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January 31, 2017


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Hi Simon,
while doing listening test pratice i came across answers which are mention in bracket.Does it mean the answer is correct or wrong if we have not mention? and do we have to write all the answers in upper case or lower case?please help..

Hello Simon,

I have just got my IELTS test result (Academic): Overall 7, Listening 7, Reading 7.5, Writing 6.5, Speaking 7.

In Writing section, I didn’t have enough time to finish task 1; fortunately I did task2 first. I think I am already lucky enough to get a score of 6.5 with an unfinished essay.

How I wish I could find words to express my gratitude to you! In IELTS preparation, the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me is finding your website and have followed your suggestions.

The most valuable thing I learned from your website is not the exercises you have posted, although they ARE indeed very helpful, but, what I benefit most is, the right way of thinking.

Before I knew about you and your website, I had done much reading exercises. I made mistakes. The worst thing is not I made so many mistakes, but, I could not figure out why the right answers were otherwise. The explanations to the answers were either missing or misleading, or too simple to understand the “trick”. Then I found your blogs and the first time I viewed your website, I knew I found the rope.

From my point of view, in IELTS test, what really counts is not your language proficiency, although it is very important, but, the right way of thinking, especially when you want to get a score higher than 7, should be more important. It happens sometimes that I can understand the passage very well, but, I cannot do the questions right. Simon, you know what, your blogs best solved this problem, at least to me. In the self-tests I did before the official one, I usually kept a correct rate of 38-40 out of 40 questions. I didn’t do quite well in the final official test, but I knew I have improved much at least in reading because of you.

For the writing section, how I wish I have allocated my test minutes more wisely! Another thing I regret is, I did not practice writing even one essay within the time limits before the exam. Also, I would like to suggest the other students NOT to follow the sample essays of the official guide books, but, follow Simon's essays. It is not because the sample essays are not good. Actually they are TOO good. I tried to write an essay close to that level, but failed, and had wasted too much time to write a reasonably good essay. If you take Simon's essays as samples to follow, you will find it's easier and more practical, which definitely helps to get your best score.

I spent only one day, the last day before the exam, to prepare for the spoken section and got a 7; I spent about two thirds of my one-month preparation time on writing and I got a 6.5. I have to say, c'est la vie.

I will keep trying.

Have a very wonderful new year.

Best regards,


Thanks for writing such a positive message Rena!

"The right way of thinking" - this is exactly what I'm trying to communicate to people!

I have a question which I encountered in a practice listening test part 1, the audio said that the birth date is 28 March 1980, and the question asked for the date of birth in 2 words and or a number. The book stated the answer as 28 March. Is that true?

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