning resource and social networking forum for parents entrusted in the arduous task of raising children.

This is my essay, welcome all comments:

The young generation is the most precious thing in the world so some people think that all mothers and fathers must take a course in order to become good parents. I share the same point of view with this opinion.

With a professional parenting training course, parents can approach children precisely. Babies have a sophisticated fragile mind so parents need to nurture appropriate thoughts in their mind at the early age. At every turn, there are several headlines about parents should do and not do and the influence of social media and technology leaves them overwhelming confused. Parents are left wondering how they should respond and prepare their children for an increasingly complex, time-impoverished, techno-world. If parents want to find an accurate parenting method, they will need to come to trustworthy professionals.

The training course also provides parents with a theoretical framework which they can put their own thought in order to develop ideal parenting method of their own. Every children posse their own personality so they will need a customized parenting method which is contributed by caring parents. For example, parents can establish a confidence-building method in order to encourage expression for shy children.

It is true that children do not come with manual instruction, however parents can prepare a parenting method carefully for their children's development. Children are the future of humanity so it’s not too demanding for parents to take part in a parenting course.

Hi Simon. I was a little bit confused when reading this. How about the first statement? I dont know when we should mention the first statement or when we should not. For this essay, can I write: "Although bringing up a child is of paramount importance to the whole society, I disagree with the idea that a training course for parents should be compulsory. (Body 1: support the idea that "the most important job"; Body 2: disagree with the training course)

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