« IELTS Reading: true, false, not given | Main | IELTS Writing Task 1: my thinking steps »

December 14, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

hi simon, i have been followed your lesson for a long time. it is very helpful,thanks for your work. could you explain and give me some examples of "less common lexical items" from the standard given by cambridge band of 7,thank you simon.

there are 7 sentences, I wanna try to use 7 sentences in body para for my essay.
You write a perfect and nice essay,that is so easy to read but so hard to write like this.
I hope to be able to do like this

Hi Andy,

I'm glad you like the site.

I've underlined some examples in several of my speaking and writing lessons. Here's a lesson with some examples:


Here's another lesson:



Hi Amir,

I'm glad you like my paragraph. Keep working hard and your writing will improve!

I totally agree with Amir. As Simon is a native speaker, he writes very clear. Simon, do you think that it is possible to write like you for a non native speaker?

Perhaps the most serious PROBLEM FACING THE ENVIRONMENT is global warming. Gases such as carbon dioxide TRAP HEAT from the sun WITHIN THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE, and THIS causes global temperatures to rise. This process is known as the GREENHOUSE EFFECT, and HUMAN ACTIVITY is a major factor in the rise of the greenhouse gases which cause it. For example, factories and vehicles produce emissions and exhaust fumes. As many developing countries are becoming industrialised, emissions from factories are expected to increase. Furthermore, the number of cars on our streets is growing all the time, and cheap air travel is MAKING FLYING ACCESIBLE to more and more people. Consequently, the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere shows no signs of decreasing.

Hi Simon,

I satrted to follow your advise to be consistant in methos is really helping me to speed up my writing and it is more organised than before.

I will apreciate if you could explain this quesion. I am not sure about the type of this question. Is it a really two part question?

"Some people think it would be good idea for schools to teach every young person how to be a good parent.
Do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Discuss the skills a person needs to be a good parent.
Give reasons foro your answer and include any relevant examples from yourown knowledge or experience."

would you call this two part question?

If I agree and plan my essay as following
1. introduction: recent trend to include subjects suc as hygiene, sexeducation, sports in schools. my opinion, that is agreeing. HOW DO I MENTION THAT THERE IS DESCRIPTION OF THE SKILL IN THE ESSAY, without specifying the skills.

2. reasons why I agree

3. Skills. here apart from the list of the skills, is it advisable to describe how this skills help to be a good parent?
Or should I put other paragraph for the reasons and one more for the skill (total three body paragraphs)?


Looking forward to your comment.

hi Simon its really great to learn from your vast knowledge, i am appearing for general could you please give me some tips for writing task 1.

Hi Simon,
i am going to take ielts test in 16 and 17/12
next 2 days.
can u give me golden advice for each part of test.
best regards.

Hi Simon,

I got my results today and I would like to thank you for your help, especially for advices regarding writing task 1&2!

my results are:

Listening: 8.5
Reading: 8.5
Writing: 7.0
Speaking: 6.5
Overall: 7.5

I am very suprised with high scores for listening and reading parts, and low score for speaking part, because I thought that speaking was my strongest skill, but overall I am very happy with results:)

Your help was invaluable for the writing tasks because I would not score that high without your advices.

So, thank you again and keep up the good work:)

What should be general statement of placing the conclusion of being made the overall idea at the first place. I think it should be made more specific in conclusion para,isn't it. Would you please clarify it.

1. 7 sentences, 2 - sentence about gases and causes. 3-sentence about greenhouse effect and his cause. 4 and 5 – specific sentences reason to rise emission. 6 – sentence addition information about emission. 7- sentence conclusion about greenhouse.
2. global warming; carbon dioxide trap heat; global temperatures to rise; greenhouse effect; greenhouse gases; produce emissions and exhaust fumes; released into the atmosphere.
3. Linked with words For example, As many, Furthermore, Consequently.

Hi Simon!

When I write an essay, I usually pay attention to cohesion and coherence. I use some Academic words from Academic wordlist that I think I am sure about it ( most of them are from Academic wordlist 1,2,3. And I just use some type of sentences such as IF-clause, ralative clause, and a majority of simple sentences. When I post My essay on a forum, members of forum correct it for me, and they say that my essays is little more academic than a speaking and advice me to use reversion ( I am sure I can use this struture. I feel quite worried.

Would you mind if I post the body of my essays as an example for what I say above? I don't ask you for correction or score. I just want to know if all above problems are serious and affect much on my results?

