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September 01, 2013


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Hi Simon,
I have a question about the Listening test. If the question says use no more than 3 words. Could i write "the food & culture"? Does it make any difference if i cross out the word "the"? And how about the comma?
I will take the Ielts test this month and am still worried about making those unnessary mistakes. Hope you will have a lesson reminding us all about this.

Thank you Simon. Hope you all the best.

Hi Simon
I can't find any word for giving thanks to you.GOD bless you.
I've followed your advice for about 4 months, and my test will be held on next Saturday. Could you please help me with these two sentences in writing task 1 and 2?
1.The pie chart illustrates the ways in which dangerous disposal wastes are treated in UK.
2. Some students may become disenchanted for the rest of their life if they find it(learning foreign language) boring and compulsory.
is it correct if I use the word of disenchanted?

Best Wishes

Hi Simon and all
I've been learning your writing task1 lessons carefully, and I think that's the easiest way to write a report confidently in exam settings (though I haven't read the writing task2 lessons carefully which I’ll do soon).
However, a couple of questions arised in terms of your ‘style’.
1. In your introductions if a question states "between 1990 and 2000", you write "over a period of 10 years". The question is: can I replace this with some particular words for the periods such as ' decade' or 'century'.
So here are what my alternatives would look like:
1.1. over a decade.
1.2. over a decade, from 1990 to 2000. (Can I write like this as well?)

2. Let's picture we are given two charts. When it comes to the overview, your advice is to join the two sentences with conjunction "and" or just write them separately. I am wondering whether I can write it in this way: ".... with a [chart2 type] giving information about ... " To illustrate this, let me take an example intro from one of your lessons. Here is your input:
"Here is my 2-sentence introduction:
The graph shows numbers of visits to the UK and trips abroad by UK residents. The bar chart shows the five most popular destinations for UK travellers."

and mine looks like as follows:
The graph shows numbers of visits to the UK and trips abroad by UK residents WITH A BAR chart showING the five most popular destinations for UK travellers.

3. In terms of ‘details’ paragraphs, you tend to include only figures by which I mean there are no general sentences that then can be detailed in a next sentence. So, do you think it is a good idea to include some general sentences in detailed paragraphs, or is the overview/summary part enough?

DEAR FRIENDS, please feel free to answer these questions if you know or these are mentioned already in other threads, since it is highly likely that Simon won't draw much attention to all of the questions.
Thank you for your reply.

For over fifty years, a number of nations have been involved in the exploration of outer space. This research has been very costly, of course. Has this money been well-spent or wasted?
Some people believe that all or most space research should be eliminatedbecause of its incredible expense, not only in terms of money, but also interms of scientific and human resources. These people point out the fact that it cost billions of dollars to send astronauts to the moon, but all they brought back were some worthless rocks. These people say that the money and effort now being wasted in outer space could be spent for homeless people, improving the education system, saving the environment, and finding cures for diseases.
However, other people believe that space research has provided manybenefits to mankind. They point out that hundreds of useful products from personal computers to heart pacemakers to freeze-dried foods are the direct or indirect results of space research. They say that weather and communication satellites, which are also products of space programs have benefited people all over the globe. In addition to these practical benefits, supporters of the space program point to the scientific knowledge that has been acquired about the sun, the moon, the planets and even our own earth as a result of space research.
I agree with those people who support space research and want it tocontinue. Space research, as shown, has already brought many benefitsto humanity. Perhaps it will bring even more benefits in the future, ones that we cannot even imagine now. Moreover, just as individual peopleneed challenges to make their lives more interesting, I believe the humanrace itself needs a challenge, and I think that the peaceful exploration of outer space provides just such a challenge.
Space exploration is an activity, which need to spent a lot of money yet the discover will not necessary bringing good outcomes to people. I am vigorously agreed that it is a waste of money on space exploration.

Today, we can see and heard a lot of news regarding the poverty of people especially whose living at third country. They are lack of basic necessity such as foods, shelter, clothes, medicals and so on. Some of the news, even stated that, due to lack of foods, they force to eat human body. That is such a crue and helpless. If the money spent on space exploration, which spent on helping this category of people, I think is far more meaningful. If human do not able to satisfy the basic needs, the knowledge gain from space exploration is useless. Without the power and support of human, no matter how deeply knowledge of space exploration will be consider nothing.

