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August 30, 2014


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I'm still struggling to gain the band 7 (from band 6.5) for writing. Still trying! ><

dear simon:
you are our hero, however i have not passed still now and it is seeming like impossible, but your advice is very on time and just from our heart.

Hi Simon ...
I have a small question ..
I got 4.5 in writing I think there's something wrong

the question was about as I remember
students should pay full fees for their studies at the university because it would benefit as individual not society as whole .
to what extent do you agree or disagree ?

I wrote that I completely disagree that student should pay full fees , I believe that it would benefit both individual and society ..

so I wrote the first paragraph explaining why I'm disagree
and the second paragraph I explained why it would be beneficial for both
and two of them was filled of 7-9 vocabulary ..

if you don't mind , could you tell me if my answer way is wrong ?

thank you so much


1. Remember that your final score is a combination of Task 1 and Task 2. With a score like 4.5, it is very likely that your Task 1 score was very low as you may have missed some key features, or your overview was poor or even missing.

2. Without seeing your essay it is not possible to say why your score was low, but remember that using what you think is high level vocabulary does not mean you will get a high score - it needs to be the right vocabulary in that situation. Also, when people get a score under 5, it often means that the level of grammatical error is very high, and this makes your points very difficult to understand.

A useful advice on time for me to keep patience even i still stuck in IELTS exam. Thank Simon


I am.not doing any job.. and not even joined any institute for ielts. . So there is no other option but to do practice for speaking on my own . . May b thats why my speaking getting worse . I do much better while iam practicing at home. But when i should hve to speak confidently in front of examiner, i get confused . Is it necessary to have good interaction with the people around you for speaking practice ?

I am really upset. ... when would i be caragorized in the list of those people who got thrhough this tough exam successfuly.. aah wish.


I am.not doing any job.. and not even joined any institute for ielts. . So there is no other option but to do practice for speaking on my own . . May b this is the reason why my speaking getting worse .secondly I do much better while practicing at home. But when i should hve to speak confidently in front of examiner, i get confused . Is it necessary to have good interaction with the people around you for speaking practice ?

I am really upset. ... when would i be able to caragorized myself in the list of those people who got thrhough this tough exam successfuly.. aah wish.

Hi Simon,

Yes, it's well said. I'm from non English speaking country. I took my first IELTS GT test on March 2014. At that time, I made the preparation for the test by reading IELTS Cambridge book and only read at a glace for Simon site. I only got 5.0 in writing.

In the second attempt, I took IELTS Academic on August 2014. I changed the way I learnt which I used to prepare the materials from Cambridge book, but this time I was practiced using Simon site everyday, particularly for writing section and I got 6.5 in writing! +1.5 point increment after I learnt using this site!

Thank you a lot, Simon! I got the score needed for my study. I believe all of you could reach the required score. All you need is being persistence for practicing your English and pray. Follow all Simon's advice and your hard work will be paid off.


Thank you for inspiration, teacher. I'm still new, but it can motivate some students, who will takes IELTS exam soon.

Good morning Simon,

Thank you for your encourage and kind words. I felt much better after read your advice: People do pass!

Thank you so much.

Hi simon, thanks for your encouragement, it really helps me carry on struggling in this test.....

I would like to ask something about Writing task 2. My tutor, who is an IELTS ex-examiner, told me to write sentences in simple S-V-O structure. He doesn't like sentence like "It is (adj.) that (sub.)....." OR "Apart from....., (sub.)...." because the subject is not at the beginning of the sentence, which lead to a weak connection between each sentence and thus a low band score in Coherence & Cohesion.

Is that true? I am doubted that the examiner will think i dont know other complex sentence structure if i keep using SVO throughout the essay.

Hi Simon,

I am one of these students who keep trying. I agree never give up. If you do, you will never WIN.

I am struggling to get the over all band 6.5 and Speaking must be 7

I always got 6.5 in speaking.Help please

Your advice is just in time ;)
I received my result this Friday,and it was the worst one. I kind of lose myself, don't know how to tell others about my result. I tried four times, but it's too early to quit!!!


how can we answer this question
what should we write in the 2 main paragraphs ?

question ( What extent do you think about that societies benefit from closer relationship we have with foreigners through international tourism and business?
Give your reasons, relevant examples and your experiences? )

Dear Simon

I keep trying but because of taking similar score in every test now I feel my moral become weak.

How many band shold expect??

Nowadays food has become easier to prepare.Has this change improved the way people live?use specific reason and example.

My answer is...

In today's life food intake become only an activity rather than need to survive. It is only because of invention of new cooking instruments. There is no doubt about that way of cooking is changed in certain years.

