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December 06, 2011


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Hi Simon, im going to take IELTS again this week. A question here: Cambridge IELTS 8 Test 3 Writing Task 1-with 2 diagrams illustrating the process of making cement and concrete. Can I just describe the process step by step, instead of comparing both (eg.one using more materials and involving less steps)? Thanks!

Hi Simon,

This is another great advice!

I am still hoping that more students can realize the importance of using different sources to improve their English skills. Today we can find tons of reading/listening practice exercises in many websites, but several students are still reluctant to use them because they simply think that such exercises are not from IELTS...

It is true that there are certain techniques to score high in the IELTS, but this is still a test of students' ability to communicate in English, which means that they should practice with all sorts of materials as long as they are in English.


Hi I am from Armenia
your blog is very helpfull....

Thank you very much Simon...

Hi Goh,

Yes, just describe step by step. That's not a 'comparing' task.


I agree completely Martin. 'Tips and techniques' will only get you so far!


No problem Garik. I'm glad you like the blog.

Yesterday, my wife (also an IELTS tutor/adviser) suggested a very useful website to a student, which has plenty of short and long listening and reading exercises for different levels. To our surprise, the student said that she didn't want to waste time doing such exercises because they are not specifically designed for the IELTS exam... well, to a certain degree I would have to say that she is right because her next exam is in less than a month, but the truth is that her level of English is not very good and she still has difficulties answering easy questions correctly...

Students really must understand that there are no shortcuts to become a good English user or succeed in the IELTS exam. In Math, you may use formulas to solve different problems, but in English (or any other language), you have no choice but to do the hard work in order to improve. Tutors/teachers are always there to give the best suggestions/tips/advice possible, but students must put most of the effort to achieve their goals.

Hi Simon,

Thanks you for your useful lessons. When listening, I am in trouble to take notes what I have heard. I seem to listen every word, but I cannot write it down quickly and the following information coming makes me forget the previous information I have just heard. Could you give me some advice about the stuff?

Hi Martin,

I've experienced that kind of thing too. I think we just need to keep repeating the message that there are no shortcuts. I hope students read your comment!


Hi Jael,

I think you just need to keep practising. Try to focus on the question, rather than trying to understand every word. Also, maybe you could try NOT taking notes and ONLY writing the answer.

Hi Simon,

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one facing this problem. By the way, do you know if there is any brainwashing device that we could use for this specific purpose? haha~ just kidding!


Hi Simon,

Thank you so much.

Best wishes,


hi simon

thank you for your helping to us..ı am also started to prepare IELTS exam and I need to get 7 from acedemic..but ı have 3 years to get it and I will use your website in order to pass it..

thanks again


Hi Simon
I think IELTS based on READING and WRITING
If you improve your Reading(comprehension) it is possible that you improve your listening because if you have not good comprehension even though you can listen word by word , you cant understand what the announcer says then you will have problems in listening test . And if you can write very well and without or with less grammer errors it is likely you can do it in speaking as well. Then I think we should spend more time on comprehension and writing than listening and speaking .What do you think Simon?

Hi Martin,

Yes, a device like that would make things a lot easier!


No problem Jael.


Ok Ersin. Good luck!


Hi Mh,

Yes, that's one way of looking at it. Basically, learning a language is a matter of:
1. understanding
2. using
The more reading you do, the faster your understanding/comprehension will improve. The more you practise writing, the better your ability to use the language will become!

Hi Simon. I am from AZERBAIJAN. And thanks for your advice. Also can you tell me a website to listen for IELTS?

Hi Simon. I am from AZERBAIJAN. And thanks for your advice. Also can you tell me a website to listen for IELTS?

Hi Azerbaijan-son,

Have a look at this lesson:



Thanks a lot for this site. I'm new here.
Could you pls tell me that how can I get the text of video ? I'd like to know that what I understand from the video is true or not.

Thanks a lot

Hi Sarisa,

I'm afraid it seems that there isn't a subtitle option on that website. Sorry.

It has been long time. Maybe the video can't be watched through website.

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