A few weeks ago I got an email from an IELTS candidate.
"What facts should I consider in My IELTS Task-1 Writing to get 8+ band score?"
In fact, the IELTS consortium has published these factors. Check out the official page of IELTS writing Task-1 band descriptor.
Needless to say, these descriptors are originally checked by the examiner to score your writing.
Do you think this descriptors are understandable “enough” to guide you to follow the rules to score high band score?
I have posted a useful infographic to guide you properly for answering IELTS task-1.
But, it turns out finding a more detail writing task-1 band descriptors would be more helpful to understand how to answer properly.
Below, you`ll find these 3 different actionable writing techniques in more detail to use right now.
And why you should consider these techniques?
..........because your writing will get unbeatable high score.
1). Cohesion and Coherence
IELTS writing task-1 consists a graph, chart, table or diagram . Your writing should cover the main detail provided with attractive logical sequence.
How to make your writing more attractive for the examiner?
Just follow the points below:
i). Make comparisons and not just present facts
To make your wiring attractive, you should not just present information but apply a comparative approach wherever it is possible.
Notice that in most cases , IELTS Task-1 question says, “make comparison where relevant”
You can follow different ways to compare and contrast information in responding IELTS Task-1 question.
Look at the example above where you can say:
Between two companies in Turkey, Jack and Jones will make better sales in every month of the next year.You can then add more specific features about these groups, like:
Jack and Jones will reach it`s best sales peak in December.Or you can identify similarities between different groups like:
The projected market share of Mango Co. & Jack & Jones Co. are almost equal which are 20 percent and 30 percent respectively.ii). Skillfully manage paragraphs
It is insane to write all information one paragraph, because it makes difficult to follow your writing.
Generally, it is better to divide your writing into at least 3 paragraphs: 1 introduction and 2 body.
In fact, it is really easy, just follow the instruction below……..
In introduction you should be precise and straight to the point in two sentences.
You can then divide the body into two paragraphs to describe the key features with specific figures, compare and contrast with evidence.
iii). Present key features
It is recommended to use 20 minutes in Task-1 as you have to save time to response task-2 which carries higher weightage in scoring.
Obviously, you cannot describe features of the task within this limited time.
Therefore before you start writing, highlight more important trends/features/highs and lows those are significant to describe this visual presentation.
If we look at the official IELTS Writing task-1 public band 8 descriptor, it says "present, highlights and illustrates key features/bullet points clearly and appropriately".
Now, It should be clear why you should include only sticking points.
2). Lexical Resource & Grammatical Range and Accuracy
Candidates who score band 7 or above use a wide range of vocabulary and blend of grammar so that the writing becomes more professional and academic.
i). Diversify words and grammatical structures
While you write, diversify the sentence structure to make it more attractive and prove your knowledge of English as an expert language user.
There are certain techniques to use a range of structures; just follow the points below.
# Use passive
Using passive voice is essential in academic writing to make it more ornamental.
The candidate can write
Cell phones are used more frequently in USA to browse webs than Canada in 2015rather than
People of USA are using cell phones more frequently to access webs than Canada.
# Make it more objective
Look at the example below in writing about a table in Task-1.
- Table indicates that…..
- The same report found that......
It makes the description more objective and appealing.
# Vary sentence structure
There are 3 types of sentence in English : Simple, Complex ,Compound.
Using one type of these sentences repetitively would make your writing more monotonous.
Thus it is better to use mix this structures and present a better reading experience.
Compound sentences are often joined together with the coordinators such as and, but, or, yet.
They could also use conjunctive adverbs such as "however, moreover, therefore'.
Complex sentences on the other hand use one independent and one dependent clause which cannot stand alone as a separate sentence.
These clauses are joined together by a subordinates such as"when/while/because/even tough/that" or relative pronoun such as "which/who/where".
In 2010. Forty three percent of US teenage respondents claim that they got a cellular phone primarily for browning webs.Simple sentence is the short one while complex and compound sentences are usually long.
Remember that academic writing should include short and long sentences. If there too many short sentences, it proves the writing cannot use sentence forms.
If there are too many long sentences, it is difficult for the reader to follow the arguments as too much information is given in each sentence.
Therefore, make sure to bled simple, complex and compound sentence structures to present a spontaneous answer.
