IELTS Speaking Part 1, 2, and 3 - Talking about Internet, Media and Celebrity Culture

IELTS Speaking Section - Talking about Media and Celebrity Culture

IELTS Speaking Part 1 - Talking about Familiar Topics


How often do you go online?

Too often, I guess. I can barely stop using the internet. I buy food online, I read news online, I often use online transportation, bank transfer is done through mobile banking, I often browse from my desktop computer to do my job, I use social media a lot, I even read an article on how to deal with internet addiction on the internet. Internet has become an important part of our life today. Working people use the internet to stay connected to their superiors or clients. Internet is also used for social networking. Living without internet can make us feel like being cut off from the outside world, which is an apparent sign of a severe addiction. I'm addicted to internet, but at least I use it to be more productive.

How do you get online?

I'm a writer, and I spend hours working in front of my laptop or computer. I often browse the internet, looking for helpful information to finish my book. My job requires me to stay connected to the internet. I often do a little research while finishing a manuscript, communication with editors is done through email. Smartphone is mostly used for entertainment and social purpose, but I don't use it a lot when I'm at work.

What do you use the internet for?

As I said, I use it mostly for work. After work, internet is used mainly for social networking. It also provides information and entertainment. We listen to music online, movie streaming, games.

Do you have your own computer?

Yes I do. I'm a writer, I do all my work on my laptop. Writing, proofreading, editing, revising, promotion, you name it. My laptop was damaged recently, there was something wrong with the motherboard. I was having a panic attack. I mean, all of my work is in there. If the laptop is damaged beyond repair and the data is somehow missing and can't be restored, I'll be in a lot of trouble. I already signed some publishing contracts and I may have lost all the work, could it be worse?

What's your favorite website?

My favorite website is definitely the one that provides useful information. There's a website called, and this is where I get my news and information. Unlike other clichรฉ online news portals, is very reliable and thorough. They write articles not only for commercial purpose, but mainly for information and knowledge sharing, a real journalism. For entertainment, I like website like 9gag, or youtube.

Do you think children should be allowed to use the internet?

If supervised, yes. Internet provides a lot of educational content and entertainment for different age group, including children. But, using the internet without proper guidance from the parents is definitely not advisable. There are things that children shouldn't see on the internet, like violence, pornography, hate speech, you name it. Some parents might use parental control kind of software on their home computer, but we all know that many of the younger generations are tech savvy, sometimes they can be far ahead of us when it comes to technology. Parents can block harmful websites all they want, but somehow, children can always bump into something that they are not supposed to see. Teenagers will always find a way to get access to harmful contents on the internet, despite all the precautions that their parents have taken.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 - Self-Presentation

Describing your favorite radio program

Describe a radio program that you find interesting

You should say:

What it is about

Which radio station broadcasts it

How often you listen to it

Why do you like it

Talking about radio program makes me feel a little bit nostalgic. I don't actually listen to radio these days, but I was a huge fan of a radio program called SBI suka-suka. It sort of means 'whatever you like' in English. The program was broadcasted by 123.4 SBI FM,  a local radio  in my town.

It was called suka-suka because we could request Indonesian songs, other asian songs like japanese rock, as well as western songs. We could request a song and say hi to our friends and family by sending text message. To do so, we had to join a discussion moderated by the radio broadcaster. The broadcaster always had an interesting topic to talk about, mostly things that attract people's attention like the general election, special event or celebrations, and recent local, national or even international news. It's not always a serious topic though, sometimes we also talked about entertainment like the release of a new album, the new formation of certain band, and other topics that would encourage the audience to engage in the discussion.

Once in a while, the radio would give flash news if the broadcaster felt like giving some important information. For example, they always give report about congestion in the main roads. I usually listened to the flash news in a car, trying to avoid congestion during the rush hour. Sometimes the radio announced important news from local government or the local police, making sure that the audience would always be up-to-date with the most recent news.

When I was a high school student, I listened to this radio program almost every night. I listen to the songs being played while doing my homework or just chilling out. I always engaged in the discussion and was even considered as one of the most loyal audience. I met several time with the broadcaster, simply known as Jo Swara. The radio often held events and invited the audience to come. It was really nice meeting up with other big fans of the radio program.

