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October 19, 2011


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Hi Simon, I have query about use of considerably and significantly,
Can we put considerable instead of significantly in following sentences and vice versa. are both words same?

Poverty rates were CONSIDERABLY lower among elderly people.

It is clear that British people spent SIGNIFICANTLY more money than people in the other three countries on all six goods. Of the six items, consumers spent the most money on photographic film.

It is clear that SIGNIFICANT changes will be made in terms of the use of floor space in the gallery.

Homebuyers in New York also had to pay SIGNIFICANTLY more, with prices rising to 5% above the 1989 average, but homes in Tokyo remained cheaper than they were in 1989
It is clear that the three oldest underground systems are larger and serve SIGNIFICANTLY more passengers than the newer systems.


Hi Simon,
I have one template
(Its seems that on the issue of ----------,there are two schools of thought,some people argue infavour of ---,while others prefer -----)

It seems that on the issue of
continuing education after school or to get a job,there are two schools of thought,some people argue in favour of attending university or college after school ,while others prefer to earn some money.From my point of view,students should acheive higher education.

what is your opinion,is it good,bad,very good,or excellent?

If you think its long introduction as 3 sentences,I can add opinion(third sentence) in one body para.not sure is it right to do?
what is your opinion?


Hai,when u write an essay ,it seems to be very easy to write,however when i try ,it become near to impossible.anyway i am going to appear for the test third time by next month..i hardly got less than 30 days in my hand.i am sure that i really need to concentrate in the writing & speaking module since i got only 6.5 when i gave the test twice before..i think that i have to more concentrate on task 1 and 2 minute conversation..the reasons are i hardly compare things or when i do ,they become repeated..and in speaking section,i speak without aswering the questions.is it really imp. To ans the questions given ot they meant to give some hint.? Pls help me

Hi Simon,
Tahir again,

1) Can we use initiative in place of measure for e.g one measure that could be … second initiative that make-----

2)my question for part –1 is if question is in past tense can we write intro in simple tense or if question in simple tense can we write intro in past tense.

here one task-1 question and your introduction(question in past and your answer in present)
The chart below shows information about changes in average house prices in five different cities between 1990 and 2002 COMPARED with the average house prices in 1989.
The bar chart COMAPRES the cost of an average house in five major cities over a period of 13 years from 1989

The table below shows the consumer durables owned in Britain from 1972 to 1983.

My intro:
The table gives information about ownership of consumer durables between 1972 to 1983.

3) One question about diefference between had increased and increased
One example
Expenditure on resources such as books HAD increased to 20% by 1991,before decrease to 9%.
Expenditure on resources such as books increased to 20% by 1991,before decrease to 9%.


Hi Jobs,

If your weakness is writing module and you are in manchester or near area then simply attend few simons lesson ,surely,your score will jump from 6.5 to 7 or 7.5.


hi simon,

I will take my academic exam on saturday.
I hope that I will get the score that I want.

Thank you for helping me.
your my angel:)

hi simon,want to ask you something,many people say that Cambridge book 1-6 are old and not good enough for practicing,,,only latest book i.e book 7 and 8 should be used for practice.what are your comments on this..also when i practice reading from book 6 and 3 i mostly scored between 32-36,,,but when i was doing reading test from book 4 yesterday i scored 27...i was really upset.what are your advice on this kind of problem?

Thank you Simon for the useful tips and advice.
Good essay.

Hi Simon,

For academic IELTS, do we have to swap the words by using more academic vocabulary and using less assertive tone like "It is argued that" for " I would argue" and "it is believed" for " I believe".

I was recommended by some people to use less assertive way but then others said my opinion looks weak with this indirect referring.

Can you help me to clarify this ? Thanks.

To Ed,

I, personally, do not agree that "it is argued that" well equals "I would argue that". While the former, to me, refers to the general / popular opinion, the latter is your own argument. Using 'it' as the impersonal subject is more or less similar to "many (would) argue that" / "many argued that".

Of course, when it comes to the appropriate register or style in IELTS tests, I'd like to know Simon's comments and opinions from an examiner's perspective as well.

I would like to contact you By Email
May you send your Email to me
Many thanks
[email protected]

Hi Mh,

Why do you want me to contact you.
can you please tell me about yourself.


Hi Tahir,

Yes, considerable(ly) and significant(ly) are interchangeable in all of your sentences. You can use them in exactly the same way.

Personally I would get rid of "there are two schools of thought" because it sounds too memorised. I would write something like: "On the issue of..., some people argue that..., while others believe that... In my view,..."

Yes, you can write "A second initiative could be to..."

