Strategies for IELTS academic writing task 1 

Writing Task 1 requires us to write a report/summary within 150 – 200 words. There are six types of report writing we can expect for IELTS task 1:

  1. Bar chart
  2. Flow chart
  3. Pie chart
  4. Line graph
  5. Process
  6. Diagram( a picture to describe)

Writing a report or summary based on the given picture can be confusing when there’s too much to write, to plan the report, and at the same time, being accurate and consistent with the given data. Especially when you are given only 20 minutes for the task.

Here are a few strategies to follow to score better in this task:

  1. Make a comprehensive introduction but in your own words.

Since, the introduction for the picture to be interpreted is already stated in the question paper, most students tend to copy the given statement which leads to reduction of scores since no skill of using the English language is presented if you just copy your answer from the question paper.

Hence, it is important to rewrite the introduction in your own words. To do that you can:

  • Use synonyms
  • Restructure the sentence, or
  • Comprehend the given sentence (make it longer maybe)

 Don’t forget to mention the units of the given data

 There should not be any numbers or data in the introduction other than years

       For example:

Given Statement: The charts below show the number of Japanese tourists travelling abroad between 1985 and 1995(in millions) and Australia’s share of Japanese tourist market.

How you should rewrite it: The presented charts represent a decade’s record of Japanese people travelling abroad and also the number of Japanese people visiting Australia from the year 1985 to 1995. Data is given in millions for Japanese tourists travelling abroad and the percentage of total Japanese tourists visiting  Australia in the respective years.

  1. Divide the data cleverly for the two body paragraphs:

Practice following similar pattern for describing the data in the body paragraphs when you attempt practice questions.

How would you divide the bar graph given below:


One way of approaching this graph can be to describe about the first two categories (bus and car) in detail in the first body paragraph and write the details about the rest two (bike and foot) in the next body paragraph.



  1. Compare effectively

After we have prepared a good introduction, we move to the body paragraph. This is where we describe the data given in the question (never in the introduction)

The most general problem in IELTS writing task 1 is that, sometimes there is too much information than required to be described in 200 words and sometimes there is too little to describe which might make it hard for the student to tackle this 20 minute task.


To eliminate this, start with looking at the highlighting features that are maximum and minimum readings given in the charts or graphs.  


For Example:

In the given bar graph, the maximum reading for bus is about 28 percent of total travellers in the year 1980 while it is lowest in the year 2000 with only 17 percent of total travellers.


  1. Write a short conclusion that doesn’t repeat in the other paragraphs

[Note: A conclusion is needed only for comparative material such as charts or graphs; no conclusion is needed for processes or maps.]

To give a conclusion, describe the trend that was followed in given material (chart or graph) and write one crucial piece of information that mention if you had to point out a single important detail of the given data.