IELTS Writing Task 1 – Academic Writing


Task 1 of the IELTS Academic test is to respond to a graph. Candidates must identify and highlight the key features of a graph in 150 words.

IELTS Writing Task 1 – Requirements and Instructions

The information graph you see might include instructions like:

Summarize the information in the graph by reporting on the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

It is not essential to list every single detail of the graph. Stating every fact in a robotic way can lower your score. Instead, look for the information that stands out. For example: If a graph shows differences in a company’s sales over 10 years, and there are minimal changes over four years before a big jump in the fifth, don’t write about each individual year but do write about the big jump. Another example could be: instead of writing “It went up by 3% then lowered by 2%, then again went up, this time by 4%,” you can write: “It fluctuated between 2% and 4%.”

A significant mistake some candidates make is adding outside information to a graph. You can only write about what you see — you should never add information not shown on the graph, even if you know it’s true. For example, if a graph shows a decline in air travel for Europeans between 2005 and 2010, don’t say that the Economic Crisis of 2008 was the reason. This would lower your task response score.

IELTS Graph Types

Most graphs show quantifiable relationships, but a few will depict a processor layout. Graph types include:

  • Bar charts
  • Line graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Tables
  • Diagrams
  • Map

How to Structure IELTS Graph

Include an overview of the graph that summarizes the graph’s title. Use synonyms when possible. In your first paragraph, you may include the paraphrased question. You can use one of the following structures: 

  • The table shows/presents …
  • The graph illustrates/depicts/shows the trends in … 
  • The chart illustrates the changes in …

Make sure to include the primary factors represented on the chart (ex: both the x- and y-axis). You need to identify whether the graph shows a comparison or a progression. You will need to use appropriate vocabulary for each of these types. If it is comparative, identify the most critical features. Then, make comparisons using a variety of descriptive comparison words. In case it is progressive, make sure to describe the trends represented on the graph. Remember, you are going to be graded on your language range and accuracy. So, try not to repeat yourself and use synonyms of the phrases to avoid repetition.

Some Last Minute Tips

You should also pay attention to your spelling and punctuation. The examiners may lower your score if you have many spelling and punctuation errors. Another thing to take into consideration is your word count and the number of paragraphs. Remember, you have to write no less than 150 words in three to four paragraphs. It is not required to write an extra paragraph dedicated to your conclusion. You may not include any conclusion at all. However, your essay will seem more complete if you conclude your writing. A conclusion will also show the examiners that you understand everything you have written in your essay. Lastly, leave some time to check-read your writing from the very beginning. Make sure you have included every important detail, do not have any repetition of words and phrases, and have used appropriate vocabulary.

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