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February 03, 2012


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Hi Simon,
Just wanted to ask how important is the use of Subjunctive in Ielts,(writing and speaking)
Thanks and Regards.

Hi Jawairia,

You can forget about that. It's not important at all.

Hi Simon,

It's been about 2 months that I have been reading novels avidly. Since of was reading them in the past but once in a while, I take great pleasure in reading them one after another now.

Just wanted to know, do you think its a good way of improving my reading skills even in IELTS and boosting up my GE as well as increasing my writing skills?

Thx a lot

Hii simon,
Thank you for this wonderful site...i m preparing for IELTS myself.is it possible to get a good band score if i study everything in this site?

Hi Simon,
I have your eBook.
You have done great work.
Still, i think you should update some topics.
I went through the book quickly.
Now, I move on step by step and write essay according to your eBook topics.
I got advertising topic. There is more than enough information for Advertising topic.
Today I do "animal testing" in which i think you need to update that part. As students have no idea in such a topic.
I need your help in that topic.
Please give me more sentences on "Arguments "for" and "against" Animal".


Thanks Simon for having shared with us the questions and answers for speaking tests.It's really helpful.

Thanks Simon,
It's a great relief.

Hi Abbas,

Yes, that's definitely a good idea. Keep doing it!


Hi Rose,

Yes, use my site for advice and practice, and try to do some tests from the Cambridge IELTS books too. The only other thing you might need to do is to get some of your essays checked by a teacher.


Hi x-reader,

I'm not sure which part you are having difficulty with. There are enough ideas about animal testing in the ebook - you don't really need any more. Which ideas didn't you understand?


No problem Qua Lam and Jawairia.

At work or in your studies, do you often write things?
Yes, I do much writing whenever I'm at work. Basically, my work involves a lot of documentation. Working as a nurse needs to write down important details to save me from lawsuit in case a patient sues the hospital or a nurse.

Do you prefer to write by hand or on a computer?
I'd rather use a computer than writing by hand. I find it way easier to type on a computer because it very easy to copy, erase or edit my writing unlike when I write on a paper I needed an eraser or a white marker just to erase my writing, which is quite messy.

Do you think computers might one day replace handwriting?

I believe I will be less common in the future. As more and more use electronic devices like ipad, iphones or laptops, which are more convenient to bring along outside, writing by hand can be replaced one day.

I believe It will be less common in the future. As more and more use electronic devices like ipad, iphones or laptops, which are more convenient to bring along outside, writing by hand can be replaced one day.

Hey simon,

When I took speaking, I always cannot hear examiner clearly. May i ask the examiner to repeat the question, it will give me an effect on my score?



hi simon ,
i have been following your site regular as i have already given Ielts twice and my speaking marks are 6.5 and 5.5 respectively. i think i was doing good for my second speaking test but didnt figure out why i got low marks ? i have been speaking little fast and using more slang words . how should i improve my habits?
your feedback would be appreciated,,

Thanks for sharing Gwapo.


Hi Lily,

Yes, it's ok to ask the examiner to repeat a question.


Hi Sujan,

It's difficult for me to help you because I don't know what your individual problems are. It would be a good idea to take a few lessons with a private teacher who can analyse what you are doing wrong.

Thanks simon,I will definitely follow your advice.

Mr. Simon I find it useful to read the practice questions in speaking or even in writing.. My question: Is it really just "recycling of questions" ?? =D I saw the examiner having their copy of questions ... Is it really that way?? thank you =D

hi simon,
do i need to speak slowly or normal what i have now while speaking? and what a techer looks in students in speaking test ?

Hi D-red,

I think I answered on Facebook.


Hi Sujan,

Just try to speak normally and naturally. This is what examiners look for.

Hi simon
I really like your site and all the wonderful work, but as i know in the speaking test, idioms also vital as vocab and fluency. It can improve your mark even with only one suitable use in your speaking section whether it's sec 1,2 or 3, so i wonder it's could be very helpful if you can put at least one idiom with all the speaking materials from now on. I already studied the English idioms in use right now.
and many thanks :)

Hi Vinh,

I think I'll do a lesson about idioms this weekend because many students ask about them.

hi Simon,

if the examiner will ask for our name, do we only state our name or is there a need to add another sentence or phrase? I am confused because some teachers told us to give two to three sentences on part 1 of speaking and stating our name is just one sentence only.

thank you,

Hi simon
i'm looking forward to your lesson this weekend .
Many thanks

Hi Claudette,

When they ask for your name, it is NOT part of the test. They need to check your identity before the test starts. So just give your name.


Ok Vinh.

thank you Simon, I am enlightened now.

2. Do you prefer to speak to people by phone or by writing emails?
For me, speaking to people by phone is way faster to convey one's information. Though email is important too if one is need to send documents or any valuable information, I still much prefer using mobile when I need to talk to someone.

Hi Simon,
another question from me, is it ok to use abbreviations in the speaking test, eg. i've?

thanks a lot.

oops, i didn't read the words above before i posted, i'm sorry.:目

No problem. Yes, it's normal to use contractions like "I've" in speech.

hi simon. I have a question for you about the word "depend".
In your post, you wrote:
Do you prefer to write by hand or on a computer?

It depends what I’m doing. I prefer the computer for most things because it’s faster and you can save or copy things, but I still like making notes or writing ideas down by hand.

Normally, I think people would say "it depends on". would you mind telling me what's the difference?

Hello. thanks a lot for your efficient notes on your site. I would like to know is it possible for me to access ielts tests that have not been published in ielts cambridge books? If yes, how can I?
Thank you very much.

Thanks for your writting.
I just have several questions ehwn I preparing for the test.
My chinese Ielts teacher tought me that we should use more difficult words and adverb for they are seldom spoken by others especially in Part1.She also said we should write long answers.And then the examiner will choose a difficult topic in part2(not talking about people).Is that a truth?
I am critical with that opinion because I think people would be casual and free when speaking.

Could you please help me with the question?
Thanks a lot!

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