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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Article

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Exam summary


IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 is a test of your ability to describe and summarize information presented in a visual format, such as a graph, chart, table, or diagram. In this task, you will be given one or more visual sources of information and asked to write a 150-word report on the information presented. Your report should summarize the main trends, patterns, or features of the information, and should not simply repeat the information in the visual sources.


The assessment criteria for Task 1 include:


Task achievement: How well you have described the information presented in the visual source(s)


Coherence and cohesion: How well you have organized your report and connected ideas together


Lexical resource: The range and accuracy of your vocabulary


Grammatical range and accuracy: How well you have used grammar to express your ideas.


It is important to note that Task 1 is not a test of your opinions or personal views. Instead, you are expected to describe and summarize the information presented in the visual source(s) in an objective and neutral manner. To prepare for this task, it is recommended to practice summarizing information from different types of visual sources and to work on improving your vocabulary and grammar.


Essential rules


Do Task 1 first. There is a reason why it is Task 1. From a psychological point of view, it gives you a sense of accomplishment when you have finished it.


A common feature of the writing process is the concept of getting oneself going. With the shorter Task, you can get yourself into your stride in writing. By the time you start Task 2, you will then be much more alert and perform Task 2 much more efficiently.


Spend 20 minutes on this task. A common mistake that candidates make is to spend longer on Task 2 and leave themselves 15 minutes or less to complete Task 1.


Take Task 1 seriously, even though Task 2 carries double the marks.


Skim the instructions and study the diagram. Use the general statement about the data to help you interpret the graph.


Spend the recommended 20 minutes as follows: 2-3 minutes analysing and planning 14-15 minutes writing 2-3 minutes checking


Check the values and numbers on the vertical and horizontal axes.


Work out how many lines 150 words are in your handwriting, e.g. if you write about 10 words per line, then you will need to produce at least 15 lines. Aim to write no more than 170/180 words.


Check that you have written at least 150 words. If you write less, it will affect your score.


Compare general trends, differences, etc and support this with information from the diagram. Avoid focusing too closely on the details.


If you have more than one graph or chart or mixture, link the information.


Make sure you write in paragraphs: an introduction, one or two paragraphs for the body of the text. Then write a brief conclusion.

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