« IELTS Writing Task 1: comparing line graphs? | Main | IELTS Speaking Part 2: 'hurry' answer »

August 26, 2016


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

Wish you a magnificent holiday... This blog will miss you.

Hi Simon,
Have a great holiday!

Thank you for the wonderful website. I just got my IELTS results this afternoon. I've achieved my goal of getting 7 in writing, and 8 in speaking. Your website have helped me a LOT!!!


This admirer will miss you.have a good holiday.

Have a great holiday Simon! Really going to miss this blog. Your are amazing saviour for those who are sturggling to get on track with IELTS. Epecially for me.

We all hope you have a wonderful time!

Thank you Simon sir.Have a great holiday and fun.

Happy holidays to Simon. See you soon.

Hi Gali,

Congratulations for the achievement! Could you please tell us your strategy for individual sections of IELTS? Can you reveal your strategy?

Hi Gail,

Sorry for misspelling of your ID.

Great holiday, thank you very much for your website
God bless to you

Have a good time !

Have great holiday!

Enjoy yourself during the holiday, Simon!

2nd September will also be memorable for me, as it will be the day I leave Shanghai and come to the UK.

Best of luck!

Congratulations James Z.

So You are going to the UK! Happy to see you here after many days.

Best Of Luck , simon ! Hope you will be able to spend a nice holiday !

Good for you Simon.... Enjoy your holiday :)

Have a great holiday Simon!
and congratulations for your next stage in the UK, James Z. good luck :)

have a nice holiday honey Simon

Have a good holiday, my best-ever-teacher!
See you on Friday 2nd September!

Enjoy your vacation, you deserve it! Thank you for all your help. Looking forward to your next lesson when you get back. Cheers! :)

Enjoy your holiday Simon. Thank you.

Make the most of this time, Simon!
Good on you !

Have Nice Days ....

You deserves the most wonderful holidays. You are the best IELTS teacher ever. I hope you have great great great holidays and recharge yourself.
See you then!

You more than deserve it Simon!

Have a BIG Holiday!

Have a great holiday Simon !

Dear Simon,

I am a self-learner, aiming to pass four 7s in IELTS test, now I am stuck at writing (L:8.5, R:7, S:7, W:6).

Before I read your blog and watched your video, I had many wrong conceptions about IELTS writing. I thought I have to use several difficult words (big words) and at least one or two complex sentences. The reality has proved that I was wrong. I feel now I have a better understanding of IELTS writing, thanks to your explanation.

However, there still are two difficulties of mine:
1. The sentences I wrote seem like over-simple, some may even look childish.
2. I can fully understand your sample essays, and I know the structure and grammar are not complex, but I could not write like you did in the tutorials.

Could you give me some advice so I can learn to write right?


Have a good time and enjoy your holiday!

Hi Simon,

By the way, When will you travel to Abu Dhabi or Dubai? please let me know, I would like to be your guide.


You need to get someone to analyse your writing (both tasks - you are probably not getting a high score in Task 1) to see what the problems are. Your problems are possibly in TA/TR or Grammatical control.

Until you know exactly what the issues are, you do not know what to improve.

Where are you Simon? We need your advice to study to this exam. Save your power and come here like a hero. Also, I have had a question when I started writing this comment but anyway and I hope that you will come here rested and powerful. Take a beer for me and enjoy the holiday.

P.S; I believe that you will tend to writing part after the holiday.

Have a great holiday!

Dear simon,
I am preparing IELTS and it's my first contact with this exam.I would be grateful if you could give me some advice about IELTS review.Thanks!

Enjoy your holiday!

Hi sjm,

Thank you for your reply.

I have asked a few native speaker friends to do proof reading for my essays. I think I may still have some grammatical errors. Some of those errors I can find them out by myself, but others maybe just not "native" (not good English they say). Is there any method to keep my grammar on the track?

In my recent practices, I tried to keep asking why or how when I wrote down a sentence. I tried to link the sentences together logically. However, when I look back to Simon's sample essays, I can see the huge distance between my practice and his work.

Writing is truly my weakest section, after I read Simon's instructions, I feel I am nearly there, just need to find out the breakthrough.


Plus, if I may ask, how can I know that I FULLY achieved "TA/TR"?

My practice strategy is: Highlight all the key words, paraphrase these key words in the sentences. Keep asking why or how when start to write the next sentence.

Is there anything wrong or missing?



Unfortunately, you need people who understand the exam fully to assess your writing. This is not as critical in General IELTS, but in Academic the penalties in Task 1 can be large, and can easily lead to a 6 or 6.5 despite many error free sentences.

For essays, you can achieve a high TR by answering the question directly, making sure your opinion is clear, consistent and in all parts of the essay, including the right amount of arguments, making sure your arguments are all relevant, and giving examples or consequences to support your ideas. There are some other things too, such as not overgeneralising (saying that things are always true) and not 'balancing' your essay (for example, if you are writing about problems and solutions) you should write equally about both.

Task 1 is more complicated and has more penalties that I can't elaborate on here. You need specialised help in Task 1.

For grammar, the best way is to keep a grammar list as you practice and get feedback. After around 10 essays you should have a list of around 20 to 40 grammatical issues to avoid in future essays. Always have the list with you, and check it after you complete an essay. After a while, your error rate should drop. Another thing to do is to work with the same sentence structures so you can master them quickly.

Hi sjm,

Thank you so much. I decide to make that grammar list starting from my next practice.

I actually kept my previous practice with tracked reviews and changes in .docx format files. Maybe I should jot them down as well.

In regards to Task 1, I haven't finished watching Simon's video tutorials yet. I mainly put my focus on Task 2 because I thought it is more important. Now I will take your notice seriously for my future preparation.

I will post more feedback soon.


Most people don't realise that Task 1 is perhaps even more important than task 2, because of the severe penalties that exist. The three main penalties are: an insufficient overview, (this can easily result in a 5 for TA), missing a key detail (this results in a 4 for TA) and focusing too much on details (this results in a 5).

You are unlikely to get a 4 or 5 in any box in Task 2.

Hallo sjm,

I trust your advice because you were an IELTS examiner, in addition to that a native English.

Thank you for your invaluable suggestions, in my country, many coaching centers making money using the name of "IELTS teacher" although in reality almost all of them no connection with the true world of IELTS. Neither they were IELTS examiner nor trained by someone. Self-declared TEACHER!!!.

I was a victim.

Thanks sjm for your doctorielts.com and thanks also goes to SIMON for ielts-simon.com.

My experience in improving IETLS writing (from 6.5 to 7).

I started to prepare IELTS writing since March, and achieved a 7 in August.

First, I identified my main problems in writing, which was the poor arguments. I often would go a bit off topic. Solution: The most important one is to read the threads posted by Simon. Take notes. Especially the sample answers. Analyse them and internalise the pattern.

Then, if I had extra time, I would Google the topics and read more articles on the topic for more convincing arguments.

Another way to make sure I could come up with solid arguments, I just write down main ideas for different writing prompts. I have a collection of past IELTS writing questions. If anyone wants this, I can send it to your email.

Good luck!


Dear Gail,

I'm preparing for IELTS exam. Can you please send me your collection of past IELTS writing questions, as you said. My email is adasigama@gmail.com


dear Simom
the best english teacher whom I have known
wish you a best holiday
i hope everything will work out best for you during the holiday

Thanks Ali. That was back in August. I did enjoy my holiday!

The comments to this entry are closed.