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April 14, 2014


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Thank you Simon, for every day lesson which is really helpful. I friend had got this question in exam. I don't know how to approach this question b/c I am not able to jot down ideas.If u could help me plz just give some ideas.

Here is the question;

People think that good health is a basic need so it should not be in hands of profit-oriented companies. Are the advantages of profit-oriented companies overweight the disadvantages?


Hello Simon.
Sorry for my off-topic questions but I need to input them here.

  • You said that (for cue card) If there is a word that you don't understand on the task card, don't ask the examiner - he/she is not allowed to help.
    According to one book, It's OK to ask a question if you don't understand the word or even the meaning of the single question.(paraphrased the idea) Even they suggest some possible phrases to utilize in you question.
    I am confused now since I have been of the opinion that I could ask questions.

  • Another thing I heard is that in order to get higher band in speaking, one needs to be able to use formal and informal language accordingly. That is, in the part one you could use informal English because it looks like everyday English. On the other hand, you may want to produce more academic and formal English in part three so that you could show that you are able to answer more abstract questions or the ones related to bigger issues.
    How far do you think it is true?

Thanks for your reply.

hello dear simon ....
i am very thankful for your great site it helped me a lot...my ielts score is between 6 and 6.5 and i need the four 7 ...so i had 4 ielts exam before and i want to score the four seven in my next exam . i would like to attend ielts online preparation course , and i want from you to tell me if you know any good site for that (i hope you have one)...thanks again and i wish the success for all other candidate


1. Simon is correct. Examiners are not allowed to explain or paraphrase questions from Part 1, or the wording on the cue card in Part 2. Part 3 is a discussion and examiners have the ability to be more flexible.

2. You are talking here about the vocabulary descriptors. Examiners want:

a) A wide range of vocabulary. This is tested in IELTS by giving you different topics and seeing whether you can talk about and use vocabulary connected to these areas
b) An ability to use 'less-common' vocabulary. This means the ability to use vocabulary that is above what we would call 'simple words and phrases'
c) Precise and appropriate vocabulary. This means that you can use words and phrases that a native would use, and that sound 'natural' to a native's ears.

The idea that you should use 'informal' language in one part of the test and 'formal' language in other parts is definitely not true. Examiners follow descriptors and they are simple: range, ability to use less common, precise and appropriate. These apply to all parts of the test.

I would certainly avoid ideas like 'formal' and 'informal' in the speaking test. It will only confuse you and probably make you sound less natural.

Hello Simon,
Could you please help with the "Paragraph headings" task from Reading section?

Is there any trick choosing between:
1) A former glass technology and
2) Historical development of glass

in the paragraph:
But not all the glass technology that
touches our lives is ultra-modern.
Consider the simple light bulb; at the turn
of the century most light bulbs were hand
blown, and the cost of one was equivalent
to half a day’s pay for the average worker.
In effect, the invention of the ribbon
machine by Corning in the 1920s lighted
a nation. The price of a bulb plunged.
Small wonder that the machine has been
called one of the great mechanical
achievements of all time. Yet it is very
simple: a narrow ribbon of molten glass
travels over a moving belt of steel in
which there are holes. The glass sags
through the holes and into waiting
moulds. Puffs of compressed air then shape the glass. In this way, the envelope
of a light bulb is made by a single
machine at the rate of 66,000 an hour, as
compared with 1,200 a day produced by
a team of four glassblowers.

THanks a lot!!!

It's helpful indeed, Simon.
Please provide more this types of exercises.
Thanks. :)

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