Test Tips for Academic Task 1 Writing  (Quick-View)

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Why You Should Learn Test Tips.

The tips on this page will provide you with a deeper understanding of what is required to write a high band scoring answer for task 1 on the academic writing test. In particular, because these tips reflect the Official IELTS Marking Criteria used by examiners when they mark your test, it's a good idea to get a 'heads-up' about what the examiner is looking for when s/he marks your test. The bottom line is that the more you know about the test before you take it, the greater chance you give yourself of getting a higher band score.

Essential Tips for Task 1 Academic Writing  

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  1. Write a minimum of 150 words - or your band score will go down.
  2. Complete the task in 20 minutes - or you might not finish task 2.
  3. Always analyse the data and plan your answer. Planning saves you time and enables you to write a better answer. It is essential to getting a high band score.
  4. Identify important categories like cars, people, $, %, 000s, millions, years, etc.
  5. Write 4 clear paragraphs. An introduction, an overview, and 2 body paragraphs.
  6. In your introduction explain what, when and where the data is about.
  7. Write an overview of the chart describing the general trend.
  8. Write 2 body paragraphs comparing main features (not insignificant details).
  9. You do not have to write a summary as it is not required.
  10. Avoid writing statements that do not describe or compare chart data.
  11. Do not express your opinion or infer anything. This is only required in task 2.
  12. Do not predict or speculate about future trends unless the question asks you to.
  13. Avoid writing about every single detail of the data in the form of a repetitive list.
  14. You must make comparisons in your answer to get above bands 5 and 6.
  15. Try to write more complex sentences than compound and simple sentences.
  16. Improve your grammar. Check your own writing with a checklist. To get a high score for grammar, you must be accurate. Some more common mistakes are:
    • punctuation and capitalisation errors.
    • inaccurate use of grammar tenses.
    • subject / verb agreement.
    • failure to write plurals properly.
    • errors with articles (a, an, the, no article)
    • word order.
    • failure to write complete sentences (e.g. fragmented complex sentences).
  17. Use appropriate academic vocabulary instead of general English vocabulary. To get a high score for lexical resource, you must learn more academic vocabulary that is specific to task 1 data charts and avoid informal general English expressions.
  18. Use effective transition signals and linking words (coherence and cohesion). 
  19. Use a range of time references. Do not ONLY use the expressions given in the chart.
  20. Use different parts of speech to describe trends (a rapid increase / increased rapidly).
  21. Check your answer and correct any careless mistakes.

Note. For more in-depth advice about academic task 1 tips read the Extended Version.

The slideshow (below), is an overview of correct writing styles for all types of letters.  Essential reading if you want to write high band scoring letters. Click to expand.

Click on the links (below) for other writing test tips.

Academic Writing Task 1 Tips  (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)

Writing Task 2 Tips (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)

General Training Writing Task 1 Tips  (Quick-view)  (Extended Version

Test Day Tips  (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)