How to Approach IELTS Writing Task-1

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Some students spend a lot of time writing task-1 where they should spend only 20 minutes on this part. Let`s make things easy for you so that you will not have any fear of writing quickly about a table.


Your writing should follow the structures stated below.

ielts writing task 1 tips

1. Write a descriptive introduction (3 sentence in 2 paragraphs)
    ----Introductory sentence by paraphrasing the question (1st sentence)
    ----Overall View about the table (2nd & 3rd sentence)

2. Paragraph 3 & 4: Describe Key Information
    -----The biggest and smallest number in columns or rows
    -----The biggest change in numbers over the time period
    -----The closest similarity, dissimilarity and exceptions among categories of data

Lets take the table below as an experiment............

The table below shows the consumer durables (telephone, refrigerator, etc.) owned in Britain from 1972 to 1983.

Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below.
You should write at least 150 words

Consumer Durables
1972
1974
1976
1978
1979
1981
1982
1983
 Households %








Central heating
31
43
48
52
55
59
60
64
Television
93
95
96
96
97
97
97
98
Video







18
Vacuum cleaner
87
89
92
92
93
94
95

Refrigerator
73
81
88
91
92
93
93
94
Washing machine
66
68
71
75
74
78
79
60
Dishwasher



3
3
4
4
5
Telephone
42
50
54
60
67
75
76
77

How to write descriptive introduction

Here is a quick way to write an introduction. The very first step to paraphrase the question statement is to change the reporting verb of the question statement.

Example of Reporting Verbs

Provide The table provides information about...

Represent           The table represents statistics on....

Indicate             The table indicates the number of......

Structure of the 1st Introductory Sentence :-

Changing the reporting verb >> Write what is the data about >> Time duration

Example of Introductory Sentence

The table provides percentage of households in Britain using different consumer durables from 1972 to 1983
The table represents the percentages of household possess a range of consumer durables in eight different years.  
The table indicates the household statistics using consumer durables in British households from 1972 to 1983.

Structures of the 2nd & 3rd Introductory Sentence

Overview Format for Writing 2 Sentences

1. Overall, _____increased/decreased between____.(General trend)
In particular___________ while_______________(Contrast)
2. It is clear from the figures that________________(General trend)
Nearly__, with a little differentiation in case of_____(Contrast)
3. Not surprisingly,________________________(General trend)
However, ___slightly fewer/less/more than ____ did. (Compare)

Now let`s put these sentence structure format for writing overview for the above table.

Example of Overview Sentences
  1. Overall, the household ownership of consumer durables in Britain increased between 1972 and 1983. In particular, the percentage of households with central heating rose, while the number of households with a washing machine fell.
  2. It is clear from the figures that there is an increasing use of consumer durables in Britain from 1972 to 1983. Nearly, all products usage showed an upward trend with a little differentiation in case of washing machine.  
  3. Not surprisingly, the ownership of consumer durables rose in Britain over the years. However, the usage central heating increased slightly more than dishwasher did.
Structure of the 2nd & 3rd Paragraphs:-
  • The Biggest and Smallest Number in columns or rows
Looking at the table, we can see that the biggest number in rows goes to television (93 ...98.) category and the smallest number goes to dishwasher (3...5) category.
Central heating
31
43
48
52
55
59
60
64
Television
93
95
96
96
97
97
97
98
Video







18
Vacuum cleaner
87
89
92
92
93
94
95

Refrigerator
73
81
88
91
92
93
93
94
Washing machine
66
68
71
75
74
78
79
60
Dishwasher



3
3
4
4
5
Telephone
42
50
54
60
67
75
76
77

Format for Writing

It is interesting to see that the majority of____________. In contrast, the lowest percentage/number of______________________________________________.
Now let`s put these sentence structure format for the above table.
It is interesting to see that the majority of households owned Television in 1972 and the figure has risen to 98% from 93% by 1983. In contrast, the lowest percentage of households used dishwasher and the figure rose from only 3% in 1978 to just 5% by 1983.

  • The Biggest Changes in Numbers over the Time Period
Looking at the table, we can see that the biggest change in numbers from 1972 to 1983 goes to Telephone (77-42=35) and next is Central heating (64-31=33)

Format for Writing

The greatest increase was in _____________rising from________________. Next came to _________(category with second biggest change),  rising from______________________
Now let`s put these sentence structure format for the above table.

The greatest increase was in telephone ownership, rising from 42% in 1972 to 77% in 1983. Next came to central heating ownership, rising from 37% of households in 1972 to 64% in 1983.

  • The Closest Similarity, Dissimilarity and Exceptions 
Looking at the table, we can see that video category is a exception as it has data available only for 1983 and washing machine shows dissimilarity because from 1983 to 1972  all data shows a increase but the households  percentage with washing machine comes down to 60 from 66 in 2983.

Format of Writing

Finally, it is worth noting that __________, meanwhile______________________________.

Now let`s put these sentence structure format for the above table.
Finally, it is worth noting that ownership of washing machine actually fell by 19% between 1982 & 1983, meanwhile the video reorder just got introduced into the market in 1983.

The Final Writing (160 words in 20 Minutes)

Adding up all the examples of writing different parts of a table, let` see what comes up finally:-

The table provides percentage of households in Britain using different consumer durables from 1972 to 1983.

Overall, the household ownership of consumer durables in Britain increased between 1972 and 1983. In particular, the percentage of households with central heating rose, while the number of households with a washing machine fell.

It is interesting to see that the majority of households owned Television in 1972 and the figure has risen to 98% from 93% by 1983. In contrast, the lowest percentage of households used dishwasher and the figure rose from only 3% in 1978 to just 5% by 1983.

The greatest increase was in telephone ownership, rising from 42% in 1972 to 77% in 1983. Next come central heating ownership, rising from 37% of households in 1972 to 64% in 1983.Finally, it is worth noting that ownership of washing machine actually fell by 19% between 1982 & 1983, meanwhile the video reorder for consumer just got introduced into the market in 1983.

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