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August 16, 2011


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Hi Simon,

Thanks for today's lesson! I hope students will follow this advice!

Not sure in your case, but I often encounter students being reluctant to watch TV programs, and they mostly prefer to use only the materials from Cambridge IELTS books... anyway, I hope students can somehow realize that they are learning English for their future careers, and not just for the IELTS exam.


Hi Simon,

This video and some other videoes on your blog do not seem to work on my laptop. I wonder whether it is because I haven't installed the flash program on my laptop.
Could you please give me some hints? Thank you.

Warm regards,

Hello. Watching television is indeed a good way to improve listening!

I couldn't agree more Martin and MT.

TV can help students to better understand the culture, behaviour and way of thinking of people in English-speaking countries, all of which ties in with language learning.


Hi Summer,

I'm not an expert, but you can probably find the latest version of flash player by googling it. Also, try another computer to make sure that's the problem.

Hi Simon,

I just did my exam today. I have several questions to ask you regarding grammar in listening.

I heard the words --- origins ; seminars for these both questions.. But, because I think these words will be grammatically incorrect based on the questions -- I changed the answers to ORIGIN and SEMINAR.

1. _________________ and development of built environment -- I heard Origins but later I put Origin as the answer -- because I seen that ______ and development.

2. 50% lab work; 50% ________________ -- I heard seminars, but because I seen it is singular for the lab work, I put seminar as well for the answer.

So, which one is the correct answer for each question above? In listening section, should we pay attention with the grammar or we should just answer the questions based on what we heard?

Thanks a lot..


Hi Simon,

It is me again, one more question about spelling in listening section.

The use of capital letters -- if referring classical history as a subject, should we use capital letters for that? --- Classical History --- or classical history will do?

thanks a lot..

Good day Simon,

I have question about price -- is it acceptable to write £3840 instead of £3,840?

Thank you

Hi Vera,

Both singular and plural are grammatically possible for the questions you asked about. "Work" and "development" are uncountable nouns, so you can't really decide that the gap must be a singular word based on either of them.

Answers do need to be grammatically correct, but the speaker almost always uses the correct grammatical form - they don't usually expect you to change the form of the word, so I suppose it's best to put what you hear.

Don't worry about capitals in the listening test - it doesn't matter if you do or don't use them.


Hi Vincent,

Yes, it's fine.

Hi Simon,

I find the most difficult part in IELTS listening is that I can't catch the singular or pural form of a noun. Will it be regarded correct if the noun should be in prual form but I give the sigular form?

Also is it true that most countable nouns we provide should be in prual form except when an A was given before the blank?



Hi Summer,

Sometimes both singular and plural are accepted, but sometimes they are not - it depends on the grammar of the question (e.g. if the word before the gap is "a", the answer must be singular). Listen carefully for singular/plural and check the grammar of the question carefully too.

Uncountable nouns don't go with "a". For example, you can't say "a furniture". The verb after an uncountable noun will be SINGULAR e.g. "The furniture is new."

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your elaboration.

What if there is no "a" before before the gap and that word is also countable? Will both singual and pural forms be accepted and scored as correct?

Hi Summer,

It depends on the context:

If the gap is in a full sentence, the grammar needs to be correct (so a countable noun with no article would be plural).

If the gap is in a table or list, proper sentence grammar isn't necessary and articles will be missed, so the answer might be singular or plural.

Hi Simon!
I had a question about the dictation in listenig part.there are many compound words in english as you know,like seafood, firefly,etc. but sometimes it's not easy to recognise them..so would it be considered wrong if we put space between the words? like writing "club house" instead of clubhouse or door to door instead of door-to-door..

Hi Sadaf,

Usually those words are accepted as one or two words. Just check how many words are allowed for your answers - if the instructions tell you to write one word for each answer, you must write "clubhouse", but if you are allowed 2 or 3 words, "club house" would also be accepted.

hi simon
clips of YouTube has been closed in my country by government. Please intoduce some another practice tests.

Hi Goli,

I'll try to attach recordings in future.

TV programmes are a good earning tol as compared to the traditional methods. students and teachers should be encouraged to try it out.

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