How to prepare for IELTS Writing Task 1

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What is the objective of testing writing skills in IELTS Writing?

You should have a certain level in all four skills of the language – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing- to study or work in an English speaking country. Your communication skills are tested on all parameters. You should be able to communicate effectively even in writing by presenting your opinion with your solution and suggestions.

In case you wish to work in an English speaking country, you may have to communicate through letters. In case you wish to study in an English speaking country, you should have the ability to describe the information given in the form of tables, charts etc.

What is asked in IELTS Writing?

You get 60 minutes for the writing test. Whether Academic or General, spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. Task 2 in both – Academic and General – is worth double the marks of Task 1. Though Task 2 is similar for both, it is slightly easier for IELTS General. IELTS Writing Task 1 is different for IELTS General and IELTS Academic.

What is asked in IELTS Writing?

You get 60 minutes for the writing test. Whether Academic or General, spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. Task 2 in both – Academic and General – is worth double the marks of Task 1. Though Task 2 is similar for both, it is slightly easier for IELTS General. IELTS Writing Task 1 is different for IELTS General and IELTS Academic.

How are you assessed in IELTS Writing?

You are assessed according to your ability to achieve the following:

  • Task achievement/ Task response: You should be able to cover all the requirements of the task.

  • Coherence and Cohesion: You should be able to present all the information logically in paragraphs.

  • Lexical Resource-Range of Vocabulary: You should be able to use a wide range of vocabulary to convey precise meanings.

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: You should be able to use a wide range of structures. Your sentences should be a good mix of Simple and Complex sentences with rare grammatical errors.

Your Band in IELTS Writing is calculated according to your level in the above-mentioned areas. You get Band 1 if your answer is completely unrelated to the task. You get Band 9 when you address all parts of the task with a wide range of error-free vocabulary and sentence structure in logically coherent paragraphs. IELTS Writing Task 2 is worth double the marks of IELTS Writing Task 1.

IELTS Academic Writing

You should take IELTS Academic Writing in case you wish to pursue your higher education in an English speaking country.

You get two tasks in IELTS Academic writing.

Task 1 (20 minutes)

In this task, you will get some information presented in the form of a diagram, table, graph, pie chart etc. You will have to accurately describe the given information and summarise it in your own words in 150 words. You should not write under 150 words. Practise IELTS writing topics on the official IELTS writing paper.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

In this task, you are required to write a summary of at least 150 words. You should be able to summarize the information presented to you in the form of a graph (bar/line), pie chart, table or process. In this task, you are required to summarize the following in response to the visual input.

  • Report the main features
  • Describe and compare data
  • Describe a process
  • Identify trends in factual information

How to write this task?

Paragraph 1 – Paraphrase the question
Use words such as – The graph shows….. Or The chart gives….

Paragraph 2 – Describe the most general trends. Include the most striking features in this paragraph. Give an overview.

Paragraph 3 – Give a more detailed description.

Paragraph 4 – Give other or contradictory detailed description.

Paragraph 5 – Write one or two sentences to conclude.

Example:

The chart below shows the number of Olympic medals different countries received till 2016.

Write a report for a university teacher describing the information given below.

You should write at least 150 words.

How to write this task?

Two sample answers are given below.

  • Sample answer 1 has figures to support and the information is organised. So, it will get a band score of around 8.5.

  • Sample Answer 2 does not have figures to support and the information is not organised properly. So, despite being grammatically correct it will get just around 5.5.

IELTS Writing Samples

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer(High Band Score)

The chart illustrates the number of medals seven countries ( the U.S.A., Russia, Germany, Great Britain, France, China and Italy) got in the Olympics till 2016.
Overall, the U.S.A. surpassed all others in the number of gold, silver and bronze medals. Germany and Great Britain were second though the number of their medals was nowhere near that of the U.S.A. On the whole, the other countries were far behind the U.S.A. in the medal tally, with Russia being the last.
In terms of gold, the U.S.A. led with around 1100 medals, whereas Germany and Great Britain were second (280 each). France and Italy were third (250 each), closely followed by China (around 240). Russia got the least gold medals (200).
As regards to silver, U.S.A. had the highest(900), Great Britain was second (300), Germany and France third(around 280), Italy followed with 210. However, China and Russia lagged behind (around 180 and 170 respectively).
In bronze too, the U.S.A. led the medal tally by getting 790. Great Britain was third with 310, followed by France(300) and Germany (290). Italy, Russia and China got around 220, 190 and 180 respectively.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer (Low Band Score)

The chart illustrates the number of medals seven countries ( U.S.A., Russia, Germany, Great Britain, France, China and Italy) got in the Olympics till 2016.

Overall, the U.S.A.’s performance was the best as it surpassed all others in the number of gold, silver and bronze medals. Germany and Great Britain were in the second position. However, the number of their medals was nowhere near that of the U.S.A. Comparatively, Russia was the last in ranking.

Germany and Great Britain were second in the number of gold medals, but France ranked second in the number of bronze medals, and Great Britain received the second highest number of silver medals. Russia got the least number of silver and gold medals and China was the last in bronze medals received by any of these seven countries. Though China’s and Italy’s performance was similar in getting gold, Italy did better in getting silver and bronze. Both beat Russia but fell behind France.

