IELTS WRITING TASK 1 FUNDAMENTALS (Keep Updated).

UNIT 1: About Academic IELTS Task 1
What is in academic task 1?
In the academic part of the IELTS test you will have to do one of the following things: Describe a:
          Line Graph
          Bar Chart
          Pie Chart
          Table
          Process
          Diagram
   Map You will have 20 minutes to write your response.
How should I answer the task?
This will all be explained in the eBook, but here are some general tips before we begin:
  •           Limit yourself to 20 minutes. You have one hour for the writing part of the test and you also need to write an essay. The essay is more marks and longer so you should spend 40 minutes on this – if you go over your 20 minutes for task 1, you will not have the 40 minutes you need for task 2.
  •           Make sure you write at least 150 words. If you don’t your score may be reduced. Aim for 165 words.
  •           Don’t write too many words. It does not follow that you get more marks for writing more. Quality is more important than quantity.
  •           Do a plan, don’t just start writing. You should spend 5 minutes analyzing the graph to identify the key features and plan how you will organize your response
  •           Select the important information – don’t just write a long list of every point in the graph. If you look at the question, you’ll see you are told to select and explain the key features.
  •           Use a mix of sentence types and language – you will be graded on your language skills, “The number of .... increased. The number of .... decreased. The number of ... stayed the same”. This is boring and repetitive and will not get you a good score!
  •           Don’t give your opinions or start to explain why things may have happened. It is a factual report – just explain what you see.
UNIT 2: Line Graphs – Language of Change
When you write about a graph in Task 1 of IELTS, you will most likely be using the language of change and / or the language of comparison and contrast.
In this first part we’ll look at expanding your range of vocabulary and grammar structures for describing changes.
Exercise 1
Place the words of change into the right box
Note: you can use a word more than once as there is more than one choice for some (that is why there are 11 boxes but 12 words)


1. Rose/increased steadily
2. Rose/increased dramatically
3. Rose/increased gradually
4. Plunged to ...
5. Peaked at/reached a high of ...
6. Stood at
7. Fluctuated
8. Fell/dropped dramatically / sharply
9. Reach a trough of ...
10. Remained constant/unchanged/stable at ....
11. Leveled off/evened out at ...
12. Hit a low of ... 
Answers:

Word
Explanation
 

Stood at
This means ‘not moving’. So avoid using it once
you have begun describing the graph, but use it
to say where the figures started
 
Plunged
This is a very sudden and large drop down
 
 
Peaked at / reached a high of

The highest point that is reached on the graph
  


 
Hit a low of / Reached a trough of ...

The lowest point that is reached on the graph
 


Remained
constant/unchanged/stable at ..../ Leveled off/evened out at ...
This is used if a ‘flat’ point arises where the data
is neither increasing nor decreasing for a period
of time
 

Fluctuated
To rise and fall or vary irregularly



Take a look at the graph again below, and read the paragraph that describes it.



Description:
In 1991, the number of arrests for illegal drug use stood at 55. However, over the following two years, there was a sharp fall to 20 per year. The number then rose significantly from 1995 to 1996 to 50 per year. 1996 to 1999 saw a fluctuation in the arrest rate, which was followed by a sudden increase at the end of this period, with the rate reaching a peak of 80 in 2000. Next, the number of arrests plunged to a low of 15 in 2001. It remained stable for the following year, but then increased gradually to 20, leveling off at this rate for the remainder of the period.
Exercise 2:
Now, take a look at the sentences below which are all from the graph. There are four different parts: black, green, blue and red (they are also classed as ‘bold’, ‘capitals’, ‘italics’ and ‘underlined’ in case you print off in black and white). Each part has a specific function. Read the sentences and say what you think each different part is doing:
 
Sentence part
 

Function?
 
