IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Process

IELTS writing task 1 academic process questions

A question on the IELTS academic writing test that is becoming more common, asks the candidate to write about and describe a process

You may have a natural or a man made process question. In this post we will look at how to write this type of essay, with structure help, vocabulary and sample answers. 


Writing Task 1 - Process Essay Structure >>

Paragraph 1 - Paraphrase the question

When writing your own introduction of one or two sentences paraphrase the question and add detail. 

Paragraph 2 - Overview of the main features

You need to be able to give a broad summary of the information. This is best started with - Overall....... then giving details of the main features you can see. You can write this in one or two sentences, which describe the main features of the information that is presented in the process. Think about the number of stages that are in time order, what is happening at the beginning? What is happening at the end? How many stages are there? 

Paragraph 3 - Specific details

Write about the process from the beginning, explaining what is happening throughout each stage. 

Paragraph 4 - Specific details

Write about the process through to the end, including time connectors that lead the reader through each step of the process clearly. 

TIP >> When describing a process you should write using the passive voice, focussing on the activities not the person who is doing them. 


Time Connectors >>

The words below can help you to connect the stages of the process you are writing about.


Writing Task 1 Process Sample Essays >>

Here are two sample essay questions and answers for you to look at. Review the language used, the essay structure, the stages and how it has been written. 


Sample Process Essay 1 

The diagram presents how olive is produced with the use of different equipment.

Overall, olive oil production involves four main stages and needs different equipment to achieve its desired appearance and flavour. The process starts with the breakdown of the olives after collection in a mill and culminates with storing the product in bottles until it is ready for consumption.

The process of making olive oil starts when olives are ground in a mill to create a paste. After the paste has been spread onto mats, this is transferred into a press where water is added. Following this procedure, the mashed olive paste is placed into a separation container where the oil goes through a natural separation process from vegetable waters.

After separation, the mixture goes into the olive oil return, where more water is added and wastewater is subsequently drained. Once this process has ended, the olive oil is ready to be bottled, where it is stored for a period of time known as the clarification stage. Finally, once this time has passed the oil is ready to be used.

(Word Count = 181 / Band Score 9)


  • Task Achievement - The answer provides relevant information, describing the process of how olive oil is made. The overview gives clear information, leading into the main body paragraphs. 
  • Coherence and Cohesion - The answer has been divided into clear logical paragraphs, with clear cohesion between them with the addition of time connectors (after, following this, finally). 
  • Lexical Resource - There is evidence of paraphrasing, synonyms and some less common words. 
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy - The answer has no grammatical errors. The sentences are mainly made up of multiple clauses and have a variety of structures. There are no spelling mistakes and punctuation is correct.

TIP >> Write a good overview, with how many stages the process has, starting with and ending with.

TIP >> Describe the process and lead the reader through it by using time connectors. 


Sample Process Essay 2

The picture illustrates the process of making paper from the trees that have been collected.

Overall, it can be observed that there are eight stages in this process, beginning with the collection of trees from the forest and ending with the paper being made in the paper making machine.

To begin with, timber is collected from the forest and taken to be debarked. After the wood has been stripped bare, it enters the chipping machine, where it is chopped up into tiny pieces. From the chipping machine, the wood enters into three separate stages. First, the wood chips are put through the mechanical pulping process, where they are ground and smashed into pulp. Then they have a chemical pulping, going next into the hydra-pulper. 

In the subsequent stage, the mixture goes through to be screened and cleaned, to filter any lumps or waste from the pulp. Lastly, the pulp is entered into the paper making machine, where it is pressed to make sheets of paper. The paper is then stored and stacked, ready for shipping and to be used.

(Word Count = 179 / Band Score 9)


  • Task Achievement - The answer provides relevant information, describing the process of how paper is made. The overview gives clear information, leading into the main body paragraphs. 
  • Coherence and Cohesion - The answer has been divided into clear logical paragraphs, with clear cohesion between them with the addition of time connectors (first, then, subsequently). 
  • Lexical Resource - There is evidence of paraphrasing, synonyms and some less common words. 
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy - The answer has no grammatical errors. The sentences are mainly made up of multiple clauses and have a variety of structures. There are no spelling mistakes and punctuation is correct.

TIP >> Write a good overview, with how many stages the process has, starting with and ending with.

TIP >> Describe the process and lead the reader through it by using time connectors. 


Writing Task 1 Band Score 9 Criteria >>


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