The Academic IELTS Writing (Task 1)

Written by
Nicholas Wheeldon

Academic Manager at Milestones English Academy.

ELTS Preparation - Writing

In IELTS Academic Writing you are given two tasks and 60 minutes to do both.
In Task 1 you are given a diagram and you have to explain it in words to show that you understand it. The diagrams can be a table, chart, process, graph, a map, or even two charts. You need to write no less than 150 words and should spend 20 minutes doing so.

In task two you are given a point of view; an argument or problem and you need to write an essay in reply. Your essay should be in a conventional formal style, be at least 250 words and you should try to finish it in under 40 minutes. Task two is worth 60% of the overall writing score!

Key features/ Main points
In task 1 you have to write about the key features and use the data seen in the diagram to support your explanation – this shows that you really understand the diagram and know what you are writing about. The key features are the first things you see in the diagram, the events which really stand out and are obvious. If the diagram is a graph, chart or map, for example, and there are visible signs of comparison, you should start comparing the information using comparative vocabulary, for example: whereas, however, in contrast to, similarly……
Make sure you use the right information in the diagram, for example, percentage, number, grams, kilograms – don’t mix them up! Make sure you are accurate with what you see and what you write. If you read this paragraph to your friend, they should be able to draw it perfectly and it should look like the diagram you saw. That’s a good tip!
Do not write your opinion – not needed, we don’t know!

Finally – In Academic writing task 1 you do not have to write a conclusion.

Next – we’ll look at Task 2 Writing!

Here’s a simple example:

The line graph compares information on the number of students who study in Australia and in the UK from 1975 to 2005, divided by country and measured per 1000 students. Overall, it is immediately apparent that the quantity for the UK decreases over this time frame while Australia increases.

Let’s take a look at Task 1

When looking at the diagram you will need to summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant. To get a good band score when writing task 1 you need to write an Introduction, an Overview (summary) and then write about the Key features or the main points. Using language of comparison or contrasting words is important if you want a really good 7+ band score.

The Introduction is important – it’s the first thing the examiner reads, and it shows if you understand the whole diagram or process. It needs to be clear and explain what you can see – you can paraphrase the question if you like, but if you do, make sure you use synonyms and phrases to rewrite the question prompt. Use keywords in your introduction such as dates, times and countries. Don’t try and use synonyms for these keywords or it will change the entire meaning of the essay.
Do not write your opinion as to why events occurred – not needed, we don’t know!

The overview should summarise everything you can see highlighting the most relevant points. It should summarise the trends, changes, developments, stages and noticeable features. Look for trends in the pictures – is there an overall increase, decrease or fluctuation? Are there any high or low points?
Use words or phrases to show that this is the overview of the diagram, for example, It’s immediately apparent that…… overall, in summary, to summarise,
Do not write your opinion – not needed, we don’t know!

You can put the introduction and overview together in the same paragraph.

Written by
Nicholas Wheeldon

Academic Manager at Milestones English Academy.

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