In the past ,women were spending more time to prepare a perfect meal. There was not a gas stoves or microwave , but today everything has changed. New cooking instrument like non-sticks, refrigerators and microwaves preserve time and moreover it is easy to use and flexible. Somehow it helps women to juggle their office work as well as house hold work. New recipes, way of making and new devices has make journey easy for women from kitchen sink to board room and family member to firm employee. In addition, paying guest can make their food to avoid extra expanse . I think, it enable women to do independently apart from family.

Some believe that due to flexibile availability of food health is affected. Fast food do not contains all nutrition. Some regard this trend to spoiler of our quality life because they served alone. It is hard to have with family members . So Heath and family attachments are causes for fast food protest.

Other busy people believe it has improved the life. Furthermore , according to them they have more important works than eating. In addition, it is waste of time . A two minute Maggie and popcorn has make life fast and easy.

Finally,flexible and time preserver food is bless for busy people especially for young people and working mothers. Somehow some people protest it,but it is depend upon us how to treat ourselves with meal. I think it is good to have quick food.

Hi Simon ...
I got only 5 in writing
Topic was... Student should pay full cost to universities.. Because education helps individual more rather than society as a whole

Plz reply

Hia sir
Recently i have taken the test, i got only 5 only.i am so disappointed with my score, I really performed very well in my exam sir, why did happen.Pleae give some relieve replay sir


It depends a bit on what score you want to achieve. The reason for keeping sentences 'simple' is to reduce errors, which is perhaps the most common problem in IELTS. However, if you plan to achieve 7 or higher, then you need to show 'some' complexity in writing to show grammatical range.

If your sentences are too similar then your writing will become repetitive and mechanical, which affects your CC score. The key is to vary your sentences so that some are 'SVO' and some are different. There are many other ways to make writing cohesive apart from starting every sentence with a subject.

Dear Simon,
I partly agree with you on this. I am sure you share the view that this exam has not met the required standards of assessment in a true notion. I mean, how can a 3-hour-test assess all the areas of a candidate while the Cambridge exams ( FCE, CAE, CPE) assess thoroughly and deeply.
I believe the subjectivity of this exam has dominated , especially in recent years. I myself teach IELTS and I can assure you there has been lots of discriminators in terms of students band score in Writing and Speaking. One of my students received a band score 5.5 for his writing and I made him fill in the objection form and after 8 weeks reviewing his score, it changed to 6.5!! Can you believe that! 1 band score difference!
It means the examiner has not even bothered reading the essay until the end!
This is just the tip of the ice-berg of this disaster since not everyone can afford to pay $160 to have his/her band score reviewed!

hello friends....question from Cambridge 7 listening test 4 question no. 19..
in the audio she said site is being used by primary schools for biology lessons
but the answer is biology lesson
can we write s ???
what is the concept of writing n not writing s???
help :(

Sorry Abbas, but I can't agree with you about the Cambridge tests being 'deeper'. Firstly, the Cambridge speaking tests are the same length of time (around 15 minutes) however they have two candidates, so they each do around half the speaking that an IELTS candidate does. Also, two people can book a Cambridge test together, and 'rehearse' their interaction beforehand. Secondly, the writing tests are slightly longer than IELTS in time but not in words, meaning IELTS is more challenging in terms of time pressure. There are more questions in the IELTS listening compared to Cambridge, and the recording is only played once, so it could be argued that IELTS is more demanding and therefore more 'thorough'. The only other major difference is the 'Use of English' section in Cambridge, which is actually going to be 'eliminated' next January and incorporated into the rest of the reading test, making the Cambridge tests shorter than they are now.

I do however sympathise with you about examiner error. (By the way of course the first examiner read the essay - they just made a mistake applying the marking criteria). This can happen, and the review procedure, which can last 6 weeks or more, is ridiculously overlong.

No test is perfect, and certainly there are things about IELTS that I would change immediately. Nevertheless, IELTS has been researched enormously, and has proven to be surprisingly effective at providing reasonably accurate assessment levels.

Dear sjm,

Thank you for sharing your view with me. I need to point out that Cambridge exame's "Use of English" is not going to be deleted entirely, it will be mixed with reading section. Regarding the challenge that IELTS is making, we all know that being challenged in a test does not necessarily guarantee the validity and also reliability of the test.
When a recording is played twice, it means the listening section is seeking deeper structures of the language rather than simply misleading a listener by witching telephone numbers or postal codes! which is not authentic!
And let's not forget the fact that, the Writing part of the Cambridge exams are being corrected and scored by a native speaker not a trained non-native speaker like IELTS.

