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April 04, 2012


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hi simon
i took my test recently.my tutor in an ILETS centre give us the stracture for introduction
writing 2 as follow:
there is an ongoing dabate over the issue of
(the paraphrase).the focuse of the essay is to examine the adventages and disadvantages of (paraphrase).on balance,i content that (your opinion).i wrote the task the same way and i got 6 in writing .Do you think there is something wrong in this intro becus i used very good topic related words from your ebook.
if posible answer me back please.

thanks in advence

Hi Simon,

I really appreciate your teaching. I have read a topic essay in Cambridge book that I dont know which type it belongs to:

"Do you believe that experimentation on animals for scientific purposes is justified? Are there any alternatives to animal experimentation?"

I think it can be type 3 or 4. Could you help me to classify this?

Hi, Simon,

I hope I am not posting some repetitive questions asked before...I already went through all your lessons, ebook, and just a few comments, but I still have some queries related to Writing Task2 as below:

1) How to fully understand “address all parts of the question”? Apart from some relatively simple rules like discussing both views or there are clearly two parts of questions you need to answer...Are there some 'defined' principles to select the correct ones from all ideas cropping up in your minds?

2)Is there a list of right/relevant ideas 'designed' by IELTS people for examiners holding in hands to match/tick the right ideas while marking essays, rather than based on their own understanding for any particular question?

3) Will candidates really get a penalty or minus marks if they write irrelevant ideas/points? How to define this "irrelevance", I mean some points could have indirect relationship with the issues being discussed.(e.g. income inequality may cause anti-social behaviour because people can feel resentful...but some tutors says there is irrelevant idea...)

4) Is Task Response(TR) for writing the weakest area for most candidates per your experience when you worked as an examiner

Sorry to post up so many questions here, mainly for TR criterion which I was told by my private teacher that TR is the biggest weakness for me and for most Asian candidates need to overcome to get a high score(band 7 or above)...

Hi Sabah,

As you probably know, I try to avoid memorised phrases like those you mentioned. However, they won't really lower your score.

It's impossible for me to explain why you are not getting a higher score. My advice is to get someone to check your essays and give you some feedback about what you are doing wrong.


Hi Hung,

I'd say it's a type 4.


Hi Cherrychen,

1. “address all parts of the question” only refers to the simple rules you mentioned. There are no other defined principles.

2. No, there isn't a list. Examiners use their own judgement.

3. Irrelevant means completely unrelated to the topic, or not logically connected to the rest of your argument. If you provide a good explanation of why something is relevant or indirectly relevant, it's fine.

4. Not really. I saw a huge variety of strengths and weaknesses. However, I agree that TR is the basis of a good essay, so it's really important.

Hi Simon,
I tried to post it before, but I had some problems. I hope I don't repeat!
Firstly, this website is really helpful, thank you!
I have one question. What do you think about such a structure for essey - giving opinion.
1. introduction
2. supporting paragraph
3. refutation (opposite argument and refutation it)
4. conclusion

Hi, Simon,

Thank you very much for your kindly reply.

Referred to the Question 2, just want to further confirm whether candidates will get a penalty/minus mark if we really write some irrelevant ideas/points?
If yes, then comparing with the problem of under word limit, which problem is more serious? E.g. essay A-230 words, essay B-250 words, they are almost the same in the 230 words’ part, but essay B’s extra 20 words are regarded as irrelevant, so which essay will get lower mark?

Hi, Simon,

That should be the Question 3 above...

Hi Cherrychen,

You don't really get penalties or minus marks (unless you write less than 250 words). Irrelevant points don't cause you to lose marks that you have already gained - they just stop you from gaining more marks.

Hi, simon,

Ok, I got it..

Thanks again for your great help!~

I need some ideas for this topic. Please help me out.
In some countries old age is highly valued, while in others youth is emphasized. Which viewpoint do you agree with?

Hello Simon,
I have a really important question.My Ielts Exam is next week and i am very confused about one thing.In many books and on a lot of sites i 've found different approaches of Writing Task 2 for this particular question(To what extent do you agree or disagree?) As you said i understand that for an opinion essay you ought to state your opinion in introduction and than sustain it by examples...However,on the courses provided by british council i have a lesson in which i learned that there are actually two approaches for this kind of task :that you have mentioned and the other one where you do not state your opinion in introduction and you have to add one argument + counter-argument per every paragraph and finally in conclusion you must say which argument do you agree with.What is more, you can use expressions like(it is sometimes claimed,on the other hand it is also said and so on.)Please tell me if this one is a right one too.Hope you can answer as soon as possible!!!

Forgot to mention that an introduction for such an approach looks like: Topic+ there are people in favour and opposants...

Hi Florin,

In my opinion, it's really important to give your opinion in the introduction for "do you agree or disagree?" questions.

ok thank you very much for your response.That part with argument+counter-argument/paragraph is good?

Hi Florin,

I never use that format. For "do you agree or disagree?" questions, you will get a higher score if you state your opinion clearly, and then support it in the rest of the essay. Counter-arguments that don't support your opinion are not relevant. Use the "counter-argument" idea if the question asks you to discuss both views.

ok thanks a lot !

