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April 18, 2018


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Hi, Simon

It means that in BP1 we should agree to one part of the question but in BP 2 we should write what we strongly believe. will it completely justify the task response?

Hi simon,

Please let us know how much score would you give in task response if someone wrote an discussion essay instead of an opinion essay?

Hello Mr Simon and everyone.
This is my very first time to post on this website though I have followed all of you for roughly 3 years.
I am gonna take the IELTS test this May and I am preparing for the test on my own at home. So I would like you, guys could take time to read and correct my essay for me. I have never been fixed by any IELTS teachers. Thank you so much!!!

Here is the Writing task 2 of Cambridge 12 test 8.
Some people believe that allowing children to make their own choices on everyday matters (such as food, clothes and entertainment) is likely to result in a society of individuals who only think about their own wishes. Other people believe that it is important for children to make decisions about matters that affect them. Discuss....

It is true that permission of parents pertaining to decision-making among children has been a heated debate. While people argue whether free choices made by young adults could be a contributing factor to individualism, I believe that a wise decision should be created from kids’ practice and parents’ guidance.

One the one hand, there might be several reasons why children who are easily allowed to make decisions could worsen the society. Firstly, the adolescents of lenient or indugent parents are likely growing up with several negative personality traits, especially the desire to be a self-centered adult. The exposure to unsupervised choice-making could act as a deterrent to selfishness and little consideration to others’ feelings and needs. Secondly, the habbit of forcing parents to satisfy kids’ wishes seems indirectly to lead them to become impatient members of society. In fact, these young people may encounter failure in teamwork and collaboration in future workplace when having high self-esteem.

On the other hand, the freedom to decide could be beneficial to some extent. Young individuals can develop self-control and lead an independent life thanks to their early empirical experience at early stages of life. Researches conducted illustrated that kids could learn consequences of bad choices and go through regret in a healthy moderation which definitely benefit later in life. Additionally, unlimited choices may build relationship between parents and children due to mutual trust and respect. For example, little decision about which dress to wear or which snack to eat could also shape their responsibility, particularly if they are relied to choose by their parents, thus motivates kids to make better decision.

In conclusion, decision-making is both a human right and an important skill to learn which, I think, need the combination of personal experience and adults’ advice.


1) It seems that a vital part of the question is missing: IELTS questions seldom simply say "discuss", and it is important to notice whether they ask for an opinion or not. So it is difficult to assess whether you have answered the question or not, which is one quarter of the points.

2) The opening statement, "It is true..heated debate", seems to me unwarranted. Where is this debate? The premise of the question is merely that "some people" (maybe just one remote tribe in the Amazon basin) believe, not that the issue has been the subject of "heated debate". -> There are conflicting views on how much freedom to make their own decisions children should have.

3) I am not sure that the "while" concession clause is needed at all in the second sentence, as it really only restates what is in the first sentence.

4) I think what you mean in stating your position is something like: I believe that parents should find the middle ground between being over-controlling and being completely laissez-faire, and make compromises based on the situation, age, and capacity of the children.

5) "could worsen the society": which society are you referring to? None has been specifically mentioned so far. If you mean "society in general", then no article is required. (Compared to French, German etc, English is unusual in this respect.)

6) "likely growing up with several negative personality traits,": oh, dear me, that must be what is wrong with me then. A somewhat sweeping generalization, which is better avoided or attributed to someone else. -> There is a view that over-indulgent parenting creates negative....

7) "little consideration to of others’ feelings and needs." = a lack of empathy

8) "habbit": a sort of cross between a "habit" and a "hobbit" -> habit (one 'b').

9) In my view, "allowing children to make their own choices" (as per the question) does not imply indulgence on the part of the parents, so much of your second paragraph might be viewed as slightly off topic. It is quite possible to allow children to make their own decisions without over-indulging them: the red one or the blue one, but not both.


10) I think "experience" is inherently "empirical", so we do not need the adjective.

11) "at early stages": -> in the earlier stages of life.

12) " Researches conducted illustrated ": the usual phrase is: research has shown. Research (in English) is rarely plural in modern usage. Generally, uncountable.

