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March 08, 2017


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No good vocabulary found.
It's difficult to count total words when I am pressed for time in the exam.
I don't want to learn this unrealistic way.

Dear Duban Hu,
Firstly, there are very good vocabularies ( collocations) found:
_ repair damaged items
_ encourage ... behaviour
_ maximise profits
_ update their products
_ create new fashions
_ make technological improvements
_ obsolete
_ desirable model
_ buy a replacement
_ there is no incentive for people to do something
Sometimes you may find these words not difficult, but they are TOPIC VOCABULARIES AND VERY GOOD NATURAL/ NATIVE COLLOCATIONS, which can boost your score to 9, (if you can also achieve other criteria)

Secondly, I think we should not count the total words in an exam. I never do that. Because if you use Teacher Simon method of 13-sentence essay, not only can you finish your essay in time, but you also dont have to worry about whether your essay is more than 250 words long.

Thirdly, I think that if you want high scores, there is no better way than keep practicing day by day, and with the right method. And I think that Simon's method is one of the best. I major in Biology, so I know that his method is scientific and logical, it suits how human brain works and thinks. That's why I believe in him. You cannot skip stages, and take any shortcut or you will recieve an equilavent " skipping" score. You must be patient. Stick to your learning schedule every day, and you will find yourself improved day by day, I'm sure about that, because I muself improve in that way.

I think you feel stressed now. Just relax and then get back to your writing. Don't give up. Stay patient.
Good luck for you and for me^^

Thank you so much Sir Simon! I am really learning a lot from you on a day-to-day basis.

Dear Teacher Simon,
I have a question about a Speaking lesson you posted long long ago. I'm sorry to post it right here, because I'm afraid that I would forget to keep up with the comment if I posted the question below the original lesson.


I dont understand what " a personal event" is. You said it would be off topic if we talked about it. Can I talk about a historic battle in my country? Would it be off topic?

Thank you very much!

Nam Anh

'a personal event' means something that happened in your life and you were involved in. 'An important event in history' means something that didn't involve you. I definitely agree with Simon that it would affect your coherence if you spoke about yourself. A historic battle would be perfect.

By the way, 'vocabulary' is uncountable. You can't say 'vocabularies'.

Dear Simon,
I have a question.
The first sentence is your main idea, and 3 following ones is supporting details but what does the other do. It seems to me that is a completely new idea, which means that this paragraph has 2 main ideas. I see that you usually apply this structure in your essay but i dont understand it much. Could you help to explain more.

Dear Sjm,
Thank you so much for your detailed explanation. I really appreciate your help. Vocabulary is both a countable and uncountable. And its plural form is vocabularies. You can check it in the dictionary.

1. Idea , explain , example
2. 5 sentences
3. 1) state the main idea for this paragraph
2) general explanation for the main idea
3) detailed example for the explanation
4) reconnect to the main idea
5) another example

4. Linking words are used :
In my opinion
They do "this "
As a result

5. Second sentence is short . The last sentence is a simple structure . Others are all long complicated sentences .

6. There is no incentives for sb to do Sth
Sth become obsolete
Homeware is a good word :)


I'm a native speaker so you can believe me. Remember, words have 'meanings' and they have 'uses', and what you are doing is a very common 'use' error.

The countable plural 'vocabularies' does not mean 'words' in English and no native would use it in this way. It is very rarely used, and it means 'all the words in a language'. For example: 'Different languages have different vocabularies'.

Always use 'vocabulary' in the uncountable singular and you will always be correct.

Hello Nam Anh,
Thanks For sharing 13 sentences idea of simon with us.
can you please tell me how many sentences will appropriate in writing task 1 as like 13 sentences for writing task 2?

please replay as soon as possible NAM ANH, and also other viewers if they know.

Dear Sjm,
Thank you so much for your advice.
In term if its meaning, I admit that I have always understood "vocabulary" as "words". Thanks to you, I have looked up the dictionary more carefully, now I know it has 2 meanings "all the words in a language", just as you have said, and "all words related to a topic"

In terms of its plural form's rare use, after reading your comment, I tried to google it, and I realise it is really rare, I found almost no results about it.

Thank you so much, Sjm! Thanks to you, I realise my mistakes.
I very much appreciate your help, honestly! I'm very grateful that you spared your time helping me to see my errors.

Dear Amandeep Singh,
Honestly, I do not know. I haven't read much about his Writing Task 1 lessons. All I do when I practice Writing Task 1 is choose a task that Teacher Simon have already wrote, write and then check my essay and then read carefully how he wrote it, how he made contrast, compare mine to his, I try to copy his language. I guess it's like this: 1 sentence for the Intro, 1-2 sentences for Summary( It's clear that/ It's obvious that...), 3 sentences for each of the 2 main paragraphs. I'm not sure about it. You can choose one of his samples and count.

No problem Nam Anh. You're a very good language learner.

Thank you very much for your compliment, Sjm. I'm very glad to hear it. I love being complimented^^ just as much as I love receiving feedback from others. It motivates me a lot to get better and better.
I wish you health, happiness and success!

1.Is it a "firstly, secondly, finally" paragraph or an "idea, explain, example" paragraph?

This body is consisted of three ideas.

1-manufacturers and advertisers encourage this behaviour

THis is an "idea, explain, example" paragraph

2-modern products tend to be difficult to repair
3-cheaper to simply buy a replacement

These are a "firstly, secondly, finally" paragraph.

