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December 07, 2011


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Hello Simon,
How come your essays are so simple and yet band 9,i will be taking ielts in a few days and i need a band 7 can you suggest me few last minute tips so that i can reach my target easily.
thanks a lot.

Hi Divya,

A well-written essay should be easy to read, but that doesn't mean that it was easy to write. The above essay is not as simple as it seems!

My best advice for writing is to use the 4-paragraph structure that I used in this essay. Focus on writing good main body paragraphs that are full of good ideas.

Good luck in your test!

Thank you Simon.

hi simon
your essay is easy to read , but i know it is difficult to write such an essay.if i write the context of the essay in my own lunguage and then i write it in english,will it be fine? beacause ,i cant find the mean idea quickly in english.the topics are very compelicated.

I'm confused about word counting because you count "to,for,on,in,am,is,are..."

Thanks for essay.

In my opinion, the main goal of IELTS Writing is to CLEARLY let the examiner understand your points.

Vocabulary is important, but it is even more important for students to be able to use such words/expressions in a natural way. Simon's sample essays are great examples. He doesn't use many complicated words in his essays, but there are tons of phrases and expressions that native speakers often use. Besides, his ideas are logical, convincing, and easy to understand.

When reviewing Simon's essays or any other sample essays, students should take the time to understand each sentence and expression. Taking notes is crucial here, but it is even more important that students write their own error-free sentences with such phrases and/or expressions.

English is actually not my mother tongue, and my tutor used to assign 15 to 20 new vocabulary each class for me to make sentences with. I perfectly know how difficult writing sentences with new vocabulary can sometimes be; I've experienced that myself and it really proved to be the right (and most efficient) way of learning a language.

I'm obviously now very thankful for my tutor's way of teaching and he is one of the reasons I have this level of English, which makes me capable of helping different students to overcome their struggles. (NOTE: I'm not trying to promote myself here, all I'm trying to do is to share my experience of learning/improving my English abilities.)

Hi Simon,

With reference to your essay, 2nd para starts with "At the same time".
Will the meaning of the 2nd para would change , had it been started with "On the other hand" ?

Can you please tell me what is the difference with between "At the same time" and "On the other hand" ?

If possible, can you please give example when one should use "At the same time" and "On the other hand"

Thanks and regards,

Thank you so much Simon.

Hi Simon

I saw that you have "Disagreed" initially in 1st Para, but the 2nd Para shows you are still supporting the idea of "helping local society" ??? - Looks like a balanced argument rather than a one-sided as you have stated.

Plz explain ?!?

[quote]He doesn't use many complicated words in his essays, but there are tons of phrases and expressions that native speakers often use. Besides, his ideas are logical, convincing, and easy to understand.[/quote]

I still confused, I did not see 'tons of phrases' like you said...compared to samples written by Ielts-blog I feel this one was too simple.

"In contrast,..." and By contrast,... are similar in meaning, can they replace each other?

one more question, I assume both essays, task 1 and task 2 are marked by one person. Does it affect my score if I use similar linking words in both essays? such as first of all,... on the other hand.., Alternatively,.... because I think if if there is a process, z diagram or a flowchart I need to use those linking words.
I also find myself using such as many times. is is good idea to change? if yes what otherways I can utilise?
is "also" used correctly in above senntence?

to specify use of "such as"

there are many methods to lose weight such as dieting, exercise and medication. medications are of many types such as to cure disease which causes obesity, to reeduce hunger and to reduce absorption.
there are alternative to diet such as x, y and z.

Hi Martin

I really like your advices as much as Simon's advices . Would you please tell us more about the way in which you learned English precisely . please if you dont mind tell us through example . I guess that could be effective to improve our method.

Thank you

Hi simon,
thanks for this elegant essay.
I have 2 questions:
1-Is it true that we would better to use more some compound sentences like:"extremely essential dexterity" or " extremely beautiful scenery" ???
but I cannot use them in my essay easily , what is the name of these sentences ?
2- does it improve our score if we use more punctuations ?