13) "in a healthy moderation": not an English phrase. It does not come up on Google books. "in moderation" is fine; "healthy moderation" okay. "without a modicum of regret" is sometimes used. Perhaps: ...consequences of bad choices, come to regret them, and learn from their past mistakes.

14) -> based on mutual trust and respect

15) " little decision about": in English it is often easier to generalize countable nouns in the plural. -> small decisions about...

16) "if they are being relied upon to choose by their parents"

17) "kids" is fine in fiction and self-help books for popular consumption, but not in academic or formal writing. Use "children".

18) decision-making ... need : -> needs

19) "both a human right ": you have not mentioned human rights before, so do not introduce new material in the conclusion.

20) If we knew the exact question, we could assess whether the conclusion actually answered the question. At the moment it just seems waffle.


If the task asks for your opinion and you fail to make yours clear, then you fail to "address all parts of the task" and fail to "present a clear position throughout the response". Potentially such a response might be seen as "responds to the task only in a minimal way" or "does not express a clear position", both of which are in the Task Response specs for Band 4 and Band 3.
Maybe I am wrong here, but that is my reading of the specs at present.


This type of question asks "to what extent do you agree or disagree?", and here we are writing a "balanced" response, so there are often parts we disagree with (in the first body paragraph) and and other aspects we agree with (in the second body paragraph).

In that situation, concession clauses are possible, such as: although he is the duly elected president, it does not mean he is fit for the job. However, they form part of the same sentence, whereas we have a whole paragraph of concession statements and examples.

It is also possible to use comment adverbs such as "admittedly", but IMHO they tend to sound clunky. Another possibility with this type of partly-agreeing response is to use "may well" , which enables us to split the ideas across two paragraphs, and yet indicate out position:
(BP1) He may well be the duly elected president. [conceding the fact, but of little moment]
(BP2) I believe he is not fit for office. [asserting our own assessment of what is weighty]

With this particular question above, it is not so much about concession; it is more a matter of saying that it depends on the situation. So, we may need phrases to make our stance clear in BP1 like: in some cases, with some jobs, often, in general. And for BP2, possibly: in other jobs/cases, for jobs face-to-face with the general public, and so on.

Just my own take on this.

Hi simon

Is it possible and correct to start my second body paragraph with a ' interrogative sentences ' ?


Is it possible and correct to end my first body paragraph with a ' interrogative sentences ' aiming to introduce my second body paragraph ?


Simon says not to write questions in the Task 2 essay. See his comment #5 under 'answers from Simon' about half way through here:

"Don't ask questions in your essay!"


I would guess it is a rhetorical device, useful in public speaking such as when delivering a lecture, but too dramatic for a formal written essay.

Dear guys,
Although I am not a newbie in English, I have just seen Simon’s site on the Internet and have been following it for 2-3 months. Kindly note I am preparing for coming IELTS exam in June, and am in need of your tender help to read my essays and feed me back with your informative reply. I would also appreciate Mr. Simon if he could give some comments about.

IELTS Writing Task 2:
Topic: Some people think that the increasing business and cultural contact between countries bring many positive developments. Others say it can cause the loss of national identities. Discuss both views and give your own opinions.

In recent decades, growing the business has caused more cultural contact between countries. While the majority of people believe that globalization makes positive changes, other think it will degrade the national identity. In this essay, I will discuss the issue, provide reasons for both points of view, and then conclude the writing with expressing my own opinion.
From the point of view of the majority, globalization has helped many poor countries to access the world market and offer their products to customers directly. For example, Thailand, a country that is rich in natural source and has many cheap working forces could become a hub of rice production and export. The rice trade has increased Thailand’s income and improved the living standards there. Globalization has also thinned out the borders and made job finding much easier. Previously people were bounded to look for a job around their living places while now skilled workers migration is routine. Moreover, the cultural contacts lead people to have a better understanding of other cultures and find out that there are much more similarities than differences, the point I believe might attenuate xenophobia and may accelerate the world peace.
On the other hand, globalization could have some deleterious impact on people living and their cultures. Losing the national identity is the most critical drawback of the globalization. For example, a newly designed dress in an American movie is rapidly adopted in South Asian countries or it is seen that multi-national western companies extremely advertised and valorized the western cultures in their branch in developing countries, the process that affects the surface of the culture and lead remarkable changes in behavior and belief of young generation. This might, in long-term, result in a homogenous set of thoughts and ruin the cultural diversity.
In conclusion, it is irrefutable to say that globalization has helped many developing countries to access the world market and let them host multi-national companies who have made many new job opportunities there, however it could cause some negative cultural effects as thinning out the national identity. I think the governments should note these drawbacks and try to avoid from through educational system. I think it is a probable solution to add courses that teach young generation the value and benefits of cultural diversity as creativity increment and encourage them to appreciate their heritage.


