Academic Writing Task 1
Planning & Structure

Planning

I cannot stress enough the importance of planning. Candidates often think that 20 minutes is not enough time to complete the task and rush straight into writing the answer.

Start by taking a few minutes to study the diagram to fully understand the topic, the information included, how the data is described - in terms of numbers, percentages etc. 

This is a crucial stage since an “inaccurate” description - that is incorrect data - will result in an automatic band 4 in the task achievement criterion.  

Pay attention to the function of the diagram rather than the type. The main types of diagrams that show statistical information are line graph, pie chart, bar chart and table. There are other types such as maps, process and procedure and cycles.

When studying the diagram, work out its function. Does it show trends or static information? Whatever one it is will determine the vocabulary and grammar needed to describe it. Note that line graphs, pie charts, bar charts and tables can all show trends.

Additionally, pay attention to the dates on the diagram and write your answer in the appropriate tense.

Structure

 

For all Academic Writing task 1 question types, organize your answer into 3 clear and separate paragraphs.

 

Paragraph 1: Introduction

The introduction begins with a paraphrase of the description and title of the diagram. This is given in the instructions for every task. It also includes a clear overview - a summary of the information included in the diagram.

 

The paraphrase and overview should be two separate sentences. Follow the link for how to write an effective introduction.

Academic Writing Task 1: Introduction - Paraphrase & Overview

Paragraph 2: Main features & Comparisons

The main features depends on the type of diagram. For example, the main feature for map diagrams will be the greatest or most significant change according to the information. You should describe this first and compare it to other changes. 

Paragraph 3: Main features & Comparisons

After describing the main feature in paragraph 2, describe the other features but do not try to describe every feature in the diagram. It is sufficient to describe and compare the main, most significant, ones only. 

 

Follow the link for how to describe and compare the main features for each type of diagram.

Academic Writing Task 1: Main Features & Comparisons

Academic writing task 1 does not need a conclusion. A conclusion, by definition, is a summary but the overview already does this and it is not a requirement in the band descriptors to include a conclusion.