Hi Simon, could you please explain the effect of writing less than 250 word in task 2 ?? For example, if someone wrote just about 190 word with a brilliant grammar, vocabulary and structure. How does that affect on his grade? and what do you think he will get ??


Hi Memo,

You won't lose any grammar, vocabulary or coherence marks, but you will automatically lose points for "task response".

hello simon
please help me in this writing urgent

the question is what are the effects of distance communication today on family relationships???

please give me resource or anything to make wrinting in this topic

thank you simon for best website to help people

good bye

please simon help me in my question i know that you can not answer all question but please only this i want.

this my question?

what are the effects of distance communication today on family relationships???

Thanks Simon for answering me, I have another question, could you please answer it!! here is it:
In task 2,if the question was about my opinion,how can I make it 4 paragraph as my opinion will take 1 paragraph ??
intro+ main body (my opinion) + conclusion= 3 !!

god bless you :)

please any person can help me in my writing

the topic is what are the effects of distance communication today on family relationships???

please help me in this topic or give me resource to take some information about this

good bye

Hi Simon,

Initially,it is a very good website to get the efective ideas for improve english as well as for ielts. However, i have a big problem to start my essay like a phobia to do that. planning is not effective for me. pls tell me what can i do? i will wait for your response.


Personally I find question tpye 4 baffling sometimes.This is because the 2 questions stated may overlap in the content.For example,consider the following task:
"Ambition affects people's success.How important is ambition? Is it a positive or negative quality?"

hello simon\

please answer me in mu question

thank you for the best help website

good bye

Simon,please help me with this question:"Ambition affects people's success.How important is ambition? Is it a positive or negative quality?"
How can I handle such a 2-part question without repeating the ideas of question 1 in the paragraph which answers question 2?

Hi Simon,
It's my luck to find out your website as I find your instruction very useful. However, I have one question to ask for this lesson. Can I classify all kinds of essay question into 3 groups? Argument-led essay, thesis-led essay and problem-solution essay ? When grouping them in this way, I have, as in your order, 1 (opinion: thesis-led essay: one side argument), 3 + 4 (argument-led essay: 2 sides ) and problem-solution.
Does it cover all types of IELTS essay questions?
Thanks and regards,

Hi Attou.

I'll try to help because I guess Simon is busy.

I think you could write one paragraph about the positive effects of technology on distance communication (email, Skype etc. allow us to stay in contact). The other paragraph could be about the negatives of distance communication (it's never as good as face-to-face, we need real contact, we still feel lonely, it affects relationships...)

These are just my ideas.

Hi dear Simon
I appreciated to let me know in first type of questions(opinion)az you told 'you don't have to give both sides of the argument ' ,does it mean if I devide this subject to two views like an argument and then I express my view(some of the people hold the opinion...In contrast,others think),it makes my structure wrong?
I know how many times this question have been asked but actually this subject is so controversial due to I found various views which make me confused! really thanks for your help

Hello Simon,
Please answer for me the following question if you have any free time:How difficult is to obtain a band 5,5 in speaking module ?
All best!

Dear Simon I would like you help me only with your opinion. Because I had a teacher who told me that it is not correct to put my opinion in the introduction, but I read in your site that it'simportant to add it in the introduction, So now I'am practising with your advise. This is the topic:

Should wealthy nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations by providing such things as food and education? Or is it the responsibility of the governments of poorer nations to look after their citizens themselves?

It is true that nowadays economic crisis is affected more to developing countries. For that reason, some people believe that richest nations should help the poorest with alimentation and education. However, In my opinion, leaders of each country have to solve their needs independently.

Is right the introduction?

Hi Simone,
I have a question about the second type of question-- discuss both and give own opinion.
You adviced to spend similar amount of words in discussing both sides and state our own opinion in the intro and conclusion. But do I need to say why I agree one or both of them? if so, where should I put it?

Hope you can reply on time since I am having the test in three days.

Hi Ariel,

It's probably even better to put your opinion in 3 places, like I did in the essay in this lesson:


Hi Simon,

Thanks so much for your answer and sample essay! I went through all your blog postings about writing 2 and it blows my mind and now I have a new perspect about Ielts writing!
I would also like to ask that in the discussion & opinion question do I need to write more points in describing one side than the other one to show that I am leaning to agree on that one? Or I have to write same amount of points on both sides?

Hi Ariel,

I usually write about the same amount for both sides. I think you'll get a better score if you can do that.

Hi ,

Can you help me out with the type of essay
I am really confused about the following type of essay

"Should wealthy nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations by providing such things as food and education? Or is it the responsibility of the governments of poorer nations to look after their citizens themselves?"

This seems to be a discussion essay to me but some of my friends say it is an argumentative essay .. i am really confused
can you please help out with it
B) do we have to clear out our stand about a topic in introduction of an essay in case of discussion essays ??

Thanks in advance

Hey Simon! Just a simple question about task 2 Writing.

