« IELTS Listening: nature or nurture? | Main | IELTS Writing Task 1: different introductions »

August 21, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hi Simon,
Can you please explain to me about paragraphing skills?.my teacher commented that my supports are irrelevant to controling idea.I quite confuse, can you show me in a your paragraph?
and whether or not I should take my experience as an example in writing task 2?
thank you so much!!!

Hi Simon,
sorry It í me again,
Can you give me some ideas and how to organise an essay about topic: father are just as capable as mothers of taking care of children , so men should share parenting work more equally with women. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this opinion
thank you, Simon :)

Hi Simon,

I have been following your website since march 2013.This is an excellent site for iIelts i have ever seen.I took my first Ielts test in July.My result was :L.8 ,R.6.5 ,W.7 ,S.7.5 .Overall 7.5. .Although i failed to achieve the score i needed,still i was very happy with my result.I am a doctor & i need 7 in all sections.I have always followed your lesson especially the speaking & the writing sites.but this time i more concentrated on reading.I attempted for my 2nd test in August & the result is : L.7.5 ,R.7 ,S.7 ,W.6.Overall 7. This time i coudn't get 7 in writing.last time my writing topic was familiar & got some excellent idea from your ebook and site as well.but in this exam i coudn't manage to write in a way that could bring 7 for me. However, i am going to take an exam on 21st september.Hope,this time it will be 7 in each section. Thank you very much Simon.Without your lesson i would never be able to get such a score.please wish me good luck.Hope,your productive lesson will keep on helping Ielts students!! Sharmila.


hi, Simon
is it ok if i use newspaper english when writing an essay?

hi dear Simon
i have exam in 28th september,, but reading is a big ghallange for me ,, could you please tell me how can i improve it,,thanks

Hi Fere

I got 9 in my reading test, and I think the best way is to read as more as you can to improve your speed. I always have 10 minutes left in the reading test. I'm not a native speaker and my weak points are writing and speaking, both are 6.

hi simmon,
im taken exam this 29 of aug.im not in good in english.i have problem in wrinting and reading.pls help me thanks

hi Ellie
great,and thanks for your advice , but i always dont have enough time to read :(

Lots of big words in there I see. It's like writing a university essay. I made the mistake of wandering for too long with my ideas, ended up with only a 7 in writing despite years of essay writing :(

Hi Simon,

There was a lesson in which you recommended using firstly, secondly, and finally to structure a paragraph. I find the structure very convenient, especially when a paragraph starts with a topic sentence like "People can benefit from something in a number of different ways / for several reasons". It seems only natural to organize the supporting ideas with firstly, secondly, and finally in this case. However, an IELTS writing teacher told me that Chinese candidates should try to avoid such structures as the examiner might consider them as templates which would affect the score. Do you think it's true?

The thing is that I have seen people talking about discrimination against Chinese candidates when it comes to the writing test all the time. I have also seen people who had a writing score of 5.5 in China got 7.5 2 months later in Australia. I read an online post by an IELTS examiner a few days ago. He suggested that this is mainly because many IELTS training schools in China simply encourage their students to memorize answers instead of helping them improve their actual skills. I do agree that it is wrong to try to cheat in this way. But it bothers me when my writing teacher tells me to avoid using "firstly", "secondly", "moreover", "in terms of" etc., based on the reason that these words have been over used by Chinese students and using them would affect my score. It's a bit frustrating that I have to give up the connecting devices I'm already familiar with just because they might be considered cliches. I know that you are in the UK but do you think this is really necessary?

BTW, thanks for all your great posts on IELTS.

Dear Simon,
I find it quite difficult to organize the ideas for this topic. I have followed some of your instructions but it's hard to identify what kind of essay this it.
Please help me in this topic.
In some countries the average workers is obliged to retire at the age of 50, while in others people can work until they are 65 or 70. Meanwhile, we see some politicians enjoying power well into their eighties. Clearly, there is little agreement on an appropriate retirement age.
Until what age do you think people should be encouraged to remain in paid employment?

Hello guys,

This was my writing task 2 question this morning.

People should be allowed to continue to work for as long as they want to, and not forced to retire at a particular age such as 60 or 65. Do you agree or disagree?

Hi Simon,

I gave IELTS test 3rd time.
On 1st Test Attempt, I got overall band 6.5 (L6.5,R6.5,W6,S6()
On 2nd test attempt, I got overall band 6 (L7)
On 3rd test attempt, I got again got overall band 6 (R7).

I need in each four module 7 band individually.

I need your help and guidelines to get this score.I read your ACE the LETS book which is very helpful for me. But still I am combating to get the desired scores.

Please provide your guidance and help so that I can achieve my goal. I would be very grateful to you for the same.

Thanks & Regards,
Amit Gilotra


I'm afraid I no longer have time to answer everyone's questions individually. However, I do still read them all, and I try to use them as the basis for future lessons.

