Preparation Tips for IELTS Academic Writing (Part 1)

The IELTS exam tests your ability to produce two quite different pieces of writing in a fairly short period of time. The test is divided into two parts and you are allowed one hour/ 60 minutes to complete both parts.

Writing Task 1:
In the first part, you are given a task based on some graphic or pictorial information. You are expected to write a descriptive report of at least 150 words on the information provided.

Writing Task 2:
The second task is more demanding. You are expected to produce a written argument on a given topic and to organise your answer clearly, giving some examples to support your points. You will have to write at least 250 words and, as Task 2 is longer than Task 1, you are advised to spend approximately 40 minutes on this task and 20 minutes on the first task.

Preparation for the IELTS Academic Writing task 1:

Being able to understand and describe graphic information or data is an important academic skill. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 tests your ability to describe factual information, presented in a graphic and diagrammatic form, clearly and accurately.

Describing Facts and Figures:
A fact is different from an opinion because it is objective and often involves measurement. For example, the graph on the left shows what a group of students think about a film they have just seen.

Having looked at this graph, you could say that half the students did not like the film. Or you could say that 50 percent of the students did not like the film. You could be even more specific and state that 15 out of 30 students did not like the film. These are all facts.

Describing Trends:
Line graphs are used to show a trend or pattern which usually takes place over a period of time. It is
important to look at the overall pattern on a line graph as well as the significant features within it.

You must show the examiner that you have considered all the presentation and every important data given there and you have chosen the right facts to write down in your presentation. Don't write every detail presented in the graph.This will cause to reduce your score.

In the IELTS test, there maу be a lot of information to describe, in a limited number of words. If is essential that you select the appropriate details and organise the material in a relevant way in order to fulfil the task requirements satisfactorily.

When you interpret graphs, tables and charts, you will find that you have to compare and contrast some of the details. Your examiner will be checking that you can structure your answer well and connect your ideas appropriately. The following table may help you do this.

- If you employ too many linking words or structures or if you use these transitional words or structure incorrectly then you will lose marks.

Grouping Information:
When organising your answer it may also help to 'group' some of the information. This is particularly the case when there is a lot of data, as in the graph on the right.

- Don't interpret the important facts and information inaccurately and check that your sentences are grammatically correct.

Describing A Process:
In Writing Task 1 you may occasionally be asked to describe a process or other pictorial information such as a cycle or map. In order to produce a report describing a process you should take a similar approach to the one you used in describing data. You should examine the information carefully - which will be in pictorial form - and make sure you understand it. Look specifically at the beginning and the end of the process. Then, following the same principles as outlined in previous units, you should provide an opening sentence that summarises the overall function of the process.

- Never copy the text that appears in the question. Copying the sentences from the question will decrease your IELTS score.If you need to use the sentences or words appeared in the question, try to use a different sentence structure or synonyms for the words.

You will also be given an answer booklet. You have to write your essays in the answer booklet. Notes are not acceptable and essays under the word limit will be penalised.

You are given graphic or pictorial information and you have to write a description of this information. Bar charts, line graphs, pie charts and tables are most frequently given for this task. However, you could also be given an object or series of pictures or diagrams or a flow chart to describe.

If graphs are used there may be just one – usually a line graph or a bar chart. However, there could also be more than one of the same type of graph or a combination of graphs and charts. For example, you could get a bar chart and a pie chart together or a line graph and a table.


Your performance in Task 1 will be assessed on the criteria below:

Task Achievement
Being able to follow the instructions properly. Being able to write a clear, accurate and relevant description of the information. Being able to focus on the important trends presented as graphic information.

Coherence and Cohesion
Being able to organise your writing using a suitable structure. Using connective words to link sentences and paragraphs logically.

Lexical Resources
Being able to use a wide range of vocabulary naturally. Being able to spell accurately and using the appropriate word formation.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy
Using the appropriate grammatical structures accurately Using a variety of sentence structures.

Preparation for the IELTS Academic Writing task 2 :

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