IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic) gives factual information in a table, graph, chart, process or diagram and wants you to write at least 150 words in 20 minutes. To identify the main features of the data, you must practise sample questions and answers on different topics.
Since IELTS writing task 1 wants you to put the visual information in writing, it assesses your ability to interpret data and writing skills. The visual information contains numbers, figures, and structures, where you must describe its trends, changes or developments. In this article, we will discuss the necessary skills required for IELTS writing task 1 to score higher, including the number of questions, essay structure, types, etc.
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1
The IELTS Academic writing task 1 asks you to write an essay of about 150 words in 20 minutes. You may get a specific graph (bar, line or pie chart), table or process (how something works), and you need to summarise, compare and report it in writing.
Writing Task 1 Exam Format
In IELTS, the writing task 1 exam format includes word count, time limit, number of questions, and so on. For easy understanding, refer to the table below.
||IELTS Writing Task 1 Exam Format
||150 words (minimum)
||No of questions
||No of question types
Writing Task 1 Academic Essay Structure
Like each task in IELTS tests, the writing task 1 academic also has a structure to be followed by students. It is mainly to help students in answering the question and to get a band score of 9. The structure includes:
- Give an overview
- Explain the main features
In the introduction part, you need to paraphrase the information briefly and outline the main features.
Give an overview:
The overview must have the noticeable trend or changes from the information. Make sure you highlight the trend or changes clearly so that the examiner can relate it with the graph or chart given.
Explain the main features:
Here, you need to describe the main features in detail. By referring to the data, you must state the similarities, differences, trends, highs and lows etc., and give the reason behind it. Generally, comparative structures attract the examiner’s attention.
Even though conclusion is not mandatory in IELTS writing task 1, you can give an attractive conclusion in the end, highlighting the main points and giving your opinion (if necessary). But, ensure your opinion is within the topic.
To achieve a better score in IELTS writing task 1, you must follow the above mentioned structure.
IELTS Writing Task 1 Marking Criteria
Students who aim for a band score of 7.5 and above must know how their performance is evaluated. To know that, the IELTS writing task 1 marking criteria are given below. Once you know this, you can improve your preparation to meet these criteria.
The IELTS Writing Task 1 Marking Criteria:
- Grammar range and accuracy
- Lexical resources
- Task achievement
- Coherence and cohesion
Grammar range and accuracy:
This refers to the different types of sentences used and how accurate the grammar is. Please note that your grammar is manifested in your writing.
This factor aims to check your vocabulary usage (alternative words) in the sentences and its accuracy and appropriateness.
The task achievement is to assess your ability to complete the task of writing a minimum of 150 words that is appropriate and relevant to the topic. It’s basically a task to transfer the factual information in writing and not speculate with unnecessary explanations.
Coherence and cohesion:
Here, coherence refers to the connection between ideas through logical sequencing. Whereas, cohesion refers to the usage of cohesive devices like pronouns, conjunctions, etc. It is mainly to assist in making the relationship between concepts and references within sentences clear.
When you plan for IELTS, keep the IELTS writing task 1 marking criteria in mind and start your learning. Since each criterion carries 25% of the overall score, giving equal focus will help you go in the right direction.
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Band Descriptors
In IELTS, each test module is assessed based on a band scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). To understand the IELTS Academic writing task 1 band descriptors, follow the below table as we made it simple for you.
||Coherence and Cohesion
||Grammatical range and accuracy
- meeting all the requirements
- Writing a fully developed response
- Uses cohesion that does not attract examiner’s attention
- Paraphrasing the information correctly
- Using various vocabulary with a natural control of lexical resources. Minor errors are accepted as ‘slips’
- Uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy. Minor errors are accepted as ‘slips’
- Sufficiently covered all requirements
- Outline key features/bullet points at the appropriate place
- Writing information and ideas in a sequential order.
- Given all components of cohesion
- Given sufficient paragraphs to understand.
- To give precise meanings, used various vocabulary fluently
- Used different lexical items; inaccuracies occasionally while choosing word choice
- Rare spelling errors and word formation
- Uses different structures
- Most sentences are without errors
- Makes only a few occasional errors
- Covers most of the task requirements
- (A) states a clear outlook of main trends, differences.