On the other hands, space exploration is important because the earth we are living is not able to cope with the growing population. In addition, human have make polluted the earth. They must find a new livable environment for future. If not, human will have to continue living in a polluted earth which they must continue facing different kinds of virus which cannot be explained and it will harm to our health.

In conclusion, space exploration only can be done when the human basic needs have been satisfy. Countries which have invested in space exploration should contribute to third world countries development to alleviate their living issued. This can balance the issued between future and now.
People argue that increasing expenses on outer space missions is useless activity. Many people are suffering due to problems in their professions. It is suggested that many other areas in our life can be improved by this money but i believe future space research can prevent dangers to human race.
With the rapid increase in population and ignorance of government and civil society in improving living standard has led to increase in poverty and illiteracy among vast majority of population. Government has moral duty to spend tax payer's money on removing menaces such as poverty, illiteracy. Secondly, there is continuous demand of skilled labour which can be made possible if government spent more money on building schools, colleges, vocational training institutes. Thirdly, space exploration can lead to stage where aliens could attack our civilization as shown by many Hollywood movies for instance - Independence Day.
Despite these dangers, however, there are many benefits of space explorations for eg: GPRS, Satellite channels etc which are improving our communication and entertainment. Secondly, advancement in space research can possibly lead to discovery of life on other planets. Humans can migrate to other planets in case of some catastrophic event on earth. Thirdly, there is possibility of finding alien race which is older than our civilization. They can share knowledge about ways to prevent critical issues like global warming, nuclear explosion.
To sum up, I disagree completely that money spent on space explorations is complete waste. There are many benefits like satellite channels, discovery of life on new planet in space research. Government should balance spending of money on space research and improvement of other things.

The first essay is what we call a STRONG essay. Body 1 and 2 both adhere that funding on space explorations is money, well-spent. They are both positive since they relate to the main topic which in ielts should be your task achievement.
Except for the last part where the writer was saying, “Moreover….” Normally, suggestions at the conclusion are not allowed. Why? Intro and conclusion both score 1 point each. The body entails 7 points with a total of band 9 in ielts. Lesson: you focus on the body. I prefer this one.
Essay 2. Well, nose-bleed on grammatical errors. Like essay 3, this one is what we call an argumentative essay. Basically, it’s like there are two lawyers fighting, each armed with their formal arguments to be addressed to a judge. Both of course defend their clients and say that they are correct. An ielts examiner would be keen on logic and presentation of facts in this type of essay. Of 2 equal correct statements, which would you choose? That, will depend on your opinion which is to be given at the introduction. It’s like, “say, kidnappers took your mother and girlfriend for ransom. However, you can only save one. Which will you choose?” regardless of what you choose, even if I’m your teacher, I cannot possibly say that you are wrong, am I right? Nobody can just say you made the wrong decision. However, we need to arrive at some point where we need to choose. What should we choose then? Ielts writing essay questions more often than not come with a question statement then a question afterwards. Sometimes, student-candidates are clouded because they spent a lot on an issue which is not the main issue.
Ielts question: Money spent to maintain public libraries is a waste since computer technology is so advance, these days. To what extent do you agree or disagree.
Our first job. Determine the issue. The issue here is not about the advent of computer age. It is about taxpayer’s money towards maintenance of public libraries. A sub-issue, which I quote, “topic development” could be for computers, but, we need to make library as the hero of the story. Otherwise, we are making our own issue which is not part of task achievement.
Now, how to make this kind of essay argumentative? First body, you can write about the merits of a public library to be followed by how lack of funds would endanger it’s existence. Thus, we say, it is not a waste. Body 2 then would involve a useless spending. Based on what? We could use different reasons, and student-candidates
would blindly choose computers(which is not wrong) and start making it as THE HERO(wrong). I believe, students should still stick to the library topic and quote some demerits or odds which are faced by public libraries. To be added of course by how funding it affects the community at large. The Library of Congress is one crazy-expensive library. Is it worth it? Yes, there are Jesus Christ manuscripts there. In fact, they are so old that they are not fit for reading but more of treasured relics. How does it benefit the community? You tell me, you can start from tourist attractions to shops to more money for the local area. It is a topic development but the gist is still library^^