It is debatable whether hearing something twice is 'more authentic' than once (I would say not). My point is that Cambridge tests are not 'clearly' deeper than IELTS and I don't know anyone who would agree (and I know many people working for both tests). One of the reasons that Use of English is being incorporated is that it has been found to be not an accurate indicator of communicative ability, so its importance is being reduced, and as I mentioned before, the Cambridge speaking tests are not particularly valid, as the experience you have when registering by yourself is not the same as if you register with someone you know well.

The vast majority of IELTS examiners, speaking and writing, are native speakers. Those who are not are required to be at 'native level' (Band 9) in that discipline. Because IELTS has a large number of candidates each year (over 2 million I believe) there will inevitably be some examiners whose level may be below a 9, but this is rare. Finally, just because someone is a native speaker, certainly does not mean they will give a more 'accurate' score than a Band 9 non-native!

I've just receive my result: Speaking 6.5, Writing 7.0, Reading 8.5, Listening 7.0
It's a little bit lower than I've expected, but I'm still satisfied with my result.

Thank you so much Simon, I'll never manage to get 7.0 Writing without you. You're the best!

@Simon, Thank you for your advice! it comes just in time as my exam is approaching in a few days and sometimes I just wanted to stop "conquering" IELTS as well as my career all together.


I believe that not only myself but all the IELTS candidates feel that the IELTS exam is very UNFAIR.

1. Time wise: if they increase each section (Reading +Writing) 10 mins more that would make a huge different.
2. Knowledge: It keeps saying that its only designed to test your ability to use English as a second language but the actual test + topics require a a huge amount of knowledge there. For example, in task 2 you are trying to write an essay and you have no knowledge or ideas about that topic, how can you argue? One of the questions in the book I've read was like argue/give opinions about space exploration...etc..how can someone give opinion or argue about what they dont know?(thats how Simon's ebook comes in handy.

Another questions I saw on the book mentioned about "Nuclear family" or "Emotional Intelligent", to be honest, I've asked 14 people 10 nurses + 1 manager, 3 dentists - all were born in the Uk - native speaker) in a Hospital where I worked and surprise only 2 dentists know what "nuclear family" mean and 1 of them know what "emotional intelligent" is... How can they say its not base on knowledge???===>VERY UNFAIR. (sniff sniff :(()

Hi Sir,
I have taken exam twice .. both the times i have very good score of 8 in L,R,S each time but stuck with score of 6.5 in W . I feel the evaluation of W varies a lot and its subjective . There is a standard benchmark for valuation but still bit doubtful about the way they may value it ..Its not transparent ... PLease help me to increase my writing score by 0.5 .... i have been following the blog and going accordingly ... but still not up the mark...

i am really struggle with the ielts exam the first one i got 8.5 7 6.5 7 then for the second try it was 6.5 7 7 7, but I am still positive, hoping that i will achieve it one day, thank you Simon, your e-book and your web site help me alot.

It is a very unfair exam Mr Simon, no matter many of you disagree with it. I have been taking this test for the last 6 years . If I get a band score 8 for listening and next time if I get 6.5 does that mean I am not good in listening? It is all about getting a 7 band score individually for one sitting. I speak good english and I can write and read very well . I got many ielts test forms which has 7 and 8 bands. However I can not do my profession here in uk as I haven't got 7 for each modules at the same time. There are many people working in this country who can not even speak fluently by taking the advantage that they are under EU. Is that all fair? Is this test fair to me? Absolutely no.

@Ns: I totally understand how you feel. I take it you are in Medical Profession or something? I know the fact that GMC or GDC ask for 7 individual which is hard( 3 years ago for a GP or dentist required only band 6!). I am one of the "sufferer" here. However, we should try harder, it will come eventually my dear. Good luck.

Yes you are absolutely right Hannah... u need average of 7.5 too ... now the bar is set high ...

Hi Simon,
thank u very much for this website,its the best so far.I just received my results and i'm very happy even though i didn't get what i needed. I got:
I needed 7 in all the areas,so i have to register and do it again, of which i have done, and have started intensive studies again.I'm taking it in September.
i hope and pray that I will get it this time around.


Hi guys,

I understand your frustrations with the high scores required by the General Medical Council here in the UK. All I can do is encourage you to keep trying!

When a country develops its technology the traditional skills and ways of life die out. It is pointless to try and keep them alive. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Please do correct my answer.
It is an obvoius fact that when technology advances in a nation, the conventional skills and life style will eventually erode which inturn result an improved quality of life. Although, many people worked alongside to preserve it became a challenge.

Firstly, governmeny and authorities have taken measures to preserve their countries orthodox skills in many ways like including conventional task in school curriculam and providing opportunities to learn in depth. However , owing the easiness of texhnology, people find it hard to move on with their old ways of working. For instance, with the invention of aluminum, steel and is wide variety uses, conventional mode of pot making by the of clay has been a book of knowledge for our younger ones.

