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Wednesday, September 05, 2018


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Hi Simon
In writing test should we write task 2 at first then task 1 in order to get higher score. What do you advise for this question?

People have different views about which country's literature and history should children study first. Although I believe that it benefits young children to study their own written culture and national history, I also accept that learning other nation's literature and past events can help them a lot.

People have different perspective on teaching of native literature and history instead of focusing on views of other countries on these subjects. Though gaining knowledge about worldwide literature and history would vast the horizon of children, I believe that they should focus on nations' history and culture first.


You should write Task 1 first.

The reason for this is that if you don't finish Task 1, you can be severely penalised and you might receive a 4 for Task Achievement for not addressing all the key features. Rushing a Task 1 is generally worse than rushing an essay.

Hi Yves

1) word order: -> which country's literature and history children should study first.
However, this is a case where the passive would sound more natural:



And get away from paraphrasing the question altogether: eg:

The school curriculum has long been a source/point of contention.

("a bone of contention" occurs mainly in fiction)

2) "other nation's literature and past events": clearly straining to paraphrase and avoid repetition. Simon went for 'a more global view': 'a world view', or 'a more international view', 'A wider scope' - all possible.

3) "it benefits ... to"


"it benefits young children to": not on Google Books.

Without "to" at the end, yes:


Some people stress higher importance on the literature and history of their own nation than those of foreign ones. These fields are nationally characterized yet globally connected, children can truly understand the literature and history of their own only after gaining a broader knowledge of other country’s comparative fields.

Hi Kennth

....stress the importance of the literature and history of their own nation as compared to those of foreign ones.
.... lay more stress on the literature ....
.... put more emphasis on the literature ...
.....emphasize the importance of ...


Your own stance is not sufficiently to the fore: perhaps clearer if the phrase "I believe that" is included.

OR simply start without paraphrasing the question with something like:

It is difficult to learn or to appreciate one's own national history and literature in isolation. I believe it is better to have some comparative international background studies to facilitate deeper understanding, a more general overview, balance, and evaluation.

It is argued by many that in school curriculum to teach students priority should be given to national history and literature instead of global concern related to these subjects.Although, it is beneficial for students to learn about global world,yet,i accept that more focus should given to their own country.

Hi Simon sir

I read much of the material from your website. Thank you so much for sharing such a valuable information and giving feedback to students’ queries. You are kind and helpful person.
Sir, I have one doubt I have read essay written by you 21st century zoo ome amd you have used ‘we’ word thrice times in 2nd paragraph. Can we use these words in writing task 2 ? I mean I heard that we are not allowed to use ‘you’and ‘we’ type of words in writing. I hope you understand my question.


1. literature
a. expanding horizon
b. addressing humanity

2. history
a. avoid past mistake
b. learning old survival strategies

General idea: How children should educate with literature and history.

Specific: educated with specific country literature or not.

In order for societies and the parents they control to improve, it is most important that support should be provided to the next generation thinkers that educating their children with ancient’s subjects. With the idea of society in mind, we have considered weather higher secondary school should have subjects like history and literature for particular country, which is controversial stance that some desire. Providing this subject to country specific is an horrible idea, as addressing humanity and avoiding past mistake should be learn of other country.

Although some might support the introducing subject like literature of specific country to their next generation, they would be incorrect because learning literature of other country is as valuable and essential. Not only does literature promotes addressing humanity, but also it expand the horizon that single country has less experience rather then many country including ours. Expanding horizon fulfill basic things like one’s knowledge, understanding and experiences of the world. In additional to this convincing point, one primary thing we learn from this is addressing humanity, it is good for knowing person tendency, judging the right people, and trusting the foreigner by knowing their behaviour. The argument present here are satisfactory, but we have one more persuasive topic to cover.

Some person should also think about learning history of full world because there are more impactful as of single country. Where our country be if we started avoiding the past mistakes? we might see ourselves in batter world without world war, no bloods lied. From our previous experience we can change present, and therefore it is more important to acquire knowledge of older history of world. Moving on to the next argument, some might think that learning old survival strategist are important for particular alliance, but it is indeed for all region of the world because the problem face by single country may helpful to others. This supporting points shows why we should not support for specific region.

There is too much focus by society that higher secondary school should teach there children about history and literature of same country, but it damages may aspect like avoid past mistake, learning from old civilians, and addressing humanity.


If you look at the model answers provided by British Council themselves, you will see that they use "I believe", and "We ...".


You should not need to use "you" in Task 2 writing (Academic). General Task 2 may be written in a more personal style.


1) At 362 words your submission seems unnecessarily long considering the time available in the exam. I would suggest you prune it to about 270-280.

2) The linking phrases are too obtrusive, and some could be eliminated entirely.

3) Avoid rhetorical questions.

4) Check your work very carefully for singulars and plurals, and subject/verb agreement (ie the 's' on the verb). It is essential to get the error rate down. Eg: problem faced by

Also, there are battered wives and women, battered fish (fish covered in batter prior to frying), but we seek a better world.

5) Try to get to your point quickly, without wrapping it up in lint.


thank you

Hello Simon,

For the introduction, I was trying to discuss both sides. That is, I understand one side, but I agree with the other side.
Can Start my introduction like these two?

Which one is better?

Do you think it is necessary to contain some detail ideas in the introduction?

While I understand the educational value of teaching other country's history and literature, I still believe children's education should be based on the domestic materials.

To a certain extent, I realize the importance of global education. However, I still believe education should concentrate on the domesitc materials.

