How do I assess these horrid graphs?

How do I assess these horrid graphs?

To grade any IELTS graph, YOU should first understand how to describe it and know what to write and where. Remember the GOLD rules and follow them religiously:


YOU choose a graph for your students. NOT your students!

Read about all kinds of IELTS graphs here:

When the graph is clear to you, marking it will be much easier, agree? Personally, I find it murderously hard and super time-consuming to grade a chart I can’t make head or tail of. So, I pick only those which I’m ok with and have described myself or/and have a good sample of.

Here’s the ultimate checklist for you to look at while grading any IELTS graph.

While assessing a graph notice the following and answer these questions:

Task Achievement (the 1st assessment criterion)

  • Is the introduction copied or paraphrased?
  • Are there any major figures missing or all the main features are there?
  • Is there an overview?
  • Does the overview include the major feature or not? Is it short/simple or sophisticated?
  • Are there enough figures in the body paragraphs or not?
  • Are there relevant or irrelevant details?
  • Any sophisticated ideas about the chart? Interesting key features?

Linking/Organisation/Logically grouped information (Coherence/Cohesion criterion)

  • Clear paragraphs?
  • Simple linking words or varied?
  • The position of linking words: always at the start of the sentences OR in the middle?
  • Any referencing (it, they, these numbers)?

Vocabulary (Lexical Resource criterion)

  • Repetition of words or variety?
  • Effective paraphrase of the task or copied words?
  • Spelling errors/accurate words?
  • Any verbs+adverbs/adjectives+nouns structures?
  • Wrong choice of words/phrases/collocations?

Grammar (grammatical range and accuracy criterion)

  • Are the tense forms correct for this graph? Or present is used about the past?
  • Short or complex sentences? A mix of short and complex sentences?
  • Repetitive sentence structures OR varied?
  • Punctuation: full stops? Commas in the right places?

Have these questions handy and look at them while you’re grading any IELTS graph. Use the official band descriptors for Writing task 1. Download them here:

IELTS writing assessment is quite tricky and it takes time to understand all these criteria/descriptions and apply them to our students’ answers. If you want to know how to assess your students’ graphs effectively and put a stop to your grading worries, join How to prepare students for IELTS course.

We cover IELTS writing assessment in detail and you’ll learn how to grade graphs, letters and essays.

You’ll see how the band descriptors work in action and in practice. Teachers say that after the course they’ve become much more confident with marking and had invaluable assessment practice. There are very few courses like that in the world!

How to teach IELTS:

How to Teach IELTS

Ultimate IELTS Course for Teachers

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IELTS Writing and Speaking Assessment
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