Secondly, with the immense advances of technology in most aspects of people's life have been changes over the past few decades. For instance, international travelling made possible within  hours due to the invention of air traffic. In addition, use of internet became a great benefit in every shere of one's life. Henceforth, majority of people would never like to stick on to conventional life style.

To conclude, there is no doubt that with the emergence of technology life became much more easier and faster compared to the olden days. I strongly believe the fact that Government and authorities has to encourage people to adapt new facilities which the technology provides and to make ways to educate the old generation for its uses than spending time to keep them alive.

@ns: I am not an expert neither a successful IELTS candidate yet but here is my suggestion to your essay;
In general its good, your essay sounds much better than mine:) I would change a bit for your intro ie re-phrase and answer the question (read again, have you fully answered the question? - remember they ask YOU - Agree or Not? how much?)
Then give your answer - idea + detail + explain why
another para here to explain further
conclusion briefly mentioned about what you just have said and emphasised your point of view here...
This is how I would do it, however I might be wrong:)))

Hi Simon,

I didn't know where to post new IELTS exam questions
so simon please post in respective place

This speaking exam was held on September 04 2014 by IDP India in Bangalore afternoon session

warm up questions.(PART-I)
1)explain your house or apartment you stay in?
2)questions of colors?
3)do you prefer color of your car?
4)what is the color of your room?

Part -II(Talk for 1 or 2 minutes)

1) describe an item you borrowed from your family or friend
a) when you borrowed
b) why you borrowed
c) explain the reason for borrow(not sure)

follow up questions(Part-III)
1) what are disadvantages of borrowing
2)why people hestitate to ask borrowed things
3)uses of car rental services
4)do you often borrow?if so when or why not?

few questions I forgot.I hope this helps someone and wish you all the best

If you need help in IELTS speaking I would like to recommend a book -The Ultimate Guide to IELTS Speaking by Parthesh Thakkar .This book helped me a lot

I post reading, writing, listening questions on 06 September 2014 evening. I have exam on that day

I try five times with ielts but i did not get my target 6.5 every time i got 5 please helpe me what should i do i am very sad

Thanks for that comment. That helps a little.

My scores are corresponding of listening, reading, writing and speaking:
1st attempt) 9,8,7,6
2nd attempt) 8,6.5,6,7
3rd attempt) 8,6,6.5,7
4th attempt) 8,8,6.5,6.5
5th attempt) sitting tomorrow...

GOSH, I am so frustrated! I need to get 7 for each band for migration. My deadline will be in 2 months and I am struggling. Good luck folks!

Do examiners know the candidate's trial number (1st, 2nd or more) during the assessment? In other words, is the assessment totally fair or ot?

Hi Simon,

I received my IELTS scores today with the following results: L9, R8, W6.5, S8.5. I was confident with my essays so it really bugged me where i went wrong. I finished both tasks with enought time to proofread them more than once and was able to do a word count as well. Some people told me i got penalized in task response. Task 2 question in verbatim was "online shopping is replacing shopping in stores. Do you think it is a positive or negative development?" I analyzed it as opinion essay so i presented a one sided argument (positive dev.) but i was told that i should have made a balanced argument. I'm reanalyzing the question again and i still believe its asking for my opinion not to discuss both views bec. of the words DO YOU THINK, I know you dont have the time to answer all questions posted on your website but PLEASE PLEASE help me out here because i'm planning for a re-mark. Was i wrong in the question analysis? To those who have read my comment can you also please share your views. Tnx a lot Simon and others.

P.S. Your website has continued to inspire and teach a lot of people including mysellf not just about english but in many ways. :)

I am not good in English english how can I get ielts 6 score within 45 days?

Aseel Samir
I followed and manipulated all criteria , notwithstanding The marks is so unfair and am starting to believe that this ielts test is to put the exam takers under stress and frustration... I have taken this test over 7 times , some in the middle east and few in the Uk. Unfortunately, its very obvious that examiners in the UK ( Manchester, Birmingham) are very unfair with English second language speakers. Their marks are so far from reality .... Now my job and work liscence is hold because of ielts test, despite my other qualifications meet the uk standard in the medical field. I urge who can read my message to adjust this test which becomes farer than a dream to be translated in the sake of exam takers. I ask you to be more realistic , fair and honest towards the aim of this test and not for only a financial market........
LikeMoreJust now

bottom line this exam is a game, the way they try to make the exam harder is manipulative. they rely on tricks rather than language, which means it's a poor system and soon will be dead. If the makers insist on following the wrong path.

Hi I am sohal jassal from bathinda
I got 5 Band in writing so I should fill rechecking of this exam or not ?

Plz tell me

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