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March 16, 2017


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Hi simon, i do not think that we need two commas here, can we write this sentence without the second comma ?

Following the estuary rearing period, the maturing salmon migrate to the ocean, where they eventually become fully grown adults

Yes, you can miss that comma.

Thank you so much, Teacher Simon! The essay is wonderful, I have learned to use another 2 new phrases from your essay: travel back upstream and swim downstream.
Hope you will have a nice weekend!

No problem Anh. You too!

Hi Simon,
Thank you for your advice, which is very helpful.
I took IELTS two weeks ago, task 1 was map of a college now and 30 years ago. I tried to describe the changes using passive voice.
Task 2 question was: some developing countries need help from international organizations to develop. Some people believe that this aid should be financial, while others say that practical help and advice will be better. Discuss both views and give your opinion. I wrote a paragraph about financial aid and another one on practical help and I gave my opinion throughout the essay.
I thought I'll get a high score. Unfortunately, I got 6.5 but I need 7. How can I know my weakness, I think I wrote just under 250 words.
I don't know how to improve despite getting 7 when I took the test for the first time 2 years ago.


1. Find out what your problems are. Submit practice writing to an expert teacher who can look at your grammar errors, whether your vocabulary is natural, and whether you are fully answering questions in both Task 1 and 2

2. Use that feedback to practice more, focusing on the areas that you identified in number 1

Hi Simon, with reference to IELTS Cambridge Book 8, Test 1, Writing Task 1 (page 30), the question type is a 2-different charts consisting of a pie chart a table. Should we use present tense for the pie chart (since there is no year mentioned), and then past tense for the table (since it was mentioned 'during the 1990s' in the title)? Thank you.

Hi, Simon, this sentence "Finally, the adult fish travel back upstream to spawning areas of rivers;" should this be like that the adult fishes travel to...? because fish is a countable noun

Dear sjm,
Thank you for your suggestion, I'll try my best

Hi Simon

Thanks for the teaching...
At the last sentence of the second para; if we do not need to put articles before river, estuary and ocean (a,an and the respectively)?

"the salmon develops"
"salmon spend time"

I am confused, is "salmon" singular or plural?

Look up 'salmon' and 'fish' in a dictionary, and you'll see that the plurals are the same.

Hi Simon, I just want to see where I stand as of now. I am appearing for academic IELTS on 13th May. Could you please assess this answer for the illustration given:

The lifecycle of a salmon from the stage of an egg to adulthood has been vividly presented in the diagram given.
The initial stage of salmon’s growth cycle takes place in a river. The adult salmons mate and begin a process termed as spawning which can be also described as the laying of eggs by the female salmon. These eggs are then incubated for a certain period of time upon the completion of which the hatchlings emerge from them. These newly emerged hatchlings are reared in the freshwater nursery for some amount of time.
Growing up steadily, they migrate to the estuary where they are reared for sometime. Following this stage they then swim into the ocean where they migrate to the rearing area. Here they grow into fully mature adults who are then ready to procreate for the propagation of the species.
These fully mature adults then begin their journey back to river for spawning and one cycle comes to completion in a full circle.

Kindly given a honest criticism so that I would know how to emphasize my practice in the areas of weakness. Thank you. Looking forward to hear from you soon.

Hi Simon, can you please assess me with my writing. Thanks in advance! Here's my own answer:

The diagram illustrates the process of how a salmon develops from an egg to an adult fish.

Overall, it is immediately apparent that there are six main processes undergone by a salmon namely: incubation, emergence, migration, rearing, growth and maturation, and finally spawning. In addition, three kinds of waterform are involved in the process (river, estuary and ocean).

At first, eggs of the salmon undergoes incubation in the river before proceeding to the next stage which is emergence or coming out of the small fishes from their eggs. Then, these small salmons experience rearing in freshwater and in the estuary wherein they start to grow in size.

After undergoing rearing, these medium-sized salmons start to migrate from the estuary to the ocean where they fully grow and mature. When they are fully grown and are ready to lay eggs, they go back to the river to spawn their eggs there and the cycle repeats again.

Thanks :)

Hi Simon,
Could you give me some advice? I want to got 5. But my writing skill is so terrible....thank you so much

The diagram illustrates the life of salmon from birth to maturity in six stages.
It is noticeable that six main stages in the life of salmon is described from egg to adult fish. We can also see that, salmon live in three different places. Initially, salmon live in river then change to estuary, moreover, migrant to ocean, then, back to upstream.
First, salmon lay eggs I n the river after emerging from eggs which will grow to young salmon. At the same stage, young salmon is reared. Moreover, salmon swim to estuary and is reared.
After salmon swim to estuary, salmon migrate to ocean where salmon is reared. Next, becoming an adult and maturation. After that salmon swim back to upstream and wait to lay.

Hi Simon
Thank you for your useful site.
Please give a sample for test 4 - task 1 in the Cambridge English Ielts 10. I know it is similar to this post, but..

Hi Simon! I just wanted to let you know that you are helping people from all over the world to improve their exam marks and consequently, improve their lives by being able to purchase bachelor's or master's degrees overseas. A huge 'thank you' from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

(Sorry, I mean pursue instead of purchase.)

You're welcome Magdalena! I'm happy to help!

The diagram illustrates the time period of salmon’s life in river, estuary and ocean.

Overall, it can be seen that salmon are done their lifetime in eight different steps and also travel through three different places during the cycle, beginning from river to estuary to ocean and ending with going back.

Firstly, salmon start their life cycle by adult salmon spawning and then eggs are incubated for a while. After incubation, from these eggs, baby salmon emerge, and this step is followed by freshwater rearing where salmon get bigger. The next one, estuary, is a transition part between river and ocean, and salmon continue their growing here as well.

The third place, ocean, hosts the next stages except the last one, starting with immigration of salmon to rearing areas. This is continued by the growth and the becoming mature period, and then salmon finish their time in ocean by going back to spawning areas, where all these stages are taken place first, to lay down their eggs. Thus, the life cycle of the next generation starts over.

-177 words -band 7 (according to essay check website)

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