Paraphrasing involves manipulating the words in a sentence or phrase so that they read differently but convey the same meaning. It is also called re-writing, and you should learn to do it before taking your IELTS test.
It can also help in listening and reading tests, though it’s mainly used in speaking and writing. Simply put, you’ll have a better chance of achieving your desired score if you know how to paraphrase.
Paraphrasing requires mental processes and can help you understand questions better; this is one reason why I encourage students to paraphrase test questions before answering them.
In task 1, the first sentence must always be a paraphrased version of the question / title. Paraphrasing (or re-writing) can be done in a number of ways, but the easiest is to replace words with their synonyms.
You can prove to the examiner that you have a broad vocabulary and that you can use it effectively by paraphrasing the sentence using a few simple synonyms. This will score you more points in the test.
This should be your initial paragraph and you should let your examiner know you’re starting a new one by skipping a line.
An example description of a question from an IELTS Task 1 is shown below:
The proportion of the population aged 50 and above in three different states in the USA between 1920 and 2020 is shown in the graphs below.
I can quickly craft a good description by paraphrasing this description:
The line graphs compare the percentage of individuals aged 50 and above, as measured over a century in three U.S. states.
Information about the per-capita percentage of car ownership between 2000 and 2005 in the USA is given in the chart below.
Summarize the information by making comparisons where necessary and picking out and reporting on the main features.
The increase in car ownership between 2000 and 2005 in the USA is shown in the chart.
You need to paraphrase a phrase, word or an idea in several ways in IELTS writing task 1 and 2.
For instance, if you use the word "school" in a paragraph, use words like "university", "academic institution" or "college" in the rest of the essay.
How does a re-written sentence fit into the remaining part of my essay?
The second paragraph of an essay with four paragraphs should be the overview:
Writing the overview before the details lets the examiner know that you understand the main features and helps you when you write out the details. That's why I tell my students to do it. You simply take the points you stated in your overview and back them up with data in the details paragraphs.
Not at all. Conclusions are just a summary of your opinions or ideas. Writing a conclusion is not mandatory, because this is not an opinion essay. Save your conclusions for task 2.
Here are some common words/phrases and their paraphrased versions:
Here are practical ways to help you get the first sentence in task 1 completed correctly and more quickly:
Now that we understand the exam’s marking system, we can prevent common errors that reduce scores and give the examiners exactly what they want.
You can download or listen to the audio version here:
More useful IELTS Academic Task 1 lessons: