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July 03, 2014


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Thank you for your great lesson, Simon.

I have a question about the listening test. Do we always have to use the word in the recording or we need to change it for questions like summary completion?

If we can change the word form, then is it possible to use synoyms? Or broadly speaking, if we use another word rather than one from the examiners but maintain the correct grammar and meaning, will that be right or wrong?

Thank you.

"A glance at the figure provided reveals..."
"Give are two figures..."
Are these introduction good ways ?


Don't use those two expressions. They are completely unnatural to natives. (The second one should be 'given' by the way).

Hi Simon
I need help
I have exam in next month, but I need get 7 score, so can you tell me what am i doing? and how?
my last score was 6, I know is not good.
I'm so happy you tell me what am I doing to improve writing and speaking.


HI Simon,
I have exam this month , I need 7
How can I take this score?
My last score was 5.5. I received 5.5 in four times unfortunately,

Thank Simon, every your issue helps me add to using word and i I can more understand in the way to studying writing for IELTS.

Hi Simon,
May I use "indicate" instead of "show", Simon?

Hi Simon,

I always encounter difficulties during writing task 1 and 2 because I have limited vocabulary range.Therefore, I keep repeating words and phrases that are surely not advisable. How can I overcome this problem?

Thank you.

As far as I am concerned, examiners these days love fancy words. At least in Vietnam. Simon, you were too nice an examiner!

Hi Le VQ Chi,

I would say that I was a good or proper examiner, not a nice one! Any examiner who values strange synonyms above clear, coherent, REAL English should not be doing the job!



No! Don't use "indicates".


Zahra, Khawla and Steven,

All I can say is keep trying! Follow the advice in my lessons, keep practising, and don't give up!

Thank you Simon.

hi simon,
i have exam after two months i want improve my all section still i get overall 5 band in my practice session

hi simon, can't we use the word demonstrate, because in one video a teacher said that it is correct to use that and 'list' verb for table one

Thank you Simon!
It is useful!
I used to write some strange words that makes my essay look complicated, thought that might get a high score....

Hi Simon,
I wonder if "describe" can be used instead of "show". Thank you Simon.

Hi Simon,
I sometimes see show and illustrate go together, for example: This bar chart shows illustrates the holiday accommodation chosen by people in the United Kingdom in 2010.
I don't understand why two verbs can go together like that.
Could you explain it to me? Thank you so much!

I recommend only the three words in the lesson above. There is no need to learn any other alternatives, and it wouldn't help your score if you did.


You should NOT write "shows illustrates" together!

Simon is THE teacher.
If he is saying, I will take it for my IELTS exam next month!

I hope that Simon reads this comment.

I'll take IELTS test next month. My last score was 6.5, It's no too bad taking in account I have not taken any formal English before, just following Simon's lesson and Liz's videos. My college program requires 7 in each skill, so it's a little complicated to achieve such as level, once I've read hundreds of discourage comments. My main hinder is - I dare to say - my very limited vocabulary range, even thought I'm able to read and understand almost everything, this does not occur as I have to talk or write. Honestly, I can't understand this situation, why does this happen to me? How can I reach a good relationship with my mind and mouth in a way that both body parts working together when the situation demands..


The only solution is preparation. The more topics and questions you study and prepare for, the better you'll get at answering with good ideas and vocabulary. Read through as many of my blog lessons as you can, and focus on "collecting" good words and phrases from my sample answers. Try to copy my style and ideas as closely as possible. Here's an exercise that you could try:


which word can i use for piecharts? shows, compares or any other ?

Thank you so much Simon!

Hello, simon
Many Thank for your lessons
it help me a lot to prepare my ielts exam.
Bill, Thailand

Thanks a lot for your instruction, Simon.
From your post, I can see that we can use "compares" and "illustrates" as synonyms of "shows", and we would use "the chart compares..." and "the diagram illustrates...".
Can I use "the chart illustrates..."? Is this collocation a good one? Or should "illustrates" only go with "diagram"?
I'm not a native speaker and really need your help with this. I look forward to your reply. Thank you so much!

I'm still looking forward to your instruction as in my comment above, sincerely.
Thank you very much, Simon!

Hi Minh,

I prefer to use "illustrates" when describing diagrams, but "the chart illustrates" is fine too.

Hi simon i got 6.5 in writing but I'm aiming at 7 kindly help me make it this time. my exam is on 19 july

Thank you very much, Simon. I'm so glad getting your reply. Thanks sincerely. :)

Thank you very much Simioour post is very useful and able to save much time.

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