Thank you Gigi!
Thank you so much for taking your precious time to help me.
I am wondering how should I express my opinion clearly into my esay? I mean I only state my idea in the opening and the conclusion. And I discuss about the 2 ideas in the body. Is that OK?


This really depends on exactly what the question asks you to do: see the following.





As to where and how to express your opinion clearly, see my comments above to AB and DEEPIKA RAJWAR.

I did read all your links. I am also aware about that.
Thank you for your help.
I think I need more practice!!

I need a question type like " do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? ? ""

I need simons' discussed links for this type of problem.


Maybe also:


Thanks @Sunita

Guys please help me to correct my essay! I am very grateful to your kindness!
Is my ideas/ my structure/ my vocab/ my task response OK?
Here is the latest official writing task 2: Organized tour to remote areas and community is increasingly popular. Is it a positive or negative development to the local people and environment?
My essay:
It is true that there has been an upsurge in the number of tours to mountainous areas held by many different organizations. For their numerous positive impacts to the local and their living conditions, I believe that continuous benefits could be generated through these acts.
People living in remote regions seem to be well facilitated to certain extent. Various categories of outreach services and programs combined in organized tours definitely act as a marvellous tool to expand the local residents’ knowledge and practical skills. For example, meaningful English lessons delivered by prestigious NGOs with the aim of helping children who suffer lack of access to studying English could considerably better their English skills, a necessary aspect must be learnt these days. At the same time, it is likely that the underprivileged could feel the sense of love and gratitude towards this type of activity. Receiving wholehearted assistance from kind people, they can be motivated to boost their working spirit and appreciate the organizing team, leading to a united community.
Additionally, a wide range of advantages could be bought to the local environment. While increasing campaigns are to enhance remote life in terms of facilities and environmental issues, related activities obviously serve a huge supply of resources to their living standard. In fact, Volunteer for Peace Vietnam Club are running a project called “Friendly School” to contruct classrooms and recycled playground for underserved children. This undoubtedly could provide educational and entertaining space for them, clean the ecological environment and especially ensuring better future for poor young adults. Finally, if trips or programs do not make impacts and create value to the miserable community, there would be no financial support from the public and the authorities but the opposite has been emerging.
In conclusion, I strongly think that professional tours to distant rural places with good target absolutely improve the poor both mentally and physically, thus should be wisely invested by the government.


1) Leave an entire blank line between paragraphs. Is "Additionally, ... " the start of a new paragraph? Hard to achieve Band 8 -"uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriately"- if the paragraphs are not clear at first glance.

2) "held by many different organizations": does this refer to "mountainous areas", which suggests partisan resistance movements in the hills, or "tours" which are run by various operators?

3)->I believe that they provide/generate ongoing benefits, and have numerous positive impacts on the locals and their living conditions. Or start: Given their ...

4) -> They/Organized tours often seem to facilitate infrastructure upgrades and other development of remote regions.

5) -> a necessary aspect of education in the modern world.

6) "the underprivileged could feel the a sense of love and gratitude for "

7) -> With increasing campaigns are to enhance ... (?)

8) -> obviously provide a huge supply of resources to improve their living standards

9) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=undoubtedly+could+provide%2C+could+undoubtedly+provide&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cundoubtedly%20could%20provide%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ccould%20undoubtedly%20provide%3B%2Cc0

underserved -> under-resourced

10) clean up the ecological environment

11) -> and especially ensure a better future for the young and poor.

12) -> if trips or programs did not have positive impacts on these underdeveloped areas, nor created value for these isolated communities, there would ...

