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May 27, 2012


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hi simon, my question is about a question task which is TO what extent do you Agree or Disagree. A former examiner, which is also the assistant head of a review center here in the Philippines told us that the first page ( or the 3rd page in the exam paper should contain the views of other people and the 4th page should start with "However" then your view. This is really confusing because you said that in that kind of question, we should state our opinion and not the opinion of other people.. you said that all examiners are trained in the same way?? tnx

Hi Simon,
My inquiry is about REMARKING IELTS exam. i had my results and they were pretty good for a first attempt (R:7 L:8 S:7.5 W:6). honestly i expected much more for my writing test, and i was amazed by the score i got.
so what about going for remarking! and would it risk my score to be dropped "lower" ? how long will it usually take.
Thanks for the useful tips .

Am Salman.

Hi Simon,
Can you explain the difference between "Dear Sir or Madam" and "Dear Sir/Madam"?
I read some posts on Internet, but still confused.

You have my eternal gratitude. Your graciousness is appreciated.

Hi Dave,

Maybe that teacher was giving advice (i.e. it's his/her method). When a teacher gives advice, they are saying "In my opinion, this is a good way to do it."

If the teacher was saying "You MUST do it this way", I completely disagree with him/her. There is nothing in the examiners notes that says students must give both views for that type of question. Believe me.


Hi AM,

If you are confident that your writing was better, why not try a re-mark. It's rare for scores to go down. Good luck if you decide to go for it!


Hi Moody,

Just use "Dear Sir or Madam". The other way is the lazy way to write the same thing.

Hi Dave,

I think it's a good idea to mention very briefly, at the start of the essay, the range of opinions that people may have on the topic at hand, if only to show your awareness that the topic might be somewhat polarising.

But if someone tries to fit your writing into a tight mould, imposing a formula such as: good essay = 1st page of other opinions + "However," + your opinion, it's probably best to ignore them. Especially since the question is clearly stating: "To what extent do you agree or disagree?"

Hello, dave.
I also met that sort of advise. For instance, Australia Network IELTS Preparation Video Course recommends answering that way - by providing "pro et contra" for both points of view

Hi Simon,
Can you give me some advice about how to score 8 for ielts general training. I reckcon my English is good enough to get 8 in writing as I have 8.5 for listening and reading. The thing that I am afraid of is "off-topic". I read the sample on ielts official website that was given band 8 http://www.ielts.org/pdf/115030_General_Training_Writing_sample_task_-_Task_2.pdf , for me, it's a bit off-topic. So what is the best way to generate and orginise the ideas for the essay? Thanks Simon. If I knew about your blog earlier, I could have got 8 for each band by now.

Hi Simon,

It would be great if you can post few examples of letters or could provide a link for the same.

Thanks & Regards,

Simon please am on of the candidate who going to write the exams on 8/6/13 in Ghana, please help me for listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. I wanted to score 8 for each band.

hi simon how can i get ur book plz coz ur doing amazing job

thanks am jolly

Hi Simon,
Actually i want to ask about stationery that we use in exam. can we use Hi-lighter in the exam. Its very helpful in speaking Module.

Thanks in advance.
Awaiting your prompt response,

Hi Simon,

I have some questions about the General Training writing test, can I ask please:

1. Minimum words for task 1 writing is 150 words. Is there a maximum ? Minimum words for tasking 2 writing is 250 words, is there a maximum ? In case there is maximum and I find out the word count in my writing above the maximum limit, should I strike some words (while trying maintain the main idea and answers to the task) to get as close to 150/250 words as possible, or should I just leave the original text ?

2. For task 1 General Training writing, is there a commonly agreed classification on types of the topics ? I do my self-study and below is what I came across from ielts-blog.com website, about the classification:

a. Complaint / Request (of information) letter

b. Job application letter

c. Personal letter (e.g. written to a friend or a relative)

d. Formal business letter (any letter other than Complaint, Request, Job application or Personal)

I saw example on the a. but did not see and don't know if b. is a realistic topic that can be given in real life .... I would appreciate if you can have some advices on types of topics to be expected for task 1 General Training writing

Thanks and Regards,


Hi Simon!
i want to ask you how to learn vocabulary well.
i tried to learn but i didn't get good result.
Thanks and Regards!

Hello simon, This is my first time of sending u a message. I stumbled on your site a week ago and to tell you the truth it has been very helpful.I did my speaking test yesterday and it went well. I have ielts exams on 12th of this month,and writting test is bit difficul for me. Kindly tell me how to write plan for topics in writting test,because that is d area that is difficult for me. I awaits your quick responce. Best regards

hi dave! i think we enrolled in the same review center. actually I am also confused with the format.

Hello simon I have difficult for writing and paraphrases I can't write any academic writing how I can get large vocabulary? Oslo I had test for speaking and my teacher told me that he can't give me a feedback because I was speaking friendly I'm going to do the IELTS exam after 2months what do u think I should do to pass speaking and writing

Hi Simon,

First of all, I'd like to thank you as your site has helped me a lot! I've managed to get 7.5 on the Writing of the Academic version. That was my first!

I'm going to take the General Training IELTS for migration purposes, and I need to get 8 on each band. Can you please give me pointers on how to get 8 on the Writing?

Thanks heaps Simon. :)


Hi Simon, I just want u ask a qns abt GT 2, regarding agree/disagree, do we need to write both agree or disagree or we can go with agree only or disagree only??????
how many paragraphs in total need to write down in GT 2.

somebody can post IELTS gt 19 th July writting and reading exam question from australia

Hello Simon Madam,

It is really nice to see the task 1 answers.Actually, my exam is very near and it is only now that i came to see these on the net and these are really informative too.Well i have a question that "is a comma put after Dear Sir or Madam ."is the f of faithfully is a small or a capital letter?"please answer these mam.Thankyou.

Hi Meenakshi,

Have a look at the letter in the lesson below. Everything is done correctly in it.


AWESOME!! nice informative site. D

Can u please send me some closing salutatio s for informL letters can we close as yours lovely

Hi Simon,
First of all a very big thank you for helping the people who are preparing for ielts its a great help for the people like me.

I have written ielts in march 2015 and scored(L5.5,R6,W6.5,S7.5)
Please can you comment on my scores and also suggest some tips to improve my score to band 8 or 9 because I WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS SCORE.
I would be really thankful and grateful and waiting anxiously for your reply. Many Thanks

Hi Simon,
I have just posted my email to you to help me achieve band 8 or 9 by giving your tips and suggestions by looking at my recent score and the reason for posting again is I forgot to mention that I have written the General module and would like to give the same again for immigration purpose.

Thank You

Hi Simon I gursharan from india i have complete own ielts test today in formal letter i miss yours faithfully at last what is my letter is check by the examiner or not

can anybody who is running this site inform me abouthow to improve skills to comprehend multiple choice questions in listening and matching heading in reading.

keen to receive positive response

Hi Dear Simon

can i used grammar get used to or be used to and also if clause for informal letter or not ? I am so pleased if you guide me .

Thanks in advanced


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