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October 20, 2016


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Helpful indeed. Thanks a lot. You are doing a great job for free. Your effort and generosity are beyond appreciation.

Yes, i noticed the 80% and i understood,when i read your summary. That's what you are pointing- the bigger picture.

Thank you so much Mr. Simon.

Before knowing this precious lesson from Simon, I feel that it's impossible for me to learn IELTS by myself, that's why I intend to take course for 1-2 months in other city. Finally I found this lesson is very understandable and makes me realize that nothing is impossible.
Thanks Simon.
U're inspiring me 😄😄😄

I took IELTS twice this year:

July: R 8.5, L8, S 8, W 6.5

I need 8 from each section or at least 7 for now. As my writing was below 7, I decided to work with a tutor. I practice with Ielts examiner (she was really good teacher). She was reviewing my essays, assessing them according to IELTS rubric. She was telling that I could get at least 7. Then I scored this:

October: R 9, L8, S 8, W 6.5.

I do not know what else should I do. I think I did better in writing, to get at least 7. I do not blame the teacher, it is my fault. But, IELTS seems to be quite subjective and commercialized. I shall go for PTE. Thanks to IELTS for scamming people!

Hi !
Is there anyone took ielts on 8/10 ? As I can't find my result electronically ! Any one have an idea why ?
Appreciate your replying !

Hi Nika !
I believe your situation pretty similar to mine as I did take exams many times so far but in either times got 6.5 in writing, especially last time I was nearly devastated as my score in other modules were very high , but I think it's all about having a superb and organising thinking skill which are very challengable to perform under a stressful exam condition ... But we all should bear in mind the fact that the secret of being success and being the most secured place of this country is their way of thinking !!! So I think we must adapt our thinking to them though it's pretty tough thing to do !

You opened my eyes of thinking.

I'm bit confused here. In my opinion, No other language means "Only English". This 80% are certainly able to speak English, but how it is making sure that they able to speak one more language along with English?


I'd like to thank you for providing such a good source. I've studied from your blog for 10 - 15 days. My results came and I've got 0.5 point higher than I need.

So, Thank you so much, Simon.

Yes thats true 100%
Ielts test is just kindof making people donkeys
these people would not gonna give you a chance to get into your career.
im heartbroken seriously !

Hi MG-42 !
Have you got your result ? And did you take exam on 8th of October ? As I can't get my result electronically !!!

Thanks !

Nika and La13

The most common reasons for not achieving a 7 in writing are:

1. Too many errors. As a general rule, if there are more than 7 errors in Task 1 or more than 10 errors in Task 2, then it is likely that either the grammar or vocabulary score will be a 6. When you hire a tutor, this should be your top priority. Grammar and vocabulary errors are 'factual' and noticed by all examiners.

2. Issues with Task 1, especially a) focusing too much on small details b) missing a key feature, such as not mentioning a category c) an insufficient overview

I would estimate that these issues account for the vast majority of people achieving a score under 7.

If you are stuck on 6.5 and you think you deserve a higher score, please try asking for a re-mark. It is possible that some examiners are over-cautious about giving a band 7. I've heard from quite a few people who had their writing scores raised.

Congratulations MG-42!

Issues with Task 1, especially a) focusing too much on small details b) missing a key feature, such as not mentioning a category c) an insufficient overview

Tanks SMJ

Could you explain it in more detail


1. If you list too many numbers and try to describe 'everything', then you might get a 5 for Task Achievement (the candidate focuses on details instead of reporting the main features)

2. All key details must be covered. This means you have to at least mention every category (not every number), and you need to highlight important numbers, similarities and differences. If you don't, you can get a 4 for Task Achievement.

3. To achieve a 7 in Task Achievement, the overview must be 'clear' and present 'the main trends'. Most overviews do not do this. Just naming the highest and lowest figures is not considered a level 7 overview.

Thanks for your nice explanation sjm

However, would you like to give a little bit detail on what you mean by 'the main trends'? since so far I consider that naming the highest and the lowest figures is the best way to have good overview on writing part 1.

Thanks in advance


The highest and lowest are key features, because you are isolating particular numbers and highlighting them. A 'trend' is a more general comment. You can usually identify a trend because it includes a whole time period, or groups categories together (like Simon did in this task). Simon used the expression 'big picture', which refers to a trend.

It is amazing how many 'IELTS' teachers do not know what a 'main trend' is, and you would be surprised how many candidates do not achieve a 7 in Task 1 because of this.

The numbers show that most of the students can speak more than one language except English, and Spanish is the most spoken language by those students participated the survey.

I often write "The highest rate is Spanish at 30% and the second...".
Your blog is really helpful for me. I can inspire many ideas thanks.

Thanks sjm 😄😄😄
I got your point. I do hope Simon is pleased to give other similar exercises so that we could practice to find and involve "the big picture" on the overview, instead of key features.

I really want to thank you, Simon. I have prepared ielts writing task, especially task 1 for nearly 3 months. I have read a guide book written by Chinese teacher and the only thing he put down is imitating high-score copies. No one tip targets for guiding thoughts.

Really thank you very much.

No problem Pomelo. I'm glad you like my lessons!

Really helpful! Thank you!

The most important feature to note is that spanish language was by far the most popular language between students. By contrast German language accounted for the lowest number of students.

Sir can we use personal pronoun in task 1?

I mainly count on your site,but I have a question in regards to where to write the overview.I checked the examiner's model answers in Cambridge books, they usually write the overview as the last part.It looks like a close for task 1.what do you think?


You can write "we can see".



The position of the overview won't affect your score - there is nothing in the examiners' mark scheme about where it should go.

I prefer to start with general information and then go into detail - I find this easier and more logical. However, both ways are equally acceptable.

I appreciate it, thanks a lot

how could 80% students learn one foreign language along with English?
It states"no other language" but English?
Would you please explain this?
It willbe great help.


20% only speak English, so 80% speak English and another language.


Hi Simon
Where can I find the full sample answered by you for this writing task?
I find this writing a little hard, so it would be very helpful for me to check the comparisons you've done for this task.

Negar Yara,

I don't think I've put a sample answer for this task on my site. I'll check and maybe go back to that question soon.

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