IELTS Essentials: Academic Writing task 1

The IELTS Writing test comes after the Listening and Reading tests with a ten-minute break in between for relaxation. In writing test, candidates of both Academic and General Training modules are given 1 hour to complete both Task 1 and Task 2. Particularly, the most appropriate time allocation for each task is 20 minutes for task 1 and 40 minutes for task 2. In this post,  I will examine all aspects of Academic writing Task 1.

 Task type

In academic task 1, you will be given a diagram, a table or a short piece of text and then you have to present the information in your own words. Therefore, you should remember that you will lose score if you only copy all the words in the question.

Your writing will be assessed on your ability to:

  • organize, present and compare data
  • describe the stages of a process
  • describe an object or event
  • explain how something works

Figure type

In Academic writing task 1, you will be asked to describe the following figure’s type:

  • Pie chart
  • Table
  • Line graph
  • Bar chart
  • Map
  • Diagram (process)
  • Mixed figures (the combination of 2 or more figures which can be the same (eg. 2 line graphs) or different (eg. 1 table and 1 pie chart)

Marking criteria

Your writing report and essay will be marked based on how you respond to these four criteria:

  • Task Achievement: To achieve a high score, you must write a well-developed report that completely addresses all parts of the task.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: To achieve a high score, your ideas and in information must follow a logical organization (coherence), and you must use a range of cohesive devices skillfully.
  • Lexical Resource: you must use a wide range of vocabulary flu­ently with few errors.
  • Grammatical range and accuracy: you must use a wide range of grammatical structures fluently and accurately with few errors.

Writing strategy

Timing:

As you will have 60 minutes to complete the writing part of the test, you have better to allow 20 minutes for Task 1. Divide your time as follow:

  1. Plan:        5 minutes
  2. Write:    12 minutes
  3. Revise:    3 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Length:

You must write at least 150 words. There will be a penalty if you write less than 150 words, so be careful with word count.

Essay structure:

The best structure for your writing task 1 report is 4 paragraphs:

  • Introduction paragraph: 1 sentence
  • Overview (Summary): 1-2 sentences
  • Detail paragraph 1: 3-4 sentences
  • Detail paragraph 2: 3-4 sentences

man-people-space-desk

 

Overall strategy:

Step 1: Planning

You should spend about 5 minutes on planning before you start writing. To use this previous time wisely, I suggest you make these following notes:

  • Small note for introduction:

Graphic type: <bar, line, table, etc.>

Title: <title of the figure(if any)>

What/Who:<subject matter of the figure (what is it talking about)>

When:<the period of time in question>

Where:<the place in question>

Topic:<infer from the information above>

  • Notes about comparison and supporting details:

Comparison 1:…….………………………………………………..……..

Details:

A……………………………………………………..…….…………………….

B…..………………………………………………..…….……………………..

C…..………………………………………………..…….……………………..

You will be asked to make comparisons where relevant, therefore, when you look at a graphic, look for things you can compare. For example, you may compare between different places, years, genders, ages, etc. Look for similarities and differences among these things.

For example:

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 12.48.18 PM

When you look at this graph, you may (1) make comparison for daily sales of selected food between 2 seasons and (2) compare the average daily sales among these items in each season. My suggestion is (1) for the overall summary while (2) can be written into 2 detailed paragraph.

Here is the comparison example for (2):

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 1.09.16 PM

Step 2: Writing

Using the above notes to write your report. I will show you in detail the way to write each type of diagrams in the next posts.

Step 3: Revising

You should allow at least 3 minutes to revise your essay after you write

To make your revision easy and fast, I suggest you use the following checklist:

Task Achievement:

  • Thesis Statement:

    The thesis is a statement of what the essay is about. The first sentence of this essay is the topic sentence. It briefly summarizes the information in the graph and lets the reader know that the essay is about the graph.

  • Main ideas: Checking whether the main ideas completely address all key features of the figure.

Coherence:

  • Main idea – paragraph:
  • Supporting ideas:

Cohesion:

  • Introduction – Overview – Details
  • Transition words

Lexical Resource:

  • Vocabulary variety
  • Spelling

Grammatical range and accuracy

  • Sentence variety
  • Accuracy

TIPS

  • Use only the information provided in the task. Do not include outside information or your own opinion.
  • Ask yourself questions to focus on the task:
    • What is this graphic about?
    • Which are the most important details?

pexels-photo-267569

I hope this post give you a general view about Academic Writing task 1. In the next posts, I will show you the detailed strategy to tackle each type of writing task 1 questions.

Thank you for reading my blog

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  1. May 16, 2017

    […] the post Academic Writing task 1, I have shown you the general ideas about writing task 1 for Academic training. So in this post, I […]

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