Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 Preparation (Part 1)

IELTS Writing Preparation: Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 Preparation:

Things you should know about Academic Writing Task 1:

You are asked to describe information presented in graph/ table/ chart/ diagram.
You have 20 minutes to finish the task and you have to write at least 150 words.
If you are asked to use the information presented in the graph you must be careful not to copy it.


In Academic Writing task 1, candidates are assessed on their ability to:
Organise, present and possibly compare data.
Describe the stages of a process or procedure.
Describe an object or event or sequence of events.
Explain how something works.


The general format for writing academic writing task 1 is as follows:

Introduction + Basic/General Trends + Details Description + Conclusion/Summary (Optional).


The IELTS Academic writing task 1 requires several vocabularies. Each of these parts has a specific format and therefore being equipped with the necessary vocabulary will help you to write the task 1 efficiently and will save a great deal of time. Before you go through the details of how to write Academic Writing task 1, you must learn the necessary vocabulary and words first to write a better answer. «Click here to learn the vocabulary»

Well, now you know the structure and vocabulary for the Academic Writing Task 1. Continue ahead...

Four steps should be followed to write a better Academic writing task 1:

1. What type of presentation it is and what it is asking.
2. Collecting data/information.
3. Planning for writing.
4. Representing in an organised form.

First Step: Analise.
Analise the question first .Look whether it is a diagram / table /figure / illustration / graph / figure / chart / flow chart or a picture. Now look what the question is asking to do. For example, the question might ask to compare, contrast, analyse, summarise or more than one thing.

Second Step: Collecting data/information.
You must collect/ understand the following data and information from the figure.

a) Time: Be sure whether the time presented in the graph/ figure are present/ past/ future or a mixture of these three. Your writing has to be in the correct Tense according to the time presented.
b) Theme: Be sure what the figure/ diagram/ picture is trying to represent.
c) Place and Position: About what place or field the data are all about?
d) Main Point: What's the central idea of the presented graph/ diagram?
e) General Trend: Figure out the General Trend(s).
f)  Effects & Result: Find out the effects and results.
g) Conclusion: Plan what you should include in the conclusion.


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The graph below shows the unemployment rates in the USA and Japan between March 1993 and March 1999. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

Unemployment rates in the USA and Japan

You should write at least 150 words.

First Step (worked out): Analise:
It is a line graph with 2 lines. The graph is asking to summarise the main features of the unemployment rate.

Second Step (worked out): Collecting data/information:
Time: From March 1993 to March 1999.
Theme: Unemployment rates of USA and Japan.
Place and Position: USA and Japan.
Main Point: The unemployment rate has decreased in the USA and has increased in Japan.
General Trend: Initially unemployment rate was higher in the USA than Japan but over the period the USA managed to reduce the rate and in case of Japan the reverse was true.  
Effects & Result: Effects: unknown. Result: as General Trends.
Conclusion: Unemployment rate was higher in the USA than Japan but over the period the USA managed to reduce the rate and in case of Japan the reverse was true.

Third Step: Essay Planning:
You should make a plan after you are done with the first 2 steps. This step involves the following orders.

a) Writing a balanced Introduction.
b) Writing a general trend
c) Detailed description of the figure and supporting the description.
d) Describing the results.
e) Writing the conclusion.

How to write a balanced introduction:
The introduction part of a writing is very important hence it reflects your skill of writing. Readers decide whether to read further or completely avoid the whole writing after reading the introduction. So in every writing introduction part should be very organised. In case of IELTS academic writing task 1, you should use the following structure and vocabularies to write a balanced introduction.

What it is (table/ graph/ chart/ diagram/ picture/ flow chart) + What it does (presents data/ shows comparison/ summarize / contrast/ give projection or prediction) + What about (in this case the unemployment rate) + Place (in this case US and Japan) + Time (in this case 1993 to 1999) + Presentation of X and Y axis (here X axis represents time and Y axis represent percentage of work force) + Other relevant information.

Example: The provided line graph provides information on unemployment rates in USA and Japan from March 1993 to March 1999. Here the bold line represents the unemployment rate of Japan and the dotted line for the USA. In the provided line graph the X axis shows time with one-year interval and the Y axis represents unemployment rate.

How to write a better general trend:
The general trend part should be immediately after the introduction part. It is recommended to write the general trend parts in the same paragraph with the introduction. The general trend part should focus the main point of the presentation and should not be too large with lots of information. However you should not give the specific figure, time, amount or data presented in the graph, rather try to use daily life English to make the main reader interested about the whole writing. You can use phrases like As is presented/ as is observed / in general / in common etc. to start this part.

Example: As is observed from the graph, initially in 1993 the unemployment rate in the USA was significantly higher than that of Japan. But over the 6 years,  the USA managed to reduce this rate and the reverse was true for Japan where unemployment rate increased in these 6 years.

