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August 18, 2018


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Hi Simon,
My suggested topic is "Some parents buy their children a large number of toys to play with. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the child of having a large number of toys?"

I am not too sure how I should construct the paragraphs and introduction. I have listened to your all essay videos but none of them were explaining about those advantages vs disadvantages only question? I know you have explained to us about discussing both views and making own opinion. However, in this case how should I answer it after paraphrasing topic question in Introduction?

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Simon is asking for suggestions about Task 1 General, which is a letter, not an essay.

There is no real difference between the general and academic essays.

In any case, the essay question you have provided is a simple 'identify' essay topic, asking you to identify at least two advantages and two disadvantages of the topic. It is not asking you to say which one outweighs the other (although there is nothing wrong with an opinion in the conclusion if you want). This type of question is the same as other types, such as 'problem/solution' essays.

In your introduction, paraphrase the topic and then say you will outline the benefits and drawbacks. Then spend one paragraph on the advantages and one paragraph on the disadvantages. Just make sure the essay focuses on 'the child', as in the question.

i took the ielts general training today (istanbul, turkey). this is task 1 question:

You are not satisfied with the changing rooms in a sports centre that you visit. Write a letter to the manager:

– What the problem is
– How you feel about the problem
– What steps you want the manager to take

Hello Simon,

I think over years which you have run this site, it's been given less importance to General Training reading, as seemingly people think GT reading is easier than Academic ones. But I think you can find it tricky and sometimes demanding when doing test. Now, maybe it's good to focus on GT reading for a while then GT IELTS takers get familiar with this type of questions.
Many thanks

a Simon-style GT TASK-1 writing essay of resignation letter from an employee to the manager.

Hello Simon,

Is it true that all answered papers by candidates are being sent to Australia for IDP & UK for British Council?

a condolence letter would be nice.


Your writing papers are scanned and yes, most marking is carried out by examiners based in Australia or the UK.

Hi Simon,

it will be a little irrelevant though if you share examples for the General reading it'll be great.


Off topic
It is very interesting to know that in many cases, the issue with productive skills like writing is not just about learning new phrases and how to use them correctly in the relevant context, but it is about the flow of ideas and how to have more control over them. To me, writing has been a very complex task to do for that, ideas are not organized in my head; hence when I shoot them out they are all over the place without any order. At the moment, I am trying to design a practice by doing which, I gain more control over my emotions and flow of ideas. I am not sure if I can ever be able to improve the quality of my writing, but what I am sure about is that if I do not try, I won't know my limitations.

Dear Simon

Could you please tell us about different topics and various questions in GT writing task 1 that we could get prepared for them?
or even give us some ideas for GT writing task 1 as well as your idea's book about writing task 2.

I appreciate your very useful blog :)
Thank you

Hi Simon

You relocated to an overseas country recently and shipped your furniture and other possessions through a shipping company. When you received them, you found some of them got damaged. Write a letter to the delivery manager of the shipping company:
when and where the shipment was
describe the damages
what you want the shipment company to do.

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