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April 25, 2012


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hi there, simon
i would like to say that i got results from ielts today which was carried out in 12th april and it was listening 6.5 reading 5 writing 5.5 speaking 5 overall,5.5 . i would also mention that i could get higher. i think its because of the first ielts exam in my life and i was less in a hurry, stress but its enough for me to enter with self-finance and i want continue studying hard with my speaking
thanks for everything simon you really helped me with writing and listening

HI Simon.,

I am from India and in first attempt(17-3-2012) I got over all 6 bands(l:6,r:6,s:6,w:6) and with the help of your book & website tips I got overall 7 bands(l:7.5,R:7.5,S:6.5,W:6) in second attempt(12-4-2012).

Once again thanks to your Awesome work on Internet

Hi Otabek,

It might make you feel better to read Ravi's comment (below yours). Most people do better the second time. Good luck!


Well done Ravi. Great improvement!

Oh dear Simon!
I wish I would write like you,in such a perfectly concise,well-organised sophisticated,but easy to follow way.Each your sentence has its aim and sense,nothing is unnecessary and there is no needless detail.Your introductions and conclusions are always accurate,short and neat.

My works,instead are too long and overloaded with too many details and ideas.I liked longer introductions and explanations.Now,I suppose,I know well how I should write my essays( many thanks for your lessons on the portal plus the course)but the old habits are very difficult to remove.I was told that I have a rich vocabulary,I have already read so many books in English and perhaps I wanted to show something of that.

So,I understood that we have to write,what is relevant to the topic,fully answer the question,but without unnecessary digressions and to make it in a well-organised manner, according to the structure of essays and with all these hints you teach us so patiently and wisely.
Thank you,
When I have read ,today, your essay a week,after mine on the hobby topic I have become really dissatisfied with my trial.But,I know even today I would write it almost partially in a different way.

dear simon,i already bought the e book and my exam will b held on 12th may GT,but still i feel discomfort on reading,writing and speaking and for immmigration i need all 7...please help me how can i start for this short period of time and everyday how much time i have to spend as i have my job continuing...

Hi Simon, could you highlight some good phrase or local expression ?

Hello,Simon. In the essay, you take three expamples. In the third example, you take your own experience about film editing. However, I suspect this validity because I think it is difficult to demonstrate this topic by personal examples. You should take famous people's examples or common knowledge. How do you think this idea?

Hi Simon
I'm so appreciated because i used your ebook and your website and i got band 7.5
Thank you so much.You have lots of fans in Iran ;)

Simon your really great..love your website.In my first attempt I just got only 5.5
and I need at least 6.5 for my further education hope this time i can achieve..

Hi Aleksandra,

I'm glad you like my writing style. Hopefully you can modify your own style a bit; I'm sure you'll get a good score if you do.


Hi Nur,

Just keep working hard and practising. Best of luck!


Hi Bin,

Sometimes I highlight the "band 7 vocabulary" in my lessons. I'll do more of that in future.


Hi Jason,

Your idea would be fine too.


Congratulations Mehrdad! 7.5 is a great score!


Good luck Seema. Keep working hard!

Hi, Simon!!
I'm studying 'Ideas of IELTS topics' of e-book you sent for a while ago. It's useful to me. I appreciate you.
By the way, I'd like to ask a question.
Is it correct, the sentence below on 'Techcology in Education : Opinion'?

" It can enhance a teacher's lessons. "
--> "a" is right? I want to know whether this sentence is grammatically correct.

Please, answer me. Thank you.

Hi Elle,

Yes, it's correct. It means "It can enhance the lessons of a teacher" (the lessons that one teacher does).

I'm glad you like the ebook!

Thank you for your answer~!!! *^^*

Hi Simon hi guys.i really need your help.i should write outline to the essays,but i don't know how to write,please help to me.its reall important for me. my email addres: [email protected]
or [email protected]

and i wrote one of Narrative Essay with its outline can u please check anr write your comment?