I liked listening to this program because it not only entertained me but also provided me with a lot of information. The program also gave me the chance to really engage with the local community and sometimes even offer a solution for the problems that the town had to deal with, like congestion, for example. The program is like a forum where everyone can express their thoughts and request whatever song they like.

Part 3 - Discussion

Media and Information

Do you believe everything you read on the newspaper?

I wouldn't say everything. There are media that are independent and reliable. I usually trust them. Regardless, I always do a little research on the internet, here and there. If there are other news from several reliable media, and the news has different tone, then it's obvious that there's something not quite right, right? It happens a lot during general election, just to give you a little perspective. I'm not saying that media are telling lies or anything. They don't lie, but sometimes they just don't tell you the whole truth. The information is either partial or too much. Once our brain is flooded with too much information, it becomes difficult to tell which information is valid. News can be written to satisfy one's interest, image and video can be edited, rumors are often misleading, there are certainly bias and prejudice at times. We gotta think critically these days, that's for sure.

How do most people get their news in your country?

More and more people are getting their news on television. We have news in the morning, afternoon, and evening. I often see people just listen attentively to news at home, or even in public places. In several major cities, roads are very congested that people end up listening to news from radio while driving. Newspaper used to be prominent but I rarely see people read newspaper recently. Television is one of the reasons why we see a significant decrease in the number of newspaper readers. Internet and smartphone make it even worse because people tend to read news on their gadget these days. There are some people who often go to coffee shops where newspaper are provided for free, but most of them are from the age group of 40 or older.

How do you think people will get their news in the future?

In the future, there will be more and more people reading news online. Smartphones are ubiquitous and internet has made it possible for us to get the latest news very fast. It is faster than printed newspaper. This is probably one of many reasons why newspaper readership is declining. Smartphones are easy to carry and most online news can be read for free. Now, there are a few people reading printed newspaper, older people mostly. Printed newspaper is more convenient to read, especially when you don't like staring at your phone screen all day. There are issues with online news as well. Because it has to be posted fast, many of the online news do not go through rigorous editorial process. The reliability of some online sources is often questioned. Many of the news are biased, many more of them are hoaxes, so...

How has TV changed our life?

TV has brought about some positive and negative changes. Well, journalism is an important part of democracy. TV is the main source of information for many people. It also entertains the viewers. But, it is undeniable that TV has also brought about negative effects. People prefer watching TV, they no longer watch traditional performed arts and this is bad for many local culture. It's true that some local TV gives local artists to show their talents on a special program, but there are not many TV stations doing this. Most TV stations will focus on the commercial aspect instead. With TV, everything becomes more commercialized. It s ironic how the viewers are often seen only as a prospective consumer. Rating is everything for TV program and sometimes, they simply forget that there are other things that are more important than rating and commercials.

Do you think TV influences the way we think?

Yes, definitely. I see that people in my country are more westernized these days. They watch a lot of western movies and eventually adopt the western culture. People become more aware of the global issues, knowing that that what happened to other countries will definitely affect our country. This never happened until very recently. TV also make the people more open to different culture. Western culture used to be considered as strange in my country. Teenagers are living far from their parents, women are demanding more independence, men and women live together without marital status. These things are no longer frowned up these days, but they were definitely seen as strange some time ago.

Are all people on TV famous?

Not all of them. Some people try to be famous but fail. I don't know, may be there's some sort of natural selection or whatever, so only some people really become famous. May be they don't get enough exposure, may be they have nothing to offer, no talent or creativity. May be the people simply don't like them. But we have to note that people become famous for various reasons. Some of them are famous because of their life achievement, others are famous because of their scandals and sensation. Many celebrities are famous not because they win awards or become the main actor of a famous movie, but because they are getting a divorce. Many politicians that we never know before suddenly appear on television and become famous after getting caught by the commission for corruption eradication, which is a shame.

Do you think that famous people have some kind of responsibility to be a good role model?

Of course. These people are exposed by the media for the public to see, and people normally have a high expectation of a public figure. Teenagers are trying to emulate their idols. If celebrities are famous because of their glamorous life, scandals, and sensation, it will definitely be a bad example for many young generations. Public figures often get a lot of attention, and they have to use their fame to spread positive message to the people. If they don't feel like spreading positive message or being exemplary figure, at least they have to try not to be a bad example.