- (GT) states a clear overview with a consistent tone
- Highlighted key features but not fully extended
- Write information and ideas logically
- Use cohesive devices appropriately with some under/over use
- Considerably used the vocabulary
- Uses less common lexical items with some style and collocation
- Make occasional errors in spelling and word choice
- Uses more complex sentences
- Writes frequent error-free sentences
- Decent grammar and punctuation but make a few errors
- Addresses the task requirements
- (A) gives an overview with appropriate information
- (GT) gives a purpose without a constant tone
- Highlighting key features with irrelevant details
- Gives information coherently with an overall progression
- Cohesion in sentences may be faulty or mechanical
- Referencing are not clearly used
- Uses an adequate amount of vocabulary
- Try to use less common vocabulary
- Makes some spelling mistakes but do not impede communication
- Uses simple and complex sentences
- Makes errors in grammar and punctuation
- Addresses the task with some inappropriateness
- (A) gives details mechanically. No clear overview.
- (GT) may give a purpose that is unclear.
- Key features/bullet points are inadequate
- Gives information with a lack of overall progression
- Cohesive devices are inaccurate or inadequate
- Lack of referencing
- Uses limited vocabulary
- Clear mistakes in spelling and/or word
- Difficult for readers to follow
- A limited use of structures
- Complex sentences are inaccurate
- Frequent errors in grammar and punctuation
- Addresses the task with inappropriate format
- (A) gives no clear overview.
- (GT) gives no clear purpose and inappropriate tone
- Key features/bullet points are unclear
- Information and ideas are not arranged coherently
- Uses inaccurate cohesive devices
- Uses only basic vocabulary
- Spelling mistakes cause difficulty in understanding
- Limited range of structures used
- More errors in grammar and punctuation
- Did not address the task with inappropriate format
- (GT) gives no clear purpose
- Key features/bullet points are confusing
- Ideas are not logical
- Limited use of cohesive devices
- Limited usage of words and expressions
- Errors may distort the information
- Many errors in grammar and punctuation
||Answer is hardly related to the task
||Barely uses organisational features
||Uses very little of vocabulary
||Did not use sentence forms
||Answer is completely against the task
||Did not communicate the message
||Uses a few isolated words
||Cannot use sentence form at all
- Did not attend the test
- Did not attempt any task
- Wrote a memorised response
Get to know this latest IELTS writing band descriptors to help you focus on key points and get a good IELTS score.
Types of Graphs in IELTS Writing Task 1
In IELTS Writing Task 1, there are seven (7) types of graphs given to assess your writing skills. In the exam, you will get any one of the graphs with factual information and are required to write a summary of at least 150 words. To master IELTS writing task 1, you must understand each type in detail. We will look into it one by one as follows.
- Bar Chart
- Line Graph
- Table Chart
- Pie Chart
- Process Diagram
- Multiple Graphs
IELTS Writing Task 1 Chart Practice Questions
To understand each type clearly, we have a list of sample questions. By going through them, you will know how to identify and answer them correctly.
The bar chart shows the distribution of employment among agriculture, services, industries in three countries in 1980 and projected distribution in 2020.
The bar charts are about the percentage of people working in different sectors (Agriculture, Industry and Services) in three countries in 1980 and its projected distribution figure in 2020.
Among three industries, services attracted more people for employment in countries A and C, whereas in country B, the agriculture industry was the main scope of employment. Moreover, besides some minimal variations, there are no considerable amount of changes predicted in the main trends of these countries’ employment distribution.
During the year 1980, the services industry contributed approximately 45% and 65% in countries A and C respectively, while the other industries contributed 30% and 35%. Employment in the agriculture industry amounted to a small percentage of the workforce in both countries at nearly 20% and 5% respectively. The same countries are likely to decline in industry-related employment/jobs with a rise in service-related jobs in 2020.
When it comes to country B, most people indulge in the agricultural industry at approximately 70%, followed by services and industry comes with 35% and 20% respectively. Here, the trends are predicted to have no changes, remaining the same, however, with a decrease of 15% in agricultural jobs.
Click here to know more about Task 1 Bar Chart.
The pie charts below give information about world population in 1900 and 2000.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.
The given pie charts talk about the global population across the world in 1900 and 2000.
It is evident from the fact that in a century, there was an overall rise from 1.6 billion to 6 billion in the total number of population globally.
