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February 20, 2012


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Hi, Simon.
I'm taking IELTS this week. My individual time of speaking test is 10:20, whereas some of my fellows will have speaking test at 18:00. And one of them said that it will be easier for them to pass, because examinator will be little exhausted and will ask few questions and he/she won't check very carefully as earlier. Is it true? And one more thing, we purchased your ebook, and examinator will see that our ides are the same, won't it affect our score?


Hi Simon,

I had my IELTS test last week, and I had a few questions to ask you.

1. (In part 2) I was speaking too fast (because I was nervous), and that the examiner asked me "Could you tell me a bit more about the trip?" after I had stopped. Does this mean my score was adversely affected? I know I must have given the examiner a bad impression.

2. Will speaking too fast in the speaking test affect my score? I spoke fluently, but not unnaturally fast, but I'm sure I should've spoken more slowly.

3. The question was "Describe a trip that you went to when you were a child". If I don't have such experiences, what should I do? Should I immediately make up one? I did so. I made up one, but then I didn't have enough "creativity" to keep talking for 2 minutes, and stopped at around 50 seconds had passed.

4. Another question I was given was about tourist travel. I didn't understand at first, and I asked the examiner "Sorry, what do you mean by tourist travel?". I thought he was referring to something in particular, but he told me just the situation in general. I then started talking about this. Will this affect my score?

5. I was given a bar chart to describe in the writing test. The items in the X-axis are very long. The chart was about the literacy rates in various regions, but the region of each region was like "Arab Stated and sub-xxx xxxx xxxx". Sorry I forgot the names, but they were very very very long. Should I list them all out when making comparisons? This'd seem a bit clumsy.

Thanks very much, Simon.

Hi MT:
We did the same Academic test! Are you in Australia? I know right the names were so long. I ended up spending half the time writing up the countries' names.

You speaking part 2 seemed a bit hard. I would be stunned if asked about a trip I went to when I was a child. (Coz I wouldnt remember any!) Mine was about describing a wedding you went to. pretty straghtforward.

Fingers crossed for both of us to get the scores we need! I seriously cannot wait till 2nd of March! Such a torture for us!

Hi MT:
I think Simon is really busy these days, so I'll try to answer your questions.

1. Dont worry about it! I stopped for 5s in part 2 coz I ran out of things to say as well, but then I suddenly remembered something and kept talking, and got 8!

2. Dont worry about it either! at one speaking test I spoke too fast as well only because I was so familiar with the topic.(still got an 8). I personally think its better to speak relatively fast than relatively slow. One time I deliberately slowed myself down and it felt so awkward (as I usually talk in moderate to fast pace), you know what I only got 7. So I think you just need to be yourself and if you really think you speak too fast, maybe try to emphasise certain words and pause after each focus group.

3. This is hard! I wouldnt be able to do it either. Maybe you could tell the examiner you couldnt remember any trip you went and talk about a trip you would like to go when you were a child?

4. This is fine. It shows that you are willing to talk, better than remain silence. You speaking is graded on your fluency, not on how many questions you asked. Also, you only asked once so no big deal!

5. I listed them out! So annoying! Hope this time my writing task 1 wont hold me back! I loath graphs!

Hi Anuar,
I will try to answer your questions based on my own IELTS experience. I know Im anxiously awaiting my results so helping people calm me down a bit, also improving my writing!

1. Your friends' theory is unfounded! I thought it was the opposite. I once was the last ever (3:40pm!)candidate out 100+, and I only got a 7! (It was a lot of lower than I would usually get). Im not saying that examiners will give you low scores if you have exams at later times, so you should worry at all. Just be yourself and stay relaxed! and also make sufficient eye contact! I wasnt making any eye contact at all when I got a 7 at that time as I forgot my contacts! :( So stay relaxed and just have a chitchat with the examiner, and may eye contact and say 'thanks for you time!' to the examiner when you are done.

2. You writing and your friends' writing are graded by different examiners so dont worry! Also just because you have the same idea does not mean you are plagiarizing! You will definitely write in different styles and use different words. Examiners are too busy to care about where you ideas come from.

hi simon

which is right

various types of fruit

various type of fruits

various types of fruits

Hi Jay,
Im not Simon, but I will help you here as I think its an excellent question and I have to rely on my dictionaries here.

1. According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:
!! Remember to use the plural types/kinds/sorts after all, both, certain, different, many, several, various etc : movies that appeal to certain kinds of people (NOT certain kind of people) | Many sorts of jobs require computing skills (NOT many sort of jobs).

