The Writing section comprises of two tasks.
IELTS Writing Task 1 is reporting writing. In this task, you are given a chart or diagram and asked to summarise the details in a report. On the other hand, task 2 is essay writing in which you are given topic with some instructions. Your job is to write an essay on that topic to satisfy the given instructions.
All of this should be achieved in 1 hour. Hence, it is suggested that the test taker should spend 20 minutes on task 1 and 40 minutes on task 2.
IELTS Writing Task 1
IELTS Writing Task 2
150 words minimum
250 words minimum
Less important than task 2
2 times important than task 1
Note that this distribution of timings is suggested not mandatory. In other words, it is not the case that after 20 minutes, the task 1 answer sheet will be taken away. The answer sheets will be collected only after 1 hour. So, even if you utilise slightly more time on task 1, say 25 minutes, it will not matter.
But do realise that it would mean you now will have only 35 minutes for task 2.
Now, this might be a problem as you are supposed to write at least 250 words in task 2, while a minimum of 150 words in task 1.
Moreover, task 2 is twice more important than task 1 in terms of the score. Therefore, it is wise to use only the designated time for each of the tasks.
Remember that task 1 comes with some amount of information which is not the case with task 2. You have work from scratch in task 2. Hence, it is better to follow the suggested timings.
The question paper will look as shown on the screen. As you can see, there are several sentences with description and instructions, telling the test taker what to write in task 1.
The first sentence is an instruction suggesting that you spend 20 minutes on the given task.
The second sentence is the chart description which gives you the details about the illustrated chart. Always read this sentence it will help to understand the provided data.
The next statement in the question is the task description. This sentence informs you about the requirements you need to fulfil in your report.
The last sentence is again an instruction specifying the minimum number of words you need to write in your report.
Below these sentences, there will be a chart or diagram, based on which you will write the report.
We come across a common form of report daily – news reports. To understand the task at hand, let’s try to understand what a news report is. The job of the news report is just to the narrator the scene and state the facts not to give suggestions, opinion or conclusion.
On 10th January at 12 P.M. a devasting fire broke out in a garment factory of the Chaudhari Group at Nalasopara.
Smoke engulfed the whole building due to which the people inside the building could not come out of the building despite their best efforts. The fire brigade rushed to the spot immediately to extinguish the fire. Even the people of all walks of life joined in the rescue operation spontaneously.
After working of nearly 8 hours, the fire brigade succeeded in extinguishing the fire. The fire claimed 12 lives and left many others injured. The wounded were admitted into different hospitals of the area.
It is clear that the first paragraph is an introduction, the second is an overview, and the third one is a body paragraph.
The similar standard structure should be followed while writing a report in the IELTS writing section for task 1. You must have at least three paragraphs: an introduction, an overview and body paragraphs. The number of body paragraphs may vary according to the task at hand. You need to have a defined role for each paragraph while writing the report.
The role of the introduction is to introduce a given chart or diagram. This paragraph helps the reader to understand the information which you have presented in the preceding paragraphs. So, you should write the first sentence about the title of the chart or diagram.
In the second sentence, you should state a few additional details like the years for which the data is provided or steps involved in the production process. So, the reader can have a prior understanding of what he or she will read in the further part of the report.
Keep one rule in mind, though. The second sentence of this paragraph should have a connection with the previous sentence as well as with the next paragraph to maintain the flow of information within the paragraph.
This paragraph’s role is to summarise the details from the chart or diagram in 2 sentences. While writing this summary, you should keep in mind that you are writing to give a glimpse of the data discussed in the body paragraphs.
Hence, you should not mention any statistics or give details for a particular year. You should try to connect each sentence in the overview with the next sentence. Also, the first sentence of this paragraph should have a connection with the previous paragraph.
The primary purpose of the body paragraph is to provide essential details about each item from the chart or diagram. It should also have comparisons among the various items of the chart. Every detail should not be supported with numbers. Statistics should be just enough to understand the start point. Too much reliance on numbers and years is not recommended in this task. Therefore, focus more on describing the information with optimum comparison and not on converting the numbers into sentences.
Note that a report does not have an end paragraph or a conclusion. You may write the overview paragraph at the end, but while writing students forget that the overview paragraph must contain a summary and not a conclusion.
And if your end paragraph has a conclusion, then it will hamper the tone of your report. Its job would no longer be just to report. You may, by mistake, add an opinion to it. As a result, your final score will be impacted.
So, a safer approach is to write the overview paragraph as your second paragraph only. And avoid the conclusion paragraph.
There are broadly two types of questions expected on IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic) or report writing.
In IELTS writing task 1 or report writing, you will come across various charts like a line graph, bar chart, table and pie chart. Sometimes they appear in combination as well. So, you can say that within charts there 5 different types.
Line Graph 1
Line Graph 2
Both these charts have x-axis and y-axis. The data points are joined by lines. In the first chart, one may observe the change in population with respect to time while in the second chart you can see that the x-axis has the length of a beam from an experiment and not time.
Bar Chart 1
Bar Chart 2
Again here the information is represented in the form of bars instead of lines. Instead of joining the data points, bars are raised from the x-axis to show these points. Again, the first graph has a variation in data with respect to time while the second one doesn’t.
Pie Chart 1
In the pie charts, data is represented in the percentage of the category mentioned. Here as well, you may notice that the data varies with time in the first case and in the second one it doesn’t.
Here you are presented with a mixed chart – a pie chart and a table. A mixed chart may have a combination of either two charts like a pie chart and table or sometimes both the charts may be bar charts.
Generally, among these charts, one of them will have more amount of data than the other. The chart with more data should be treated as the main chart and the other one as a minor chart.
You may notice that sometimes the data in these charts is changing with time. While in some cases these charts have just a comparison between the numbers in a fixed year.
Ultimately it seems like for each chart there are two styles. One that changes with time and the other which does not change with time. The chart in which data is changing with respect to time is called the dynamic chart. While the chart in which data is given for a specific year or there are no changes with respect to time then they are called the static chart.
Thus, if you want to study a bar chart, it may have two subtypes: dynamic and static.
Since there are 5 types of charts as discussed already, and each one has two variations, the total number of charts to be studied is almost 10. Therefore, instead of studying 10 charts lets study them based on the nature of the data in the chart. You may even broadly divide the charts into the following groups.
There can be three variations among diagrams as well.
The diagrams on your screen explain the life cycle of a fish. In the report about this diagram, you must present the life cycle of it and other details.
Similarly, you may even encounter a production line in EMC plant, as shown here. You need not worry as IELTS exam may provide you with simpler processes in the actual exam. However, ultimately your job would be to study these processes and write a report on it.
Lastly, among diagrams, you may also find maps, as shown here. Here the diagram presents a certain transformation that a village underwent over time. You must write a report on this transformation.
IELTS examiner may evaluate your resort based on four criteria, as stated by IELTS.
In short, you must follow all instructions given in the task. Your sentences must be logically placed, and the comprehensive report must ensure appropriate paragraphing. Different ideas must be joined with right linking words. Moreover, your writeup must have a variety of words used precisely. Lastly, you must use different styles and structures appropriately.
I sincerely hope you now know what to expect on IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic) or Report Writing.