In this post, I want to share with you the 8 tips that you should remember in order to have IELTS Academic writing task 1 success!
There is a lot of information out there for you to read and remember, but during lessons with my students I always repeat the same things and those that choose to listen and study hard achieve the band score they need (7+!)
So here are the 8 tips for writing task 1 success!
1. Understand the question
Make sure that you read the question properly a few times, so that you fully understand what it is asking you to do. I often read essays where the student has misunderstood the question. This is not good for your score if you do this during your test. So always read the question and make sure that you understand what it is asking you to do.
The questions in writing task 1 normally say ‘report the main features and make any comparisons’. Look for those main features and if you can make any comparisons. You can highlight information on the paper/question before you start to write your essay. Practice as much as possible beforehand, using various academic writing task 1 questions and an approved essay structure.
2. Practice the essay structure
The structure that I advise my students to use, changes slightly depending on which question they have for writing task 1.
However, it has a core structure, that if used well, will be sure to get you a band score 7+. You need to practice using this structure, with as many questions as you can, before sitting your IELTS test. This writing task 1 structure has been proven to be successful for my students and when perfected, can easily help you to achieve a high band score.
3. Create an effective overview
The overview is the most important paragraph in the writing task 1 essay and without one, you will lose marks. this will affect your score and your ability to gain a band score 7 or higher. Practice writing an overview of different types of questions.
4. Use the right language
In the writing task 1 section of this website, you will find language help in most of the posts. It is important to use the right language when writing your essays. This can affect your band score, so it is worth studying and practising as much as possible.
For example, you should be able to paraphrase the question using synonyms, use signposting language (Overall, the line graph shows that..) and linking words(however, in contrast, one the one hand, on the other hand, therefore, in addition, etc). You should also be able to describe change and for the maps questions describe locations this will gain you marks in the lexical resource part of the marking criteria.
5. Know the Grammar
Think about the grammar you are using, if the question features change over a period of time, then make sure you use the correct tense when writing about those changes. For example, if a figure is projected to increase over a period of ten years up until the year 2022, you use the future tense >> ‘The price of oil will continue to increase up to £50billion dollars by the year 2022’. Practice with these types of question, so that you can use the past, present and future tenses.
When practising you can use ‘Grammarly’ which checks your work as you type, this will help you with spelling, punctuation and grammar errors.
6. Know the content
You need to able to report neutrally on the visual information presented to you. You should not include any opinion on the data, only report the data and trends that you can see.
It is a good idea to spend a minute or two looking at your chart/graph and circling/highlighting any information that is important.
For example, think about the following questions:
- What is being measured and how?
- Is it in percentages? Millions? Degrees? (for the temperature)
- Then think about the timing – is it over the period of one year? Five? or Ten?
- Can you make any comparisons?
7. Be selective
The question will ask you to ‘report the main features and make any comparisons’ so look for those main features – any highs/lows etc. Don’t write about every piece of information that you can see. This will lose your essay marks and affect your band score.
You need to practice highlighting the main features/any comparisons that you can see and plan your essay around those. Then practice writing in 20 minutes, you do not want to spend too much time on writing task 1, as writing task 2 has more weight in the marks.
8. Can you read it?
When practising writing your essays, check if you can read you own handwriting afterwards. If you find it difficult to read, then so will everyone else! Make it neat and easy to read, this is important so that the examiner can read your writing clearly. The advice from The British Council does say that candidates are allowed to write entirely in capital letters if they wish. This may make your writing easier to read.
It is also important that you separate the paragraphs, and don’t just have one big block of text. This will lose you marks in the test, therefore you can skip a line on the paper, to show that a new paragraph has been started. In the marking criteria, you do get marks for ‘logically organises information and ideas’ (Band score 7) so it is important to show that you have organised your information into logical paragraphs. Take a look at the essay structure to see how to organise those paragraphs well.