In 1900, Asia occupied approximately 60% of the world population, being the highest among all. In 2000, when its population was reduced by 6%, it still remained the largest populated planet in the world. Similarly, Europe witnessed a fall in its population, from 25% in 1900 to 14% in 2000. On the other hand, in Africa and Latin America, the population increased exponentially over the last 10 decades, with the numbers rising to 10% and 8% respectively in the year 2000.
When humans were nearing 2000, a new area called the Middle East and North Africa came into the picture, having almost 6% of the global population. Astonishingly, the population of North America and other parts of the world remained unaltered for over a century, with a 10% loss in 2000.
Click here to know more about Task 1 Pie chart.
- the diagram below shows the life cycle of a frog
The diagram shows the life cycle of a frog right from the egg to an adult frog, crossing 8 different stages, including embryo, tadpole stage, limbs formation, etc.
The life cycle starts when male and female adult frogs mate with each other. Once the mating is over, the female frogs start to lay a large number of eggs in the water, with an embryo inside. After some time, these eggs break and little tadpoles come out from the embryo, and they start growing day by day. Slowly, these tadpoles become larger and form all limbs to move.
The subsequent stages are with major transformation. The tadpoles develop into young frogs where their tails and other limbs grow longer and help them to move slowly from one place to another. As time passes by, the young frogs become larger and bigger, where their front legs and rear legs are fully grown with fingers. Then, the pulmonary breathing also starts functioning in full swing. Until now, their growing period on the water is done and live on the ground begins. Later, their tails start reducing in size and almost disappear before they reach the adult stage. Finally, the young frogs are fully grown and are now ready for their mating period.
Click here to know more about Task 1 Process Chart.
The line graph shows the sales figures for bananas imported to 4 countries from 1996 to 2004.
The given line graph compares the cost of bananas in Japan, France, Germany and the USA from 1996 to 2004. The measurement is in US dollars per kilogram.
It is apparent from the graph that Japan has the highest price of bananas, while the US has the lowest price from 1996 to 2004.
In the beginning of 1996, the banana prices were similar in Japan and France amounting to around 2 USD/kg. The sales figure indicates that there were not many changes in the price of bananas for the next year and a half in France, however in Japan, the price was reduced to 3 USD/kg. In 1999, it dwindled or decreased to 1.5 USD/kg and 2 USD/ kg respectively in France and Japan. Thus, the banana prices oscillated till the end and reached a price of 2.5 USD/kg in Japan in 2004 and almost 2 USD/kg in France in the same period.
With respect to Germany and the USA, the price of bananas in Germany in 1996 was 1.5 USD/kg, which is 0.5 USD/kg higher than in the USA. In 1998, the price shot up to 0.25 USD/kg in both countries. After that, the prices remained unchanged in the USA at 1.25 USD/kg from 1999 to 2004, whereas in Germany the price increased slowly to 2 USD/kg in 2002 and dipped a little bit to 1.75 USD/kg in 2004.
Click here to know more about Task 1 Line Graph.
IELTS Table - Pupils who entered higher education
The given table shows the number of pupils enrolled in higher education from five different secondary schools from 1995 to 2000 inclusive.
Overall, there is an expected rise in the number of pupils in higher education admission each year starting from 1995. In 1995 amongst five secondary schools, the Harble secondary school registered the lowest number of admissions, amounting to just 30%, however, during 1999 and 2000 there was a significant rise in the number of graduates joining in higher education. Meanwhile, in 2000 there were exactly 80% of the graduates from Harble Secondary School entered institutions to pursue higher education. It is noted for successfully ranking its school first in the year 2000. And Fairly Girls School ranked second with an overall figure of 79% admissions in the same year.
Surprisingly, Greystone High School was considered the best secondary school in 1995 in terms of having the highest percentage (90%). But, after becoming a flagman, the school experienced a slight decrease in enrolment in higher education from 1996 to 2000. During 2000 the graduates entering higher education took a positive trend and reached 70 ranking, which is third after Fairfield Girls Secondary School.
Finally, Cracked Boys and Royston Academy witnessed almost similar patterns in admitting pupils to higher education institutions in the year 2000, accounting for 62% and 60%.
Click here to know more about Task 1 Table Chart.