   
Black (bold)
 


 
 
Green (capitals)
 


 
   
Blue (italics)
 


 
  
Red (underlined)
 




1.    To begin, IN 1991, the number of arrests for illegal drug use stood at 55.
2.     However, OVER THE FOLLOWING THREE YEARS, there was a sharp fall to 20 per year.
3.     The number rose significantly FROM 1995 TO 1996 to 50 per year.
4.     1996 TO 1999 saw a fluctuation in the arrest rate,
5.     which was followed by a sudden increase AT THE END OF THIS PERIOD,
6.     with the rate reaching a peak of 80 IN 2000.
7.     Next, the number of arrests plunged to a low of 15 IN 2001.
8.     It remained stable FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR,
9.     but then increased gradually to 20,
10.  leveling off at this rate FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE PERIOD.
Answers:
Sentence part
Function
Black (bold)
Connector
Green (capitals)
Time
Blue (italics)
Change
Red (underlined)
Value

Table 1:
·      There + be + adjective + noun + in + noun
·      Time + saw + adjective + noun + in + noun
e.g.:
- There was a dramatic change in the number of arrests.
- There was a sudden jump in the number of arrests.
- 1996 saw a dramatic plunge in the arrest rate to 20.

Table 2:
·      Noun + verb + adverb
Practice:
1. Milk consumption fell sharply during June and July.
- There was a ........................................................
- June and July saw a..............................................
2. There was a slight dip in food prices at the start of the year.
- Food prices.........................................................
- The start of the year witnessed...........................................
3. In January, weather conditions improved significantly.
- January...............................................................
- There..................................................................
4. There will be a sudden increase in the birth rate next year. ........................................................................ ........................................................................
5. The use of public transport grew steadily in most cities from 2001 to 2008.
         ......................................................................... .........................................................................
6. March experienced a fluctuation in the number of people going abroad.
         ......................................................................... .........................................................................  
Exercise 4
Here is the same topic, but the data is different. Have a go at writing some sentences describing different patterns on the graph, making sure you vary your sentence patterns between the three we looked at.

1. ...................................................................................................
2. ...................................................................................................
3. ...................................................................................................
4. ...................................................................................................
5. ...................................................................................................
6. ...................................................................................................
7. ...................................................................................................
8. ...................................................................................................
9. ...................................................................................................

10. ...................................................................................................



UNIT 3: Introducing a Graph
Take a look at the graph below, then look at the description.
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
The line graph below shows changes in the amount of coffee exported from
three countries between 2002 and 2012.
Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.
Write at least 150 words.

The line graph illustrates changes in the levels of coffee exports in three South
American countries from 2002 to 2012 and is measured in millions of kilograms.
Overall, it can be seen that, despite some fluctuations, over the period as a whole the
levels of exports rose in all three countries.
Brazil and Costa Rica produced the most coffee. They began at a fairly similar level of
between 12 and 15 million kilograms in 2002, but while the coffee exported from Brazil
increased gradually over the following four years, exports from Costa Rica experienced a
significant fall to around 7.5 million. However, they both then followed a similar trend,
increasing steadily to 20 million (Costa Rica) and 25 million (Brazil).
Colombia had a more erratic pattern of exports than the other two countries. Exports stood
at 5 million kilograms per year in 2002, which was lower than Costa Rica or Brazil. They
overtook Costa Rica in 2006, with exports reaching 12 million, but there was then a sharp
fall to 2008, when exports hit a low of 2.5 million. Following this, exports increased rapidly
to finish the period at 15 million.
(191 words)
There are two parts to the introduction:
  1. 1)  What the graph shows
  2. 2)  The overview
1) What the graph shows
This part should answer these questions:
  1. a)  What is the type of graph shown?
  2. b)  What is the data?
  3. c)  What are the units of measurement?
  4. d)  Is there a period of time?


    Note: You must not copy the title or significant parts of the title, so you must paraphrase - keeping 
    some words the same or changing the order of the words is acceptable

    Language:


    1. a)  Tense - Use the present simple to say what the graph shows.

    2. b)  Phrases - You can use phrases such as these to introduce what the graph shows (don’t
      use the same phrase as the question):

  •            The graph shows ...
  •            The graph illustrates...
  •            The graph compares ...
  •            The graph gives information about... 



