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November 20, 2020


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I passed the IELTS test more than a year ago and have been studying in Australia for 10 months. Based on my experience, I completely agree with your opinion.
Thank you.

Thank you for sharing. I'm so happy that today you started to share your knowledge in this website again. That's great. Coincidently, today is also the Teachers' day in Vietnam. And you know, I have learned Ielts from you via this website for a long time, and I have considered you as one of the best teachers of mine. So I wish you good health and all the best. :)

Helpful as always has been

It is great delight to see you again đź’•

Hi Simon,

Thank you very much for answering my question in regards to the differences between the two styles.

Here, however, I would like to add one important point to Simon's explanations:

Despite being allowed to use the first person pronouns in IELTS essay task 2, Candidates must be careful not to violate the use of them by over-using them.

All the best,

Hi Simon,

Thank you for sharing your valuable knowledge with us, it was so helpful.

Have a great holiday,

Hi Everyone,

Another difference is that in some cases, candidates are even allowed to use examples from their own personal experiences, something which is almost never seen in a university writing style.


One last difference that just came to my mind is that in university essays or assignments, students normally submit their word during one whole semester or even per academic year, but in IELTS test,you should give your own opinion and ideas in approximately forty minutes’ time.

Thank you for the post and hope you're surviving the Covid-era. Another similarity is the idea of developing ideas from the most general level to the most specific (and vice versa). So, the position statements in the introduction and conclusion are the most general level - answering the question as a whole. Then there are topic ideas, concluding ideas and main points (perhaps two levels here). Then at the most specific level, there are supporting ideas (reasons, examples, consequences). To achieve this progression from one level of idea to the next in both IELTS and university essays, accurate paraphrasing is also necessary.

Assalom alaykum Simon
It is great to read your blog again!!!
I am happy about this!!!
Thank you for your sharing.

Amazing point!
Thank you.

Thank you for your sharing.

Thank you for sharing your ideas hope to see many more in the future.your ideas is always valuable for me .

Apart from the title, "IELTS (Academic)", the term "academic" is not used at all in the marking criteria. There is nothing about writing an "academic" essay at all.

It seems to me that the examiners are interested in the candidates ability to put their point of view across in a logical way, and explain why, with perhaps some hint as to where the evidence would come from, or why you think the way you do.

One might, for example, take the view that an election result has been grossly distorted by manipulation and fraud. It would then be reasonable to expect some explanation of how, when, and where that fraud occurred, even if concrete evidence were not to hand; or at least what leads you to suspect that there has been some wrongful manipulation. Maybe you have just been dreaming.

Hi Simon
Thank you very much for your sharing your valuable information on the IELTS writing with us.

Hi Simon,
I'm so glad to see you again here.

I bought your writing course: https://subscriptions.viddler.com/SimonCorcoran

as time goes by, I hear that IELTS gets more difficult rather than before, is it true that writing which is taught by you (years ago) seems to be too easily for 2020? for example, those easiness of writing practices doesn't work anymore as before?
thanks a lot for your response :pray:


I've been teaching IELTS since 2005, and the difficulty level seems the same to me. Nothing has really changed in terms of the test itself.

The only thing that has possibly changed is this: Examiners are monitored more closely, so it is perhaps less common for candidates to get higher scores than they really deserve. Ten to fifteen years ago, I remember teaching some students who achieved higher scores than I had predicted - maybe because they were lucky and had 'generous' examiners.

In other words, I think that scoring is probably more consistent now, but the test isn't harder.


I forgot to say this: my writing methods still work perfectly if you use them well.

Just remember that a good writing 'method' isn't enough - you also need to demonstrate a good command of the English language.

One good skill which IELTS students practice is very useful for university level writing. It is this: each paragraph should have a clear central topic.

This is another similarity to add to Simon's list.

You will find this requirement in band 7 of the IELTS Task 2 public band descriptors for writing.

Thank you sir

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