How to write an attractive details description:
The Detailed description part comes after the introduction and general trend and should be written in the second paragraph. In this part, you should describe the graph / table / chart / diagram etc. While describing, keep in mind that, you are not expected to write down all the data provided in the question, rather your ability to describe the presentation in general English.

The things you should follow in this part :
» Use appropriate tense to describe the data.
» Use transitional words like, besides, as well as, likewise, in addition, additionally, again, on the other hand etc. to make your sentences relevant and coherent.
» Try to mention the initial, highest, lowest and projection points.

Things you should avoid in this part:
» Do not describe all the data and facts presented in the graph.
» Don't include your own opinion, imagination or solution.
» DO NOT use contractions (can not=can't, do not =don't etc, will not=won't) in your writing.
Example: As is presented in the line graph, in March 1993, United States had about 7% of their workforce unemployed, which might not seem high unless it is compared to to the unemployment rate of Japan in the same year, where only 2.5% workers were unemployed. However, the unemployed rate in the USA began to decrease slowly having a fluctuation till 1996 and reached to around 5%. On the contrary, the unemployment rate in Japan got an upward trend and doubled in 5 years. The unemployment rate of both countries intersected in the middle of the year 1998. Afterwards, the unemployment rate in the USA remained roughly the same (about 5%) having a similar ratio to that of Japan.

How to describe the results:
If you want to and really need to describe the result of the graph, then write it at the end of the detailed description. However, if  results-writing makes something repeated ( those that has already been described), then you do not need to write the result apparently.

Example: The USA managed to decline their unemployment rate from 7% to almost 5% in 6 years but on the other hand the rate has increased in Japan from only 2.5% to approximately 5%.

How to write a good and efficient conclusion:
The conclusion is an important part of the whole writing and that is why you must be careful to write a better conclusion. The conclusion part of the Academic IELTS writing 1 is also knows as summarising. So write down the main point/theme of the graph in short. You should never include your own point of view, personal opinion or suggestion to solve a problem in conclusion. In some cases of Academic IELTS writing task 1, it optional to write the conclusion, hence the data are already described and summarised before the conclusion. However, if you need to write the conclusion part, use one of the following words to start the sentence:

In conclusion / in short / to conclude / to sum up / in brief / in summary etc.  

Example: It conclusion, the unemployment rate in the USA decreased in 6 years and the opposite scenario was true for the Japan.


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.00 (48 Votes)


0 # Yulu 2017-04-24 07:02
The information is great but I have some questions. 1. Do I really need to point out the presentation of X and Y axis? Because I saw so many writings that don't mention about this.
2. Do I need to write both a general trend and a conclusion? I think they are quite similar in some way. Thank you so much for your answering.
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0 # NIS 2017-04-20 06:52
Graph Writing Topic: The graph below shows the unemployment rates in the USA and Japan between March 1993 and March 1999.

This line graph compares the unemployment rates in the USA and Japan over six years, commencing from March 1993. According to what is shown, joblessness among the Americans was higher in the early 90’s than that of Japanese, but the scenario changed in the late 90’s.

Now getting back to the details, 7% Americans did not have jobs in March, 93 while this rate was only around 2.3% in Japan. Over the years, the unemployment rate in the USA decreased and the opposite was the case in Japan. In 1996, the joblessness in the USA dropped to around 5.5% while it rose in Japan and reached to nearly 3.5%. The reverse trend of unemployment rates in these two countries continued and in early 1999, the rates intersected each other at a rate of 4.5%. Finally, in March 1999, there were around 4.0% unemployed Americans while it was just over 4.5% in Japan.

It is obvious that unemployment rate in the Japan was significantly lower than that of the USA in 1993 but the USA managed to decrease its unemployment rate over the next six years while this rate increased in Japan by 2-2.5%.
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0 # Joan 2017-03-11 13:54
May I point out something that I have not been able to understand as other of you have? In the Y axis of this graph, in particular, is represented the Percentage of Work force, which I understood as the percentage of people who were actually working at that time, per se employed population. My surprise arrived when I continued reading this example and mentors took the meaning of "work force" as the completely opposite of what I understood. Being curious as I am, I googled the term "work force" and although there is not an official English language institution that describes that word I did find some websites where the term was defined as I thought. Could please anyone bring some bright into this darkness because this kind of shock can not happen in an IELTS exam, and believe me, it was a shock for me seeing that I was interpreting the graph wrongly!

