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Learning how to answer Writing Task 1 in either IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training is key to achieving a great band score in this section. In this article, you will learn how to answer IELTS Writing Task 1 in both tests, become familiar with the types and topics in this task and how the task is marked.

How to answer Writing Task 1 in IELTS?

Your answer in IELTS Writing Task 1 will depend on the type of test you will be taking.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1:

In Academic Writing Task 1 you are shown a visual representation of information; a graph, table, chart, process or map, and you are asked to describe this by summarising the information you see.

Make sure you organise your response into three main parts, the introduction, an overview and the main features supported by figures from the diagram.

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1:

In General Training Writing Task 1 you will be given a situation where you will need to write a letter, perhaps to request information or explain a situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style. You might be asked to write a letter to suggest how to improve the facilities at a library, for example.

Examiners will look at your ability to provide information in relation to the task, such as expressing needs, wants, likes and dislikes, as well as opinions, views and complaints.

Common IELTS Writing Task 1 types

In the IELTS Academic exam, there are various Writing Task 1 question types that you could be given, and some are more common than others. Here's a list of the types of questions you could find in Writing Task 1 and some strategies to deal with the different question types.

When answering these different question types, you should summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Line Graphs

Line graphs commonly occur in Writing Task 1 on the IELTS exam. The topics vary and there may be one or multiple lines, representing various types of information, over different periods of time.

Example:

The graph below shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992.

The graph below shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992.

Bar Charts

Bar charts or bar graphs are another common Writing Task 1 question type. Again, there could be one topic or multiple topics all on one chart. The chart could also be vertical or horizontal.

Example:

The chart below shows the number of men and women in further education in Britain in three periods and whether they were studying full-time or part-time.

The chart below shows the number of men and women in further education in Britain in three periods and whether they were studying full-time or part-time.

Pie Charts

Pie charts don't appear as often as line graphs and bar charts, but they are sometimes a question type in Writing Task 1 in the IELTS exam.

Tables

Tables are also a possible question type in the IELTS exam. Again, there can be various topics included in one table.

Process

Processes do not occur as often on the test, but they do appear as a Writing Task 1 question. There can be a wide range of processes, such as how machines work or how food is processed.

Example:

The diagram below shows the process by which bricks are manufactured for the building industry

 The diagram below shows the process by which bricks are manufactured for the building industry

Maps

Just like the processes, maps don’t occur very often, but they do appear from time to time. The maps are usually of cities and towns which have developed over a period of time.

Combinations

The combination of different task types such as a graph and a pie chart, or a table and a bar graph, happens quite often in the IELTS test. Although they happen often, you should know how to write each task type individually, and then you'll be able to combine them more easily.

Natural Processes and Life Cycles

The task of writing about a natural process or life cycle only happens once in a while but is still a possibility.

For task types such as line graphs, bar charts, and pie charts, try to use specific language such as adjective-noun and verb-adverb combinations. This vocabulary works for chronological graphs and charts. Comparatives and superlatives work well for graphs and charts that compare data. With tasks such as processes, maps and natural processes and life cycles, try to use specific language for the topic. This may be language you already know or the vocabulary that is used in the diagram. Using the proper language to describe how you think the process works is more important than knowing exactly how the process works.

Furthermore, when describing task types such as graphs, charts, and tables, use an active voice. For task types such as processes, maps, and natural processes and life cycles, use a passive voice. Making this distinction can mean a higher overall band score.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 topics

You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe it by summarising the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and present data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object, plan or design.

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 topics

In the IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 , you are asked to write a letter, where you demonstrate your ability to communicate using English letter-writing conventions.

You will be given a common, everyday situation such as writing to apologise for missing a friend’s party, complaining to a company about bad service, writing to give advice to a friend about where to go on holiday, or writing to express your interest in a new job.

How is IELTS Writing Task 1 marked?

For Task 1 of both AC and GT Writing tests, this criterion assesses how fully, appropriately, accurately and relevantly the response fulfils the requirements set out in the task, using a minimum of 150 words.

 Academic Writing Task 1 Writing task 1 in IELTS Academic has a defined input and a largely predictable output. It is basically an information-transfer task, which relates narrowly to the factual content of a diagram, graph, table, chart, map or other visual input, not to speculative explanations that lie outside the given data.

The task achievement criterion (TA criterion) assesses the ability to summarise the information provided in the diagram by:

  • Selecting key features of the information.

  • Providing sufficient detail to illustrate these features.

  • Reporting the information, figures and trends accurately.

  • Comparing or contrasting the information by adequately highlighting the identifiable trends, principal changes or differences in the data and other inputs (rather than mechanical description reporting detail).

  • Presenting the response in an appropriate format.

General Training Writing Task 1

For the General Training test, Writing Task 1 also has a largely predictable output in which each task sets out the context and purpose of the letter and the functions the candidate should cover to achieve this purpose.

The TA criterion assesses the ability to:

  • Clearly explain the purpose of the letter.

  • Fully address the three bullet-pointed requirements set out in the task.

  • Extend these three functions appropriately and relevantly.

  • Use an appropriate format for the letter.

  • Consistently use a tone appropriate to the task.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Vocabulary

There's no specific vocabulary to use in Writing Task 1 ; however, it should be related and appropriate to the task. Here is a breakdown of the IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Descriptors:

  • Task Achievement – Did you respond to or achieve the task asked of you?

  • Coherence and Cohesion – Did you link ideas through logical sequencing and use varied cohesive devices appropriately?

  • Lexical Resource – What is the range of the vocabulary that you demonstrated?

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy – Did you demonstrate your grammatical skills by using a range of accurate grammatical structures?

Also, here are some examples of formal and informal vocabulary and structures that you can use in your IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 response:

Formal vocabulary and structures 

Informal vocabulary and structures 

Request

Ask

Purchase

Buy

Could

Can

Would

Will

At your earliest convenience

When you are free

Respond

Write back/reply

Cannot

Can’t

Yours sincerely/faithfully

Best wishes/love

Furthermore

And/also

Can I suggest

Can I tell you

As I described above

As I mentioned before

By following these descriptors and these suggested vocabulary structures, you will be able to achieve a good band score and ace your test. Also, learn how to get a high score in Academic Writing Task 1 .

IELTS Writing Task 1 FAQs

1. How long is IELTS Writing Task 1?

The Writing test takes 60 minutes. There are two tasks to complete. It is suggested to spend about 20 minutes on Task 1, which requires candidates to write at least 150 words.

2. Does IELTS Writing Task 1 need a conclusion?

IELTS teachers will often tell you to put the overview at the end like a 'conclusion' in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1; however, an IELTS Task 1 response does not need a conclusion.