IELTS Speaking Part 1, 2 and 3 - Talking about Food and Health

IELTS Speaking Part 1  Talking about Familiar Topics

What’s your favorite food?
I like eating all sorts of spicy food, and one of my favorite food is fruit salad. I like this food because it is healthy and tasty. Well, it is probably the only healthy snack that I like. It is best to eat fruit salad when the weather is hot. The main ingredients of fruit salad are cucumber, pineapple, mango, papaya, and jicama. Fruit salad is often eaten with some kind of sauce, or commonly known here as sambal. The sauce has savory flavor which perfectly blends with the sweet fruit and fresh vegetables. We can also eat fruit salad with spicy sauce. The food is usually sold by street vendors, and it is very cheap.

Have you always liked the same food?
Not really, I eat this kind of food when I’m in the mood. Like I said, fruit salad would be my first option when the weather is hot, and I feel like eating something fresh. When it rains, I prefer eating food that will keep me warm, like fried rice or chicken noodle. I like trying different types of food, so normally, I will try different menu each day. I even like trying extreme food sometimes, like food that is extremely spicy or food that is rare. I have ever tried fried snails out of curiosity. It’s not like the strangest food or anything, but it’s definitely the most unusual food I’ve ever eaten. Surprisingly, it tasted really good, I wouldn’t mind trying it again.

Is there any food you dislike?
Yes, I don’t like eating salad. Not salad that I previously talked about. Indonesian salad still has sweet and savory flavors. I went to United States back in 2015, and I once ordered salad for breakfast. To my surprise, the salad is tasteless, I don’t really like it. I ended up ordering some more food, because I couldn’t finish my salad. Besides tasteless food, I don’t really like eating food that tastes too sweet. Even if I still eat it, I will just take a bite and that’s it. 

What is a common meal in your country?
Food in my country is spicy and colorful. As one of the most culturally diverse nations, my country has a lot of traditional food. I haven’t tried them all because there are too many of them. Despite the various traditional food we have here, the people usually eat rice, vegetables, a lot of eggs and meats. One food that you can always find in our menu is rice. People from other countries find it a little bit odd that we eat rice all the time. We are not used to eating bread or anything like that, because people here prefer eating food that is spicy or savory, but not sweet. People in different parts of the world may have sandwich for breakfast, bagel for lunch, and pizza for dinner. But people in my country will just eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s funny how food other than rice will mostly be snack in here.

Do you have a healthy diet?
No. I like eating different types of food, but it’s not necessarily healthy food. I mean, the food is oily and contains a lot of fat, because that’s how I like it. I don’t eat enough vegetables or drink enough milk so, I wouldn’t say I have a healthy diet. Sometimes I buy street food because they taste really good. I’m not sure about the hygiene of street food, they may contain preservatives or non-nutritive artificial sweeteners. Not many people eat healthy food here, either because they can’t afford it or they don’t like it.

What do you think of fast food?
Fast food is bad for your health, but it’s really tasty. Neither the food nor the beverage is healthy. The chicken is not organic, there is no vegetables in it, so the food is less nutritious. When going to a fast food restaurant, people would normally order soda. I don’t think soda is good for our health. We need to keep our body hydrated and we have to eat a lot of plain water, not soda. Fast food usually contains preservatives that could potentially be harmful for our health, if consumed on daily basis. I don’t have a healthy diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll eat any food without considering the health risks of consuming such food. I eat fast food when there’s no other option, or when I really really want it. 

IELTS Speaking Part 2  Cue Card

Something you have started recently and it is good for your health

You should say:

What it is

When you have started it

Why you started doing it

Explain how it is good for your health

Recently, I start working out regularly. Since graduated from college, I don’t have much time to work out because I have to work and I won’t come home until 16.30 PM. What makes it worst is the fact that I also have sleep deprivation problem. When I was in college, I play futsal with my friends, I join the karate club, I go swimming once a week and jog every afternoon. Now that I have a lot of paperwork to do, I rarely do physical activities. I just sit in front of computer all day. The work sometimes keeps me awake at night, I start having trouble sleeping. No longer withstanding the unhealthy life I’ve been living for two years, I decided that I will do more exercise on weekend. It’s been a month that I’ve been doing this. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I would jog around my neighborhood. In the afternoon, I also walk around the park with my dog, Edgar. This is not some serious physical activities, but it’s been helping me with my insomnia. I sleep better at night and I feel healthier because I can have a good rest after working out.

