The first task in the Writing Module of Academic IELTS is not the easiest one. To describe a diagram in English within 20 minutes is not something people can do easily even if they are native English speakers. The answer is in practice – the more you practice in writing IELTS essays, the greater chances you have to pass it successfully.
The IELTS Academic Task 1 in Writing will ask you to describe or interpret the information that is given in a diagram, a chart or a table (sometimes a combination of them)
Do’s and Don’t’s in Describing Diagrams, Sharts, Tables and Processes
- Read the task carefully. (At ielts.scool.nz you can read about the most frequent words in the IELTS tasks)
- Study the tables. Make a plan of what key points of the table you need to write about.
- This is a report so you mustn’t write about your opinion – only facts.
- You shouldn’t write any long introductions and conclusions.
- Don’t insert any examples from your life and do not judge whether something is good or bad. Don’t write anything that is not given in the diagram. Otherwise your score will be reduced.
- You do not have to explain why some increase or decrease took place – it is out of the question. .
- Do not copy the words from the task. Use synonyms. Remember that the words from the task will not be taken into account when calculating the number of words in your essay. So if you wrote 150 words and ten of them were taken from the task, your score will be reduced. You should try to write a bit more than 150 words.
- Pay attention to grammar and in particular – to the tenses of the verbs you use. More often than not you will need Past Simple (if dates are given in the past), Present Perfect ( if you use since orrecently), Past Perfect (with the preposition by) etc.
- Do not try describe every single fact from the table or the diagram, better try to describe the trends, notice the increases and decreases, drops and the highes picks, etc.
- Use official language ans special vocabulary to describe the deagrams.
- Check your report: 1) have you fulfilled the task? have you included all the important information? 2) have you made any grammar, spelling or lexical mistakes?
How is IELTS Academic Writing scored?
The first task in IELTS Writing is one third of the Writing Module.
At ielts.org you can read about the official scale to mark your report. .
At ielts.school.nz – you can find the detailed analysis of the creteria used to give you a score for Task 1 in IELTS Writing.
- Task Response – how accurately to address the task
- Coherence and Cohesion – how organized your writing is
- Lexical Resource – the range of your vocabulary
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy – the correctness of your grammar
Classification of diagrams, tables and graphs:
- cstl.syr.edu – a good book about all sorts of diagrams, graphs and tables in English with illustrations, exercises and keys
- admc.hct.ac.ae – about all types of diagrams, graphs and tables
Vocabulary for IELTS Writing:
- LineGraphGlossary – this is vocabulary to describe line grphs and charts with examples and illustrations.
Online IELTS Tests for Academic Writing:
- examenglish.com – teast you vocabulary (10 seconds for a word)
- An interactive test on verbs ( to describe graphs)
- dcielts.com – an interactive test on words and phrases with numbers
Practice Tasks for IELTS Academic Writing with Keys:
- Sample Diagram Descriptions
- tapeitimes.com – sample diagram descriptions from magazines
- examenglish.com – a sample of describing a pie chart
- elts-exam.net – a sample of describing a line graph
- docstoc.com – samples of describing diagrams and graphs
- scribd.com – большой сборник описаний диаграмм и графиков
What Course Books Can you Recommend? What Do You Use to Get Ready for IELTS Writing?
Our teachers use materials from the following books during the online lessons via Skype:
- Improve Your IELTS Writing Skills by Sam McCarter & Norman Whitby. Macmillan. 2007
- Academic Writing Practice for IELTS by Sam McCarter. IntelliGene. 2003
- Visuals. Writing about Graphs, Tables and Diagrams by Gabu Duigu. Academic English Press. 2001
- Focus on Academic Skills for IELTS by O. Terry and J. Willson. Longman. 2004