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May 14, 2017


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Hi Simon,

I got my GT results: L8.5, R6.5, W6.5, S6.5.

I am very confident that for writing and speaking I did well. 6.5 is far from my expectation. Do you think should I go for a remark? Please I need your help?

hi simon. im translating a text from english but i didnt undrestand the meaning of yhis sentence, can u help me, this sentence:

"they threw me off the float!”

thank u.

Hi again,

I have heard if there is 2 band difference between one of the scores, it is already remarked by a senior and asking for remark will not help? is it true? or it is true only between writing and speaking test?

Hello Simon,

I'd like to thank and appreciate your effort and passion you put towards your students. I personally, have learned a lot from your blog and hope to achieve a good result.

I had an IELTS general exam on May 13th in Egypt, Cairo. I would like to share writing task2 which had talked about retirement where people should retire over 60 to 65 years. However, some people want to continue working until they want. Give your opinion with support.

I had written 4 to 5 support points as following:

Firstly, it will lead to increase unemployment rate because young people will not being promoted since only people still hold their job. In addition, it will affect fresh graduates who looking for new opportunity.

Secondly, Most of old staff are exposed to many health issues such as diabetes, respiratory problems, and high blood pressure which affect their work performance and cannot cope with job stressful any more.

Thirdly, people who need to retire do not have the energy, careers progression and adapt new work style like young people who always accept challenges and looking to prove themselves.

Finally, old employees do not have flexibility to any new idea, for example, Google Company have succeeded to invent new technology by young staff who looking for the future to grow up.

Thanks again for your help and compassion.


Khaled Said


A general guide to remarks is this: if you receive a score that is at least one whole band less than you have previously received, and you feel you did as well as previously, then you might consider a remark. If this is your first test, then look at the scores that experts have given you in practice writing and speaking. If you have never had your speaking or writing assessed by an 'expert', then I suggest you do so.

If your speaking and writing scores are very different, then sometimes one or both of them will be automatically remarked, but this doesn't always happen. In your case, there was no automatic remark.


It is impossible to translate those six words without seeing the previous 3 or 4 sentences, and the 3 or 4 sentences after it. This is because words contain meanings based on their contexts (the situations they are used in).

Hi Sjm,

Thank you for your response.

I had one GT exam in 2014 and got 7 for both writing and speaking. for that exam I did not prepare anything. This time, I prepared very well and I studied more than 80% of Simon's lessons and I wrote about 70 essays following Simon's tips and two of my essays were scored by teachers that Simon suggested and I got 7.5 in both essays. I am still very shocked about writing.
About speaking, I was evaluated by any IELTS teacher except the real exam. However, it is about 9 years I am studying in English and I have improved alot. I have completed my MSc and PhD in English. How can I get such a low score. To be honest, I am very confident that I deserve for more than 6.5 based on my performance at the exam. How can this happen? I will go for a remark anyway. However, I have heard most cases of remarks will not change the score. That is too sad. All I can say is that IELTS is so unfair!


Here is some feedback for you based on my many years experience with this test:

1. Writing 70 essays and only getting feedback on two of them is not a good idea. It is likely you are repeating some errors many times. We call this 'fossilising' errors.

2. Often, the reason for a 'low' score in writing is not because of Task 2 - it is Task 1. In my experience, around 50% of GT candidates do not 'fully' answer the bullet points in Task 1, and this leads to a 5 or 6 for TA. My advice to general candidates is to focus heavily on the letter because it is possible to get a high score in the letter, and this can take the pressure off your essay.

3. Candidates are rarely good judges of performance in the real test, and most people perform worse in the real test compared to in practice.

4. The difference between 6.5 and 7 can be very small.

5. Yes, IELTS (like all tests) can be frustrating, especially because you don't know what the problems were. However, the most valuable thing you can do for this test is to get as much valuable feedback as you can. Just practicing 'blind' (with no feedback) can be damaging in both speaking and writing.

Good luck in the remark.

Thank you Sjm for your points.

I heard somewhere that work count limit for Writing Task1 is 180 and for Task2 it is 280. Is it true? I have seen some examples essays which have 300 words even some essays have 320 words. I am really confused here. Please help.


The minimum number is 150 words for T1 and 250 words for T2. If you write more it does not decrease your score. However, if you write less, your score will be affected.

Thanks L for confirming.


I don't think I can add anything to the excellent advice that Sjm has already given you. If you had just one 6.5 and higher scores in the other 3 parts, I would probably recommend that you ask for a re-mark, but in your current situation it's unlikely that all 3 scores would go up.

The main thing is not to give up!

some people think that governments should spend on arts like theatre and music .while others think it is a complete waste of money.. what is your view..
in such a question do we need to discuss both ideas n then give our opinion or is it just an opinion essay..
please answer my exam is in a day.. thanks in advance

Posted by: ayesha | Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 21:33

Hi Mr. Simon,

I need to practice essay writing but don't have funds to cater. My english is very poor and want someone to guide me and let me know my mistakes. Can you please let me know if its possible to send you essays through email. My email address is [email protected]

Thanking you in advance

yours sincerely
Khalid from Pakistan

Hi Simon,

I have just found your website recently and decide to follow your tips. Hope that I will do well in my test in July after practicing.


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