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March 24, 2013


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Dear Simon:)
Could you please write if the following answer is also right?

2% of the unemployment rate rose between 2008 and 2009 in the UK, whereas It decreased about 1% in Canada. The figure for the USA increased slightly at just over 4% which was the highest.
Thank you so much in advance.

Examiners definitely don't like expressions like 'is a controversial issue' when it clearly isn't. Save them for topics that really are controversial.

The interesting bands that I've got for two speaking tests during the past three months, were 6.5 and 4.5 which was the latest.

I actually felt a little abnormal after sitting on the first test(6.5), but felt very confident with my second try. I was extremely surprised when I got to know it was 4.5.

What should I do?

hello simon, my name is sandeep and my exam is on april 6th. i had started practicing from a month and i have been getting good scores in listening, writing and speaking,but my reading scores are decreasing dramatically from my initial practice. actually, my reading scores were 31,32,28,26,22,21,18 and recently i had a score of 16 only. what shall i do now and i dont know why scores are decreasing suddenly. shall i stop practicing reading for 5 days and start again or could you give a tip. please simon give me the response as quick as possible becuase i am going to write exam in next 12 days. if possible send your response to my email id ([email protected]). this is my third attempt for ielts and before also there was a problem with reading. i postponed practice for 10 to 15 days and i started again and i observed that there was increase in my reading scores. i will be waiting for your response and this issue is eating all my confidence and i am not able to concentrate on other modules

if any one faced with this problem please give the suggestions

Hi, Simon,

Thank you for answering my previous question. I have another question about writing. I found you explicitly say 'agree' or 'disagree' in almost all your essays' introduction, but I also found the high score writing answer in Cambridge's book don't say the opinion by using words 'agree' or 'disagree' directly, which one is better?

Best wishes,

Hello everyone. I am trying to do exercises and practice skills but at speaking, i would look for a partner to talk together. Have anyone want to learn Speaking with me? My skype is thangngovan194. Welcome everyone!

hi, simon

I had speaking test last week. I was asked favourite meal in part 2 and spoke about my favourite dish cause I've read on the internet. but I feel that it was wrong answer...what is your suggestion???


Hi Simon and everybody,

I have prepared many materials for my IELTS test in July.However, I found myself being surrounded by these books and papers with confusion.In which way or how shall I use these things properly?

Can anybody give any ideas or suggestions to me ? Thanks...

Hi Simon,

I have a question regarding the structure of the essay.
If I opt for writing a two paragraph essay that supports both sides of the topic, which side do you reckon I should write first?
I have heard that the disagreed side should come first and the the agreed side, so it leads to the conclusion naturally. Do you think that makes sense?
I personally just think it weird to start with something I disagree if I have stated my opinion in the introduction.

Thank you very much in advance.

Hi everyone,

I would like to pratice the speaking skill. Anyone who want to achieve band 7 are interested in practicing together?? I am currently living in sydney central, Australia. You can me via my email: [email protected] we can arrange a day to practice together. May be we can help out each other.:).

Dear Simon,

I am not able to understand difference between before two weeks and two week ago. Can you describe it briefly.

Dear Nick,

I am also looking someone who discuss their speaking problem with me. I am not so good in speaking but this type of practice may me help us to improve our level in English or build our confidence.My mail ID is [email protected]. If you are interested on it,Plz send me a mail and someday we discuss it online.

Hi simon,



Hello Simon,i have a question: if i use the word "pros and cons"in writing, does it seem informal and inadequate?

Dear Ravinder,

There is no difference in meaning between `before 2 weeks` and `2 weeks ago`- it means that something has happened 14 days ago. However, the problem is that English people do not write or speak-`before two weeks`,it is incorrect , according to their language practice (I don't know if it can be even described as a rule, sometimes there are not fixed rules for everything).So,they just say `2 weeks ago`.
In Poland, we can use both ,these 2 forms with `before` and with the `...ago` as well. Thus, some people tend to make such mistakes as this mentioned above by trying translate directly from their own language.
Unfortunately, we have to be careful while doing that, it is better to listen to native speakers, and, or to check our phrases in our dictionaries, specially if we are unsure.


Hi Simon,

I was given the speaking test today. I noticed the examiner wrote few numbers when I was speaking. The numbers ware like 4-5-4-5 and 5-5-5-5. What do they mean? Are they scores? To be honest, I don`t think I will get 4....


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