# Use long noun phrases
You have to use nouns more frequently in Academic writing task-1. Therefore to diversify the usage of NOUN by using long noun phrases is praiseworthy like:
A critical period of cellular-internet use can be marked in the year of 2015.
Similar to mobile onlline communication, phablets have created a perfect platform for adapting to better use of cellular technology.
ii). Use correct tenses
IELTS writing task-1 contains information and data which are most often presented in a time frame.
Just look at the question sentences for a clue (for example in January 2000, the population of USA...) or X & Y axis of bar or line graph to establish what time frame you should use.
Remember the tense you use will depend on time displayed in the question.
If you are giving the IELTS exam in 2015; and the graph shows data of 90`s then obviously you should use part tense, like:
The population of Montana was record low in 1930 and it was estimated about 50 thousand.
But, you may stumble to a graph/table representing future data where you should use future tense. like:
The economy of China will reach it`s peak in 2030.
Sometimes, there would be no time frame mentioned both in graphs or question sentences. In that case use present simple or continuous tense, like:
The population of Java is increasing and is now registering at 10 percent per annum.
iii). Check for Grammatical mistakes
# Using Plural
In IELTS task-1 is that the subject usually comes in singular form, like:
- The chart shows mobile phone sales in USA during last 10 years.
- The table represents the number of female graduate in US universities in different states.
But, look at the example below and notice while writing you might use plural form of these subjects.
- In 2010, more mobile phones were sold in USA than any other time.
- Texas has the highest number of female graduates among all states of US.
That`s why you should not always use the same singular form of subjects mentioned in the question, rather you should concentrate on how to use them with grammatical accuracy.
Every English sentence contains a subject and a verb.
The verb form is changed with number and person change of subject. Look at this example:
"He speaks in English."
Here, "he" is a third person singular number; that`s why we put "s" after the verb "speak".
The same rules applies when using "to have" verb. We use "have" for all person except the 3rd person singular number, we use "has".
Italy has the highest percentage of tiles export in 2008.In, IELTS writing task-1, a candidate can make mistakes in following these grammatical rules and loose marks.
All these countries have suffered in export decline in 2010.
# Word formation
You are not about to write a wide range of words in IELTS writing Task-1,rather the scope is ery limited here.
But, it would be lethal, if you use wrong form of words and come up with lower band score.
Look at the following examples:
The product of readymade garments was highest in 2005.Here we use wrong form of word "product" which should be given with adding "ing" at the end So, the correct form is:
The production of readymade garments was highest in 2005.Therefore, the candidates need to be aware of word usage, Look at following usage of the word "product".
- The production of car in China is increasing after 2010.
- The increase of car export produces positive impact on Chinese economy.
- Steven Spielberg is a great film producer of all time.
Spelling mistakes became a very common among IELTS candidate. One of the reasons may be using Microsoft Word by students more frequently which automatically checks the spelling error.
Frequent spelling mistakes will never lead you to higher band score no matter what would be the quality of writing.
So, what’s the solution?
A good suggestion for improving spelling is to practice a lot with pen and paper before the exam.
Click here to get the list of Common Spelling Mistakes in IELTS Part 1 and practice those by writing in paper.
# Unnecessary words
A good academic writing should be clutter less.
To achieve this, candidates should approach to more concise writing by eliminating unnecessary words.
You are supposed to use 20 minutes in task-1. That means there is no logic to waste your space and time with lengthy words.
Look at these examples:
Worst : It is clear from the table that birth rate of India is highest in the world.Is it clear enough?
Better: The table depicts the highest birth rate of India and it is around 1.8%
Worst : As a matter of fact, China became the major exporter in 2013.
Better : China became the major exporter in 2013.
To make it clearer, follow these suggestions:
- on a yearly basis (can be replaced with): yearly
- the majority of : most
- with the exception of: except for
- a lot of: many
Missing important words unconsciously or consciously is a bad habit. It creates problems for the reader to follow the answer.
Below are examples of IELTS graphs description where candidate make mistakes with missing word
Sentence with missing words: School improved from 2010 to 2015.Go to this link of Examiner comments in Academic Writing Module to get more idea about how a writing get scored.
Sentence without missing words: School attendance improved from 2010 to 2015.
Sentence with missing words: Finland fell sharply in 2010.
Sentence without missing words: Mobile phone export of Finland fell sharply in 2010.