13) -> but the opposite is the case.

14) -> with good objectives definitely improve both the mental and physical well-being of the poor, and thus represent a sound and wise investment on the part of the government.

15) I would have taken a more balanced viewpoint, and mentioned the loss or disruption of their culture and way of life, and questioned the automatic assumption that all development is a good thing per se, and that outsiders know best what is good for a community, and so can trample all over people's right to self-determination.

AJ: sometimes ngrams can help with collocations - it looks like "underserved" might be okay.









In general, using established phrases will improve your vocabulary score.

Thank you!
I do not often use google book. My method is read articles written by native people and collect some colocations and apply them into my essay.
You guys are such kind people ever.. Thank you again! Hope you could help me next time!!!

Here is my essay for the task 2: Some universities now offer their courses on the Internet so that people can study online. Is this a positive or nagative development?
Call for help! Great love and gratitude!
It is true that an upsurge in the availability of online courses provided by many universities has been witnessed these days. Although there are some drawbacks of Internet-based learning, I would argue that there are far more benefits.
On the one hand, there are several limitations for online learners of this instructional format. Human interaction and practical activities are significantly not well facilitated because the primary method of online system relies on written form of communication instead of face-to-face lectures. Therefore, this might act as deterrent to certain professions’ development such as cars engineering or nursing which require hands-on training. Furthermore, it is likely that part of students might suffer a sense of isolation and boredom when separately attending online university courses without their teachers’ observation. This case, as a consequence, probably leads to pupils’ poor concentration and studying performances especially while the online websites could also not effectively cope with thousands of students in group discussion forum.
On the other hand, I believe that this modern educational approach could create a wide range of advantages for various learners. Firstly, courses available on the Internet obviously offer easy access and flexibility to remote places and involve numerous majors for people to enrol in like computer science or law. Learners from distant areas could engage in these massive courses and save their commuting time and expenses. Secondly, traditional model of education has less power to enhance students’ self-discipline and motivation than online learning could do. In fact, the online environment gives personal learning space which both challenges and betters students’ responsibility to seriously participate in.
In conclusion, Internet-based education might generate some possible negative aspects for students’ learning process, I strongly think that its positive influence still outweighs the disadvantages.


I notice that you have not yet taken some of Gabi's earlier advice on board: leave a blank, empty line between paragraphs. Otherwise it is simply too difficult to read.


Yep. Sory!!! After posting did I realize that TT.


I have rearranged your second paragraph so that it is more cohesive, while keeping to your wording and ideas as far as possible. I wonder if you can see the main technique I have used, and if it is more readable as a result.

On the one hand, this instructional format has several limitations for online learners. It does not properly facilitate human interaction and practical activities, as it relies on written media instead of face-to-face lectures as its the primary method. Therefore, it might impede development in certain professions, such as car mechanics, engineering or nursing, which all require hands-on training. Furthermore, it may also induce a sense of isolation and boredom on the part of students, when taking distance-learning university courses online, without the benefit of being observed by their teachers, and receiving instant feedback. In this case, as a consequence, it may contribute to a lack of concentration by students. It is also ill-suited to effectively coping with thousands of students in a group discussion forum, and this would undermine the free exchange of ideas which supports student progress.

Note: "A pupil is typically a young person, such as a schoolchild. Older learners, e.g. at university, are generally called students." see wiktionary.org

"such as cars engineering or nursing which require hands-on training." There should be a comma before "which": it is a non-defining relative clause.

thank you Oleg!

It is great to get to know more useful vocab in your essay.

I still have several questions:
" it might impede development in certain professions"- can we use "in" in this case? or I think "öf"

" on the part of students"- I am not sure about this phrase.

Normally, I try to write 5-sentence paragraphs as Simon. But the way you write is also logical.
So actually what is your main technique?
I could see the coherence in your essay.


I'll leave you to explore the difference in meaning:



Just keeping the same grammatical subject in a series of sentences creates cohesion.

Thank you!
Got it.
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Here is my essay, if somebody helped me by checking it. I would be so grateful.

Many people agree with what some air travel companies are doing making the flights cheaper. Others disagree and say the flights should be expensive to protect the environment. Discuss and give u opinion.

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