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How to Prepare for Part 1 of the IELTS Writing Paper

This article gives you essential tips on how to prepare to write a descriptive report for Part 1 of the Academic IELTS Writing module.

In Academic Task 1 of the IELTS Writing module, you are expected to write a short descriptive report based on visual information or data.

The good news about IELTS Writing Task 1 is that all the content that you need to include in your answer will be contained in the diagram(s) that you are given. These could be pie chartsbar chartsline graphstables or a mixture of two or three of these diagrams.

You are not required to explain or interpret the data in front of you, so do not do this. Just report the facts in front of you.

How to describe the diagrams

Try to begin your writing with the following in mind – imagine that after you have finished writing your answer, the examiner will attempt to recreate the diagram you were given from your description of it.

In order for the examiner to do this, you will need to include some or all of the following:

  • Describe trends: e.g. ‘The rate of inflation rose steadily between 1970 and 1980’.
  • Make comparisons and group information: e.g. ‘In both London and Paris slightly fewer people used the train in 1970 than in 1980’.
  • Point out notable features: e.g. ‘It is interesting to note that despite a downward slump, there was a sharp rise in sales in 1975’.
  • Report numbers and values accurately: e.g. ‘In 1970 64% of men and 17% of women voted for a change in policy’.
  • Provide an overview: e.g. ‘The life expectancy of both men and women has increased since 1950’.

IELTS writing Task Diagrams







If you can manage this, you will be well on your way to completing the task successfully.

Organise your paragraphs

This is a very easy thing to do, but it can have a very positive effect on the intelligibility of your writing. It organises your writing and makes it more readable.

Very often, people use no paragraphing in the IELTS writing task and the examiner is faced with a “sea” of writing with no breaks from start to finish. This is not good, as your writing can become difficult to read easily.

We strongly recommend that you make your paragraphing as clear as possible by separating each paragraph with an empty line. This will leave the reader with no doubt where one paragraph ends and another begins.

For the IELTS Academic Task 1 Writing, you should have a paragraph for a short introduction, a paragraph for each graph that you are describing and a paragraph for your ending.

If there’s only one graph to be described, then you should split your writing into 2 or maybe 3 paragraphs for the one graph, with each paragraph taking about a specific feature or idea.

Remember when you begin a new idea, a point that contrasts one you were just discussing, or when you are raising a related but separate point, it’s probably time to start a new paragraph.

Structuring your IELTS Writing Task

1 – The introduction

Re-state the description of the diagrams you were given. You don’t need to do too much here – look for key verbs and nouns then consider how you can paraphrase them to show you have understood the question. Paraphrasing is when you use a different set of words to say something very similar to the original.

2 – The main body of your essay

This needs to provide the detail of what the diagrams show. This is likely to include some or all of the following features: describe trends, make comparisons, group information, report numbers and values accurately, and point out anything that is notable.

How many paragraphs you write will depend on the type and number of diagrams you are given.

3 – In your conclusion

You can give your overview – this should be one or two sentences reporting the main features or trends. It should avoid detail and provide an overview of the diagram.