IELTS Speaking Part 3  Discussion

How can people improve their health?
There are several things to do to improve our health, like eating healthy food, doing exercise, and getting enough rest. These things will keep us healthy, physically. Recently, more and more people pay attention to mental health as well. Some people are simply too negative, while others may be too positive. Those who belong to the negative type of person often suffer from depression and often need support from others. Some people are taking their depression to the most extreme level like self-harm and suicide, and this is very unsettling. People with a lesser degree of negativity simply does not have the energy to do things in their life, something that they deem as meaningful or important. Sometimes they find it hard to maintain social relationship as well. People with too much positivity usually suffer from what’s so called toxic positivity. They just need to accept that in real life, not everything is good. Good and bad are like the two sides of a coin, and it’s sometimes necessary for us to feel negative emotions. 

One thing that is very important to maintain our physical and mental health is our willingness to seek help when we feel like needing it. People with certain illness can sometimes avoid seeing a doctor because they assume that their illness is merely an exhaustion, or flue, nothing serious. But then they are diagnosed with a serious illness and it’s already too late. In the case of mental illness, people are usually hesitant to share their stories or to seek help because they are afraid of the judgement from others. Some might believe that sharing with others will not do them any good. It’s important for us to be more aware of our surroundings. We may have family members, or friends who need help with their anxiety or depression. Even giving a subtle encouragement actually means a lot to those who have mental health problems, so…

Do elderly people do exercise in your country?
Not many elderly do exercise in here, at least that’s what I see around my neighborhood. These people, they work really hard when they were young, so that they can live peacefully when they get old. People aged 65 or above often get comfortable with their peaceful life, unaware of various illness that threaten their health, not to mention dementia or diabetes. Well, I sometimes see older people doing exercise in their front yard, like doing yoga or tai chi kind of thing. Some of them jog in the city park. This is a very rare case though. Most elderly would rather stay at home playing with their grandchildren, which is quite understandable. I mean, doing exercise takes a lot of commitment even for a young person like me. The least thing that they can do is probably spending some quality time with their grandchildren when they get older, like gardening, walking around the park, playing frisbee, or any other physical activities. Not just sitting in their house reading newspaper or watching TV.

Do you think all illness can be prevented?
Not all of them. Some illness are genetic, I guess. Like heart disease or diabetes, for example. I read somewhere that if our parents have a diabetes, then it would be more likely for us to inherit such illness. This is also true for mental illness, I guess. Like people whose first degree family has a schizophrenia would be more susceptible. The only thing that we can do with this kind of illness is […] reducing the risks. Like we can reduce the risks of having heart disease by having a healthy lifestyle. I don’t know if we can reduce the risk of having a schizophrenia but, there may be some things that we can do about it.

Do you think that there will be less illness in the future?
No, I don’t think so. In fact, there will always be a new type of illness. Before I continue, I just want to tell you that I don’t know much about illness and how they are supposed to be treated. But I read some interesting news and articles that give me some […] some insight. So, I’ll try to explain it from the perspective of a layperson. I don’t know if there’s some kind of genetic mutation or whatever but virus seems to adapt to medication that human has developed. Like we didn’t have something called avian influenza or swine flu, those illness are like coming out of nowhere. There were not so many cases of people with HIV or other STD in the past, but now? Advancement in medical science and sophisticated technology has helped us eradicate malaria and polio, but, it is inevitable that some virus seem to be resistant to medication that we have developed. I don’t think that there will be an ultimate solution for this problem, we have to be prepared to battle a new type of […] illness.

Do you think that healthcare should be free?
No, I don’t think so. There’s nothing entirely free, the least things like education and healthcare. Well, some people have told me that, some developed countries have a free healthcare for its citizens, like completely free. I don’t believe it. Even if the country gives a free healthcare, I’m sure that the tax that has to be paid by the citizens is really high. These people can get a free healthcare because they pay higher taxes, so basically, it’s not free. In my country, health is one of the luxuries that only rich people can afford. I mean, these people would fly to Singapore to have a medical checkup, unlike the rest of us. People from the middle class society would definitely need a health insurance. Without insurance, healthcare will cost them a lot of money. As for the poor people, they can get free healthcare provided by the government. But, it’s getting more and more difficult because they are many poor people in a developing country like this, and there’s not enough budget for subsidizing their healthcare. The free healthcare won’t cover all people, some of them are still […] you know, vulnerable.

