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Saturday, April 13, 2019


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We sent one of our sample essays to a 'famous IELTS institute' for comment recently, and a 'teacher' there awarded the essay a 6. For grammar they said, 'some clear grammar errors' = 6. We then asked them to show us the grammar errors and they were not able to identify any (the essay contained no errors).

We see this a lot. If a 'teacher' gives you a score, or says they identify grammatical errors, then make sure they identify all the errors (and of course make sure that they are really errors). The only way you can learn to reduce your grammar errors is to have them accurately identified so you can avoid making them again.

I also agree with Simon above. Examiners are FAR more impressed with good grammar control, than with trying to use 'complicated structures'. Examiners mark thousands of essays, and they are not impressed with any structure. They ARE impressed by accuracy.

Hello Simon,

I have a question about one of your previous lessons. The way you approached the question.


In a strong disagree essay, shouldn’t we need to mention the idea that “ex- prisoners could be a good citizen later in life” as a body paragraph..?

Please respond to my query. Thank.


Good question. In fact, it is a "strongly agree" essay. However the main point is that questions often come in two parts. The first part is an assertion, called the premise.

In the example quoted the premise is : "Some people who have been in prison become good citizens later". This is not the question itself, just an assumption on which the question is based.

In real life, it would be a good idea to question every assumption that is made. In IELTS, however, there really is not enough time or space. It is usually easier just to accept the assumption and write two or three points or paragraphs to answer the question as straightforwardly as possible.

My question is if I attempt it in a way that I write about the first part of the question as a body paragraph.would that be marked wrong.?


I approached that style from this lesson of Simon.

The marking scheme simply says "fully addresses all parts of the task". So, as long as it all relates to answering the question, it cannot be wrong.

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