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February 12, 2011


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Hi mr. simon,
I just want to ask if its good to use some idiomatic expressions in writing task 2?

To get better score in Task 2 , Introduction and conclusion have to be good as well as in body you have to give right logic, vocabulary, grammar and so on. Then you can expect good score. Am I right?

hey Simon a new speaking topic i would like to share on your web site....I got this topic in my last exam in Australia.

" Describe a naughty activity you did when you were child...
what you did....
Why you did.....
What happened....
and why do you still remember this....."

Thanks !

hi simon,
this is really a very good website for ielts students.u r a wonderful teacher.but,i got to know this site only recently...may be if ihave found it earlier,circumstances would be different!actually i took ielts three times,at first attempt i got band 7 in writing but not in reading but in last two attempts i got 6.5 in writing...i am very upset!can u please help me in knowing that is there any major difference in 6.5 and 7 ??in others three i got 7 this time....can u please help?

Hi Jenny,

No, it's best not to use idiomatic expressions in the writing test.


Hi Razia,

Try to do a good introduction and conclusion, but the main body ideas, vocabulary and grammar are the most important.


Thanks for sharing again Jay.


Hi Ana,

Sorry you found the website late. Without seeing your work, it's difficult for me to say why you got 6.5 in writing. The easiest way to improve you writing score is by using good vocabulary to express your ideas. Have a look through my writing and speaking lessons to see what I say about "band 7 vocabulary".

Hi Simon,
I come up with a question about perspectives.Take a real ielts taks question for example:
Nowadays, local shops have been replaced by large supermarket. Do you think this development has more advantages than disadvantages to the community?

My tutor said, "community" is the key word, it confines the scope of your discussion. initially, I want to use some ideas like: "goods are cheaper", "a bigger variety of goods available", "better shopping environment" for advantages, and "travel a longer distance to do shopping", "less convenient", "less likely to establish long-term friendships with the owners" for disadvantages.
However my tutor said, my idea is wrong, what's your opinion? Simon, could you pls give me some correct ideas which meet the key word"community"? thanks in advance!

As a ex-examiner, do you think my tutor's opinion is right? it is really confused. sorry for bother

hello simon,
thanks a lot for consideration.i am doing all lessons from back dates...i will definetly stress on good vocabulary.thanks again for your valuable guidance.

Hi Simon,

I would like to say appreciate to your valuable lessons

For the question :"Nowadays, local shops have been replaced by large supermarket. Do you think this development has more advantages than disadvantages to the community?"

I have analysed as below:
- This question belongs to "Discuss"type (base on "IELTS Writing Task 2: introductions" on Wednesday, February 09, 2011)

- the question meaning :
+ Nowadays, have large supermarket replace local shop?
+ what are benefits of using large supermarket
+ what are drawbacks of using large supermarket

My introduction:

In recent a few decades, there has been a big explosion of supermarket chains in many countries on the world. Although there are many perspectives in favour of supermarket trend, I really believe that private shops still maintain and play a significant role in catering shopping needs of local people.

Please help me to review my question's understanding and comment my introduction
(I have just known your site for several days, it means that it is possible to make mistakes which you have introduced in your lessons. please don't mind to show me again. Thank in advance)

Hi Hafa,

I think your ideas are perfect - they are definitely related to the community, so I'm not sure why your tutor said they were wrong.


No problem Ana.


Hi Hanasahi,

I think you have understood the question well. Your introduction is good - you've got the right idea.

My tuter said, community is a small society, therefore we need to only discuss this topic using ideas closely linked to society, such as "the fall of crime rate", "unemployment","loss of cultural identity","better traffic", other idea will be regarded as out of topic.
maybe there is some truth lying in his view , because there must be some reasons for the word "community" appearing in the question.
thanks for your time, Simon.

Hi Hafa,

I see what your tutor means, but I still think that your ideas are relevant because they relate to people who use the shops/supermarket. Your point about 'friendships with owners', for example, is related to your tutor's idea about 'the local culture'.

I don't regard your ideas as 'off-topic', but you would certainly IMPROVE your essay by adding other points, such as the impact on employment.

Hope this helps

thanks a lot, Simon

Hi Simon,

Thank for your comment,

However , i has a wonder about "in catering shopping needs of local people." phrase in my introduction.

Should i use "catering shopping needs" or "catering for shopping needs", is there any different meanings of these?

Thank you very much

No problem Hafa.


Hi Hanasahi,

You need to write 'catering for...' or 'catering to...' (not 'catering shopping').

Hi Simon,
Thank you very much

No problem.

hello every body
first of all,thanks alot for responding my mails ms Simon.they re very interesting for me and i almost always admire you for your advises.
but now i need to know a good resource for reading,can you recommend any thing.
i hope that you give me good response as the same ever.
bests regards
hossein....(hosseinashrafi26@yahoo.com)my address

hi simon
first of all,thanks alot for responding my mails mr Simon.they re very interesting for me and i almost always admire you for your advises.
but now i need to know a good resource for reading,can you recommend any thing.
i hope that you give me good response as the same ever.im sorry for some my mistakes.
bests regards
hossein....(hosseinashrafi26@yahoo.com)my address

Hi Hossein,

Here's some advice:


Hi Simon,
as very first words in this website you said that introduction doesn't help me get any score from IELTS Writing task, but my teacher thought differently, the intro is a hook to draw attention of examiner. i also think that it's necessary to have a good intro. could you oblige me some typical ways of ending intro like in this essay i will blabla
thanks in advance

Hi Huephung,

You do need an introduction, and you short try to make it good, but I'm saying that you should keep it short because the main body paragraphs are much more important.

Have a look through my task 2 lessons for examples of 'short but good' introductions.

Dear Simon,

I was very surprised when you advised Jenny not to use idiomatic expressions in her writing tasks.
As a former examiner I am sure that you are aware that 'idiomatic and uncommon lexis' are essential to obtain higher than a band 7.

Hi Mr. Mack,

I give this advice because I've found that students usually go too far in their use of idioms - using proverbs, sayings and clichés, rather than idiomatic language that is appropriate for an IELTS essay. However, I definitely agree that they should try to use "less common vocabulary".

Here's some of my advice about idioms and clichés:




Compare with my advice about "less common vocab":




My advice to Jenny was a bit simplistic. I hope this makes my approach clearer.

Thanks for the useful comment!

Hi simon,

I am quite confuse whether where will I put my opinion at the intro and conclusion or just in conclusion? because my tutor taught us that it should be in conclusion only..i dont know which is which.


probably the intro isn't as important as the body paragraphs but I believe the most important part of any essay is a thesis statement and a shallow thesis drags down the whole essay..at least this is something college essays writers and yoexpert state..besides, if the introduction isn't interesting no one would want to read the whole thing, don't you think so??

Hi Scarlet,

IELTS essays don't need to be interesting - there are no marks for that.

If you're doing IELTS, don't follow advice about any other types of writing. The requirements of IELTS essays are completely different to those of college or university essays.

Hi Simon!

Thank you very much!
I believe that we have to put in introduction as much effort as in the main part but it is ok to improve it if we have time.

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