Essay 3’s body 1 is a bit off.
The writer has very good ideas but it’s a shame many of his sentences show vulnerability in grammar. Simple articles (a, an and the) are not used properly. I compare this essay to a sweet chocolate cake but I am tempted NOT to eat it because a fly sat on it. Simple but a crucial mistake.
So what to do next? Well, address the issue of course. To what extent or How far questions require a “proximity or totality” answer. Thus we must state boldly if we opt to say totally, nearly, strongly or otherwise.
Next, your arguments should be in order.
Currently, Simon adapts to a 2-body essay structure which has a lot of merits as well. There are also other schools of thought suggesting a 3 body essay. Normally, when I answer one using the argumentative structure (one famous book says it’s better), I write the counter-arguments first then followed by my stand which could be very well reflected at the introduction. Why? No special reason, it’s just, I want to hear the bad news first. How is this material or significant? Well, it is a strong approach using a 3 body essay because with an argumentative structure, it is frustrating to think of the opposite side. Students in my school are forced to think of the opposite side, although aiming for a 1 sided- 2 to 3 body essay is not wrong, somehow it is juvenile writing. So, the bad news or opposite or counter argument is written on body 1. My strong points or arguments adhering to the issue are thus presented in body 2 and 3 respectively. What does this show? It shows a STRONG FINISH plus the fact that if I am not that confident with my reasons for the opposite side, I can hide it in the middle of the essay. Remember, just like the fly incident, early on, checkers go for the first and last impression like other people do when they judge their mates.
I didn’t intent to be this long but since it’s a challenge, I am happy that you are reading.

please tell me how many bands this essay worth ?

Q: what are global issues, how we can help solving this in developing countries.

Nowadays, a nation is suffering from numerous problems widespread in flourished countries. The government has arranged major measurements through which this problem could be solved. A country is inviting several foreigners from different cultures, so there is much consideration to control the globalisation and its issues.

A flourish nation may have problem of poverty and food dumping. Asking aid from other countries can solve this problem. The neighbour countries could help followed by providing financial aids or volunteers to educate people of affecting nations. On the other hand, however, the carbon dioxide played a major role in production of Greenhouse effects.
Victim nations are moving forward to develop such methods that produce less CO2 released by coal. Finally, the weak system to control migrant people can be solved by installing safety measurements in the government sectors. This factor can also control the causes of terrorism in developing countries.

Consequently, I would say that universal affairs are playing significantly a major role to affect a developed nation. A financial or social aid from neighbour countries can lead the victims to recover from several effected areas.

hi simon, i've completed my ielts exam yesterday and i'am very much confused about my writing task....i've got the question based on do disadvantages outweigh the advantages......i'm so sorry to say that i just wrote the disadvantages and the conclusion...i couldnt write n e advantages.........willl i score lesss........pls help me simon....i am totally tensed....

Hi Everybody,

My remark request did not change my results.I will re-sit another exam soon.

good luck

Hi Simon,

I have got L-7.5,R-6.5,W-7,S-7.
Last time I had got L-8,R-8.5,W-6.5,S-7.5.

Last time I got the result of Writing reevaluated but without success.

What are the odds of getting success in reassessment this time? I need Band 7 in each module.

Best Regards,
Sunil Sharma
Amritsar Punjab India
[email protected]

Hi Simon,
I secured L-8.5 R-8.5 W-7 and S-6.5.
I need 7 in each of the modules. This is my third attempt, and totally frustrated with the score.
In my previous attempts, I got 7 in speaking. This time, I personally felt that I did far better than my previous attempts in speaking. Please advice whether I should go for a re-marking or rather re-take the exam?

Also, I see a difference of 2 between my reading(8.5) and speaking(6.5). Is it true that my speaking, would have been counter checked two people and re-marking is not the best thing to do?


I don't understand how exactly are they evaluating our speaking skills. Is it the accent, grammar or the attitude we have in our speech?

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