Types of Tests in IELTS Writing Task 1

Do you worry about not knowing how to write IELTS Writing Task 1? Don’t worry; IELTS Writing Task 1 is not as difficult as you think. However, it would be best to start reading this article carefully to fully understand the types of tests in IELTS Writing Task 1 and how to decipher one of these sections that are considered difficult for many IELTS test takers.

I. Overview of IELTS Writing & IELTS Writing Task 1

Writing is one of the four skills tested in the IELTS exam. The following article consists of 2 parts, and the first part will focus on a brief introduction to IELTS Writing; part 2 will detail how to do Writing Task 1 IELTS according to each type of article.

1. Information about IELTS Writing

The Writing test will take place after the Listening and Reading sections. The total time for this skill is 60 minutes, including reading time. The following description gives you an overview of the two types of tests in the IELTS Writing test.

IELTS Writing Time Score Minimum Word Category Types of Writing Task
Task 1 20 minutes Takes  ⅓ of the total score 150 Summarize, compare features in a chart, diagram or map. • Line
• Graph
• Bar Chart
• Pie Chart
• Table
• Process
• Map
• Mixed Charts
Task 2 40 minutes Takes ⅔ of the total score 250 Essay discusses ideas and views given • Opinion Essay
• Discussion
• Essay
• Advantages and Disadvantages Essay
• Problem Solution Essay
• Double Question Essay

Candidates’ writing is evaluated based on four marking criteria; each criterion accounts for 25% of the score:

Task Response: Candidates need to meet the requirements of the test.
Task 1 might ask for the following: “Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words”.

The keywords here are selecting, main features, making comparisons, 150 words.
Thus, the topic requires candidates to identify and state the principal and outstanding features in the article. At the same time, make appropriate comparative statements and must write at least 150 words. You should also note that you should use a formal, academic style, not everyday conversation.
Coherence & Cohesion: The article needs to show Coherence and Coherence. While Coherence is the linking of ideas, Cohesion is grammatical & lexical association, expressed through linking verbs. In addition, it is necessary to divide the article into logical paragraphs.
Lexical Resource: Candidates need to show their ability to use vocabulary naturally and flexibly and apply different vocabulary to their writing.
Grammatical Range & Accuracy: It is necessary to use a variety of grammatical structures, sentence types such as simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences and limit spelling errors and punctuation marks.

Note: Although the exact criteria score both Tasks, in fact, each task has its characteristics.

2. Writing Task 1 article layout

The Writing Task 1 outline is divided into three parts as follows. Please note this layout to make it easier to understand the detailed analysis below. This layout will apply to all types of IELTS Writing Task 1.

Introduction: Introduction to the content

Overview: General comments

Details: Detailed description


II. Types of Tests in IELTS Writing Task 1

1. Line Graph

Line Graph is a graph with a time element. It usually shows the change, trend of one or more objects over a specific period. This card format has two axes: the vertical axis (indicating data) and the horizontal axis (indicating time points).

IELTS Writing Task 1: Line Graph

2. Bar Chart

Bar charts often show data of many objects at a time point for comparison purposes. Or represent the change of things over a specific time. Column charts also have vertical and horizontal axes like line charts.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Bar Chart

In addition, the column chart can also be displayed in a stacked format or horizontally instead of vertically. Although the structure may be different, this should not affect the development of the article and the presentation of the data.

3. Pie Chart

The Pie Chart format shows the percentages of multiple objects or components of an object. Pie charts usually have several two or more things, can have a time element, or represent each specific object.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Pie Chart

4. Table

The data table shows a series of data related to each specific object or item. Although it does not have the same form as a chart, the data table still uses Language of Comparison and Language of Change to describe changes (if there are two or more timelines). The way the data is expressed is not different from the chart. The writer can also convert the data table into other types of charts if desired.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Table

5. Mixed Charts

The above four types of cards can be combined into one large chart, called Mixed Charts. Usually in pairs such as pie chart – data table, pie chart – column chart. The graphs are given a particular relationship that the candidate needs to recognize and present in the opening part of the essay.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Mixed Charts

6. Process

There are two types of processes in IELTS Writing Task 1:

Natural process: Describes the development, growth, evolution, or phase characteristics of an animal or insect. In addition, biological processes also describe natural phenomena such as photosynthesis.
Man-made process: Describes the process of manufacturing, manufacturing, recycling objects, products or diagrams, working mechanisms of systems and machines.
As shown in the illustration below, the process will have many steps or stages, usually arranged in chronological order and arrows to help identify the order. At each step or phase, some notes may appear about the name of the material, tool, machine, temperature, time, mass, etc.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Process

7. Maps

Topics of the Maps format usually provide about 2-3 maps of a specific area or the layout of a facility or building at different times.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Maps

III. How to Write IELTS Writing Task 1

Before reading this section, remember that the Writing Task 1 article layout will include the three parts mentioned above. First, the Introduction, followed by the Overview & then the Details section.

