First of all, have a quick look at Data to analyse in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 to get an idea of the different types of graphical data you might have to analyse.
OK, did you check them out? Good, now we can jump right in to looking at some useful language.
Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 is basically asking us to describe trends, so first of all, I’d like to look at some of the most common language used to describe trends.
To indicate upward movement
a rise to rise
an increase to increase / to go up
a climb to climb
a jump to jump
To indicate downward movement
a fall to fall
a drop to drop
a decline to decline
a decrease to decrease
To indicate stability and fluctuation
to level off at…
to remain stable at…
to remain steady at…
to reach a peak
to hit a trough
As well as having language to describe the trend, we also need to be able to describe the degree of difference.
Degree of difference
- Large difference
X increased rapidly / sharply / dramatically / significantly (adverbs to go with verbs).
There was a rapid / sharp / dramatic / significant increase (adjectives to go with nouns).
X decreased suddenly / abruptly / steeply (adverbs to go with verbs).
There was a sudden / abrupt / steep decrease (adjectives to go with nouns).
- Small difference
X increased steadily / moderately / slightly / gradually / slowly (adverbs to go with verbs).
There was a steady / moderate / slight / small increase (adjectives to go with nouns).
X decreased steadily / moderately / slightly / gradually / slowly (adverbs to go with verbs).
There was a steady / moderate / slight / gradual / small decrease (adjectives to go with nouns).
Putting it all together
One of the biggest problems students tell me they have when answering Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 is actually putting all this language together to make a coherent response to the question.
IELTS Writing responses require a systematic approach and I usually give my students the following two example tables so they can organise their answers well and achieve the best IELTS score possible.
|Time period||Subject of the
|Verb to describe
|Adverb to describe how much change|
|From January to February,||sales||rose||dramatically.|
|From February to April,||sales||fell||slightly.|
|From April to June,||sales||increased||moderately.|
|Time period||‘there’ + verb ‘to be’ in appropriate tense to introduce the subject
|Adjective to describe the amount of change||Noun to describe change|
|From January to February,||there was a||dramatic||rise||in sales.|
|From February to April,||there was a||slight||fall||in sales.|
|From April to
|there was a||moderate||increase||in sales.|
Now let’s look at the individual columns in greater detail so that we can get more variety of language in our answer. I have seen many students simply write ‘a catalogue of details’ (and then it went up, then it went down, then it increased again etc) when they answer an IELTS Writing Task 1; a variety of expressions is necessary to make your writing more interesting and get a higher band score.
‘From January to February…..’
We could also use the following alternatives:
- For one month
- Over the next month
- For a period of one month
- During the next month
When you describe change, it is important to be clear about what exactly is changing. Let’s say, for example, that the topic of the graph in the two tables was ‘cars’. We cannot say ‘cars increased’ but ‘the sales of cars increased’ or ‘car sales increased’.
If the graph was describing the increase in cars on Sydney roads, then we would say ‘the number of cars increased’ or ‘car numbers increased’.
Verbs, adverbs, nouns and adjectives
See the selection at the beginning of the post.
Keep these guidelines in mind when doing practice IELTS Writing Task 1; you’ll soon find that using a variety of language will come naturally to you and that your answer will have a clear structure.
Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!