This section will provide you beneficial IELTS writing task 1 lessons, advises and information to help you:

  • Prepare successfully for task 1.
  • Develop your skills for IELTS writing task 1 academic and general training paper.
  • Learn about describing charts and graphs as well as letters for task 1.

So let’s get started!

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IELTS Task 1 – Academic

You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.

IELTS Task 1 – General Training

You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.


Marking Criteria

Believe it or not, almost 90% of students sadly never actually understood what each of the marking criteria were before taking the IELTS exam. This is a major reason for them to only obtain dismal results.

Therefore, understanding how your IELTS writing task 1 is marked and the difference between band scores 5, 6, 7 and 8 is essential to all students. The examiner will mark your writing on the four marking criteria below. We strongly recommend you to spend 10 minutes and thoroughly read through these four marking criteria. This will help you understand what the examiner is actually looking for in your writings, and what features will really get you the higher bands.

The examiner will assess your writing on the 4 marking criteria below. Each criterion is worth 25% of your total marks for writing task 1:

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Task Achievement

The examiner will be checking your information, overview, detail and accuracy. You can increase your score in this category by:

  • analyse the chart and identify all key features
  • highlight your key features in an overview
  • supporting your body paragraph with data (numbers and dates if possible)
  • avoid putting in information which is wrong
  • avoid an opinion
  • write a factual report
  • write over 150 words (yes, you will get penalised for under word count)

Coherence and Cohesion

Your organisation of information, your paragraphing and your use of linking devices will be marked.

To achieve higher bands, you should:

  • plan where to put your information
  • have four body paragraphs (structure and paragraphing)
  • use a range of linking devices
  • avoid mistakes with linking words
  • use referencing (this, it, etc)

Lexical Resource

Your use of vocabulary, your spelling and the number of mistakes will affect your score.

To obtain a better band, you should aim to:

  • use a range of vocabulary
  • use vocabulary for presenting accurate data
  • understand collocations (matching verbs with nouns)
  • avoid spelling mistakes
  • don’t use the wrong words or informal language

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

You will get a band score for your sentence structures, tenses, control of grammar and the number of mistakes.

Make sure you leave time at the end of writing to identify and correct errors. You will always find grammar or spelling mistakes. Correcting these can improve your score.

Pay attention to the below to acquire an improved band:

  • use a range of sentence structures – Complex structures are sentences with multiple bits of information. A simple sentence usually has a single piece of information. In your writing there should be a balance of simple and complex sentences.
  • use the right tense for the chart given to you
  • use the right word order i.e. adjective noun / verb adverb
  • avoid mistakes
  • use the right punctuation

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