# Incorrect inclusion/omission of articles
Article means using "a, an & the" where "an" usually comes before nouns that start with vowels "a/e/i/o/u"; like: an umbrella. Otherwise we use "a" like “a car”.
Remember, the examiner is looking for even a silly article mistakes in your answer.
You therefore make sure that there is no misplaces articles in sentences.
That’s the suggestion in a nutshell.
A more detail tutorial of using article can be found here.
# Missing third person `s`
Adding "s" after verbs for the third person singular number is a common error made by IELTS test takers.
The chart show (correct: shows) the percentage of University students in different European countries.
Students also commit errors by adding "s" with plural subjects, like: All the students calls (correct: call) him a good teacher.
Awareness about such errors while revising can help to get a better score.
# Word order
Using appropriate patterns of sentence structure is crucial in IELTS.
To do this, you need to use correct word order. Look at the example below:
- Female population decreased between 2002 and 2008 in Moldova sharply.
Therefore, the correct sentence with right word order would be:
- Female population sharply decreased in Moldova between 2002 and 2008.
3). Task achievement
i). Write between 150 to 200 words
Do you know IELTS writing Task-1 conveys less mark compare to tak-2.
If we use the suggested time frame of 20 to 40 minutes; that means task-1 carries half marks than task 2 (Because 20:40=1:2).
That`s why you need to concentrate more on task 2 to get a better band score in writing module.
This is all wrong.
Remember, there is no price for the length but the quality of answer produces high band score.
Keep the answer between 150 and 200 words and save time for checking.
Checking allows errorless writing and improves its quality.
ii). Follow the question
In Task 1, candidates are asked to describe some visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram), and to present the description in their own words.
Sometimes there would be two graphs or a table and a graph in the question. This type of question often says "make comparisons where relevant."
If you do not give any comparative answer that marks you basically "you haven’t answer the question".
The examiner will mention this in the report by mentioning that the candidate has not covered all requirements of the task sufficiently.
iii). Mimicking in introduction
It is strictly recommended not to use the same wording and sentence structure of the question while writing introduction.
The examiner extremely dislikes it.
We can, however, paraphrase the question by using synonym and different sentence structures.
Take for example, following Academic task 1 question as a model and notice how the paraphrasing has been done.
Question:Notice how the sentence becomes shorter in paraphrased version by using different words and structures.
The pie chart below gives the number of tourists visited in different public places of Paris in 2014.
The chart presents data of visitors in Paris during 2014.
Look at the following infographic to get more ideas about paraphrasing in IELTS writing task-1.
According to IELTS public band descriptor, you cannot score higher than 5 without giving an clear overview in your answer.
But, don’t mixed up the word "overview' with introduction.
First, Introduction is the first paragraph which says what the data is about. But, overview comes in the second paragraph, described striking features of the data in 2 or 3 sentences.
Look at the band 7 public descriptor:
"...present a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages"
In your answer sheet, the examiner will look for all important trends of the question and you must give them all.
Not clear yet?
Look at the examplesof "overview" below :
- The pie chart compares the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 7 countries with the rest of the world.
- United States has the largest GDP whereas the China and Italy shared the least (about 3%).
v). Including irrelevant information
The task-1 of IELTS academic writing demands to answer without going into too many irrelevant details.
Including irrespective information may confuse the examiner because the sentences may be unclear, repetitive or inaccurate.
Therefore, you should not include facts and figures that are not on the graph/table/chart; just stick to the information presented in the question.
Many candidates also include their own opinion; which is mainly part of task-2. Any opinion in task-1 would be marked negatively and the candidate will end up with lower mark.
vi). Left no main features out
When examiners score your writing, they also report something like this:
The answer addresses the task, reporting the main features..........That means you must describe the main features of the data.
Or the answer not covers all key features……….
You can use interesting phrases to describe an important feature, like
- The most important point to note is...
- A striking difference is …
Imagine that you could have considered all these facts I describe here in your writing.
How much band score do you expect for it?
Well, today, you may be not be able to consider all this features.
But, in the long run, you can definitely do so.
Academic writing isn`t about a day to master, it requires a lot of work and effort.
This why Euclid (300 BC) said, there is no royal road to learning.
What other techniques would you recommend for IELTS candidate to write task-1?