IELTS writing help

Alfred's 5 STEP APPROACH for all data charts in Task 1 Writing.

  • Write high band scoring answers.
  • Write with confidence.
  • Write faster
  • Make fewer mistakes

Just follow the 5 step approach I use in my videos. This will help you write with more confidence because by practising this technique, you will learn exactly how to plan and how to write for each task.   

Step 1. Read the Question & Brainstorm Different Vocabulary.

You must fully understand what the question is asking you to write about so that you answer all parts of the question (task achievement). Also, brainstorm different words from the words in the chart so that you can use a wider range of vocabulary in your answer (lexical resource). Use compound and complex sentences in every paragraph (grammatical range). Use a clear structure (cohesion and coherence). This will help you get a higher band score. This should take 1 to 2 minutes in the test.

Step 2. Write the introduction & overview paragraphs. 

In step 2, you should identify key information to write the introduction and overview paragraphs.

This should take about 5 minutes in the test.

  • For the introduction, identify 1) what the chart is comparing, 2) where, and 3) when (the time period). Also remember to mention the unit of measurement  ( % percentages).
  • For the overview, you need to identify the general trend. What can you see overall in the data? There is no need to state specific dates and statistics - just write about 2 sentences explaining what is happening generally in the chart - as an overall picture of the data.

Step 3. Identify main features.

Before you write your body paragraphs, identify main features. In other words, choose what you think are the main points in the chart that you will write about in the body paragraphs.

  • Select 2 or 3 ideas for each body paragraph. If you don't choose main features before you write the body paragraphs, you will probably mess up your answer. Planning is essential.
  • This should only take about 2 minutes in the actual test and will enable you to write a more organised answer, which will help you to get a higher band score.

Step 4. Write 2 body paragraphs.

When you write the body paragraphs, try to stick to the main features you selected in step 3. Also, make sure that you ONLY compare data from the chart. Don't give your opinion. Don't infer anything into the data that you cannot see in the chart data. Don't predict future trends because the question does NOT ask you to do this., and don't write about small details that are not important. Most importantly, make sure you MAKE COMPARISONS. If you don't, you will get a lower band score. Finally, make sure when you compare data that, whenever possible, you include these 3 elements ...

  • A time reference -  over a four-year period; from 2008 to 2012 etc.
  • A description of the trend - Spanish unemployment levels rose sharply ...
  • Quote the data change - to just over a fifth (22.2%) of the workforce.

Step 5. Read your answer and correct any obvious mistakes.

  • Try to leave at least 2 minutes at the end of task 1 to quickly read and check for mistakes. By eliminating silly spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes, you could increase your band score. I find it is easier to check sentences and paragraphs as soon as I have written them as this helps me to think about how to write the next logical sentence - giving the writing a better 'flow'.