IELTS Academic Writing Part 1

IELTS Academic Writing Part 1

There are various types of graphs you should focus on with your students

1) Line Graphs

2) Mixed Type table + pie charts OR line and bar chart etc.

3) Pie Charts (2, 3 or 6 charts)  

4) Tables (one or two)

5) Bar chart (1 or 2)

6) Diagrams: process OR cycle

7) Maps

- Make sure you cover ALL the types with your students and they produce at least one writing of each type.

- Make sure you use recent resources (from 2010-2017) as the tasks are changing. Cambridge Tests 7-11 are good; The official Cambridge Guide to IELTS; Official IELTS Practice Materials 2.


There are usually 4 paragraphs. The overview or the overall statement could be either the 2nd or the last paragraph. It is fine if it is the last one. It is equally fine if it is the second paragraph.

1§ Introduction: Paraphrase the Task (1 sentence)
2§ Overall statement
3§ Main features with Comparisons
4§ Main features with Comparisons


1§ Introduction: Paraphrase the Task
2§ Main features with Comparisons
3§ Main features with Comparisons
4§ Overall statement

  • Analysing Graphs could be a new skill for students

Usually students are not taught how to analyse IELTS graphs at school and write a concise well-structured piece of writing comparing the key features. Thus, they may struggle singling out the main features, making comparisons and selecting the information for the overall statement. We are teaching and developing a new skill.

  • Language We Introduce:

- Contrast words (In contrast/However/whereas/while/On the other hand)

- Linking phrases (in addition/Furthermore/ Overall, it could be seen that../according to the data..)

- Time expressions (in the year 2000/at the end of the period/over, throughout the period in question etc)

- Language to describe trends (decline/show an upward trend/significantly/stable/surge/reach a peak etc.)

Here we need the following patterns to ensure varied lexis:

verb + adverb e.g. increase dramatically    
adj + noun e.g. there was a considerable fall

- Passive for Processes and Maps (was added/after being moved is then.../has been constructed)

  • Tenses

Very often students make errors with tenses using Present Simple in graphs with 1995-2010 in the task.

Past Perfect is good: By 2000 ... had risen

Future expressions are useful if the graph contains data about the future: be projected/expected