Hi Simon,

I got my IELTS results today....General Training - Listening 9 Reading 8 Writing 8.5 Speaking 7.5. Overall 8.5 :)

I must say your articles and tips helped a lot. I was concerned about completing General Writing section in 60 mins because I love writing long blogs and emails and so I have a tendency to overelaborate and emphasize all the points..And hence your tips on getting to the point quickly in the Introduction and also how to structure the Introduction, the corresponding paragraphs and then the conclusion were a savior! It was just the thing I needed to make sure I was not digressing and talking about fancy things which don't add up as Task Achievement in IELTS writing.... I practised writing 3-4 essays a week for a month using your approach with focus on Content and linkers,etc and all other tips on this website...and it paid off! In my exam,I completed my Writing 7 mins before time!... which gave me time to proofread too. Similarly your tips in Task 1 with sample sentences and endings really helped focus on getting my content and my tone right.

Simon - Your site is a wonderful and quality resource for all IELTS exam takers. I call it a treasure trove of IELTS Tips:) Thank you for maintaining it and posting very useful tips from time to time. I would request all the test takers to just go through the site regularly. I am sure it will really help in your IELTS Prep! :) Good Luck!

Thanks Rohan, and congratulations on getting such great scores!

Do you have questions IELTS examin Finland in August 2013?

Hi Simon,I have a grammar question for this band 9 example. Your wrote "media companies like the mobile giant Apple are often willing to pay huge fees". My question is why did you use "are" instead of "is". Isn't Apple just one giant company??



hi everybody.
i have my exam on 15th of march from delhi, india.
Can anyone suggest me the task 2 for tomorrow???

hi sir
i wrote ielts for two times. In both attempts my score for writing was only6. i dont know what i have to do to improve my score in it. could you please help me?

Hi,I am Fatiha.I need good writing skill.But I don't know how to increase skill.Can you help me?

i am Aboulghasem .How can i improve my writingto get score at minimum 7.thank you for coporation

Excellent. Nice composition and lofty thought content is exhibited by Simon.

Hi Sir
I am preparing for IELTS xm and my exam in on 12 sept 2015.I am little bit weak in Reading so can you provide me some tips for Readind section..


Hello Simon,

This is Vijaya. I am preparing for IELTS exam which is on 23rd July. I am weak in writing and reading. Could you please help me out to get a band score of 9.

Thank you



Hello simon i preparing ielts test i require 6.5 band.i want to improve in writing and reading plz tell me some tips help me

hello Simon,

I am preparing for IELTS test and i require 7 band ,I want to improve my writing and reading skills ,its a humble request please suggest me some tips.

Thank you


Sir, I want to get 8 bands in each. how should i prepare for it. working too hard in all LRWS. pl. advice me.

To answer Joe above - as far back as 2103 - Australian teachers see paragraphs that start with FIRSTLY, SECONDLY, IN CONCLUSION and similar as very good ways to learn the basics of essay of paragraph writing. But a writer in the band 7, 8 9 level probably needs to move past these.

Paragraphs that begin with a topic sentence show that a writer is able to use a wider vocab. Even using a question can add interest to the writing. But these will come with time and practice. So, look at a range of writing examples - newspaper articles, book etc. Notice how that vary that first sentence.

PS - Simon, I love the way you ar4e helping so many people. You are a wonder and a marvel.

Hi Pauline (and Joe),

Thanks for your positive words, but I need to add a few things to modify your advice from an examiner's perspective:

1)"Firstly, Secondly, In conclusion" etc. are fine at all levels because they are simply ways to link your ideas. Linking is not considered "vocabulary" by examiners, and paragraphs just need to be clear and coherent, not creative in a structural way.

I discourage students from trying to use "better" or "more difficult" linking words / phrases. Instead, at band 7 to 9 level in particular, their focus needs to be on the "real content" (ideas, reasons, opinions, explanation - all in relation to the question topic) of their paragraphs, not on the words that link those ideas.

In my experience, the problem that many Chinese students have is that they are taught big lists of linking words and phrases, but they neglect the "real content" between those linking phrases. Joe's teacher is right to say that linking words are not the secret to a high score. You need to focus on CONTENT if you want a high score. Remember: linking words are not considered as part of your score for task response, vocabulary or grammar. They only perform one easy job: connecting ideas.

2) Topic sentences are a great way to begin paragraphs. However, the CONTENT of the rest of each main paragraph is equally or even more important.

3) Please don't include questions in your IELTS essays. Questions can certainly add interest to newspaper or magazine articles, but they are not considered "appropriate style" in IELTS writing.

I hope this helps!

Hi friends,
I am preparing a IELTS exam, on 16th feb is my exam date. anybody can help me to get more score.
i had done a lot of practice but still am not sure.

i had a problem in writing task. how can i get good score. will you please anybody guide me how to do preparation. what are the important things in the writing task.

The comments to this entry are closed.