Title: Trip to Chicago
Introductory statements
Taisist statement: My 2003 trip to Chicago was both nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time
Body paragraps
First supporting idea (Topic sentence): I remember the first time I went to Chicago
Rush hour traffic
Long waiting becouse of trafic
Second supporting idea (topic sentence): Stopped off at mcdonald's to use a bathroom
Faced the problem locked door of the bathroom
trying solve the problem
Second supporting idea stopped (topic sentence): Later that night we went walking
walking on the water front
excited because of tall building Sears Tower
we drove by China Town
Closing statements
Restate thesis: The trip to Chicago was definitely unforgettable.I had experienced things that I may not have ever been able to experience again

Trip to Chicago

Narrative Essay
Road tripping with friends is supposed to be fun and exciting. It gives me an opportunity to jump in the car and explore somewhere or something that I have never experienced. My 2003 trip to Chicago was both nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time because I got to be in certain situations that I have never been in before.
I remember the first time I went to Chicago, my then-boyfriend and I were in rush hour traffic. My heart was thumping in my chest so fast because I have never seen traffic like that before in my life. Cars were bumper to bumper, yet people were still trying to fit their vehicle in spaces no bigger than a toothpick. I decided right then and there that these folks were crazy drivers, and I did not want any part of it. I remember thinking to myself how delighted I was that I was the passenger and not the driver.
We had stopped off at McDonald's because I had to really use the bathroom. I was relieved when I reached my destination. I turned the handle to the bathroom, but the door was locked. I sat back down for a while, and went back to the lady's room. I attempted this feat five times. My ex just sat there looking at me stupid. He said, " They keep the door locked at all times because of the crack-heads going in there getting high. You will have to get the lady up front to unlock it for you". Hello, I am from a small town and the population is 10,000 therefore, I have never encountered this problem". Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.
Later that night we went walking on the water front. It was windy and somewhat chilly, but the lights reflecting off the buildings added a little romance to the evening. Maurice showed me Sears Tower, and I was so excited because the building was so tall. I felt like my neck was going to break looking up at it. I am a pretty tall woman, but compared to that building I felt 5 inches tall. Then we drove by China Town, I was really amazed at how beautiful it was. The buildings had signs on them written in Chinese language. Everything was lit up like a Christmas tree. It reminded me of some Hollywood movie up close and personal.
In essence, the trip to Chicago was definitely unforgettable, but I am glad that I took it. I had experienced things that I may not have ever been able to experience again. I saw a lot of wonderful and beautiful scenery. Most importantly, I learned that any of my future trips will be made without me behind the wheel. Being a passenger can be stressful enough at times.

please Simon correct my mistakes.thank you

Hi Simon.How are you.Simon which book do you advise me to improve my writing and reading skills? Do you have own book?

Hi Simon
the word hobby was repeated in your essay for 11 times. I wonder if this would decrease the overall score or not.

Hi Pervin,

Just keep practising and following the lessons. I have an ebook for IELTS writing topics. You can find out more about it here:



Hi Mimo,

No, 'hobby' is a key word and needs to be repeated. It won't affect the score.

Simon, just want to ask, why did you include easy hobbies in this essay when it only ask if you agree or disagree if hobbies need to be difficult to be enjoyable?

Continuation.... Simon, does this mean i can also add reasons like to be succesful in their chosen career in this kind of question... Some people think that the only purpose of working hard is to earn money. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Tnx for any response.

Hi Dave,

My answer was that hobbies can be enjoyable whether they are difficult OR easy, so I was able to talk about both sides.

The answer to your second question is 'yes'. If you make it clear that there are OTHER reasons for working hard (in your opinion), you can mention them.

Thank you simon

Hi Simon,

You listed down both easy and challenging hobbies. And you express that "you disagree with the statement" in the full essay. However, you also said that "you partly agree" with the statement in lesson dated 18th Apr. Which one is correct in order to discuss two types of hobby are enjoyable.

Another new topic: "Some people think that a large amount of time and money spent on the protection of wild animals is excessive and should be better spent on the human population. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion."