2) Overview:
You also need to identify of one or two main trends or patterns.
To identify this, it is better to think of the graph more like a picture or pattern.  You also should take a 
careful look at the trend, which is of the low of or peak at some point, you'd better mention either.
Usually one or two pieces of data on the graph stand out. If you look at the IELTS public band descriptors,
you must have an ‘overview’ to get a band 6 or higher for ‘task response’. So it is important not to miss 
this.
            Introduction 
            The line graph illustrates changes in the levels of coffee
             exports in three South American countries from 2002 to 2012
            and is measured in millions of kilograms. Overall, it can be
            seen that, despite some fluctuations, over the period as a
            whole the levels of exports rose in all three countries.
Note:

  •          No precise statistical data is provided (i.e. number and figures), in the overall sentence. This is an ‘overview’. If you give data it may look like detail and so may not be viewed as an overview. 
  •             The overview sentence can either appear right after the introduction or at the end of of BODY as a conclusion, but this is not necessary. A conclusion is not required in the task 1.
Language for the OverView sentence:

a)  Tense:     -Use the active, past simple to describe completed past events**
b)  Phrases: -You can use phrases such as these to introduce the main points: 

  •            Overall, it can be seen that ...
  •            It is noticeable that ...
  •            Overall it is immediately apparent that...
  •            The most obvious pieces of information are that ...
  •            The main facts that stand out are that ...
  •            It is important to note that ...
  •            The most significant facts to emerge from the graph are that ... 
Note: 
  •             Do not try and learn all or some of these pick one you want to use and learn it and use it every time this will save you time.
  •          Some graphs have no date in this case you can you past or present. Some are future predictions in which case you need to use future tenses.

UNIT 4: A More Complicated Line Graph

 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The graph shows the proportion of energy that was produced from coal in four European countries from 1995 to 2010.
Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant
Write at least 150 words.

Exercise 1: To help you analyze the graph, answer the following questions

1.   What is the graph showing? ...............................................
2.   What measurements are used? ..............................................
3.   Is there a timeframe? .............................................
4.   What is/are the main trend/s? ..............................................
5.   How could you group the information (look for any similarities between the patterns in the countries)? ...........................................
6.   Based on your answer to number 5, how many body paragraphs would you have? .................................................
Model answer:
          The line graph compares the production of energy from coal in Sweden, France, Denmark and Germany between 1995 and 2010. Overall, the percentage of energy produced from coal declined in all four countries over the timeframe.
          There was a dramatic fall in the production in Denmark and Germany. Denmark’s production of energy from coal stood at 60% in 1995, higher than the other four countries. However, production levels dropped sharply over the next 15 years to finish at 10% in 2010, which was the lowest of that year. Energy production from coal in Germany followed a similar pattern, beginning the period at just under 60% and falling significantly, though unlike Denmark it fell to a low of only 5% in 2007 and then increased again to approximately 18%.
          In contrast, Sweden and France saw more moderate falls over the period. 35% of energy came from coal in Sweden in 1995, and this proportion gradually declined over the period to finish at approximately 28% in 2010, the highest of the four countries, while the percentage produced in France remained just under that of Sweden over the 15-year period.

How can a good answer be defined?
- It should consist of the following:
  1.             An introduction.
  2.             An overview.
  3.             Mix of complex sentences or co-ordinators, linking words.
  4.             Variety of sentence types: 
    - There + be + adjective + noun + in + noun.
    Noun + verb + adverb.
    Time/country + saw/experienced/witnessed + adjective + noun + in + noun.
          5. Appropriate data selection:
                       - All the important data is selected and compared. It is probably not possible to   describe every point or change in the graph, or you can only identify the key points.
          6. Appropriate language of change: 
    • declined, dramatic fall, stood at, dropped sharply, falling significantly, fell to a low of, increased, moderate falls, gradually declined, remained just under

    • UNIT 5: Describing Process Diagrams

      The focus of the language is on the passive and time transitions.
      You will also need to describe the stages of the process. There are the key things you need to do:
      1.               Describe each important stage in the process and expand where necessary.
      2.              Organize your description in a logical way, linking each stage; and
      3.              Use the present simple passive.