Thanks Simon!


a) 'To a certain extent, I realize': this sounds as if you do not properly realize.

b) It would be difficult to exclude a global picture entirely. How could one exclude the influence of China? Islam? The whole colonial-era thinking of European powers? The advent of agriculture, the impact of the deep plough and its ability to handle heavy soils? Bubonic plague, deforestation, salinization, the Suez & Panama Canal, and so on. The list is endless.

-> I realize that it would be difficult to exclude the global picture entirely, but I believe that the school curriculum should as far as practicable concentrate on national literature and history.

thank you very much, cara

Hi dear Simon,
Being a long time away from writing, I decided to wrote an essay using good vocabulary from your recent posts. May I ask you to give some useful advice on my essay, please? What band score you think it might be? I would like to thank you in advance as you are so supportive and caring.

The question is:
Once children start to go to schools, schools influence them on intellectual and social development more than their parents. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

There is no need to stress the vital importance of school time as a golden opportunity for children to widen their horizons and get to know the surrounding cultures. Therefore, I completely agree with the idea that children are more affected by schools than their parents.

Schools, as we all know, are placed as an educational, cultural, and social environment on which parents count to develop their children's basic understanding of issues. Firstly, elegant solutions to the problems are being taught in schools. For example, how a mathematical question could be solved or how exquisite a painting could be done; learning these skills, children find themselves better problem-solvers. Secondly, children will be brought up in an atmosphere which is completely different from their parents' house. Although students first may feel confused and lonely, they after a while find themselves having loads of school friends, easily socializing with other students, and paying respect to different beliefs and personalities. Building these skills is something that parents themselves consider as the meaning and significance of schooling's time.

Parents, on the one hand, have sometimes portfolio career and busy schedule to educate children. They have their hands full with bill payments, earning and savings, rents and so on. So, they may not be willing or able to apply skills to have enough influence on children. On the other hand, even though children may get an overall impression from their parents, what schools entails is more specialized, disciplined, and orientated. For instance, a girl who has a God-given talent as a dancer would not be well-trained unless an advanced instructor has taught her. If parents want their children make progress, a professional ambience will be needed as nowhere can be introduced as much impressive as schools. Finally, while some parents fail to enforce the idea of reading books on a regular basis, this is an everyday experience in the curriculum in schools.

In conclusion, I agree with the view that schools have a huge impact on children mentally, individually, and socially, which is much more effective than what parents offer.


Your submission is 345 words long: I would question whether you could write this much in the time available in the exam. I suggest you prune the essay to around 270-280 words.

I would completely agree with you that school [uncountable meaning the concept of school in general] has a huge influence on young children. However, we should not overlook the downside - bullying, regimentation, discipline, indoctrination, streaming, and a clampdown on questioning the teacher (who, like Simon, is always right). Also, from the parents' point of view, school may just be a dumping ground so they can go to work or whatever. However, the examiner will not mark you down for your views one way or the other, but you will need to support your viewpoint with good arguments.

'solutions to the problems': what problems? Issue with article/no article.

'they after a while find themselves having loads of school friends, easily socializing with other students': really? All children without exception. Band 8 mentions 'overgeneralizing' as a criterion, so you could be marked down for this.

'Building these skills is something that parents themselves consider as the meaning and significance of schooling's time. ' Really? All parents? Over-generalizing. You would have to prove that children who are home-schooled or use correspondence teaching automatically are under-socialized and socially inept. Also -> purpose and objective of primary education.

-> have sometimes [switch word order] portfolio career and are far too busy to be involved in their children's education

'On the other hand,': used twice. In your planning, avoid constantly switching from one side of the argument to another, as it creates cohesion issues. Too many 'however's and such create confusion for the reader.

' as nowhere can be introduced as much impressive as schools. ' -> which can only be obtained in a school environment.

' in the curriculum in schools': under the school curriculum.

'which is much more effective than what parents offer. ': you have not pre-defined what you mean by 'effective'. This is tricky as it implies both a goal and measurable benchmarks, milestones, or criteria.

Actually you have some good phrases in there, and have avoided the pitfall of trying to discuss the aims of education in the time available. You might like to google studies that were done around 1940's on identical twins brought up separately in completely different environments: they turned out to be very similar as adults. What this suggests is that the genetic heritage from your parents and grandparents is much stronger than might be suspected and that school may influence our skill set, but not some other aspects of personal development and interests.

Finally, never overlook the children who grew up in refugee camps, or as displaced orphans after war and revolution. Many were strongly motivated to succeed despite awful circumstances, and somehow came through on top. School is not everything. Speaking to a successful survivor of camps after the Korean war 1950-53, one phrase sticks in my mind: 'the roof was rice paper'.

Some people believe that it is more important the schools should prioritise the teaching of national literature and history, rather than global literature and history. To what extend do you agree or disagree?

Dear Oleg,
I fully read your comment and I found it useful in some points. Firstly, although idea itself is not marked in IELTS, I find your view closer to reality than what I gave. Secondly, overgeneralizing is a very useful thing that you mentioned to be considered in writing. Finally, despite making an useful comment, I expected to have some grammatical errors as well. Thank you for your time that you dedicated to review my work. It is worth a world to me.

While it is generally believed that students should predominantly focus on the literature and historical background of their own country, some people reject this notion arguing that pupils should instead put their entire attention on publications and historical events of other countries. In my opinion, knowing about their own cultural background and historical hallmarks should be the main goal of every attempts made by pedagogical experts to design learning curriculum for students.

Although some people would claim that it is better way to teach children the culture about other countries as soon as possible, I tend to agree educating them the historical events and literature of their own nations first is more essential.

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