Are you taking an IELTS exam soon? Feeling nervous about the writing paper? Read this article for some top tips and useful language to help you with Part 1 of the writing paper.
Both the Academic and General English writing papers require you to write two texts in 60 minutes.
In the Academic Paper, you base your answer to Part 1 on an infographic, such as a chart or table, and use language to summarise and report on key information like the similarities and differences in data.
You should write at least 150 words in this part. While there’s no word limit, try to complete Part 1 in 20 minutes.
Part 2 requires you to write at least 250 words, so you’ll need to allow a little extra time for this.
Underline the key points and look at what the question is asking you to do:
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
To get a great score, you need to do all these things, so remember to read the introduction to the infographic as well and make sure you understand what the data shows.
Before you start writing, think about the main point for each of your paragraphs. Look at the outline below with some useful phrases and linkers because a well-structured text, which uses a range of language, will impress the examiner.
To get top marks, you need to show a range of grammar and vocabulary which is appropriate for the task. Look at the table later in the article to see some examples of language you usually find in reports and practise using it when you’re writing from now on.
In the first paragraph, you should briefly explain what is happening in the infographic. You can get this information from the introduction to the task, but remember to paraphrase what it says:
In the second paragraph, identify the main trend in the infographic and any similarities in the data:
In the third paragraph, explain the differences:
Finally, give a clear conclusion:
You need to use a variety of words and phrases to analyse the data. A lot of this language is quite specific to talking about numbers, so might be new for you. Look for any words you don’t know in your dictionary.
Remember to use appropriate adjectives or adverbs to describe differences, using synonyms of big and small. Keep a list of useful chunks of language so you use the correct collocations, e.g. you can say a sharp increase but not a sharp majority.
You may also be asked to write a report describing a process in this part of the test. You are given a picture and some key points which you then need to write into a report.
The structure for this text is different because it has fewer paragraphs and you don’t need to include a conclusion. You still describe the main idea of the infographic in the first paragraph, again paraphrasing the information given:
Then, in the next paragraph, use linkers to order the process and explain it in more detail:
To see more sample questions and answers, go to IELTS Online Practice. The site has lots of answers for Part 1 (Academic and General) and Part 2, and they’ve been marked by an IELTS teacher so you can see the score they would receive.
Look at the dates for the data in the infographic – is it only talking about the past? About current trends? Or providing predictions for the future? This will affect the tense you use in your report.
Not sure if IELTS is the right exam for you? Read this article about the benefits of taking an IELTS exam.
Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.
Infographic (n): information presented in a visual way, e.g. a chart or table.
Summarise (v): to give a short explanation of the main points.
Outline (n): plan, structure.
Briefly (adv): quickly, in a few words.
Paraphrase (v): to explain an idea in your own words.
Trend (n): tendency, what is generally happening.
Chunk of language (exp): a series of words.
Collocation (n): words which go together, e.g. the vast majority, a tiny percentage.
Contraction (n): linking two words with an apostrophe, e.g. it’s, don’t, they’d.
adv = adverb
n = noun
v = verb
exp = expression