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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

The IELTS writing exam is divided into two sections. You have an hour to write both. Since task 1 makes up 33% of the test you should plan to spend 20 minutes on this section to ensure that you make effective use of your time.

Graphs, charts or diagrams

Academic task 1 requires that you summarise and compare a diagram, chart or graph. You should use at least 150 words for the task. This section is not an essay. It is a summary. You should use formal language and it must factual. Keep your opinion for Task 2. It is not required in this section. You should also only comment on the information as presented in the task, nothing additional.

Marking criteria

The task is marked thus

  • 25% task achievement
  • 25% cohesion and coherence
  • 25% vocabulary
  • 25% grammar

Summarise and compare

The task may contain two to three charts which may be a line graph, a table, a pie chart, a map, a diagram or a bar chart. To do well in this task you need to take a general overview of the task. A good description will look at trends, at highs and lows and at the times that these occurred – beginnings and endings in other words. You need to describe the key features and changes in the graphs.

The process

Start off by looking at the graphs to determine what you need to summarise and compare. Write an introduction of one to two sentences. Then offer a general overview, describing trends. The next paragraphs should get into the specifics, grouping your information according to features and then describing each of them.

Always bear in mind that this is a test of your English-speaking abilities. Use the appropriate vocabulary. Try to showcase as much of your vocabulary as possible and make sure that your English grammar is immaculate.

Preparing for the exam

The best way to prepare for the exam is to get plenty of practice beforehand. Try your hand at describing and comparing various diagrams and graphs. Send them in for an evaluation and learn from the outcomes.

Useful links to help you prepare for Academic Task 1:

If you need some sample essays and questions, check out these resources :