IELTS Graphs Must Know "Mantras"

Here are some IELTS Graphs must knows which are true about any IELTS graph.

  • Never copy whole phrases/sentences from the task into your introduction.
  • The examiner will NOT count the words copied from the task and these words will be removed from the word count as they are NOT your words.
  • You can write 150-200+ words.
  • Overview: No numbers. No specific details.
  • Start by writing about the highest numbers or the highest in the first year. Then something interesting in the middle and the last year.
  • There is NO conclusion in graphs. We have an overview or an overall statement.
  • The overview is super important and should have the key features/be sophisticated if you want to get 7.0-9.0.

Structure for any graph:

- Introduction

- Overview

- 2 or 3 Body Paragraphs

Introduction: write 1 sentence and paraphrase the task

Body paragraphs: 2 or 3 paragraphs with specific details/numbers from the graph.

The Overview can be
- in the 1st paragraph right after the 1st sentence of the introduction
- in the 2nd paragraph
- in the last paragraph

All these options are fine.


  • If there is NO overview, it's 5.0 for Task Achievement. No matter how cool your body paragraphs are.
  • If the overview is inaccurate or irrelevant, it's 6.0 for Task Achievement.
  • Never give any reasons. Never explain. Write about what is given in the graph.
  • Never give your own opinion. Compare the key features/major changes/what's similar or different/biggest or smallest growth.
  • Write like a robot: only what the graph shows. NO emotions or feelings.
  • The 4 criteria have equal weight. Grammar is NOT the most important thing. All 4 criteria have 25% of the score.

  • Forget strange/unnatural linking words. They will NOT give you points. Use overall, while, by contrast, although, in terms of, whereas, however
  • Using referencing e.g., this, they, it, them, this number, these figures improves cohesion/coherence.
  • Spelling errors are under Lexical Resource criterion. For 7 and above you can only have 2-3 spelling errors.
  • Less common words should be used for 7.0-9.0 e.g., halve, soar, a downward pattern, plummet. NO need to write too many words like these. 3-4 would do.
  • Complex sentences should be used throughout your answer to get more than 6.0.
  • Paraphrasing: make sure the word you use has the SAME meaning as the original word. Meat is meat. A line graph is a line graph. Avoid paraphrasing if NOT sure.
  • You can include the units in the introduction ONLY IF the graph shows some strange units. Write: the units are measured in...(the name). NO need to write this if the chart shows grams/%/millions.

All IELTS graph types: a line graph, bar chart, pie charts (2-6pie charts), table (1 or 2), process, cycles (nature and life cycles), maps, mixed graph (line graph + table, pie chart + bar chart):


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