      Time transitions: 

      Transitions
      Subordinating Conjunctions

      Firstly / First
      After

      Secondly / Second
      Before

      Thirdly / Third
      Until

      Fourthly / Forth
      Once

      Finally / Lastly
      When
        
      After that
      Having

      Afterwards
      At the same time as
        
      Then
      While

      Next

        
      Following this / that
      Examples:
      First, + sentence
      First, the cows graze in the field.
      After that, + sentence
      After that, the milk is pasteurized.
      Afterwards, + sentence
      Afterwards, the milk is pasteurized.
      Then, + sentence
      Then, the milk is pasteurized.
      Next, + sentence
      Next, the milk is pasteurized.
      Following this, + sentence
      Following this, the milk is pasteurized.
                                                  COMPLEX STRUCTURES
      After SV..., SV... After + gerund
      After the milk is packed and labeled, it is delivered. After being packed and labeled, the milk is delivered.
      Before SV..., SV... Before + gerund
      Before the milk is delivered, it is packed and labeled. Before being delivered, the milk is packed and labeled.
      SV...until SV....
      The milk is stored in a holding tank until it is ready to be delivered.
      Once SV..., SV... SV...once SV...
      Once the cows have been milked, they are then returned to the field. The cows are returned to the field once they have been milked.
      When SV..., SV... SV...when SV...
      When the cows have been milked, they are then returned to the field. The cows are returned to the field when they have been milked.
      *Having...
      Having been milked, the cows are then returned to the field.
                                          Two Things Happening at the Same Time
      SV... at the same time as SV At the same time as SV..., SV
      The cows are milked at the same time as the holding tank is prepared. At the same time as the holding tank is prepared, the cows are milked.
      SV...while SV...
      The cows are milked while the holding tank is prepared.
      While SV..., SV...
      While the holding tank is prepared, the cows are milked.
Model

          The diagram presents the manufacturing process of two types of tea, pu-erh raw tea and pu-erh ripe tea. Although the first three stages are the same for both teas, it can be seen that the methods of production differ in the final stages, which accounts for the resulting variations in the two teas.
          First, the tea leaves that have been picked are pan fried in order to inactivate the enzymes. Following this, the tea is rolled and afterwards spread out on a round mat so that it can dry under the sun. Once it has been dried, the loose raw tea is ready to be turned into either ripe tea or raw tea. This is where the process diverges. To make pu-erh ripe tea, the loose tea is fermented by being left to mold. Having completed the fermentation stage, the resulting loose ripe tea is then compressed, after which the tea is ready for sale. Regarding the alternative process, before being ready for sale as vintage raw tea, the loose tea is first compressed, and then left to age by storage.
          

Summary:
Process diagrams follow the same structure as other task 1s:
- Introduce the process
- Provide an overview (of the stages) Explain the detail
However, the differences are that you should:
Use the passive
- Use time transitions.
- Describe every stage of the process
Exercises:
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
The diagram illustrates the process that is used to manufacture bricks for the building industry.
Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.



UNIT 6: Maps.


You should do the same things that you do for any task 1:
  •    - Write an introduction (making sure you paraphrase).
  •    - Write an overview.
  •    - Decide on the key changes you will explain and decide how to group your ideas.
    Model writing:

     
              The map illustrates the changes that have occurred in Templeton, a seaside resort, over a 10 year period beginning in 1990 and ending in 2005. The most noticeable change is the replacement of many green areas with several major infrastructure projects.
              To begin, there were several major changes to transport in the town. An airport has been built beside the river on the outskirts of the town. In addition to this, a ferry port was constructed on the far east coastline, with a new railway extension line passing by the ferry port, continuing along the coast and crossing over a new bridge so it connects to the west side of town.
              There have also been changes to the business sector in Templeton. A factory can be seen in the south east of the town behind the new railway line, and a supermarket has been built over the river in the west of Templeton, running alongside a new road.
              The residential landscape has also altered, particularly on the west side of town, where large apartment blocks now stand in place of the houses.
              


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