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IELTS Writing Task 1: Tips,

Tricks, and Techniques

Understanding the Marking Criteria

The examiner will assess your writing on these four


marking criteria. Each criterion is worth 25% of your
total marks for task 1
Task Achievement
Coherence and Cohesion
Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Task Achievement

Writing Task 1: Task Achievement


The examiner will check your information, overview, detail, and accuracy.

Task Achievement: Key Points


Make sure you have a clear ___________. This means
summarise the most significant ______ or ________ from the
data or information in the diagram.
Ensure _________ when using data or describing trends or
processes
Identify ALL the key _______ in the diagram
features

overview

trends

features

accuracy

How to increase your score for TA


Analyse the chart and identify all key features
Highlight your key features in an overview
Support your body paragraph with data (numbers and
dates if possible)
Avoid putting in information which is wrong
Avoid an opinion
Write a factual report
Write over 150 words (penalty for any less)

Some questions to consider:


When you look at the criteria, decide:
which two points stop you from getting band 6?
what is an overview and why is it important?
what could be classified as irrelevant, inaccurate
and inappropriate details?
how is band 7 specifically better than band 6?

Answers
which two points stop you from getting band 6?
No data (i.e. no numbers) in the description and/or no overview. The student also focuses too much
on detail.
what is an overview and why is it important?
An overview presents the main or general trends that can be seen in the graph, e.g.Overall, the
sales of desktop computers declined significantly during the period. Without an overview, the
student will not get band 6
what could be classified as irrelevant, inaccurate and inappropriate details?
Inappropriate:any evaluation or personal comments on the data. Irrelevant:data that is not
presented, comments which do not relate to the graph.Inaccurate:factual mistakes in the
description (e.g. with dates or numbers)
how is band 7 specifically better than band 6?
The overview is clear and there are no inaccurate or inappropriate information as described above
in point 3.

Coherence and Cohesion

1. Introduce the graph paraphrase this is where underlining key words on the exam
paper comes in handy
2. Give an overview this is where your notes on the graph are useful
3. give the detail this is when you are trying to use vocabulary and finer descriptions
you havent already used

1. Introduce the graph


You need to begin with one or two sentences that state what the IELTS writing task 1 shows. To do
this, paraphrase the title of the graph, making sure you put in a time frame if there is one.

Here is an example for the above line graph:


The line graph illustrates the amount of fast food consumed by teenagers in Australia
between 1975 and 2000, a period of 25 years.
You can see this says the same thing as the title, but in a different way.

2. Give an Overview

You also need to state what the main trend or trends in the graph are. Dont give detail such as
data here you are just looking for something that describes what is happening overall.
One thing that stands out in this graph is that one type of fast food fell over the period, whilst the
other two increased, so this would be a good overview.
Here is an example:
Overall, the consumption of fish and chips declined over the period, whereas the
amount of pizza and hamburgers that were eaten increased.
This covers the main changes that took place over the whole period.
You may sometimes see this overview as a conclusion. It does not matter if you put it in the
conclusion or the introduction when you do an IELTS writing task 1, but you should provide an
overview in one of these places.

3. Give the detail


When you give the detail in your body paragraphs in your IELTS writing task 1, you must make reference to the data.
The key to organizing your body paragraphs for an IELTS writing task 1 is togroup datatogether where there arepatterns.
To do this you need to identify anysimilaritiesanddifferences.
Look at the graph what things are similar and what things are different?
As we have already identified in the overview, the consumption of fish and chips declined over the period, whereas the amount of
pizza and hamburgers that were eaten increased.
So it is clear that pizza and hamburgers were following a similar pattern, but fish and chips were different. On this basis, you can use
these as your groups, and focus one paragraph on fish and chip and the other one on pizza and hamburgers.
Here is an example of the first paragraph:
In 1975, the most popular fast food with Australian teenagers was fish and chips, being eaten 100 times a year. This
was far higher than pizza and hamburgers, which were consumed approximately 5 times a year. However, apart from a
brief rise again from 1980 to 1985, the consumption of fish and chips gradually declined over the 25 year timescale to
finish at just under 40 times per year.
As you can see, the focus is on fish and chips. This does not mean you should not mention the other two foods, as you should still
make comparisons of the data as the questions asks.

As you can see, the focus is on fish and chips. This does not mean you should not mention the other
two foods, as you should still make comparisons of the data as the questions asks.
The second body then focuses on the other foods:
In sharp contrast to this, teenagers ate the other two fast foods at much higher levels.
Pizza consumption increased gradually until it overtook the consumption of fish and chips
in 1990. It then leveled off from 1995 to 2000. The biggest rise was seen in hamburgers,
increasing sharply throughout the 1970s and 1980s, exceeding fish and chips
consumption in 1985. It finished at the same level that fish and chips began, with
consumption at 100 times a year.