If I hold the opinion that I think we should both spend time and money on wildlife conservation and human beings. Should I say "partly agree" or "disagree" in order to introduce and discuss both views in my second and third paragraph?

Thank you.

Hi Mei,

When you want to talk about both sides of the argument, sometimes you need to disagree, but sometimes you need to partly agree.

Here's an easy example:
"Coffee is nicer than tea. Do you agree or disagree?"

In this case, I need to disagree if I want to say that both are nice. I think this is the same as the 'hobbies' answer I gave.

For your 'wild animals' question, I would probably partly agree: I'd say that some of the money could be diverted to human causes, BUT we should still spend some money protecting wild animals.

Deciding whether to agree, disagree or partly agree is never an "exact science" so don't worry too much. Just make sure that your message is as clear as possible.

Hi Simon how can i purchase your Target 7 book?

Hi Jamie,

That's not my book. I only have one ebook, and it's here:


Hi Simon,

I would like to ask a question concerning about the essay structure of the writing task 2.
Would it be ok if my essay's structure goes like:


A (arguments for one side)
B (arguments for another side)
C (my own opinion and argument)


As I am worried that if I include my own opinion and argument in the conclusion part, it would be too long and clumsy, also it seems to me that it will include ideas that I haven't mention before.
Or would it be better if I stay on the structure of Intro AB conclusion?

Thanks a lot.

Sorry, I've forgot to mention that the essay type that I was asking about is 'Discuss both sides and express your opinion'.

Hi Ingrid,

Your opinion will probably be the same as the view expressed in either paragraph A or B, so there is a risk that your paragraph C will be full of repetition. I tend to put my opinion in the introduction and conclusion, and mention in paragraph A or B that this is also my view (e.g. begin paragraph B: "On the other hand, I would argue that...")

Thanks for your reply Simon!

I would like to ask one more question..
I'm not quite sure what I should include in my conclusion..

If I stick to the format of Intro AB conclusion, is it necessary for me to sum up the augments of both sides before giving my own opinion?
Or I can actually skip that and go straight to my opinion?

Hi Ingrid,

Don't worry too much about the conclusion. Just repeat your overall opinion.

Thanks again Simon.

hi simon
is it possible to take both side in essay

Yes. Just make your opinion clear in the introduction. If you 'partly agree', you can talk about both sides.

Hi Simon,
I am a little confused about this essay. In the third paragraph, you mention that "difficult hobbies can sometimes be more exciting","greater sense", but in the conclusion, you said "difficult hobbies can be equally pleasurable". So would you say that difficult hobbies are better? Is it more logistic?
Besides, my teacher tells me in some topics, such as discuss the advantages or disadvantages and so on, I should always give the solutions or the suggetions in the last paragraph. Because in this case, I can get a higher score. Is it right?
Thank you!

Hi Simon,
I am a student from China, I have done an ielts test recently and my result is listening7.5, reading8, writing5.5, speaking 6. I feel so disappointed with my writing. I tried hard to find a good way to learn how to write which is suitable for me but have no good luck. When I read your essay, I am kind of shocked because you didn't use many fancy and shining words at all to furnish it. I believe this is the most appropriate style that I am looking for. Now my difficulty is that maybe I can come up with similar idea as you did, but how can I express it in a native speaker's way? Thanks for your time!

Hobbies can be defined into two types, difficult and easy. Some people like the former types, while others just love the simple hobbies. In my opinion, I think these hobbies have their own positive values.

There are various type of simple hobbies which is easy and low cost. Although they are easy and cheap, but many people feel enjoy and find some pleasure with the hobbies. For instance, Jogging is one of the easiest exercises that almost everyone are able to do it but only few people who can feel the excitement. Jogging is cheap, since you only need socks and running shoes and also good for your heart. Another good example is reading. It doesn’t need any complex tool or equipments, you just prepare yourself with books that interest you and feel the enjoyment while reading them. You can get additional knowledge though reading as well.