What makes a good doctor?
This is rather difficult to answer, mentioning some criteria of a good doctor. Well, I’ve met some good doctors, and one thing that I can see from them is dedication. I’ve heard a story about a group of surgeons operating a patient in more than twenty-four hours. After the operation, they just sit their sleeping on the floor, because of the exhaustion. Doing such thing to save other’s life, that’s a dedication. In my country, a good doctor can easily be found in some of the most remote areas in this country. What I mean by remote areas here is like an island in the middle of nowhere, no electricity at night, no good sanitation, no phone signal, no internet, no nothing. You have to travel there by boat to get to this kind of place, you have to walk through a densely forested areas with all the dangers that may threaten your life. These doctors are leaving their comfortable life behind, serving the community far away from home. They’re loved by the local people and missed by many so, that’s a good doctor. 

IELTS 7.0+ Skills and Strategies


Setelah melalui proses yang sangat panjang, akhirnya buku IELTS 7.0+ Skills and Strategies resmi dirilis 30 September lalu. Buku ini adalah karya pertama saya, dan merupakan hasil dari kerja keras saya selama hampir satu tahun. Ketika melihat buku ini mulai terpampang di toko buku, saya kembali terkenang saat pertama kali saya menemukan inspirasi untuk menulis.
Banyak sekali student yang menanyakan materi dalam bentuk buku cetak. Ketika itu, saya masih menggunakan materi dari blog ini untuk mengajar, serta beberapa buku impor.

Saya memahami bahwa setiap orang memiliki style yang berbeda dalam hal belajar. Sebagian besar student saya (yang masih remaja) memang lebih nyaman belajar dari gawai. Alasannya sih karena bisa dibawa kemana-mana dan bisa dipakai kapanpun. Namun ada juga orang yang lebih senang belajar dari buku cetak karena menganggap belajar dengan gawai itu tidak nyaman dan membuat mata cepat lelah. Ada juga yang mengatakan bahwa materi pelajaran tidak akan terserap jika kita belajar dari gawai.

Buku materi dan latihan IELTS masih didominasi oleh buku-buku impor yang ditulis dalam Bahasa Inggris. Buku-buku ini agak sulit dicari versi originalnya di pasaran Indonesia. Kalau ada pun pasti mahal. Buku referensi memang jarang ada (atau malah sama sekali tidak ada) yang diterjemahkan, meskipun target reader-nya adalah orang Indonesia.

Buku seperti ini hanya cocok untuk mereka yang berada di advanced level. Untuk mereka yang masih di level beginner atau intermediate, tentu membutuhkan buku yang ditulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Banyak dari student saya yang kadang bertanya:

Lho pak, saya ini kan dari background non-Bahasa Inggris. Bagaimana saya akan belajar dengan buku yang ditulis dalam Bahasa Inggris kalau saya tidak bisa Bahasa Inggris? Kan saya belajar ini karena memang saya tidak bisa?

Pertanyaan inilah yang akhirnya membuat saya berpikir :

Iya juga ya. How is he supposed to learn English from a book written in English if English becomes his problem in the first place?

Dari situ akhirnya saya mulai memutar otak. Saya mulai menyusun buku materi dan latihan IELTS yang ditulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Saya mulai dengan membuat materi per bab dalam bentuk silabus dan notes. Semua bahan yang saya jadikan materi ini berasal dari pengalaman saya mengajar IELTS dan membantu student mencapai target score mereka. Materi-materi inilah yang akhirnya terkumpul dan menjadi buku IELTS 7.0+ Skills and Strategies.

Pada tahun 2018, saya mengirim naskah buku ini ke penerbit. Setelah melalui proses yang panjang, buku ini akhirnya terbit. Saya berharap buku ini akan sampai di tangan pembaca sekalian.

Ide penulisan buku ini juga berasal dari kegundahan saya akan realita pembelajaran Bahasa Inggris yang saya lihat selama ini. Saya percaya bahwa Bahasa Inggris seharusnya menjadi satu sarana untuk mempersiapkan diri kita menghadapi proses globalisasi. Namun jika kita lihat di lapangan (atau setidaknya, apa yang saya lihat di lapangan), Bahasa Inggris justru selalu menjadi momok yang sangat menakutkan bagi banyak orang.

