« IELTS Speaking Part 2: describe a house | Main | IELTS Advice: just find a good English teacher »

December 15, 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

sir, the teacher only gives tips and tricks for exam and practice them

Thanks Simon, you're such inspiration to me :-)
I hope see more lectures from you. You're the best teacher:-)

Hello Simon,
I have been learning from your blog since a month.I did very well in my task 2 in my exam today till I reached conclusion when I had few seconds left.I wrote a bad conclusion saying advantages are more than disadvantages.Though I know it’s a wrong word for outweigh but I felt shaky due to lack of time.How much this will affect my task2?

@ Pachu

It is certainly important to understand the nature of the exam, the way the writing tasks are assessed, to do some practice, and get some proper feedback on your writing and speaking. However, this will only help you to get the best score with your current level of English. If your true level is currently Band 6, then you will get Band 6, and there is no way you can get Band 7 without improving your vocabulary and phraseology, and making your grammar range and accuracy better.

Sometimes when a student insists on "only doing IELTS", the teacher may feel obliged to focus on just exam technique, instead of building up the level.

As Simon has said in the past, all you need is a general English teacher, and this blog.


Not a lot.

"time.How"; "disadvantages.Though"; "left.I wrote"; "month.I did ": we need a space after the full stop/period, (and other punctuation). Note that Band 7 states: "has good control of grammar and punctuation".

Thanks Gigi for your reply.I really hope that I don’t get big penalty for this mistake.Relieved after ur reply.

And sorry for the mistake.

Actually, if you look through all the corrections on this page:


most of the mistakes are not IELTS-specific , but arise from a misunderstanding of "general" English, that is, grammar issues , or vocabulary such not knowing which words are informal.

Thank you Gigi.Yes, you are very right.I studied with the teacher that only teach us the tips.So ,my score is not going on.Gigi, I spent many more years but I could not get good score.I am not getting proper feedback in writing and speaking as well.So, what do you suggest to me?

Fill your mind with English, reading, listening, sing-along to pop music, whatever.
You can probably get your writing corrected here:

Speaking practice is often the most difficult. If you can find a native speaker, sometimes teaching them your own language for half the time, and vice versa for the other half works without getting money involved.

I see "Pachu" is a town in Bhutan.

Then it is very interesting .My real name is Pachu.Where are you from Gigi? Your suggestion is very useful for me.You are so good at english.I want to learn from you. Thank you.


"Gigi.Yes"; "right.I "; "tips.So ,my"; "score.I am"; "as well.So, ": punctuation errors !

"very right" -> absolutely right (right is an ungradable adjective: see:

"what do you suggest to me?"

These are all "general" English errors.



If I could just add something to Simon's cogent advice. How to balance between teaching test strategies versus improving IELTS-relevant overall English ability hinges on the students needs, specifically, when they're taking the test.

I teach at a language school, and it seems that at least half our IELTS students are enrolling in an 8-week course 2 to 3 months before they're planning to sit the exam. For these students, there's not much time, and strategies (which is a much more elegant term that 'tips and tricks') are very important, and we've created a class that focuses on test-taking.

We also offer a broader approach class as well using Cambridge Press's Complete IELTS series. Much more satisfying to teach too.

Thank you so much Gigi.Your advice is amazing.If you give me feedback, I will improve my English.

CORRECT me if I am wrong:

IELTS Test takers face (2) Two major problems. Exam Problem and Language Problem.

For candidates to solve the Exam problem, they need to be familiar with the IELTS exam. Needless to say, IELTS specific exam techniques and maybe overall understanding of the exam itself. (You can find tons of these here.)

Also, for them to tackle the second problem, they must improve their Vocabulary and Grammar.

From my experience, solving the Exam problem requires "only" familiarization. On the other hand, Language problem may demand students to spend a lot of time being immerse in the English Language.

To those struggling to improve their overall IELTS Band Score, try to assess yourself on which problem are you trying to solve. Being familiar with the exam through TIPS learned from your teacher may help you, but this has a limit. After learning all the possible techniques in the IELTS exam, your score may start to become stagnant and my not improve. However, learning new vocabularies and applying them in both speaking and writing can greatly improve your band score.

Again, this is just from my perspective and experience. Feel free to comment.

@ Yves
"Vocabulary" is seldom plural in English. It is only plural if we are comparing two languages, or two distinct subjects. So "learning new vocabularies" suggests learning words relating to an entirely different topic; such as technical automotive words instead of botanical. It is much, much more common to use vocabulary as an uncountable noun meaning a group or list of words. -> learning new vocabulary ...


The comments to this entry are closed.