On the other hand, some people think that complicated hobbies are more challenging. They think that the sense of pride and achievement is much more higher than the simple hobbies. For example, although mountain climbing is a dangerous hobby, but for some people this is a fun activity and they would take all the risk just to conquer the mountains. Yachting is a complex and expensive activity, but for few people, they are willing to spend so much money just to enjoy it.

To conclude, I think that easy hobbies and difficult hobbies have their own advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on the interest of the individual themselves.

Hi Simon,
I am not really sure but my teacher said that if I copy exactly what is in the question, examiners will not count it in my essay, so I need to paraphrase the sentence in the question. This work sometimes takes me a lot of time because I find it difficult to choose the correct synonyms. However, in this essay's introduction, you write "hobbies need to be difficult in order to be enjoyable", this sentence seem to be used in the question. Is it a problem or not?

Hi Simon.
i find that you repeat the word" hobbies" too much in your essay. why do you replace by other words? and how this essay got a band 9 with such repetition.
thanks a lot.


Simon, I think this essay is more like for the 'describe both views and give your opinion' sector. There are two different views and your opinion I can see. What's the main difference between the 'to what extent~' and my 'discuss both opinions~' question?

Thanks in anyway, I love your excellent writing and tips.

Hi, Simon, I am in London now, can I get ur help on my reading and writing? I've got conditional offer, but I almost lose confidence to achieve that goal! My reading and writing in first exam got 6, but after that I got 5.5 sometimes 5!!!!!! I don't know what's happened in my studying... Pls help me... In the beginning my listening was 5.5, but now is stable remained on 6.5... My speaking always 6.5, sometimes 7....pls help... My speed of reading always so slow... I don't really know how to speed it up...

Hy dinon plz help me reading writing speaking very slow plzzz help me

hi Simon, my name is Muslim and i am from tashkent, i have some difficulties with my writing, especialy with task 2, it will be my first exam and i hope i will achieve over all 6.5 band, i want to ask to you how i can increase my writing level

Hi Simon
I was wondering why you wrote "both types of hobby" instead of "both types of hobbies" In introduction?
Should we write the noun after "types of" in plural or singular?
Thanks a lot.


You don't need to use the plural of both nouns. Imagine an easier example: "They sell two types of car" or "they have many types of coffee".

Hi Simon
I am really confused by this topic and your essay, after reading the essay given of this topic,I realized that it is not relating to "partly agree",and it is concerning about "disagree", paragraph 2 and 3 are both the supporting ideas and ideas to argue what your "disagree" demonstrates.

So It seems fairly difficult to tackle "agree or disagree" type.

Thank you ,Simon


Have a look at the two lessons linked below:



Dear Simon,

I realized something in your introduction and that might be wrong.

Personally, I believe that both types of hobby can be fun, and I therefore disagree with the statement that hobbies need to be difficult in order to be enjoyable.

In this sentence, shouldn't you use plural for of the word while saying both types of 'hobbies'?

One more thing, when you are using therefore in this sentence, shouldn't we put comma before and after the 'therefore'?

I would be appreciated if you reply my questions.

Many thanks in advance.

Hello Simon,

It’s Ayse again. I understood the first question of mine.

However, I still do not know why you did noy pu tocmma begore and after the word therefore.



'Hobby' is a category here, so 'types of hobby' is normal and correct. It's similar to this situation:

- There are many cars.
- There are many types of car.

"I therefore disagree with you", without commas, is normal and correct. It is also possible to add commas around the word 'therefore', but that would cause the reader to pause and to treat 'therefore' as extra information. This changes the flow of the phrase when we read it.

I hope this makes sense. The choice about whether or not to add commas in this situation is an interesting one, but it's not something that would affect your IELTS score in any way.

Hi Simon,

In this sentence: "This hobby requires very little equipment, it is simple to learn, and it is inexpensive.", did you omit an 'and' after 'equipment'? Because if not, this sentence consits of three independent clauses.

Thanks a lot!


It's a "list" sentence, and it's quite a common thing to see.

Here's a grammar discussion about this type of sentence:


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