Tidak lolos TOEFL, bisa-bisa gagal wisuda

Tidak punya sertifikat IELTS atau TOEFL, bisa-bisa repot kalau mau cari kerja, apalagi cari beasiswa

Kita mau ambil S2 atau profesi, ada syarat Bahasa Inggrisnya. Kuliah di luar negeri apalagi.

Cerita di atas adalah beberapa cerita lama yang mungkin akrab di telinga kita. Kita seolah tak pernah bisa lepas dari Bahasa Inggris, meskipun kita tidak berasal dari background Bahasa Inggris.

Saya pernah bertemu dengan seorang awardee beasiswa yang harus rela kehilangan beasiswanya karena tidak lulus IELTS. Padahal dia sudah tes delapan kali dalam kurun waktu satu tahun. Coba anda bayangkan, berapa uang yang harus dikeluarkan untuk tes delapan kali, kalau satu kali tes IELTS anda harus membayar 2,9 juta?

Saya pernah memiliki student yang hanya memiliki sisa waktu satu bulan untuk lulus tes IELTS  Jika tidak lulus, sudah pasti beasiswa akan melayang. Akhirnya saya tidak punya pilihan selain melakukan drill materi, bahkan sampai kelas malam pun saya jabanin. Alhamdulillah, karena usaha yang bersangkutan dan pertolongan Allah SWT, target skor 7.0 bisa tercapai dalam waktu satu bulan. Semua cerita di atas adalah bukti bahwa IELTS (dan Bahasa Inggris secara umum) masih menjadi masalah serius yang harus kita carikan solusinya.

Mungkin anda penasaran apa saja yang ditawarkan oleh buku ini, dan apa yang membedakannya dari buku-buku referensi yang lain. Buku ini mencakup materi yang sangat komprehensif dan didasarkan pada landasan teori yang kuat, satu hal yang mungkin jarang anda temukan di buku-buku lain. Teori yang begitu rumit dijelaskan dengan sederhana agar lebih mudah dimengerti oleh pembaca umum. Strategi pengerjaan yang dijelaskan di buku ini memungkinkan anda menyelesaikan soal listening tanpa ketinggalan audio serta menyelesaikan soal reading tanpa harus khawatir kehabisan waktu. Ada latihan yang akan membantu anda mengaplikasikan apa yang sudah anda pelajari. Terdapat kriteria penilaian yang akan membantu anda belajar secara lebih fokus, dengan menekankan materi dan latihan bagi sub-tes yang menurut anda sulit. Buku ini juga dilengkapi dengan prediction test yang akan membantu anda mengevaluasi hasil belajar anda dan memberi gambaran skor yang akan anda peroleh saat mengambil tes yang sebenarnya.

Saya berharap buku IELTS 7.0+ Skills and Strategies ini menjadi salah satu solusi untuk permasalahan yang berkaitan dengan pembelajaran Bahasa Inggris di negeri kita tercinta ini. Buku ini sudah bisa anda beli di TB Gramedia dan toko buku terdekat di kota anda. Anda juga bisa membeli buku ini secara online di situs,, dan beberapa platform jual beli online lainnya.

The Do's and the Don't's of IELTS Writing

The Do's and the Don't's of IELTS Writing
image source:

Today, I want to share some insights on how we can get high score in IELTS writing. By following some basic principles that I explained below, some test takers have managed to improve their score at least by 0.5. Let’s see if these principles can also work for you. I had previously explained the template of both Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2, and today I’d like to focus more on the do’s and the don’ts of IELTS Writing.

The Do’s of IELTS Essay

Be Concise!
An effective sentence should consist of 8 to 15 words, not more. If you write a stringy sentence, there is a higher possibility that you will make a grammatical error (such as using double Verbs). You have two save options here.

First, you can separate it into two clauses. For example:
The exam is very difficult that no one can even get a C-

Second, if you think that your sentence is getting too long, you can separate them into two different sentences. For example:

I was tired at that time, so I decided to take a rest at Ron’s place where my friends were watching a football match which seems to be quite exciting

This sentence is simply just too much, so you might want to separate it into two sentences:

I was tired at that time, so I decided to take a rest at Ron’s place. My friends were watching a football match which seems to be quite exciting

You can also use commas, but remember that too many commas will make your writing more difficult to understand. So, I would suggest you to use maximum two commas in every sentence.

To avoid confusion which is usually caused by excessive use of Adjective Clause, you can use Gerund or Past Participle instead. 

