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May 12, 2018


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Thank you very much for your great advice Dear Simon

I need a Clear idea of "hence forth" and "so forth ". Why and when people use "forth" in sentence?. Also, I like have some examples.

Thinking clearly and writing require much experience. In other words, writing needs more ideas or brainstorming. But how it could be possible if sometime, someone hasn't any experience or ideas for given topic?


This type of information is available online for free here:





Clear thinking is essential to clear writing. I've read John Langan's College Writing Skills with Readings. He mentions this point, too. However, I have found most students are not willing to do all the thinking and they just rush to finish writing. Unless they change their mindset, it is not likely for them to make improvements and achieve their goals.

Thanks @DaNang

I believe that reading habit is very important to enhance our clear thinking and clear writing. However, the books or articles we read in our everyday life must be written as clearly and coherently and better understanding is indispensable too.

Please evaluate this paragraph, and tell me if I have the level to achieve band 7.

QUESTION : Everyone should stay in school until the age of eighteen. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

I do not agree that staying in school till the age of eighteen is productive for everyone. The extended time in school does not guarantee that the students will be more competitive and skillful in their professional life. To learn practical skills, students must explore and engage in the real world situations, and this is a better way for students to enhance their learning.


To me, IELTS questions often take a 'black and white' stance. Here "everyone": there are countries where, because of war, and other circumstances, some children barely make it to school at all.

Your response is also couched in similar blanket, "one-size-fits-all" terms. But perhaps the point of the question is to provide a platform for a more nuanced view, and call forth a discussion of the pros and cons of staying on and having the opportunity for a university education.

As far as achieving Band 7 is concerned, it is very much a matter of what happens on the day: whether your Task 1 response is on target, and for Task 2 taking time to plan your response, but making sure that you do not run out of time, and being meticulous in your punctuation and grammar both Tasks.

Mr Simon

As I am sure you are well aware, education systems in some countries do not support or prepare people to write a "Western-style" IELTS essay, as they never had to do any such thing in their own language. The result is that IELTS candidates sometimes have no idea as to what is expected of them and no "ideas", perhaps sometimes because "no one has ever asked them what they think before": it was a case of memorize what the teacher said and that is the one and only correct answer. Here are some random quotes that illustrate the issue:

"expressing ideas using Western logic is more important than simply translating ideas with accurate words and grammar."

" Chinese students write using an “indirect” style common in Chinese language. However, Western teachers, for the most part, value “directness” in academic writing discourse"

"Western linear thinking and expression skills may not be internalised and used for English writing projects if students do not have sufficient writing practice."

"essay writing makes up no more than 15% of grades, and a short essay of only 100–150 words is required in higher levels of testing designed for college students, such as the College English Band Six"


"essay writing should be a part of the Korean high school curriculum to better prepare pupils for university education wherein students are often assessed through the essays they write."

" most of them have no idea that an essay has 3 main parts; introduction, main body and conclusion. In particular, they need to be taught the art of writing from the beginning stage."

" essay writing should be taught at high schools"


Hi Simon and all,
I have a question about a real essay question below, I wonder if you could help me to figure it out:

Students in school and university can learn far more from lessons with their teachers compared to other sources, such as the internet or televisions, do you agree or disagree?

My question: Can I have a partial agree answer for this question? and discuss the importance of teachers in one paragraph, and the importance of other resources in another body paragraph?

@Lu Chen


I would suggest following the "partly agree" plan in the above link.

Hi Simon and all,

I came across this kind of question in an ielts test:

In today's world of advanced science and technology, we still greatly value our artists such as musicians, painters and writers. What can arts tell us about life that science and technology cannot?

I am quiet confused about this question, because it is quiet different from the four types of writing tasks you taught. I wonder how to group ideas into two paragraph.

Thank you!


Science and technology have brought us nuclear weapons, moon landings, toothpaste in a tube, and disposable nappies. Science can also answer the question: which of these are sustainable and good for the planet, and which are not. It can also tell us about the stages of life, how we differ from animals, why our lives are so terminally short compared to the eternity of existence. But it cannot tell us what to do next.

When we ourselves come to make decisions, the question becomes: what is good, and what is bad for us, our family, our children, our village, and our wider commons. It is art that deals with the criteria for our decisions, our values, what we think is worthwhile, the way we see life and death on this blue planet, located, like a grain of sand in the Pacific ocean, in some wayward arm of the Milky Way. How do we deal with the infinitesimally smallness of our life and existence? Art is about how we react, our feelings, our sense of beauty, and so on. Hopefully it will help us to live joyfully for some short spark of time, and die without remorse and regrets.

correction: infinitesimal smallness


Yes, I was aware of this issue, but thanks for sharing those quotes and links.

hi Simon and all,
when i got the ielts exam i felt really confused and that makes the ideas run away, however, after awhile i found my brain suddenly crowded by ideas, so the question is what can i do to not feel panic in the beginning of the next exam , and how can i arrange the flow in my ideas??

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