Coherence and Cohesion


Your organisation of information, your paragraphing, and your use of linking devices will be
marked

How to increase your score for CC

Plan where to put your information


Have four body paragraphs (structure and paragraphing)
Use a range of linking devices
Avoid mistakes with linking words
Use referencing (this, it, etc)

Some papers to consider

Look at these Task 1 answers by previous candidates, what linking words can you see
being used? When, where, and how often are they used?

Lexical Resource

Lexical Resource
Your use of vocabulary, your spelling and the number of mistakes will affect your score.

How to increase your score for LR

Use a range of vocabulary


Use vocabulary for presenting accurate data
Understand collocations
Avoid spelling mistakes
Dont use the wrong words or informal language

Planning your writing

Planning is key!
Discuss what you do to plan for your writing in the
exam

Some techniques

When analysing the diagram use matching tenses


Write down vocabulary which you think may be useful
Sequence your ideas

Useful Vocabulary
Starting

Presentation Type

Verb

Description

The / The supplied


/ The presented /
The shown / The
provided

diagram / table /
figure / illustration /
graph / figure /
chart / flow chart /
picture/
presentation/ pie
chart / bar graph/
line graph / table
data/ data /
information

shows / represents /
depicts /
illustrates /
presents/ gives /
provides / describes
/ compares/ shows /
figures / gives data
on / gives
information on/
presents
information about/
shows data about

the comparison of .
the differences .
the number of .
information on .
data on .
the proportion of.
the amount of .
information on..

Useful Vocabulary
Mistakes when using words
will affect your band score.
To get band score 6, you
must only have some errors
with a range of vocabulary.
To get band score 7, you
must have few errors with a
good range of vocabulary.

Practice

Fill in the gaps with the vocabulary from the


table. Make sure you adapt the words to make
the sentences grammatically correct. The
completed paragraph below is an example of a
body paragraph for a line graph.

The number of cases began at 100 in 1983 and then


the figure 1. __________ steadily to reach 200 in 1987. In
the following year, there was 2. ________ back to 100
before rising to 3.________ 400 in 1989. The number 4.
_______ slightly to 350 in 1991 and then 5. ________
dramatically to a low of 0 in 1992.

Answers

1. Rose/ increased/ climbed/ grew/ went up


2. a fall/ a decline / a slump/ a decrease
3. peak at
4. dropped/ fell/ declined/ decreased
5. dropped/ fell/ declined/ decreased (it is also possible to use
plummeted or plunged)

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Grammatical Range and Accuracy


You will get a band score for your sentence structures, tenses, control of grammar and the
number of mistakes

How to increase your score for GRA

Use a range of sentence structures


Use the right tense for the chart given to you
Use the right word order
Adjective noun/ verb adverb
Avoid mistakes
Use the right punctuation

Common Mistakes

Articles
Plurals
Uncountable nouns
Punctuation (commas and full stops)
Noun verb agreement (remember that third person singular in the present tense has
an s)
Verb tense
Prepositions (in/on/at etc)

Some Example Sentence Structures


1. As / While A verb, B verb (at the same time).[linking words]
Change Over Time example:While the number of factories in Taiwan increased dramatically to
100,000 in 2006, the quantity in Japan plummeted to 1,000 at the same time.
Static example:As the number of females in full-time work stood at 300 in 2014, the amount of
working males stood at 500.
2. In comparison to A, which verb, B verb.[relative clauses]
COT example:In comparison to the number of factories in Taiwan, which saw an increase to 100,000
in 2006, the quantity in Japan plummeted to 1,000 at this time.
Static example:In comparison to the number of females in full-time work, which stood at 300 in 2014,
the amount of working males stood at 500.
3. A verb, v-ing, (which verb).[adjective clause + relative clause]
COT example:The number of factories in Taiwan saw an increase to 100,000 in 2006, exceeding the
quantity in Japan, which had only 1,000.
Static example:The number of males in full-time work reached 500 in 2014, exhibiting a higher
number than all the other categories provided.

How does grammar affect your


score?

http://ieltsliz.com/grammar-ielts-writing-task-1/

Practice: gap fill

Practice writing

Planning before you write

Some techniques:
Connectives and linking words Firstly, initially, subsequently, due to this, however
Synonyms
Tenses
Graph description words rises, falls, plummets, remains the same etc.

Time to practice

First, plan your writing! Tenses, synonyms, connectives, and ideas.

Ready for writing task 1