Take a look at these examples!

He claimed to see the guy who stole a dog which was reported stolen yesterday

There are two Adjective clauses in that sentence, and one of them can actually be turned into a Past Participle so that it becomes:
  • He claimed to see the guy who stole a dog reported stolen yesterday
You can also turned the first Adjective Clause into a Gerund so that it becomes:
  • He claimed to see the guy stealing a dog which was reported stolen yesterday
You can combine Adjective clauses with Gerund and comma to avoid repetition. Take a look at an example below!

The person whom I talked to yesterday is the guy who saw Andy stealing a book from the library, and then selling it to a small store near his house.

We have two Adjective Clauses, one reduced form (in form Gerund) and one comma. I personally think that sentence can easily be understood as long as it has no more than two clauses, two commas, and two reduced form. If you have exceeded this limit, then you might want to make two different sentences instead.


The idea is that you have to link ideas, paragraphs, and sentences so that they become logically connected. Cohesion works at sentence level and it focuses on the grammatical aspect. Sometimes, we manage to write four paragraphs, but the first paragraph is not logically connected to the second paragraph, the second paragraph is not connected to the third paragraph, and the third paragraph is not logically connected to the last paragraphs. It seems like individual paragraphs being stuffed in a piece of writing. The writing is not cohesive, and this is ugly. Take a look at an example below.

I bought a gaming laptop yesterday. The laptop is very powerful. It is quite expensive. I have saved money for almost three years. The laptop is a reward for my hard work.

Those are just a bunch of sentences that are being put together. It has no cohesive device whatsoever that you might find it hard (or simply annoying) to understand the story. By using some cohesive devices to link those sentences, you will be able to tell a more interesting story, like the one below:

I bought a gaming laptop yesterday. It is a very powerful laptop, although the price is quite expensive. I managed to buy this laptop after saving money for three years, so it becomes some kind of reward for all my hard work.

This story sounds so much better, since the sentences are logically connected by cohesive device like “although” and “so”.

Here are some other cohesive devices that you might find useful for your writing:
Also, equally, similarly, likewise, compared to
And, also, furthermore, too, in addition, moreover, besides
For example, for instance, to illustrate, such as, namely
First, second, next, after that, then, lastly
So, therefore, as a result, thus, because, since, consequently
In comparison, in contrast, in contrary, instead, on the contrary, conversely
But, although, except, unless, regardless, despite, in spite of, however
In other words, that is to say, rather, in simple terms
In particular, especially, mainly, particularly, above all
With regard to, in terms of, with reference to, as far as


This means that your ideas should be easily understood by the readers. If Cohesion makes your writing easily understood on sentence level, then Coherence focuses more on idea level. Your idea has to be logically connected one another. Do not explain something and then jump to a completely different discussion which has no relevancy at all. 

For example, you explain the importance of reading books. You give an example of how you should read a lot of books at school, but you concentrate too much on what kind of book you have to read instead of why it is important. The example that you give does not elaborate your explanation and is not relevant to the previous discussion.


In writing, it is always important to use the correct essay structure. We have a template for both Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. Correct essay structure will help you organize your ideas better. You can also write a good essay from moving to a more general explanation in the overview to a more detailed explanation in second and third paragraph. 

In some cases of IELTS Writing Task 1, there is a tendency that the test takers do not give introduction by explaining the topic in a more general way, but rather jump to specific explanation. Sometimes, they don’t pay attention to the pattern of the data (for example, separating the constant increase and decrease from fluctuating percentage). You should move from general to specific, because it makes your writing more understandable.  Imagine you read a writing which explains data in constant-fluctuating-constant-fluctuating structure, without any general introduction, and then you just find out that you read a Writing Task 1 which explains a bar graph. Confusing, isn’t it? Take a look at this example!

The number of people who use cars increases over years. It used to have 200 passengers in the year of 1960. The number witnessed a constant growth. By the end of the period, the number of car users almost quintupled. Train, on the other hand, indicates an ups downs trend. It had around 600 passengers in the year of 1960. Twenty years later, the number was reduced by a half, although it slightly increased in the last period. Bus is the mode of transport with the most significant decline. Despite the fact that it had around 1500 passengers in the year of 1960, the number fell to its lowest point representing only 120 passengers at the end of the period. Overall, the number of passengers of bus, car and train in the year of 1960, 1980 and 2000 which is explained in the bar graph was either increase, decrease, or fluctuating.