The maps show changes in the village of Meadowside and the town of Fonton from 12962 to now. Write a report of at least 150 words describing the main features and making comparisons where relevant.
The map depicts the progress that was undertaken in Meadowside and the neighbouring town of Fonton in three different periods - 1962, 1985, and the present.
From the map, it’s clear that both places had tremendous growth and development in terms of building construction and other facilities. Now they have emerged into one large landscape with Meadowside village, serving as a suburb for the neighbouring Fanton town.
In 1962, when the development process started, towns were fully isolated from each other. Through the Meadowside, a road was constructed from the southwest to the northeast direction, whereas Font on is attached with a rail line from the southeast to the northeast direction.
During 1985, both areas had expanded two-fold. Notably, no road was there to connect the village and the town, while the roads constructed previously were made bigger to meet the expectations of the size of the new one. In Meadowside, various features were built next to the first road, like a super-store, a leisure centre and a good-looking housing estate.
At present, Meadowside and the neighbouring Fonton town have joined. The empty space between them has turned into a beautiful business park to the south of the road, and from the north, there is a hotel. In addition to that, a train station has been included just beside the road with a new railway line meeting the one.
Click here to know more about Task 1 Map.
From the multiple graphs, the pie chart talks about the route causes of land degradation across the globe, and the table reveals information about three different regions that were facing the repercussions of these damaging factors during the 1990s.
From the pie chart, it is evident that overgrazing was the main reason why farmland became less productive. Likewise, the data from the table highlights that Europe covered more percentage of degraded land in comparison with North America and Oceania for a certain period.
Adding to that, the pie chart represents two major reasons for the decline in agricultural land productivity: deforestation and over-cultivation. Even though cutting-off trees is as destructive as grazing too many animals, at 30%, it comes next to overgrazing because it has a 5% lower impact than overgrazing. In this situation, over-cultivation (excessive) is not focused on as it is the least problematic, covering over a quarter of the whole.
Based on the table, the damaging practices in the 1990s have caused 23% of agricultural land to deteriorate. This is followed by Oceania, which seems to be the next most damaged region in the world. Regarding North America, they faced the lowest level of productivity loss, amounting to just 5% of its entire agricultural land.
IELTS Writing Task 1 Tips
The IELTS writing task 1 tips and strategies given below are applicable to IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes how to improve your vocabulary, how to write an introduction and other paragraphs, etc.
- First, identify the writing task 1 type correctly.
- Paraphrase the topic in your own words for the introduction.
- Outline the main features in the first two paragraphs in 3 - 4 lines.
- Since the conclusion is not mandatory, add it only if you think it’s necessary.
- Use alternative words (new vocabulary) to reiterate the same information.
- Practice with different sentence structures to avoid a monotonous tone.
- To improve vocabulary, read newspaper articles, magazines, novels, etc.
Also Read: IELTS Writing task 1 vocabulary
1. How can I solve IELTS writing task 1?
The effective way to solve IELTS writing task 1 is:
- Understanding the IELTS writing task 1 question types
- Give a brief introduction to the data
- Describe the key features and elaborate them with suitable examples
- Use new vocabulary to rephrase the sentences
- Check grammar and punctuation in the end
2. How can I score 7, 8 or 9 in the IELTS writing task 1?
To achieve a good score of 7, 8 or 9 in the IELTS writing task 1, you must improve your writing speed, vocabulary and importantly, the ability to interpret the data. Since there are 7 types in task 1, each is unique in terms of numbers, formats, time and duration, etc. Once you practise all, you will be able to get the targeted score.
3. Can I write more than 150 words in IELTS?
Yes. You can write more than 150 words in the IELTS writing task 1. There is no upper limit given for word count, but at the same time, don’t write irrelevant content to your summary.
4. What type of writing is task 1?
The IELTS writing task 1 from the Academic test consists of 7 types of charts, including process diagrams, maps, bar charts, pie charts, tables or line graphs and multiple graphs. Since it is very different from writing task 2, it is not an 'essay' but a piece of factual information.
5. Should I write a conclusion in IELTS writing task 1?
Based on the question and your content, you can write a conclusion. Even though the conclusion is not necessary for the IELTS writing task 1, if you think it’s appropriate, you can write a concluding sentence.
6. How many words should I write?
The test-taker must write at least 150 words in 20 minutes.