Task 1 introductions are always in the present tense because you are saying what the graph shows NOW (the graph is here in the present, despite the fact that the information IN the graph might be about the past).

My advice is to avoid using "had increased" - it's difficult to explain why, but you don't need to use this form. It's better to just use "increased".

Good questions! Good luck on Saturday.


Hi Jobs,

It seems to me that your priority MUST be to make sure you answer the questions. If you speak or write without answering the questions, you will definitely get a lower score.


Hi Eiram,

I wish you the best of luck!


Hi Amran,

In my opinion, the older books are also good, and the level of difficulty hasn't changed. I mostly use books 4 to 8.


No problem Joseph.


Hi Ed,

I agree with MT (see below your comment). You need to be careful - if the question asks for YOUR opinion, don't write "it is argued" because that refers to the opinion of OTHER people. Besides, using one or the other form will not change your score.

Hi Simon,

Thank for advise.
Very very useful.


Hi Simon,
I am Hung from Vietnam. I have studied about Writing task 2 with three different kinds of essays( Argument, Discussion and Cause effect solution). Your essay here belongs to Arugment essay so we should not put your opinion in the Introduction. Therefore, I am wondering about it? is that different between IELTS writing in London and Hanoi? I am a little bit confuse!
Thank you very much!

Hi Hung,

My advice is this:
Always try to cover all parts of the question in your introduction. Therefore, if the question asks for "both views and your opinion", try to mention both views and your opinion in the introduction (that's what I did in the introduction above). Then explain and support your ideas in the rest of the essay.

Try to forget 'rules' for different types of question. This simple rule works for all types: cover all parts of the question in the introduction, then support and explain in the rest of the essay.

Hi Simon,
i have one simple question about your example~ it seems that you didn't mention the drawbacks of both sides,,,don't we need to mention about that and pick one side that we support for? Thanks for your answering.

I found this website very helpful in my preparation for the exams this November, especially for the writing sections. However, I still find myself confused at times when it comes to the structure of an essay.In your topic "Higher Education," your essay format is as follows:
Intro: -Paraphrase
-Thesis statement (pursue higher education)
Para2:Benefits of getting a job
Para3:Benefits of higher education
Conc: Restate thesis

My questions are:
1. Transitional sentences-the thesis statement in the introduction leads not to paragraph 2 but rather to paragraph 3. Will I not be penalised for this?
2. The conclusion consists of one sentence only. I am not sure where I read it, but I remember reading that most examiners do not consider a sole sentence as a paragraph. Will this affect my score in any way?
3. Your essay has four paragraphs. I've always thought that formal essays require 5 paragraphs like the one below:
I. Intro
II. Para2 (benefits of getting a job)
III. Para3 (benefits of pursuing higher education as seen from a general perspective),
IV. Para4 (personal opinion)
V. Conclusion
-Will I get a higher score if I write a 5 paragraph essay? Or is this too ambitious considering the time constraints?

I would really appreciate your help in clarifying these questions.

Thank you very much in advance.

Dear Simon,

I just wanted to asked one question related to writing that which is best choice of the grammar for writing like Model Verbs or Tense and Passive or Active voice?

I have confusions which is best and when should I use these in the IELTS writing in order to get very good band, please give me some suggestion and if you can please recommand some links or books learn about it.

Thank you

Hi Simon.in advance,thanks a lot,you really do great job.
I know that you don't have enough time to do this, but if it is possible,please give me essay structure for each kind

a.Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
b.to what extent do you agree or disagree
c.advantages or disadvantages
d.what are your opinion?

I mean like this--- 1.introduction+your opinion
2.main body.......
something like this

Can I achieve a band score 7.I have 24 days until exam.Is is possible?

Hi Vivian,

The question tells you to 'discuss both views'. You can mention the drawbacks if you want, but you certainly don't need to. I did pick the side that I support - you can see my view in the introduction and conclusion (I would argue... it seems to me...)


Hi Allan,

Good questions. I'll try to answer:

1. The first half of sentence 2 in the introduction anticipates paragraph 2, while the second half of sentence 2 in the introduction anticipates paragraph 3. This is good coherence, not bad.

2. There is no rule saying that one sentence can't be a paragraph. Keep your conclusion short - it definitely won't affect your score.

3. It's better to write 2 main body paragraphs that are deeper/more detailed than 3 main paragraphs that are more superficial. There is certainly no rule saying that formal essays require 5 paragraphs.

Hope this helps.