This is an example of Writing Task 1 which is not well-ordered. It only has one paragraph, and the idea is not well organized. It moves from specific to general, making it difficult to understand. In fact, you barely know that it explains a bar graph until you read the last sentence. Imagine how irritating it is to read this kind of writing. Now, let’s try to fix the writing by using the correct writing structure.

The bar graph presents the proportion transportation users in the year of 1960, 1980 and 2000. Overall, the number of passengers of bus, car and train which is explained in the bar graph was either increase, decrease, or fluctuating.

The graph indicates that the number of people who use cars increases over years. It used to have 200 passengers in the year of 1960. The number witnessed a constant growth and by the end of the period, the number of car users almost quintupled. Bus illustrates the opposite trend. It is the mode of transport with the most significant decline. Despite the fact that it had around 1500 passengers in the year of 1960, the number fell to its lowest point representing only 120 passengers at the end of the period.

Train, on the other hand, indicates an ups downs trend. It had around 600 passengers in the year of 1960. Twenty years later, the number was reduced by a half, although it slightly increased in the last period.

Task Achievement

In IELTS Writing, you have to answer the question fully and cover all points asked in the task statement. It applies for both Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. Let’s take the previous bar graph as an example. In the graph, there are three main features that you have to explain, namely the transport, the year, and the number of users. You have to explain the three main features. If you miss one of them (year, for example), then the information included in your writing will be incomplete, and this will significantly reduce your writing score. You also need to remember that you have to write at least 150 words. Never write less than that!

The Don't's of IELTS Essay

Avoid Repetition
Do not repeat the use of certain words, because it will significantly reduce your writing score. Always paraphrase the words. If the word is not paraphrase-able, you can change the arrangement of the words. Take a look at an example below!

The bar graph shows the increase in population in several European countries in the year of 2000, 2005 and 2010.

The paraphrased sentence would probably look like this:

  • The bar graph outlines the population growth taking place in some countries in Europe in fifteen year period starting in the year 2000.

As you can see, I paraphrased the words shows, increase as well as the phrase European countries, and the way the year is explained. See how I just re-arranged the phrase European countries so that it becomes countries in Europe! I did this because it is hard (if not impossible) to find their equivalent words.

Using the Same Sentence Structure

This is another thing that you need to avoid in your writing. The complexity of your sentences is another thing that IELTS would take into account and so, make sure you use a range of sentence structure like:

  • Active Voice
  • Passive Voice
  • Multiple Clause Sentence
  • Gerund Phrase
  • To Infinitive Phrase

and in some cases,

  • Conditional Sentence

Avoid Contraction

It might look life it's fine to write: I'm Tim. But apparently, it is not. Using contraction is not advisable in IELTS writing. Expressions like I'm, I've, She's, They've, We're Won't and Can't must be avoided. I know that we naturally use contraction in our writing, but I suggest you to allocate some time to review your writing before submitting it, and replace all the contracted forms with the long form.

Avoid Lazy Expression

Another thing we commonly do when writing something is using expressions like e.g., i.e., etc., so and so forth, and many other lazy expressions. It is not a good idea to use this kind of expression in IELTS writing. Always writes anything in full. Use such as instead of e.g., outline all the points instead of using using and so on or etc.

Bad Time Management

Spending Time on Writing Task 1, Forgetting that You Still Have Writing Task 2 is quite common among test takers. When this happens, they often get only half of the actual score they desire, because they spend like 55 minutes on one writing and when they realize they only have 5 minutes left to do the other one, they write 120 words per minute like a psycho. If you aim high score, like 7.0 or above, this is one thing that you really want to avoid. Remember, time is crucial in IELTS!

Illegible Handwriting

I'm not going to judge anyone on this cause believe me, I myself have a terrible terrible handwriting. Handwriting is another factor that we rarely take into account, despite its importance. When I took the test and do the Writing Section, I was aware that I'm not going to use my usual handwriting because I didn't think I would get a good score writing a hieroglyph. So, I end up spending most of my time trying to give my best handwriting (instead of focusing on my writing).

When it comes to handwriting, you may want to have a little practice.

Those are some of the do's and the don't's of IELTS Writing. If you have some suggestions on how IELTS writing should be done, write them down on the comment section!

Best luck!

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