On the whole, the other countries were far behind the U.S.A. in the medal tally, with Russia being the last.

IELTS Writing Tips

  • Use linkers such as moreover, however, on the contrary, although etc.
  • Take care of spellings and punctuation.
  • Take care of grammar.
  • Cover all the requirements of the task – don’t leave any point.

Types of Questions

 

You can get Task 1 based on any of the following:

IELTS Writing Task – General

You take IELTS General Writing in case you wish to work in an English speaking country.

Task 1 (20 minutes)

In this task, you will write a letter in response to a given situation in 150 words. You should not write under 150 words. (Write between 170 and 190 words.) Practise writing on the official IELTS writing paper.

IELTS Writing Task 1 (General)

In this task, you are supposed to write a letter in at least 150 words. It can be personal, semi-formal or formal letter depending upon the situation. You are supposed to write a letter in response to a given situation, describe a situation or to request for information.

You get instructions about the points to be included in your letter. You must include all the points in your letter otherwise you will get a low Band Score.

Before writing the letter, you must decide which type of letter you have to write. There are three types of letters in the IELTS writing topics and all have a different beginning and a different way of ending.

Personal letter: You write to someone you know very well – your friend or relative.

  • Dear James or Hi James
  • See you soon or Take care or All the best

Semi-formal letter: You write to someone you don’t know well personally – your landlord or professor.

  • Dear Mr Holmes
  • Yours sincerely

Formal letter: You write to someone you don’t know – a company or a college.

  • Dear Sir/Madam
  • Yours faithfully

How to write this task?

Plan and structure your letter.

Salutation
Paragraph 1 – opening statement(reason for writing)
Paragraph 2 – first point with detail
Paragraph 3 – second point with detail
Paragraph 4 – final point with detail
Paragraph 5 – closing statement
Signing off

Salutation
Paragraph 1 – opening statement(reason for writing)
Paragraph 2 – first point with detail
Paragraph 3 – second point with detail
Paragraph 4 – final point with detail
Paragraph 5 – closing statement
Signing off

Example:

You have seen an advertisement in an English newspaper for a part-time job in a city restaurant during the holidays. You decide to apply for it.

Write a letter to the manager of the restaurant. In your letter

  • Introduce yourself
  • Explain what experience and special skills you have
  • Explain why you are interested in the job

Write at least 150 words.
You do not need to write any addresses.

IELTS Writing Samples

Sample Answer (High Band Score)

Dear Sir/Madam

I am a second-year student at London University. I am writing this letter in response to your advertisement in today’s newspaper for a part-time job at ‘For All’ restaurant.

I have been in London for two years and earlier also I have done part time jobs during my holidays. My last job was at the City Museum. Now, I am looking forward to another as I have my holidays for a month from next week.

The part-time job gives me an opportunity to interact with the locals as well as the tourists from across the world. Additionally, it provides me with the chance to practise my communication skills in English.

This part-time job will also help me financially as by working during my holidays, I will be able to earn some money to support myself here.

I am open to working in different shifts. Please let me know when I can come for the interview.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours faithfully

Sample Answer (Low Band Score)

Dear Sir/ Madam

I am a second year student at London University. I am writing this letter in response to your advertisement in today’s newspaper for a part time job at ‘For All’ restaurant.

I am in London since two years and earlier also I have done part time jobs during my holidays. My last job was at the City Museum. The part time job gives me an opportunity to interact with the locals as well as the tourists from across the world. Additionally, it provides me with the chance to practise my communication skills in English.

This part-time job will also help me financially as by working during my holidays, I will be able to earn some money to support myself here.

I look forward to hear from you soon.

Yours faithfully

IELTS Writing Tips

  • Read the instructions carefully to decide the type of letter.
  • Spend 3-4 minutes on planning the letter type and the details to be included.
  • Your language and vocabulary must suit the type of letter.
  • Plan what information you are going to include to support your points in each paragraph.

Types of Questions

  • Application letter
  • Apology letter
  • Amendment letter
  • Complaint letter
  • Letter to a friend
  • Invitation letter
  • Instruction letter
  • Request letter

FAQ

Click + to see the answer

No, it is different for both. In the General Writing Task 1, you are asked to write a letter whereas in the Academic Writing task 1, you are required to write a report or a summary on the basis of the information provided to you in the form of a graph, chart, table, etc.

The writing task 2 has double the worth of Writing task 1.

No, the criterion is slightly different on the basis of task achievement.

You get 20 minutes for task 1 and you should not take more than 20 minutes for it.

Yes, the spellings matter in Task 1. The examiner will penalise you for wrong spellings.

You can be asked to write a formal, semi – formal or a formal letter, such as letter to a friend, letter for enquiry and letter to complain.

In the Academic Task 1, you are asked to write a report or a summary based on the information provided to you.In the General Task 1, you are asked to write a formal/ semi-formal/ formal letter.

In the Academic Task 1, you should not write a conclusion as you have an overview paragraph. In the General Writing Task 1, you are asked to write a letter.

Yes, you will be penalised if you write under 150 words.

You should have 4-5 paragraphs in Task 1.