However, the first step is to analyze the problem to understand how we should handle the card and get the most points in a meager 20 minutes.

1. Analyze the topic

Before starting the test, candidates should answer the following questions:

    • What does the chart show?
    • Show how many objects, categories?
    • How many timelines does the chart have?
    • What should the writer use?
    • Is the chart trending?
    • What is a chart with units?

2. How to write Introduction

After analyzing the topic and clearly understanding the requirements, candidates write Introduction in Task 1 by paraphrasing – rephrasing the case differently but keeping the original meaning.

Example: The line graph below shows fish consumption and different kinds of meat in a European country between 1979 and 2004.

Sample Line Graph

There are several ways to write Introduction in IELTS Task 1, which should be used in combination:

Change the verb in the original sentence (topic)

The graph/chart/table/diagram:

    • Shows
    • illustrates
    • Gives information about/on
    • Provides information about/on
    • Compares (if there are two or more objects)

“The line graph below shows the consumption of fish and different kinds of meat in a European country between 1979 and 2004”.
→ The line graphs illustrate the consumption of fish and different kinds of meat in a European country between 1979 and 2004.

Note: Do not use words like below, above in the article.

Use structure: How something changed

You should only apply this structure to the post format with two or more timelines.

The line graph below shows the consumption of fish and different kinds of meat in a European country between 1979 and 2004.
→ The line graphs illustrate how the consumption of fish and different kinds of meat in a European country changed between 1979 and 2004.

Use synonyms or other expressions to replace content-specific phrases in the text.

The line graph below shows the consumption of fish and different kinds of meat in a European country between 1979 and 2004.
→ The line graphs illustrate the amount of fish and various types of meat consumed in a European nation between 1979 and 2004.

Use a different proposition for the time phrase in the lesson.

The line graph below shows the consumption of fish and different kinds of meat in a European country between 1979 and 2004.
→ The line graphs illustrate the amount of fish and various types of meat consumed in a European nation from 1979 to 2004/over 25 years.

In addition, if the topic is only for one year (in 2004), it can be paraphrased to (in the year 2004).

3. How to write Overview

Overview is an integral part of IELTS Writing Task 1. At the beginning of this section, candidates can use Overall/In general or As can be seen from the graph/chart, and phrases like It is apparent/clear that.

Let’s see how to write Overview in IELTS Task 1 for each type of article in IELTS Writing in the next section:

3.1. Overview of Line Graph, Bar Chart, Pie Chart, Table, Mixed Charts

To practice writing Overview Task 1 for the above types, the writer needs to carefully observe the chart to find out about two important and outstanding features (key features) of that chart.

If the essay format has multiple timelines, the candidate usually has to show a change or trend over the given period. Here are some questions to help you identify key features:

    • How many timelines does the chart have? Is there a trend?
    • Which object changes the most?
    • Which point on the graph is the highest and lowest point?
    • Is there a significant difference between the subjects?
    • With Mixed Charts, what is the relationship between these charts?

3.2. Overview of Process

With the Process format, when writing an Overview in IELTS Writing Task 1, the writer must state the number of steps or stages in the process and the first and last steps/stages.

The following structures can be used:

There + be + … steps/stages/phases (involved)

As can be seen in the picture, there are nine steps involved in the process of recycling plastic bottles, beginning with bottles being thrown out and finishing with end products being made.

The process + be + composed of/comprised (included) … steps/stages/phases

As can be seen in the picture, the process of recycling plastic bottles is composed of nine steps, beginning with bottles being thrown out and finishing with end products being made.

Sample Process

3.3. Overview of Maps

In the Overview section of the Maps post format, the writer needs to highlight the critical changes of the given area and facility.


Sample Map

Overview: It is apparent that the village of Ryemouth has some significant changes, with the most noticeable one being the construction of sports areas, the addition of more housing facilities, and the demolition of the fishing port.

4. How to write Details

How to segment and deploy

  • For changing/trending essay types, candidates can group details by:

(1) same movement/trend
(2) from time to time for the convenience of comparison.

  • For articles with only a date or no time element, group the details according to the similarity between the categories, the object for the first paragraph, the second paragraph for the rest. .
  • With Mixed Charts with two charts, usually each paragraph will describe a chart.
  • With the Process post format, it is advisable to divide the steps/phases into two paragraphs.
  • With the Maps post format, it can be divided by:

(1) area
(2) the same types of changes
(3) same ingredients

(For example, the golf course and tennis court both fall under sports facilities.)

There are several ways of implementing Details as follows:

    • By category, high to low-value object
    • In chronological order

Note when writing Details:

    • Need to specific data (if any)
    • Need to specific time (if any)
    • Connecting word or phrase is required

See more Instructions On How to Write IELTS Writing Task 1