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task 1 writing strategies

IELTS strategies / good answers

Sally Waddingham

on 23 April 2012

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Transcript of task 1 writing strategies

Strategies Guidelines for a good answer... Does the report have a suitable structure?
¨ Does it have an introduction, body and conclusion?
¨ Does it include connective words to make the writing cohesive within sentences and paragraphs?
Does the report use suitable grammar and vocabulary?
¨ Does it include a variety of sentence structures?
¨ Does it include a range of appropriate vocabulary?
Does the report meet the requirements of the task?
¨ Does it meet the word limit requirements?
¨ Does it describe the whole graph adequately?
¨ Does it focus on the important trends presented in the graphic information? What do you think?
What is your opinion of this sample answer?
How well does it meet the requirements of the guidelines? Sample answer

The graph shows the number of cases of X disease in
Someland between the years 1960 and 1995. As an overall trend, it is clear that the number of cases of the disease increased fairly rapidly until the mid seventies, remained constant for around a decade at 500 cases before dropping to zero in the late 80s.

In 1960, the number of cases stood at approximately 100. That number rose steadily to 200 by 1969 and then more sharply to 500 in 1977. At this point the number of cases remained stable until 1984 before plummeting to zero by 1988. From 1988 to 1995 Someland was free of the disease.

In conclusion, the graph shows that the disease was
increasingly prevalent until the 1980s when it was eradicated from Someland. Here is what an IELTS teacher said about the sample answer:

The report structure is easy to follow and logical with a clear introduction, body and conclusion.
The candidate uses cohesive words to connect pieces of information and make the writing flow such as ‘until’ and ‘before’ in the second sentence.
The candidate uses a variety of grammatical structures and vocabulary so that the writing is not repetitive.

In terms of task requirements the report is a little short but this is because the simple graph used as an example does not have sufficient information for the candidate to describe. In the
real IELTS test the graph will have more information and so the need to look for trends will be even greater than in this example. Strategies for improving your IELTS score... Report structure

Your report should be structured simply with an



and conclusion.

Tenses should be used appropriately. Selecting information It is important that you describe the whole graph fully. However, this does
not mean that you should note every detail. In most cases there will be too
much information for you to mention each figure. You will therefore need to
summarise the graph by dividing it into its main parts. This is what we
mean by describing the trends. For example, in a chronological line graph it might seem sensible to
describe the information year by year or period by period. The graph
gives the information in five year sections so we could write our
report like this: While this way of describing the information may be accurate, it does not meaningfully sum up the information in the graph. In fact, the information in the graph would most meaningfully be described in four chronological sections following the shape of the graph. The number of cases of X disease started at 50 in 1965 and then went up gradually to 100 in 1965 and continued up to 200 in 1970 and then went up more sharply to 380 in 1975. In the Sample Task, the graph shows four main trends: first, a gradual increase from 1960 to 1968 second, a steeper increase from 1968 to 1977 third, a plateau from 1977 to 1983 fourth, a drop from 1983 to 1988 The structure of the report must show these four main trends clearly. Introduction
Use two standard opening sentences to introduce your report. These opening sentences should make up the first paragraph.

Sentence one should define what the graph is about; that is, the date, location, what is
being described in the graph etc. For example:

"The graph shows the number of cases of X disease in Someland between the years 1960 and 1995 …"

Notice the tense used. Even though it describes information from the past,
the graph shows the information in the present time. Notice that the sample opening sentence does not simply copy the words used on the graphic material. Copied sentences will not be assessed by the examiner and so you waste your time including them. Describing the overall trend
Sentence two (and possibly three) might sum up the overall trend. For example:
"It can be clearly seen that X disease increased rapidly to 500
cases around the 1980s and then dropped to zero before
1999, while Y disease fell consistently from a high point of
nearly 600 cases in 1960 to less than 100 cases in 1995." Notice the tense used. Here we are talking about the occurrence of the disease in the past. Describing the graph in detail
The body of the report will describe the graph or graphs in detail. You will need to decide on the most clear and logical order to present the material. Line graphs generally present information in chronological order and so the most logical order for you to write up the information would, most probably be from earliest to latest. Bar graphs, pie charts are organised in different ways and so you need to decide on the organisation of each one. Concluding sentences
Your report may end with one or two sentences which summarise your report to draw a relevant conclusion.
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