Is the ending question "explain your view about the matter?" and "give your opinion on the matter" means the same?

Yes, that's the same thing Summer.

Thanks a lot Simon! Your website is such an immense help! Great job!

Dear Sir,
I get 6 IELTS score, I have to take the test again next 14th Feb,, how can I improve my writing in task 2??

hey simon, how much marks do i loose for writing about 230 words in task 2?

I am nervous. Exam in 1 week.

Hi simon, i would just like to ask if there is still a chance that Id be able to get a bandscore if 7 even if i wasnt able to achieve the 150 and 250 words minimum in the tasks? I wrote about 130 in task 1 and 230 in task 2. Im so worried, will they penalize me that much points? Thanks..

Dear Simon,
I'm struggling with coming up ideas for task 2 essay. I wonder how you can brainstorm such brilliant ideas in your essays.
I hope you could find a solution to this problem.
Thank you!

Hi Simon,Ijust want to know whether juvenile delinquency can be used for teenage crime or not. thanks

hi simon,
please tell me what do you mean for 4 methods?

1) openion >> it is like in the end of a question will be" do you agree"?

2) discussion and openion>>for example discussion 2 views and give your oprnion?

3) what affect or problem and give solution?

4) two part a question >> for example : do you agree or disagree?>>

is that correct?

Dear Simon,

In recent exam from General IELTS test writing 2 was:
As crime in young generation is increasing
– What are the causes?
– How parents and teachers can help to control?

In task 2, in first paraghraph (body) i showed the causes and reasons of juvenile delinquency, and in second paragraph I showed the way of solutions. However, in second paragraph i indicated what parents, families and government should do but unfortuately i feel that i forgot to mention what teachers should do. Hopefully, i met all requirements such as structure, range of high level (words) vocabulary, ideas and so on while writing this essay.
I worry about whether the examiner can reduce my score for this solely reason of not mentioning about teachers?

What is Your opinion??


Hi Simon,

I am a bit confused about this question: "We are becoming increasingly dependent on computers. They are used in business,hospitals, crime detection and even to fly planes. What things will they be used in the future? Is this dependence on computers a good thing or should we be more suspicious of their benefits?"

My question is: is this a fourth category question? I mean 2-part question? If yes, then what should I write in my first para other than paraphrasing first three lines? How can I fit my intro of "What things will they be used in the future?" and my opinion? I am thinking that if I ignore my opinion in the first paragraph than the cohesion would be missing from the second para?

I would appreciate your reply.

Thank you.

Is it not adviseable if we Write both side of the arguement in opinion type question.

Dear Simon,

I am confused in this question. what type does it depend on?

People attend college or university for many different reasons (for example, new experiences, career preparation, and increased knowledge).
Why do you think people attend college or university?

Dear Simon,

I am confused about the second-type question: Discuss and give my opinion.

Normally, there are two paragraphs in body. The first one is talked about the first view and the second one is discussed the second view and give my opinion (is the second view)

However, for example: "Some people think that education should help students to be useful to the whole society, while other people think that education should provide students with opportunities to achieve personal ambitions. Discuss both views and give your own opinion".
My perspective is that education should not only help student become a good citizens but also provide them opportunities to gain their personal goal. Thus, how can i express my idea in body paragraph?
Could i discuss the first view in 1st paragraph and discuss the second view and show my opinion in 2nd paragraph? Is it suitable for this kind of question? How can i show my "balance view" effectively?

I look forward your feedback!

Thank you so much!

Hello Simon,
I really appreciate your work. May I please know some of the useful vocabulary for the writing task 2. I've my test scheduled on 03/30

If the whole writing task 2 is in favour of agree but i only write disagree then what will do

Hi Dear Simon,

Hope to be well, could I ask you give your opinion about this (2nd) body paragraph please?

Question: Agree/Disagree, individual vs team sports? (I'm in favor of team sports)

I would argue that while solitary sports have unique and undeniable prospects to members of societies, but group exercise are much more beneficial to societies. Firstly, team sports provoke sense of competition for schoolchildren to be more hard-working in respect of their exercise, because I have encountered to many people who gave up their healthy exercise only due to lack of adequate instigate, and having not enough motivation. Secondly, some particular individual sports consider great amount of money to be handled, for instance, golf is a solitary sport which requires an enormous amount of money and space to be launched. Lastly, some solitary sports like mountain-climbing might be hazardous in some cases.

Hello Sir,

Your teaching techniques are easily understandable, very much helpful, and I think, most effective for which I am so grateful to you.

I have here two queries:

1. If a Discussion essay is 'without opinion', I can understand the body paragraphs where two sides of view need to write in separate paragraphs, BUT how to write Introduction and Conclusion?

2. How to plan writing in two body paragraphs, What if an essay asks only for 'Solutions'?

Hi Simon,
I am confused with the following task. Could you tell me what type it is?
Essay topics: Some people believe that our happiness depends on how much money we have. Others say that money cannot buy happiness.
Do you think that having money is the key to happiness, or are there more important factors?
Many thanks,

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