Thanks for your kindness


I admire you for writing this essay! The topic is such a complicated one but then you write it in a very simple structure that is clear and easy to understand. This would surely help a lot of IELTS writing students so keep it up for you next sample essays to post! TheIELTSSolution.com

Thank you.

Hi Bell Ng,

Perhaps you are looking for "academic" or "difficult" words...
If you read Simon's previous lessons carefully, you will notice that such vocabulary is NOT necessary to get band 9 in writing, which I totally agree; suggested reading: http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2011/11/ielts-advice-band-9-essays.html

You should know that every website has different model essays, and that each writer has his or her own method of writing. This sample essay may look "too simple", but it doesn't mean that everyone can write in such way... can you?

Hi Sabah,

Yes, it might be a good idea to plan your essay in your own language first - you might be able to plan more quickly that way.


Hi Rasim,

Yes, even "a" is counted as a word.


Thanks Martin. Again, I hope everyone reads your comment!


Hi Umesh,

I nearly wrote "On the other hand", so it would be fine to use that instead. There is a small difference - "On the other hand" introduces an opposite, whereas "At the same time" gives the idea that we can do BOTH things (rather than one or the other).


Hi Dhana,

The interesting thing about this question is that you can talk about BOTH sides if you say that you disagree. The reason for this is that the question uses the word "ONLY" (we should ONLY be concerned with our own communities). I disagree that we should ONLY help our communities - I think we should help BOTH our own communities AND people in other countries.

I understand that it seems strange to discuss both sides after disagreeing, but this is because we have the word "ONLY".


Hi Bell Ng,

A well-written essay should be easy to read, but that doesn't mean that it was easy to write. The above essay is not as simple as it seems! If you can write like this, you've got nothing to worry about - I guarantee you'll get a very high score.

PS. Read Martin's comment above too.


Hi Kai,

Yes, "in/by contrast" are the same.

The same examiner does mark both essays, but they are treated as 2 completely separate things, so it's fine to repeat some linking words in both.

Your uses of 'also' and 'such as' are correct.


Hi Amir,

My advice is: don't try to use any particular grammatical structures "on purpose". Just focus on answering the question well - this means having a clear essay structure and expressing relevant ideas in a logical way. In terms of punctuation, the most important thing is to use 'full stops' correctly to show where your sentences start and finish.

Hello Simon,
If the question asked is "some people say that the most important thing being rich is being able to help others.To what extent do you agree or disagree?"
If i say i do not completely agree to it and say it may mean different to different people and then write 1st body para about what being rich means to different people and in 2nd body para,how different rich people help in different ways.......
Am i on the right track?
If not what do u think we should be writing for this question?
Please help.

Hi Divya,

Yes, that seems fine to me.

Hi Mh,

Thanks for reading my posts and glad to know that you like them!
I think you made a good question and I could spend hours talking about my English learning experience... but I will try to summarize it here.

First of all, the tutor I mentioned was perfect for me because I really needed someone who could guide me toward the right direction. Although he specialized in the TOEFL exam, I was able to look at the big picture and improve my English overall. To me, American English, British English, "TOEFL English", "IELTS English" and so on, are all the same; there is no difference.

As I previously said, the habit of (or "being forced to") making sentences with different vocabulary, phrases, expressions, and grammatical structures really proves to improve a student's writing and speaking skills. Several of my students do that and I can see improvement in a very short time.

In my opinion, grammar is extremely important if you want to write and speak in proper English. Besides teaching grammar and writing skills, my tutor used to constantly correct me and point out my mistakes and weaknesses. My everyday homework was to review the materials on my own, practice as much as possible (BY MAKING SENTENCES!), and avoid making the same mistakes again.

The dictionary has literally become my best friend. Even now I still check for words that I am not 100% sure. The dictionary can be the key to success when mastering a language, but you must choose a suitable one for your needs and know how to use it wisely. The one that I strongly recommend is the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/); take a close look at this FREE online dictionary and you will probably understand what I mean.