Kind regards.
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+1 # IELTS Mentor 2017-03-12 06:58
Hi Joan,
It was a great pleasure reading your comment. Our apology for the confusion as it was wrongly presented. First of all, the graph is about unemployment rates of the USA and Japan and in 1999, roughly 5% workforce in these two countries is impossible. It would be percentages of the unemployed population not the percentage of the workforce.
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-3 # Farzana 2017-03-01 22:32
Hi, is there any website where I can get a review of my IELTS writing for free?
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0 # Smitha 2017-01-30 16:19
Thank you. This information is very useful for me.
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+3 # Samchker 2016-10-22 14:12
You think we get a graph like that?
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+17 # lili 2016-10-15 11:06
The line graph provides information about the unemployment rate in the USA and Japan between March 1993 and March 1999. The orange line illustrates unemployment rates in Japan and the blue line illustrates this rate in the USA. The X-axis shows the years with one-year interval, and the Y-axis shows the workforce percentages.

In general, the USA managed to reduce the unemployment rate while Japan struggled to keep this rate low throughout the years. As presented in the graph, in 1993, the USA had 7% of its workforces unemployed. It may not look like a high rate unless compared to that of Japan's rate which was 2.5% in that year. But in the next six years, the USA manages to control the rate and reduced it to nearly 4% in the next six years. Whereas the rate in Japan, on the other hand, doubled in that period of time. In the middle of 1998, the unemployment rates of these two countries intersected at 4.5%. After that the unemployment rate continued at the same ratio in both countries (about 5%).

In summary, the unemployment rate in the USA decreased in 6 years and the opposite scenario was true for Japan.
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+2 # Mirko 2016-10-07 14:47
Hi! Thanks so much for this great site, it's really helping me a lot :)

I have a doubt regarding the interpretation of the graphic, maybe I'm too slow, you tell me:

If the graph shows the workforce vs years, and given the descending values of the US and ascending values of Japan, then shouldn't the unemployment in the US be INCREASING and Japan's DECREASING?

More workforce = more people working = less unemployment, if workforce indeed accounts for the amount of people working, maybe I'm wrong.

Could someone share his/her thoughts with me? Thanks a bunch!!
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+2 # Sankalp 2016-12-09 16:04
Hi, I think there is an esoteric assumption here. The value on y-axis has to be considered as the percentage of workforce who are unemployed at that time. Hope this will help. Regards.
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0 # Sina 2016-11-19 11:30
I have the same question!!
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-1 # Farzad 2016-09-09 13:09
Hello and thank you for this beneficial description. I suppose you made a mistake in conclusion part as you said (It) conclusion, After all, I think that It would not be an effective choice for this task. You'd better use conclusion for task 2 only.
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0 # Missy 2017-02-01 11:11
I agree. I think the "overview" is the part which is important to this task. I think the conclusion should not be drawn with graphs as it does not ask you to give a conclusion on the data presented.
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+5 # Tofiq Huseynli 2016-04-16 07:28
Thanks for sharing dudes. I am preparing for IELTS and your site helps me a lot.
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+7 # Aysel 2016-02-04 22:54
Thank you very much,such a great, helpful website. I would be very grateful if you could add detailed explanation,examples about Academic writing 2. Looking forward for more resources.
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0 # Khayyam 2016-11-06 08:38
Did you find any resources relating to task 2?
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-1 # Aysel 2016-11-17 11:40
There are many resources relating to task 2. This site is helpful, but there other sites as well.
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+2 # Farooq 2015-12-10 09:23
I encourage you all to provide guideline for preparing IELTS without any cost. This is what i love and accept. Please tag more data in it ... Thank you.
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+6 # shohel M Arafat 2015-11-07 13:32
Hi, please make sure the spelling 'peak' and not 'pick' in the website thanks
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+2 # Sara 2015-10-09 16:11
Is it correct to use
-->much more higher ?
As we know that higher is already a superlative form.
Please let me know.
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0 # IELTS Mentor 2016-07-27 22:07
'Significantly higher' is the better alternative.
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+1 # I.H. ROBI 2016-05-08 13:21
'Higher' is comparative form of 'High'.
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+3 # Hana 2015-06-17 16:35
The graph of the examples did not appear, I don't know why? Please help.
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+7 # Siva Kumar 2015-05-30 09:51
Thank you very much for providing these tips...
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+2 # Zafar Ali 2015-04-25 16:59
In conclusion, the unemployment rate decreased, it was in the past tense, but same time and the opposite scenario is true for japan, it shows present tense whereas we are describing the graph in the past.
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+5 # Ismail 2015-03-12 15:11
Please inform me why I do not get writing all practices?
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+9 # Hacar 2014-12-17 12:56
Perfect. Thank you a lot!!! The best website I have ever stumbled upon))) Very satisfied!
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+15 # Emily 2014-09-19 14:13
Please show me how to describe a pie chart???
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+2 # Asish 2015-07-23 19:36
Search in Google below line.You ll get an image.I hope he describes that one only :)
The graph below shown the unemployment rates in the US and Japan between March 1993 and March 1999.
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+12 # Roseann 2014-06-22 09:15
Are there any further resources you have on your website for Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 Preparation? This resource is helpful but I am looking for more resources.
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