"ON THE ONE HAND, watching TV brings many serious problems. IN THE FIRST PLACE, it could be harmful to children health and development. According to many research, watching TV in continuous hours is one of the major reasons of eye diseases. IN ADDITION, a sedentary leisure like this could cause bodies to deal with nutrition ineffectively. Children metal development is ALSO affected if sitting in front of TV in prolonged period. ANOTHER is more time for watching TV means less time for outdoor activities or social activities. This could result in shortage of social skills, or in many worse cases, anti-social problems. FINALLY, a large proportion of young people wastes time on little useful TV program that might lead them to misleading behaviors such as violence, doing drugs or smoking.

ON THE OTHER HAND, there are some undeniable benefits of watching TV. FIRSTLY, it is the simple way to relax. TV entertainment programs such as films, music, football games are available even each minute. IN ADDITION, with the development of cable television, the programs are not limited in national programs but international ones. SECONDLY, watching TV is an effective method to gain knowledge. It is clear that hundreds of media agencies are producing a variety of program ranging from education to science or research or discovery. In fact, there are many people, especially children improve both their knowledge of nature and English skills by watching Discovery Channel."

Sorry Simon!

many people advice my use reversion and more complex sentences. But I am not sure I can use them without significant mistakes, especially Reversion.

Thank you for your help!

Hi Damla,

Yes, it's will take time, but it's possible.


Hi Kai,

Yes, I'd say that's a 2-part question. Just write one main paragraph for each part.

In the introduction, you don't need to mention the skills. Just write something like "parents need a range of skills", then explain them in the main body.

Your essay structure looks fine. In paragraph 3, give the skills AND explain how/why they are necessary.

In the conclusion, you don't need to mention the specific skills again. Just paraphrase what you wrote in the introduction.


Hi Ajay,

I'm afraid I don't teach the general test, so I'm not the best person to help with that. Sorry.


Hi Mohammed,

Have a look at this advice:



Hi Mario,

Congratulations! Your listening and reading scores are fantastic! I'm glad my lessons helped.


Hi Md. Kamal,

I don't really understand your question. Can you explain in more detail?


Hi Erzhan,

Thanks for doing the task!


Hi Thao,

Your paragraphs look fine to me. My advice is to ignore the grammar advice that students have given you ("reversion and more complex sentences"). Focus on writing clear, logically organised paragraphs in which you express your ideas using good vocabulary - that's all you need to do.

Thanks a lot Simon.

Hi Simon
I was wondering if I can use " Think highly of" or " look down on" instead of using praise" and "humiliate". I got confused because I see even in Cambridge texts have been used such expressions.Please intoduce a collocation or idiom book which you think it is useful to us .(what do you think of collocation in use advanced).
Many thanks Simon

Hi Simon,

Can you tell me the difference between using had\have been and being.I mean when do we use had\have been and being.

Hi Mh,

"Think highly of" and "look down on" are good phrases, but you must only use them if the situation is right.

I don't recommend learning lists of idioms. It's better to read whole articles about IELTS topics (e.g. on Wikipedia or news websites). You will find lots of collocations in the articles you read.

Note: collocations are groups of words that often go together (e.g. increase dramatically). They can be formal, informal, common or less common. I wouldn't use the term "advanced" because I don't think it's difficult to learn a group of words.


Hi Jess,

I think you need to read a detailed description of verb tenses (present perfect, past perfect, present continuous). You really need to go to a grammar book or website for that because there is too much for me to explain here.

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your advice but can you suggest me a website that can help me.

Hi Jess,

In the past I've mainly used grammar books - any that you find in a bookshop will be good enough.

I haven't really used grammar websites, but I checked quickly on Google and there are lots of them. For example:


Hi Simon

I am confused with this topic---"Some people think the global warming is caused by all kinds of development worldwide, so that the whole world rather an individual or a single nation should take the responsibility of this solution. To what extent do you agree or disagree?"

If i disagree with it ,do i need to write what the individual and the nation should do to solve this problem, and what else should i write for this topic?

Thanks a lot!

hi simon ineed your help in listening as well as academic reading plz help me

Hi Simon I have problem in reading section so can you help me out

Hi, simon could you please tell me causes and suggest about global warming

Hi simon sir could u tell me how can I brush my reading module because it is very difficult

The comments to this entry are closed.