PS. Continued below...

Reading is probably my biggest weakness in English. For this, my tutor would spend about 20 minutes each class to read articles, news, or short stories. But everything was assigned by him so it was kind of boring. If I had Internet access at that time, I would have preferred to look for articles myself. Anyway, I always tell my students how lucky they are because now they can easily find tons of free English materials to read, watch, and listen on the web. My advice is to read in a daily basis, which also comes perfect for expanding one's general knowledge.

About improving my listening skills: I used to have a roommate in college and he was a big fan of FRIENDS and Star Trek. The Internet was not popular at that time and since it was his TV set, I had not choice but to watch those TV series with him almost every day. Because he knew that I had poor listening skills, he was nice enough to put the captions on for me. The most interesting thing is that one day I was suddenly able to understand nearly everything without looking at the TV screen!

To improve my speaking skills, I would imitate the way native speakers speak. When you watch all sorts of movies, video clips, and TV programs, you will notice that there are several expressions you could use in daily conversation. Memorizing words and/or expressions is one thing, but your goal should be to know and understand how to use them properly at the right time. If you can't find a speaking partner, you should at least speak to yourself ALOUD in a constant basis; this is key to quickly improve.

Lastly, in order to have success in learning English (or any other language), you need to be persistent, patient, and have the right mindset. You will surely encounter lots of challenges during the process, but you need to work hard as well as be strong and willing to improve little by little.

PS: sorry for the long post and I hope you find it useful!


hi simon! can you help me for this essay? it is generally acknowledged that families are now not as close as they used to be. give possible reason and recommendations.
thank you so much!

Can you underline all vocabularies band 7 or higher in all your essays, plz? thanks in advance.

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.

Hi BeBe,

Here's a lesson I did about that topic:



Hi Zukini,

I'll try to do that more often.


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 Simon

I just write to let anyone who ever think that your essay is too easy to get a band 9 know that they are wrong!!

I've visited countless online IELTS websites since I started to prepare for IELTS and I was lucky enough to have come across yours. Most of the websites give out the sample essays that are so difficult to understand and follow, so I got so scared of this exam, especially in writing.

But as soon as I read all your sample essays, I found it a lot easier than I thought since you've followed exactly the same rules. You are the only teacher I know that said " don't be afraid of using I " while others always say avoid it.

I decided to ignore other online teachers' opinions and focus on your instead.

Today my result came out and it showed that I've made the right decision. I bought your ebook and have written all the 24 common topics and luckily my writing topic was from one of them.

Your ebook is the most useful thing that I've ever bought for my exam and I think anyone who is still struggling for their writing should buy one. I know it's not cheap but it's worth every penny.

I am just so happy that I'm one step closer to fulfill my dream and am gonna have a relaxing Chinese New Year holiday. You are absolutely godsend and everyone who visits your website should know it.

Wish you have a happy Christmas!!

Hi Yamei,

Thanks for posting such positive feedback. It's a real Christmas present for me to read what you wrote!!

Best wishes.

thank you so much SImon,

In an essay, do I write 2 or 3 body paragraphs? Which is better?

Hi Anh,

I prefer 2. Have a look through my task 2 essays to see more advice and examples.

Hi Simon,

For me, reading your essays is not only the effective method to learn how to compose perfect essays for IELTS exam but also the good way to get general knowledge. I learnt some essays by my heart, word by word even commas and periods. It was surprised because I could start writing an essay much easier than before.

Thank you Simon. I will keep doing it until every single word from your essays come into my mind.

No problem kdnguyen. I'm really happy you like my essays. Keep up the good work!

Hi Simon can I write my Introduction this way?

Some people believe that we can only help our society and country but not at other countries. I partly disagree with this view as we should help as many people as possible when they are in needs.

(since main in body 1: i agree, main body 2: disagree. Should i use partly agree or partly disagree in the intro. Im kind of confused)

Appreciate your help. thank u.