2.How many sentences does it contain?

It contains 5 sentences.

3.What does each sentence do?

1-main idea
3-explain from other angle
4-effect or result
5-other ideas

4.How are the ideas linked together in a coherent way?

I feel that 3rd sentence does not really need.
I believe that if you use 5th sentence you should explain more to improve coherent and chesion.

5.Is there a mix of short and long sentences?

Yes there is.
Companies... is short sentence, I think.

6.Can you find any good vocabulary?

obsolete, replacement, maximise

Hello Simon
today i got my ielts test result with overall score of 7 .i need 7.5 so will appear again .i got 6.5 in writing this time also while 7 in reading & listening both 8 in speaking .i try to follow the same methods & techniques which i have learnt from your lessons .please guide me what else i can do to improve my writing .

Some useful comments and discussion above. It's great to see people learning from each other here.

And thanks again to sjm for all your help!

Dear Simon,

As you have mentioned in lesson one of writing task 2 video course, grammatical range and accuracy are one of the four criteria that examiners score us based on it. I know you suggest not to worry about this criterion since it takes time to prepare for it.

I was wondering is it possible for you to give us some details about this criteria. Are there any specific tenses that should be included in the essay to get a full mark from this criteria? What exactly examiners are looking for in term of “grammatical range and accuracy”?

The reason why I'm asking this question is because I feel my grammar is quite good and with a little help from you maybe I could get full mark for this part.

Hello Simon,
Before going through the essay with your questions in mind I would like to thank you for your efforts. I have always been a fan of your writing. Your are an excellent and talented writer.

1. Idea - Explain - Example.
2. There are 4 sentences.
3. Every line shows progress of the essay.
4. The organisation of each sentence is precise and easily understandable. (either-or, as a result, and, furthermore)
5. There are complex and compound sentences. (connected with either-or, and)
6. Obsolete, incentive for people, buy a replacement- I feel these are good vocabulary.


The main thing is to reduce the number of mistakes that you make. An essay that contains no mistakes is likely to get a 9 for grammar, regardless of the types of sentence that it may or may not contain.

There is no need to include any specific sentence constructions. If there is a nice mix of long and short sentences in your essay, you'll meet the grammar requirements. Remember: as soon as you write a "long" sentence you are naturally going to use connective words, making the sentence 'compound' or 'complex'. So don't think too much about the grammar - just make sure you include a few longer sentences.


Thank you for such a comprehensive and detailed answer, now I know why do you suggest not to worry too much about grammar.

Oh thank you Adib for the question, that's what I want to ask too, but I don't know how to express it. You are so good, I learn a lot from you !
Thank you Teacher Simon so much for your detailed explanation! I love you <3

Dear Simon,

ı would like to ask that is facebook an historical event? because previously you mentioned about world wide web as a historical event.


No, I don't recommend using the creation of Facebook as a historic / historical event.

I can't remember where I wrote about the creation of the web as a historic event either. Can you give me the link to where I said that?

Dear Simon,

thank you very much, you try to answer all questions and this makes us fell precious.
Question was that describe an important event in history. Is it different from a historical event? If so, I confused; therefore so sorry. If not, what is the differences between world wide web and facebook?
thanks a lot for your understanding.


Hi nigar,

An important event in history (or a 'historic' event) could be something that happened yesterday and will be remembered for a long time.

On the other hand, the word 'historical' gives the idea that the event happened in the past (probably a long time ago).

The creation of Facebook was an event in history, but I worry that the examiner might think you are 'manipulating' the question to fit a topic that you know about - describing your favourite website. On the other hand, I think that the creation of the Internet / worldwide web will be remembered as a truly historic (important) event, similar to the creation of the printing press. I just think this answer fits the question better.

Dear Simon,
For the first question you raised,I am not very definite about the answer.Could you please analyse it ?

Dear Simon,

I am from China and I am attending IELTS Academic in mainland China.

In recent years, examiners in mainland China have been taking severe measures to crack down on writing with prepared templates by deliberately and consciously lowering candidates' scores in speaking and writing tests.

The linking words "Firstly,...Secondly,...Finally,..." you recomended is always considered as a typical template for task 2 writing in IELTS Academic test by the examiners in mainland China (an examiner here told me).

Could you recomend any other similar and viable linking words to replace "Firstly,...Secondly,...Finally,..." that is very likely to result in lose scores in task 2 writing?


Hello Simon,

I have question regarding essay type "agree or disagree" and "to what extent do you agree or disagree".

In both the essay format, do we need write both the aspects(agree and disagree) or be on sided throughout the essay.


Hello Simon,

I have question regarding essay type "agree or disagree" and "to what extent do you agree or disagree".

In both the essay format, do we need to write both the aspects(agree and disagree) or be one sided throughout the essay.


i think that people behave in this way for several reasons . firstly today's consumption supports consumable goods , in the other words companies started to manufacture limited lifetime products . secondly advertisers encourage us to buy the newest fashions . for example , a lot of agents offer new products with discount about 50% of payment, but in return people would deliver their broken or old tools . finally with the greatest revolution in contemporary programming , people have to purchase the latest versions of gadgets like phones and laptops even they are usable , just because they are no longer updated .

I learned a lot from the comments about the use of word ‘vocabulary’. Thanks for Nam Anh and sjm!!!

This is a tremendous paragraph, clear and logically organised.

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