Hi RRaveen,

You are thinking too much about grammar. You should focus instead on answering the question using good ideas and vocabulary. The best way to get a good grammar score is by making fewer mistakes, not by trying to use passives or modals (it's fine to use these structures, but try not to focus on that).


Hi Nihad,

Have a look through my writing task 2 lessons. Look at the examples I've done and you will see how I structure each type of essay. There is a more detailed explanation in the materials I send with my ebook.

It's impossible for me to say what score you can get in 24 days. It depends on many things e.g. your level now, how much work you do, whether you have help from a teacher etc.

Just keep working hard, and try your best!

Hi Simon,
Could you start task 2 by simply saying,I definitely agree that......
Could this be an introduction ? also,could I write writing tasks in PENCIL,...Do they give extra papers in task 2 if needed?or should I use the back of the paper.Please help me
Thanks in advance

Thanks for doing such a great job,again.Your site is very very helpful.

Hi Moka,

Yes, you could begin like that. Just try to cover the topic and the question in your introduction.

Pencil is fine, and they do give extra paper if you need it.

Good luck!


No problem Nihad.

Thank you sooo much:)

Hi Simon ,
Could you please advise me whether it is rt to say
People of different age or ages.
Book usually satisfy different taste-tastes.
Also what is a better alternative o(f television makes its audience negative recievers )

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your great and precious answers.

Hi Simon,

I am Haitian in Los Angeles, California,USA and I am currenly at College.
Your site is too helpful
Thank for your advisor


Hello Simon,
Thank you very much for answering my questions. I certainly feel much more at ease now.

I hope you will not get tired of answering the questions we post here. You are truly a blessing to all of us.

God bless.

Hi Moka,

- different ages
- Books satisfy different tastes
- Maybe: Television causes people to become passive receivers of information.


No problem RRaveen, Ralph and Allan.

is anybody here would like to share the cost of ebook to me?

Hi Gwapo,

I'm afraid I only send one copy per payment. You are welcome to print and photocopy the ebook, but I'd rather people didn't copy it electronically. The ebook is the same price as one private lesson with a teacher, and each sale supports the work I do on the blog. I hope you understand.

I'll understand. I'll try to save money so that I could buy you ebook because I think I find it really useful.

Thanks Gwapo.

Should wealthy nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations by providing such things as foodand education?or is it the responsibility of poorer nations to look after their citizens themselves.

Could you please
Help me writing an introduction as small as possible as u always advise?
Is it correct to plan it as following ,
People against the help of wealthy nations(disadvantage of sharing wealth)
Advantages of sharing wealth
Conclusion and opinion
I couldn't give my opinion in the beginning because I felt I will have no chance to talk about the other opinion.
Thanks a lot

Hi Simon,
Can you pls let me know; what are the key points to score more in essay (writing task 2) OR what are the main things that examiner look for in the essay?
Thanks a lot

Hi Moka,

I don't think you should write an "advantages/disadvantages" essay for this question. I think you should give a clear opinion and support it. Example introduction:

"Most developed countries try to help developing nations to prosper through various aid programmes. In my opinion, they should continue to do this, but it is also the responsibility of the governments in developing countries to improve the lives of their citizens."

After this you could write a paragraph about each of the 2 points mentioned.


Hi Nazima,

I'll try to summarise:

The examiner first looks to see whether your answer is relevant to the question and whether you fully answer all parts of the question. Then, they look for good ideas (vocabulary) that are organised in a logical way in clearly separated paragraphs. Finally, if there are too many grammar mistakes, this will have a negative effect on your score.

Hi Simon,
Follow the introduction:
- There are some benefits to getting a job ..
- Benefits of getting a job
So "benefits" goes with "to" or "of"


Hi Pham,

We use both, so it doesn't matter which you choose.


It is often said that the option to start work straight after school is attractive for several reasons

However, despite these benefits, I believe that it is more beneficial for students to continue their studies.

Yes, that's perfect Simran.

I agree. It is better for students to continue their education and start choosing a college major. While a high school diploma can land you jobs, a college degree can open more windows of opportunity.

Hi Simon,here is my introduction:

As a result of the rapid economic and technological development,it has come to a point where studying at university and college would play an important role as compared to getting a job after school.

That looks fine Ayodeji. You've got the right idea.

can you please correct my sentence?

Though having a job is good for some, I wouls still argue that studying university gives better chance to....

Thank you very much!

It looks ok to me Namie, but you need to write 'would' and 'at university' and 'gives people a better chance to'.

Hi Simon!
Can you give me the best ideas about the theme "education"
Thanks a lot!

Hi Simon,

Can you give me some other ideas about this essay.
Thanks a lot!

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