2. Regarding whether to use fruit or fruits, look at the following sample sentence from Cambridge Advanced Dictonary:
Oranges, apples, pears and bananas are all types of fruit. (So you should use fruit here). The only time you should use fruits is when you are talking about a specific kind of fruit such as citrus fruits(limes and lemons);bananas and other tropic fruits

Remember dictionaries should be your best friends when you are preparing for IELTS exams!

Hi Simon sir hope u r well thankyou very much for graat lessons.I have just paraphrase introduction of task 1 kindly can u just tell me how it is thanks.I mean goood or nice.Here is intro:

The graph below caompares the number of visits to new music sites on the web.

answer(The line graph shows the figures for visitors to two new music sites namely music choice and pop parade on the web in 15 days period.)

Sirthis one is right sentence gramatically or i shd write (the figures for two new music sites visitors namely.....)

thanks sir plz correct my mistakes.

Simon i hv written overview as well can u plz commit on that.

The number of visits to music choice and pop parsde rose over the period shown, but the figures for pop parade site were significantly higher during first 6days and peaked in last 2days.

looking forward for reply tc.

Hi Simon,
The lesson is very helpful.
I have some problems in answering reading question. For any tips of question I must have 1 to 2 mistakes (Maybe more). I want to reduce them.
Is there any method that I can improve my reading ability and answer more than 25 questions?
Thanks a lot.

Hi Anuar,

Don't worry about the time, or about using the same ideas. Each student is judged separately (the examiner does not compare you with other students) and the scoring system is the same at all times. The examiner might be in a better mood in the morning!

PS. Read Christina's comments further up this page too.


Hi MT,

Christina answered all of your questions perfectly (2 comments below yours). Basically, I think that you did everything right, and you don't need to worry.

PS. Remember that a 'trip' can be a holiday.


Hi Jay,

Christina has answered perfectly (below your comment). "various types of fruit" is the correct one.

Notice that Christina found the answer by studying a dictionary carefully. This is the best way to learn.


Great work Christina! Thanks so much!


Hi Reema,

Both very good. You've definitely got the right idea.


Hi Adel,

I'm afraid there isn't a special technique. You will gradually get better as you keep practising.

Hi Simon,

I understand that the "what the writer main purpose of reading" question is just only one or two questions in the reading test, but I usually wrong in that kind of question. Can you give me any advise or idea to find out the appropriate approaching due to this kind of question? Thanks
I also assume that you are very busy, and it is very possible my question is by passed, but I hope that I can get the response :)

(NB : Thank for your previous response )

Hi i found sometimes a different idea was NOT GIVEN.. i am still very confused about this kind of question..!

Dear Simon;

I would like to thank you for your priceless contribution to all test takers!
My question may seem kind of irrelevant to this specific part but I couldnt find your email address anywhere in the site.
Anyways, I am practicing myself using Cambridge book, in some occasions in the reading part, we are asked to fill some tables, scan and find the related part and write the answer down! My question is, is it ok if we write (e.g name of the animal) without using "the". If I do not use the "the" will I loose marks? For example in the table I was asked to write the name of the spicy that good at vision, originally it was written as :
"However, the position
of the eyes so restricts the field of vision in baleen whales that they probably do
not have stereoscopic vision."

The answer was "baleen whales" and I copied in that way! But in the answer key it was denoted like "baleen/ the baleen whales". So would I loose points by only writing "baleen whales"?

Please note that, there were some parts where exactly the same thing occurs, but this time the answer was read without the!(in 2 other questions, that I wrote without "the", and it was like that in the answer key as well)

I will be more than happy if you could answer me!


articles are not a problem as long as they remain within the required word limit. If the task says "Use no more than three words" and you get four with the article, omit it, otherwise your answer will be marked wrong. However, if the key gives both alternatives as correct - don't worry

@ simon and all mah frendzzz..i want a proper band list of reading (british council) plzzz if anyone know then plz reply meee .i will be very thnkful to u all...:) :)

Hi Simon
With the help of your right techniques to attempt the IELTS exam i have achieved the required bands to be a RN in Australia.Thanks for your web site and keep it up.
Amardeep Kaur

Congratulations Amar!

I attended IELTS on yesterday.I done my Reading well.But i heard that if we put T,F,NG in true or false,will it reduce marks?If,Why to reduce marks?Normally in public exams we are writing symbols,so actually I thought its ok with this also,Time is also another issue.

Well. I got the same mistake i write T/F/NG instead of the full answers. I’m really desperate. Is it accectable or not to write that? I hope to recieve the answer from someone.

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