How To Do IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 is different than for the General IELTS test. Candidates need to summarise visual data into a minimum of 150 words.

The visual data may appear as any of the following: line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, tables, maps, or flow diagrams. Sometimes you may have more than one of these to summarise.

It is recommended that you spend 20 minutes on task 1 which leaves you with 40 mins to complete the essay task afterwards.

 The 6 Step Writing Process

Follow this step-by-step process to produce well structured summaries that please the examiners.

  1. Analyse the question and identify 2-4 key features. The question instructions are always the same but the visual data needs analysing carefully so that you can correct the most appropriate features for your over view.  Read how to do this here: How To Analyse and Select Key Features.

2. Write your opening sentence/introduction. This sentence will basically be a paraphrase of the question statement, which is the first sentence in the question box. It will tell the reader what the visual data is showing us in their own words. Read How To Write Your Introduction Here.


3. Write an over view. This will be your second paragraph where you will use the key features you have already identified to create a sentence or two that tells the reader what the main patterns or trends the data is showing us are. Read more here: How To Write An Over View.


4. Write details paragraph 1. Here you can describe in detail by using the information you are given (numbers and figures) how the data changes over time, or what differences there are between different groups of data.


5. Details paragraph 2. Here, if possible, you should make detailed comparisons between different groups of data. If this is not possible you should continue to describe various individual trends or patterns in detail, again by making use of the numbers and figures presented.


6. Check your summary. An essential part of writing is to check for errors. This is really important in IELTS tests as simple mistakes can effect your band score.

The more you practice this process the more confident you will become. Following the same process each time helps to eliminate nerves on exam day, it prevents you from making silly mistakes and means you will produce a well structured essay every time.

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