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Bite sized IELTS tips and tricks - Do you want a better writing task 1 score?

Updated on July 5, 2014
You can improve your IELTS writing
You can improve your IELTS writing | Source

Key points

  • keep it neat and tidy (including any mistakes!)
  • leave a line between paragraphs
  • don't write in the margins
  • read the instructions and cover every point
  • stick to the word count
  • keep to time (20 minutes)
  • don't use bullet points (like this list does)
  • use an introduction, body, conclusion structure

Example of a line graph for writing task 1 from Cambridge IELTS book 9
Example of a line graph for writing task 1 from Cambridge IELTS book 9

Start here and see how simple it can be!

OK! Let's go! Task 1 is about writing a report about a graph or a process.

Here are a couple of general points:

  • you need to hit that 150 word count - short answers score less.
  • rephrase any information from the task instructions that you use.
  • your audience is a university lecturer unless otherwise stated so use appropriate language.

There are several kinds of graph you may encounter. DON'T WORRY! The way of dealing with all of them has similarities.

Kinds of graph:

  • Single line graph
  • Double line graph
  • Bar graph
  • Pie chart
  • Table
  • Process diagram

Follow the recipe for IELTS writing success

The examiners are looking for a structure:

  1. Introduction

  2. Body

  3. Conclusion


Step by step


Describe the purpose of the report and any overall trends.


Give more detailed description of the trends. Notice how many features the graph has and write that many body paragraphs.


Summarise the patterns and comment on them in general.

DO NOT give your opinion!

Writing tasks 1 and 2

Which writing task do you prefer?

See results

Grammar matters

Look at the question you are answering. Notice what time period it is describing and make sure your grammar matches. For example, if the graph is about toys sold in 2005 then your grammar must use past tenses!

Use stock expressions

You can use fixed expressions to move between parts of your essay. For example, you can start with, "The graph describes..." (to explain WHAT) and then "It can be clearly seen that..." (to introduce the trends)

Using this kind of pattern makes your writing much easier because you just drop the details of the specific graph into a structure.

Task 1

A typical ielts task 1 graph and question
A typical ielts task 1 graph and question | Source

Remember to read the instructions and LOOK at the graph

If there are two bars and two or more lines remember to use words like

  • compare
  1. Start with the first graph
  2. then link (eg 'similarly)
  3. describe the other graph

Study more!

If you follow this information you will improve your writing score for task 1. For more information and individual help you can go to

Use the right words

You have to describe the changes you see so use relevant vocabulary.

  • rises
  • increases
  • decreases
  • drops
  • remains the same

Add information about the speed of the change

  • quickly
  • gradually
  • steadily

Advice on IELTS writing from the British Council


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    Post Comment

    • oldrick profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ingate 

      4 years ago from UK

      Many thanks for that. There is a lot more on the way :)

    • 101Ways2Life profile image

      Alana Niall 

      4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Great tips for improving IELTS score.


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