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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

The IELTS Writing Test starts after the Listening and Reading tests. There are two tasks in the Writing test, and you will be given 60 minutes to complete them. This post will introduce you to the Writing Task 1.


What is Writing Task 1?

In Task 1, you are asked to describe a chart, graph or diagram. You should spend 20 minutes doing the IELTS Writing Task 1. You must write more than 150 words.


Below you can see 6 types of question types that appear in Task 1. In addition to these, you might also have Mixed Charts in your exam. Mixed Charts are a combination of any of the two charts below.




How will my work be marked?

There are four assessment criteria used to mark your work:

  1. Task Achievement - assesses how well a candidate summarises the main features of the visual information and meets the requirements of the task.

  2. Coherence and Cohesion - assesses how well a candidate groups the information and writes a clear report that is easy to follow. 

  3. Lexical Resource - assesses how well a candidate uses a range of vocabulary to describe the information in a precise way.

  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy - assesses how accurately a candidate uses a range of grammatical structures and elements.


How should I describe a chart, graph or diagram?

I recommend using a "general to specific" structure to write a report. This structure should include the following paragraphs and elements:

  1. Introduction - it is the most general part of the essay; it simply tells the reader what the graph is about (e.g. the graph describes electricity consumption; household spending).

  2. Overview - it is a paragraph about the main points or a general trend. In this paragraph, you should write a summary of the information from the chart, graph or diagram (e.g. household spending has generally increased in 20 years).

  3. Body Paragraphs - finally, you should describe the specific facts and figures from the graph. I recommend organising the information in a logical way and writing 2 body paragraphs.


Learning Strategy

The good news is that you can quickly learn how to write a Task 1 essay. I will be writing a series of posts for you to make sure you know what exactly to write in academic reports.


We'll work on these areas:

  • How to structure a good Task 1 essay.

  • How to decide what information to include in your description.

  • The words, phrases and grammatical structures for describing graphs, charts, tables, diagrams and maps.

By using the right techniques, you can write the kind of essay that examiners like.