Hi Nor,

If you think we should help as many people as possible, it means that you disagree (not 'partly disagree') with ONLY helping people in our own countries. Then you will use the same structure as I did in my essay above.

hello, Simon, I found that in most of your essays, in the main body, you first present arguements you do not agree with and discuss the rationales behind these arguments, in the second paragraph, you start to present arguments you agree with. you conclude your essay by summarising the arguments you support. this is quite different from what is required at university. normally, the strongest points and the points you agree with normally go first. could you pls give us some guidance on this issue?

Hi Ken,

There are many differences between IELTS writing and 'real' university writing. It's best not to compare the two.

Hi Simon,

I have been practicing introductions in your way..thanks for all the info you have been providing. I have sn intro for this topic.please let me know if it is an appropriate one.

"It is true that many human beings throughout the world seek for assistance and expect someone to assist them. Although i accept that every needy should in the world should be helped, I believe that the first priority should be given to the known people and people around us."

Hi simon,
I have a guestion about concerned with and concerned about, i looked up it in dictionary and i realised "be concerned with" means be about sth and "be concerned about" means be worried about.But in this question you write we should only be concerned WITH our communities. I am confused i think here we should write concerned about. Could you explain it here or in your weekly lessons? Tnx

Hi Simon,

I have a question about "the wealthiest of cities". I think "the wealthiest cities" should be better. Could you explain it?


Dear Simon,

I got confused about the way you developed your two main paragraphs.

In your first paragraph, you say you accept we should help domestic people. But you write some sentences about how to help them, which seems like irrelevant to your topic sentence. For example," In the UK, people can help in a variety of ways, from donating clothing to serving free food in a soup kitchen.". I think if you want to prove the view is acceptable, it is necessary to explain the benefit we can receive if help or bad result if we don't help.

Can you please tell me what do you think about my question? Thank you so much!

Is it ok if you use "on one hand" but there isnt "On the other hand"?

Hi simon,
It seems to me your second paragraph didn't really explain or support the main idea why it is important to help. it is more like to tell people how to offer help or how others do to help the impoverished.
for my understanding, the rest of the paragraph should support the main idea rather than simply extend the idea. am i right in that sense. I am very confused.
And thank you for your blog, it helps me a lot with my writing!!

My introduction paragraph.
Please check.

Countries may give aid for humanitarian reasons ,this means that they want to relieve the suffering experienced by those affected countries specially when it comes to natural and unexpected disasters as well as those countries affected by war.Moreover, they may want to improve the living standard of the people in developing country such as increasing rate. I firmly support and agree with this for several reasons.

throughout history, crime has been continuously considered as one of the crucial issues, which have a direct effect on communities, thus,certain measures have been adopted, which have cultural and ethical basis, to eliminate such phenomenon by imposing penalties, such as execution which has brought public attention,Therefore,
some people are supporting to use it while others just regard it as a step against humanity.
obviously, supporters have been arguing that death penalty is reckoned as effective measure particularly when it links to a serious crime, because if someone intend to commit an offense,he/she would definitely think more about the consequence when he/she has been caught.Furthermore, they went beyond, saying when an innocent soul has been taken,then a great tautology to punish the perpetrator as same as to his/her action.
on the other hands, the opponents have been claiming that death penalty is an inconvenient measure because basically it demolished the principle of human rights as well as punishment objectives, which intentionally used to reform a felon, also many innocent souls have been taken as a result of the wrongful conviction, for example, political or social motivated trials definitely cause to end a thousand of lives. Moreover, the death penalty would still cost a lot and diverts resources from genuine crime control measures, for instance, trial in which the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence have two separate and distinct phases.
In conclusion, having looked on the debate we could have seen that punishment is an inevitable measure against those who are intending to violet community decorum, however, death penalty consumes resources and end up innocent lives, thus, a consecutive revision of the laws is a matter of importance

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