Academic Writing Task 1
Introduction: Paraphrase & Overview

Watch the video on how to write an introduction for Academic writing task 1. Essential information on how to paraphrase the diagram description with examples of a "basic" paraphrase and "more complex" sentences. The importance of including a clear overview in your answer and how to avoid a minimum score in the Task achievement criterion. 















Always begin your introduction with a paraphrase of the description (stated in the task) and title of the diagram.  Paraphrasing shows the examiner that you understand the task.

Paraphrasing is rewriting the description and diagram title using synonyms, changing the form of the word (verb to noun), changing the word order and using different structures but keeping the same meaning.

Do not copy the information and/or diagram title word for word as this will be deducted from your word count. You are allowed to copy proper nouns such as “London”.

A typical beginning for the introduction is “The diagram/table shows”.  This is fine but for examples of more complex structures...


The table shows the number of medals the top ten countries won at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

More Complex:
Illustrated in the table is the number of medals the top ten countries gained at the 2012 Olympic Games which were held in London.

More Complex:

The number of medals gained by ten different countries at the 2012 Olympic Games which were held in London is depicted in the table.


Follow the link for more information on how to use synonyms and paraphrase. 

IELTS Vocabulary: Synonyms & Paraphrase


A clear overview is ESSENTIAL in your introduction and failure to include it will result in a band score of 5 for task achievement. 

An overview is a short summary of the information in the diagram and each diagram type requires a different overview.

An overview should not be confused with describing main features and should not include data from the diagram.

Always begin your overview with “Overall,” this shows the examiner you have included the overview. 

Overview Vs Conclusion. Don’t write a conclusion for Academic task 1. The overview and conclusion serve the same purpose, that is they both summarize the information in the diagram. So, including a conclusion is repeating the information in the overview. 

For sample introduction - Paraphrase and Overview for each task type, click on the link to sample answers.

Sample Answers Academic Writing Task 1